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Air Usage

Glug

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Hiya folks,
I'm wondering what affects how much air reeds use.

This comes from seeing this video:

His first change of bellows direction is at the start of bar 11.
I can play most of that tune (badly) but have to change bellows direction much more often.

He's playing a Zero Sette 120 bass which may well have hand made reeds.
I'm playing a Hohner Lucia IV P 96 bass with almost no external air leaks, but Hohner machine reeds, on violin and soft bass registers.

So my guess is he's got bigger bellows and hand made reeds, but there is a huge difference so do other factors make a difference ?
And can I do anything about it :)
 

Chrisrayner

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I’m guessing you play more slowly and hold the notes for longer. His left hand is very light, he holds the notes and chords very briefly. His right hand also is light. Not exactly staccato, but certainly not legato most of the time. Basically the whole thing is simple physics. In order to sound a reed enough air must pass over it to start it vibrating. The louder, the more air, also the longer. More reeds also require more air. The cross-sectional area of the bellows also has a massive effect on the amount of puff it can generate. I have several accordions of various types, the ones with the smaller bellows need to be reversed more often than the larger ones. Also those with more reeds need more air.

I guess your Hohner Lucia has smaller bellows than his, which will also account for needing to reverse the bellows more frequently. Try playing with the smallest number of reeds you can to reduce air usage.
 

Sebastian Bravo

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Hohner box is smaller, the bellows are short, the machine reeds, the poor quality of leathers, that's why. Even if you change the reeds, the box will open faster than the 07. I changed the reeds in my hohner and the bellows last longer now, but not as long as i want...
 

Glug

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Yep, I think the main factor is the size of the bellows and the gap round the reeds.
I'm restoring a Scandalli with tipo a mano reeds so maybe I'll find out soonish :)
 

Ventura

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the depth of the bellows folds are also a factor as well as the number of folds... look closely between different models when you are around a wallfull of good accordions

and count the number of folds... you might be surprised
 

Ventura

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in my case in particular, i closely mic my accordions and amplify to the point that my bellows movement is minimal, and primarily focused on expression, as opposed projection
 

debra

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in my case in particular, i closely mic my accordions and amplify to the point that my bellows movement is minimal, and primarily focused on expression, as opposed projection
If I understand that correctly you essentially play softer and let amplification do more of the work. That makes sense, but it does require that the reeds are valved perfectly so that at low volume they still close well, otherwise you will notice a slight pitch change in "pianissimo".
 

Ventura

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If I understand that correctly you essentially play softer and let amplification do more of the work. That makes sense, but it does require that the reeds are valved perfectly so that at low volume they still close well, otherwise you will notice a slight pitch change in "pianissimo".
exactly

after decades of performing with a gentle touch on the bellows, it seems obvious to me and second nature to sense those subtle differences. Reed quality and setup and those many other small details that can affect the outcome are on my radar because the BEST accordion is the one that causes ZERO distraction, and playing softly very much reveals imperfections

on my 960, there was one reed in the m2 set that would occasionally act up and draw my attention.. i opened the box so many times over some years to finesse that reed until i finally simply replaced it

may i go so far as to say, once an accordionist becomes accustomed to gentle expression under seriously good amplification, it becomes second nature to tell the quality of any set of reeds and, frankly, i would rely upon my ears rather than a tiny sliver of blued steel edge (if that makes sense) when evaluating an accordion. To be honest, when i hear someone always saying "i think > these reeds < are "tipo a this or that" on accordions they are thinking of owning, ( or selling ) my brain wonders how can they squeeze the box and not KNOW ?

i can only compare it to (old hippies will relate) we all had one friend who would have to (ad infinitum) tell us how great their contributary "joint or pipefull" was, rather than letting the marijuana speak for for itself

ciao
 

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