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Author Topic: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...  (Read 21676 times)

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Rees

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2008, 03:42:57 PM »

Absolutely mate. That's what they quote in the Castagnari catalogue and every other maker who uses them will call them hand-made.
My point is that it's the current name for TAM reeds.
Gottit?
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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an bosca ceoil

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2008, 04:23:13 PM »

Castagnari LILLY. D/G  with hand-made reeds.

Castagnari TOMMY. D/G  with hand-made reeds.

Both quotes from Rees' s web site.
Lets see you talk your way out of that young man!!
You might start by explaining that there is no longer any such a thing as a "hand made" reed and that all the references are just to the amount of hand finishing.
If the hair splitting season is open, even Binci  "Professional"  (apart from using better reed steel) are only claimed to be assembled and finished by hand.
All their reeds are on dural frames so I cannot understand why some folks equate dural with machine made?
In my estimation you cannot place too much credence on how reeds are described . You can find some machine ground with profiling as good as a typical TAM and others that are all flats and steps.
Going downmarket, I am equally baffled by the people who generalise about "good old Hohner H type" reeds, probably not realising that there were for or five different style of manufacture, all stamped "H".
Personally I would never spend good money on a "Costalotti" with fancy reeds in the hope of sounding better, I will stick to blaming the box - it cannot be me!
Regards, Bruce
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Rees

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2008, 05:16:20 PM »

It is indeed a can of worms.
As I said before there are basically two types of reed used in melodeon manufacture.
TAM reeds (usually known as hand-made) and Export which the Italians often call Super Durall.

The obvious way to visually differentiate is as follows:
The TAM reeds will have five flats on the rivet head where it has been riveted by hand with a hammer.
Export reeds are machine riveted and have a round rivet head.

There are other differences such as the way the steel tongue is cut from the plate, but I won't bother to explain here as I have some paint that I need to watch drying.

Most of the reed manufacturers offer around seven different grades of reed, some Export and some TAM. Then there's your brass reed plates and Cairdin claim to have a "special" reed as does Charlie Watkins with his "Super M" and you're absolutely right about Hohner reeds. I recently tried to tune a set of H reeds that appeared to be made from porridge, other H reeds are to die for. Modern T reeds also seem to vary in quality from batch to batch. Anyone know if Hohner reeds are still made in Germany or has reed production also moved to China?

So what should we call these TAM reeds as used by Castagnari et al? It needs to be adopted by all the UK dealers, eBayers, etc. to avoid this confusion that has existed for some time. Jon Loomes from The Music Room is here on melodeon.net
Hi Jon, what thinkest thou?

Anyone from Hobgoblin like to jump in?
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 05:19:24 PM by Rees »
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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an bosca ceoil

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2008, 05:40:14 PM »

Charlie Watkins told me Binci made his "Super M"s!
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Rees

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2008, 05:46:02 PM »

The plot thickens....................
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Andy Simpson

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2008, 06:37:33 PM »

Thank you very much Rees, most informative. Expect an email soon.

I'm finding this current discussion about reed types fascinating, there's a great deal of misinformation, half-truths and common or garden nonsense talked about all instruments and discussions like this are a great help in getting to the bottom of things.

Thanks again to everyone for your input.
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Theo

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2008, 08:09:54 PM »

I think we should just play the box and judge it on how it responds and how it sounds!
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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george garside

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2008, 02:19:43 PM »

I think we should just play the box and judge it on how it responds and how it sounds!

I agree absolutely! - some expensive boxes can be disapointing and some relatively inexpensive ones  can siute an individuals requirements better.  I have twice over the years sold expensive posh boxes  replacing them with cheaper ones that sound & feel much better to me ( but probably not to many others)  choosing a box is very much a personal thing - sod the theory - if it feels and sounds good to you then it  must by definition be good good!

george
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pipives

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2008, 08:20:51 PM »

I think we should just play the box and judge it on how it responds and how it sounds!

I agree absolutely! - some expensive boxes can be disapointing and some relatively inexpensive ones  can siute an individuals requirements better.  I have twice over the years sold expensive posh boxes  replacing them with cheaper ones that sound & feel much better to me ( but probably not to many others)  choosing a box is very much a personal thing - sod the theory - if it feels and sounds good to you then it  must by definition be good good!

george

I've been away too (sword spec in York.) I have to agree with George on this one...
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Waltham

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2008, 10:12:57 PM »

So what are Castagnari like with special orders?  Say, hypothetically, if somebody wanted the treble end of a Handry, with MMM reeds tuned B, C and, what the hell, C#, with the bass end of a Magica K3.  Presumably such a concoction would cost as much as a moderate-sized house, but would it be likely to arrive within the average life-expectancy?  Just checking in case I ever win the lottery.  Without having entered.
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BruceHenderson

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #30 on: May 27, 2008, 10:44:44 PM »

So what are Castagnari like with special orders? 

