No wax used but gasket
#1
I was shown an accordion. In that accordion wax was not used to attach the reed plates to the blocks. A length of gasket was placed between the reed plates and the blocks. This is a rare practice, isn't it? I would say this would not be as air-tight as when wax is used.

In the picture below, "A" points to a gasket between the block and the base. "B" points to where wax is not used.

Any comments? Thanks!


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#2
Nailed in plates... Common for french models... Piermaria... Maugein... Great sound... Too bright for some... I love it... I don't get all freaked outnleaving accordion in the sun when playing outdoors...
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...
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#3
As losthobos said this is common in french models. It is also the standard way to seal between reed plates and block in Russian bayans.
Also, higher-end Italian accordions now use large multi-reed plates on the bass side and there too a (leather) gasket is used.
I have worked on a Piermaria with nailed in reed plates. There is absolutely no problem in the seal between reed plate and reed block.
What is strange in the photo is that there appears to be an extra seal between the reed block and the base plate. It could be that a repairer had problems with that seal and instead of the proper fix just added an extra gasket.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#4
Thank you losthobos and Paul! Very helpful information.

Yes Paul, a seal between the block and base plate is tere. I may ask about it further.

Thanks!
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#5
(04-12-2019, 04:46 PM)James Wrote: Thank you losthobos and Paul! Very helpful information.

Yes Paul, a seal between the block and base plate is tere. I may ask about it further.

Thanks!

The reason I noticed this and found it strange is that it is not normal to have an extra seal between the reed block and its base. There is already a seal between these in every accordion (typically leather), and this should be sufficient. But... if the reed block or the base isn't perfectly straight then the block may not be sealed properly onto the base.  Also, the reed block is "clamped" (forced) onto the base on both ends. if it isn't tight (if you can wiggle it slightly) it needs tightened (on both ends). It must be possible to obtain a perfect seal this way. Adding an extra gasket should not be needed but an inexperienced repair person may not fully realize this try to improve the seal by adding an extra gasket, thereby reducing how vibrations in the reed block get transferred to the base.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#6
Yes, there is normally a very thin layer of felt-like material attached to the bottom of block, which serves as a seal between the block and the base. As that felt-like material is the equal size of the bottm surface, you do not normally see it. But in this accordion you do see the (extra) "seal", which is not normal.
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#7
(05-12-2019, 01:17 AM)James Wrote: Yes, there is normally a very thin layer of felt-like material attached to the bottom of block, which serves as a seal between the block and the base. As that felt-like material is the equal size of the bottm surface, you do not normally see it. But in this accordion you do see the (extra) "seal", which is not normal.

James,

Cavagnolo now pin/nail the reeds directly onto the reed blocks without the use of either cork or leather. They have developed a way to engineer the reed blocks so that no seal is required. 

The big wax vs no wax argument has been on the go for a very long time. The waxers claim the reeds stay in tune longer and the nailers say it doesn't matter, as the reeds are easier removed and replaced if necessary. 

The difference in tone between the two methods is the thing that really matters, although I had been playing French made instruments for about 15 years before somebody explained it all to me, so I was none the wiser.
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#8
I'm under the impression there's really no perceptible difference in tone.

I mean, for sure there will be perceptible differences in tone between the accordions, but principally because of their reeds. If you pulled the reeds out of an accordion and cleaned the wax off, laid down a nice leather gasket with matching holes, and did a clean job of nailing the reeds back in, no one would know but you. That isn't part of what generates the tone - those parts just need to be made out of substances like basswood and aluminum that can be easily milled, and attached so they don't leak air. Such has been my impression.

It's interesting to hear that there's an extra layer of something, other than just the leather surface. I thought it was just that one layer of leather between the metal and the wood.
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#9
There's a huge difference in tone.... I played a guest piece at Eastbourne Accordion Festival some time back and two people came and asked afterwards why my accordion sounded so different to all the others.. I explained it was because I'm a shite player....
However if i practice tap dance on a corked tap floor it sounds different to my normal laminate flooring and certainly mellower than tapping out a few riffs on the tin roof of my Honda Jazz...
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...
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#10
(06-12-2019, 10:18 PM)losthobos Wrote: There's a huge difference in tone.... ...