__.  My only experience has been with my Benny (about '97).  I went to my dealer and asked "can I order a Benny with low notes on the treble and a stop for the 3rd on the bass?"  He FAXed them and they said yes.  So, we put in my order with a chart for the low notes and the order for the 3rd stop.  The completion date was quoted 5-6 months - it arrived in 10 with accidentals.  "Oh, send it back and we'll put it into the production process; but everyone knows that you can't get a bass stop on a Benny".  It was time for a good "WTF" -- I just kept it like it was.
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Theo

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #31 on: May 27, 2008, 10:56:52 PM »

The completion date was quoted 5-6 months - it arrived in 10 with accidentals.  "Oh, send it back and we'll put it into the production process

Any decent dealer would have offered to put the low notes in for you.  Bass stop would be a different matter.

The time factor and lack of attention to specifics of the note layout matches my experience of a Mory ordered in 2000.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Pete McClelland

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2008, 11:54:13 PM »

Mannie alerted me to this thread.  I wanted to take Rees up on the idea of getting some agreement on how to describe the reed type. After hearing of this discussion and a recent customer comment - one of you here maybe? I just recently decided to standardise on the Italian terms super durall and tipo a mano. I've deleted all the references I could find to handmade reeds in Hobgoblin literature.

We have always used the term handmade reeds to describe the tipo a mano, and factory reeds for the others because it is the common parlance and understood by most players. I know it is not entirely accurate, so as there seems to be more awareness in the days of the internet, we have decided to make it more specific.

As for what makes a difference, I have some experience. When we started making the Gremlin Saxon concertinas in the early 80s we tested nearly all the currently available Italian reads, Cagnoni and Antonelli seemed best, and Antonelli's tipo a mano made a big difference compared to their machine reeds. We settled on them and when we re-started production in the last few years with the Sherwood concertinas, we continued with the new Siva production of the old antonellis. these are just as good or better than the old ones.

I believe reeds age and sound different after a lot of playing. The actual steel and its content and hardness makes a significant diffence too.

I agree with those who rate the Hascy, I have a Casta..  a sort of special model they made for me similar to a Hascy and it is a great box and exactly the right size for a melodeon in my opinion.

Finally I quizzed Hohner about their reed production today to try to get to the bottom of it. The answer was indirect because they didn't make it clear whether they were talking about reeds or blocks - but perhaps clear enough. Everything is done in China with the same machines, methods, materials and quality control as they previously had in Germany. They said the wood of the blocks has changed because they can no longer get the original stuff for enviromental reasons. they also pointed out that reeds age and conceded that the different woods do make a difference. They were a bit defensive and obviously irritated by some of the criticism. Len Killick told me he went to Trossingen and there were definitely no reeds being made. But I have been told by others that the harmonicas are still made there?

I also know that the Czech reeds are used in Italy and by Harmona, and that Italians have links to factories in Ukraine, N Korea and other strange places as well as China. It is not as simple as it looks.

We are currently assessing melodeon samples from China that have Italian reeds in Italin frames. Most of the Chinese factories use either German frames, tongues or German machines. I have found it pretty difficult to get all the info I want even though we talk to all the makers. The most important thing is the quality control, you can make a good reed or a bad one out of the same stuff.






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Rees

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2008, 12:32:19 AM »

Nice one Pete. Thanks for all that info.

(naming no names but it ends with an i  :D) - I had heard that some so called Italian reeds were actually Czech made.
I think this only applies to Super Durall and not TAM.

I agree that the Hascy is the best of all the Castagnaris. I think it was the first one I ever saw/heard.
Casta is a wee cracker too. Shame they stopped making it. I've just received a new Benny today with a special note layout and everything is in the right place and it's in tune. This is normal and what I have come to expect. OK, they do drop some big howlers but they are still the best. No contest.

I also vote for "tipo a mano" and "super durall" and do hereby solemnly swear to update my website.......... whenever.

Will you phone John Turner or shall I?  ;)
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Dazbo

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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2008, 04:48:17 PM »

http://www.flickr.com/photos/78769625@N00/2253870197/sizes/l/

Links to a photo of a few of my reeds described on the invoice as Duralluminium Hand Type.  They seem to have the hand hammered reeds as described by Rees.  They offer, but I declined, hand made reeds at more of a premium so Giustozzi at least offer three qualities of reeds.
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Re: To Castagnari Or Not To Castagnari...
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2008, 04:57:26 PM »

Some fine photos there Dazbo, thanks
Tom
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