There is a huge difference in tone between all different types of accordions. Sure, whether reeds are nailed on cork or leather or some other type of gasket versus being fixed with wax does matter. But how much does that affect the tone versus the whole construction of the accordion? I have seen cases where the reed placement was off and a reed plate was not laying on the separator (between reed plates) but of course still sealed with wax. You could not hear that. And often when the hole in the reed plate is too large the reed plate may not touch the wood at the top or bottom. You could not hear that either. But whether the accordion is say a Pigini or a Bugari or a Victoria... that you can certainly hear!
The French style accordions use a different construction from Italian style accordions. The most important difference is that the register switches are under the keyboard, meaning that the register mechanism isn't obstructing the sound coming from the cassotto. That has a significant influence on the sound, similar to the sound differences between  a Hohner Morino M series (domino-style flat register switches) and the later N and S series (more modern registers placed such that the sound from the cassotto is obstructed by the register mechanism).
Everything matters, but in my experience the wax versus no wax difference is a pretty minor factor compared to everything else together.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#11
Thank you Paul that's certainly another interesting point to add to the equation... So much to consider.. Best let the ears and not the brain make the choice...
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...
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#12
(08-12-2019, 09:48 AM)losthobos Wrote: Thank you Paul that's certainly another interesting point to add to the equation... So much to consider.. Best let the ears and not the brain make the choice...

Hi Terry,

You may remember I put on a few posts about the "French style" CBAs they still play in and around Emilia Romagna. The boxes look very French, often with 4 rows of small French sized treble buttons, treble couplers mounted on the rear of the keyboard, and stepped mushroom bass buttons. The makes (past and present) include Stocco, Ropa, Excelsior, ByMarco, Lucchini, Fratelli Crosio, and your beloved Piermaria. 

However, when they play them the waxed reeds give a more typical Italian "grunt" to the tone, so regardless of what the boxes look like they sound Italian (to me).

Massimo Dellabianco plays Italian musette in the style of the late Carlo Venturi, and I cannot tell whether his Stocco has waxed or pinned reeds. I read somewhere that Stocco usually wax the reeds, but I wouldn't put money on this one. As I say I had played Cavagnolos and Maugeins with pinned reeds for about 15 years before I discovered that most makers used wax.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x47blN1vXCM
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#13
Thanks for the link, John.
This guy, Massimo, can certainly play!
His instrument sounds very like the authentic old French accordionists “of the day” I have on some old vinyls. ( I’m afraid I thought them somewhat “tinny “, and blamed the sound engineers, but I do like the style and virtuosity). Smile
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#14
(08-12-2019, 10:30 PM)Dingo40 Wrote: Thanks for the link, John.
This guy, Massimo, can certainly play!
His instrument sounds very like the authentic old French accordionists “of the day” I have on some old vinyls. ( I’m afraid I thought them somewhat “tinny “, and blamed the sound engineers, but I do like the style and virtuosity). Smile

Hi Dingo,

Italian musette on both PA and CBA was never as popular as its French equivalent, and the number of recordings was confined to a smaller number of players, none of whom gained much international stardom for their efforts. Carlo Venturi was perhaps the greatest exponent of the style, yet I'd be willing to bet that very few members will have heard of him. 

These days it would appear that classical music plays a very big part in keeping the accordion alive, as most of the regional and national styles struggle to survive, certainly in western Europe. 

Here is Walter Giannarelli from the area of Genoa in Liguria, who is equally at home with either the "pops" or the classics. A paso doble that sounds about as Spanish as minestrone. Nice easy listening, and that is what a real Italian box made for entertaining the general public sounds like, whether it's Bach or Bolognese. Sadly, music of that type isn't appreciated very much these days. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNol49DIIKs
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#15
Thanks, John, and for the new link.
I like them Smile
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#16
(09-12-2019, 02:14 AM)Dingo40 Wrote: Thanks, John, and for the new link.
I like them Smile

Hi Dingo,

I recently read an article on the French internet that discussed what a great job Galliano and others have done of ridding the accordion in France of all the "cheese" associated with the pop days of Verchuren, Aimable, Horner etc. The author of the article spoke of all the big name accordionists in France as though they were war criminals.  

France was unusual in that a high percentage of its top 20 hits often comprised musette accordion standards. Instrumental music anywhere tends to struggle when pitched against vocalists, and after all of the old standards were crucified, the players were obliged to turn to accordion "pops", which was literally the beginning of the end. The main exponents of those pops were Verchuren, Aimable, Horner etc., the very people who were championed by the general French public in the days when the accordion was "cool". 

Last year when we were on holiday we met a few young French couples and my wife made the grave mistake of telling them that I was interested in French musette. Their average age was about 25, and none of them even knew the titles of any of the old classics. Mention of the name Verchuren kindled a small fire in one kid who declared that his grandfather had been a fan, but he couldn't believe how anybody would now listen to that sort of "crap".

When I mentioned gypsy jazz I was told that it was just young guys pretending to be old men, but they acknowledged that some people still had an interest. No further comment was made, but I was aware of the fact that the subject was not really going to be discussed any further. 

I decided not to bother mentioning Galliano, as I doubt whether I would have received any encouragement there either.


They were having trouble with my accent, and when I told them I was from Scotland they said "Ah, un anglais!" The next sentence was "Where is your skirt?"


I hate stereotypes!
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#17
L'autre jour, j'écoute la radio en me réveillant
C'était Yvette Horner qui jouait de l'accordéon
Ton accordéon me fatigue Yvette
Si tu jouais plutôt de la clarinette
Oh, Yeah !
(Les élucubrations d'Antoine)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3z4sTKn-f0
Carpe diem, C.
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#18
After listening to some of the links provided what is most obvious to me is that the similarly looking accordions (French style) sound differently because of the tuning. The Walter Giannarelli video for instance uses an accordion with quite a lot of tremolo (16 cents is standard "Italian" tuning, this one may have even more) whereas real French musette accordions have little tremolo, like 8 cents. I realize that for many people "musette" sounds equal to "lots of tremolo" but the reality is that French musette is best played on a French accordion with very little tremolo, and this gives it that characteristic French sound.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#19
(09-12-2019, 12:59 PM)Corinto Wrote: L'autre jour, j'écoute la radio en me réveillant
C'était Yvette Horner qui jouait de l'accordéon
Ton accordéon me fatigue Yvette
Si tu jouais plutôt de la clarinette
Oh, Yeah !
(Les élucubrations d'Antoine)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3z4sTKn-f0

Hi Corinto,

Guess that just about sums up the modern attitude to the accordion in France. 

Jazz, manouche, and classical seem to be keeping it going in France, as well as a handful of musette "tribute" performers. Any video footage of such tribute performers inevitably features dancers who are older than I am, so those of us who remember the old days had better just enjoy it while we can.

(09-12-2019, 02:06 PM)debra Wrote: After listening to some of the links provided what is most obvious to me is that the similarly looking accordions (French style) sound differently because of the tuning. The Walter Giannarelli video for instance uses an accordion with quite a lot of tremolo (16 cents is standard "Italian" tuning, this one may have even more) whereas real French musette accordions have little tremolo, like 8 cents. I realize that for many people "musette" sounds equal to "lots of tremolo" but the reality is that French musette is best played on a French accordion with very little tremolo, and this gives it that characteristic French sound.

Hi Paul, 

Italian players were actively discouraged from playing musette type material by some of the old teachers, who opined that musette tuning created a sound that was hard on the ears and not very musical. Walter Giannarelli and others like him do tend to push the boundaries with musette tuning, and I think that Stocco is up above 16 cents, as you suspect. 

To this day I'm still unsure of the situation in Italy with regard to "musette" players like Walter Giannarelli, although the number of Italian players using musette tuning appears to exceed their French counterparts, at least in the north of Italy. 

I for one was glad when most French players ditched their 20 cent instruments and replaced them with 8 cent models. However, it must be said that a small number of French players still use fairly strong musette tuning. 

The sound I most associate with Italian popular accordion is this one:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ju4HoCLWxc

OK, as per usual, more of a display of virtuosity than music per se, but that's just the way the Italians do it. 

Or, if you prefer you could listen to this:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QXduYeytcw

If that guy was playing that box in Milan I'd make sure I was in Calabria until he had stopped playing. No way I could listen to that for longer than I could find the mute button. He's probably a great player, just not my cup of tea. There is strong musette and that's up there with the strongest. XXXXXL musette!
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#20
Thanks, John.
The clips are entertaining and informative! Smile
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