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replacing the valves for nailed on reeds.

donn

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but ... while eating breakfast an easier and better test occurred to me: after removing a plate and attending to whatever maintenance is needed, blow through it while holding it in your fingers. It isn't mounted on anything, held only by soft fingertips and your lips and whatever else it takes to make a seal. Will it sound muted, compared to the reeds mounted firmly on the accordion reed bank block?

I don't know for sure, and in my experience, blowing in reeds is a little hit or miss anyway because they respond to an optimal angle of air stream, but at least this illustrates the principles involved. "The reed will try to unload its energy to its surroundings", yes, but here the reed isn't an energetic sound generator on its own like, say, an African thumb piano reed. The energy source is ultimately the air stream, and as soon as that ends, the sound stops. The air acts on the assembled reed and reed plate, and we only need to make sure those two are firmly attached. That's neither a physics analysis nor does it have any empirical basis, it's just an appeal to intuition, but it's an alternative to the above discussion of ways to prevent the reed from dispersing energy, which is likewise an appeal to intuition.

In short, I'm (only) guessing that what matters is that it's sealed. It's an unusual type of fastener in general, but wax makes a good seal. If nailed down firmly into a leather backing, that should also be also a reasonably good seal. The acoustic properties are irrelevant.
 

Geoff de Limousin

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Thanks Dunlustin for the info on Ranco. The Luigi Ranco that my friend bought recently by mistake because the advert said it was a 'Mixte' and that is the type he plays... perhaps he thought he could be getting Emile Vacher's old instrument , but it turned out to be a CBA... we await its refurbishment by Mr.Jarry and I for one will be very interested to see if he waxes the reeds !

The Gugliemo Ranco I bought last week has 90 basses and, I assume, it is a CBA from the 1930's though I have only seen pictures , it is currently en route... the price was very reasonable so I guess it will need to, at the least, join the queue for a Valve job.

Reading some French accordeon forum topics on the Nailed or Waxed question it would appear that some people suggest re-mounting nailed on reed plates by the wax method.

I've taken a look at my Coope Armoniche, which has had its valves replaced in recent times and I can see that the tiny nails have been re fitted often into new places, so that is an option. Of course different sized nails are available too.

Donn, thanks for the tip regarding the Tuba... I could suggest that if I cannot buy more accordeons I might take up something like that. Really there is no problem as it was my wife who suggested I take up the Accordeon as it is the accepted accompaniment for her current new instrument... the Cabrette ! I have really only collected a few accordeons whilst I search for the Ideal model... mind you I like the Old stuff... I'll be playing my 1898 Wheatstone with our dance band tonight for the Christmas Ball.
 

Geoff de Limousin

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With regard to materials and methods of construction, many years of playing and repairing Concertinas (of the English types) suggests to me that good choices are important. One friend who makes concertinas says " everything is important". To say that one could blind test the difference between an instrument that was put togther from the most convienient materials or one where much thought and selection had been used to try to produce certain sound and playing characteristics... but when a good player has the instrument in their hands it is often evident.

I am a maker of woodwind instruments and the choice of 'wood' ir very important for the 'wind'. There are certain limitations placed on us by the needs of construction strength, stability , imperviousness ( to moisture for instance) etc, but within those constraints a choice of wood for the desired tone qualities is still available as I am sure it will be for the accordion maker. ;)
 

donn

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Ah, I didn't know about the cabrette, but it sounds nice. For two players, may I suggest the vache-cornemuse.

I'm a saxophone player, also, but used to play bass clarinet etc. earlier in life, and I'd never again buy a wood clarinet or bass clarinet if I could have some sort of plastic instead (polypropylene is nice.) I love wood, but I don't believe there's any acoustic advantage, and there's a terrible risk of cracking. What really matters, I've read, between clarinets at various levels of quality, may be mostly the contour of the tone holes on the inside.
 

Geoff de Limousin

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Yesterday, instead of spending christmas stuffing my face and watching the TV I decided to get all the reeds speaking in my 4 voice Musette CBA. As some of the reeds had lost their 'set' and I did not managed to elevate them in situ I started to lift off the nailed on reed plates. Re-setting the inner reeds and remounting the plates with the original nails proved not to be a problem . So, I am happy that this will not be a problem for changing the valves on reeds monted in this fashion.

Just carefull prising up the of nails to a sufficient height, with a screw driver or small 'tack lifter' then a straight pull with a small pair of pincers to fully remove the nails was all that was needed to remove each plate. Replacement of the nails by firmly pushing them home with a small nail punch.
 
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wout

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Does it actually make a notable difference in sound? Seems To Be a more lasting method since You dont have the drying wax problem, This True? Also does it make servicing a single reed easier?
 
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rancoman

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I have seen it said that there is a 'sound' difference between waxed-on and nailed-on reeds and certainly the one waxed reed accordeon I have does have a different character but unless the comparison can be made with two otherwise identical models....... ?

I am absolutely NOT an expert in this, but as a Ranco player I have taken a great interest over the years in pinned vs. waxed reeds (Rancos are pinned).

When I was hunting for my first Ranco many years ago, having decided that was the sound I wanted, I visited Jimmy Clinkscale's shop, where he was advertising a number of Rancos. All of them, with one exception, had been 'fully refurbished' and that included tuning, revalving and waxing the reeds back on. None of them sounded like Rancos.

The one exception was an old clapped out box which had just come in, and had not been touched yet. It was leaky, clattery and out of tune, but it still sounded like a Ranco, because the reeds were still pinned on.

The Ranco I still play was originally John Crawford's old one - lovingly maintained as original. I have discussed this waxing business with John, and also with the late John Huband, and the best way I can explain it is as follows:
Take two identical crystal wineglasses, and dip the rim of one of them in melted wax for a few millimetres, then let it cool and harden.

Now flick the rim of the UNDIPPED glass with your fingernail. 'Tiiiinnnnggggggg'. Then flick the dipped one. 'Thud'

I THINK, and again I stress that I am NOT an expert, that the wax, being far softer than crystal, soaks up many of the harmonics - it certainly shortens the reverb time of the glass. Perhaps to be more accurate I should say that it shortens the reverb time that I can hear personally - I'm sure there will be harmonics above and below what I can register with my old ears, and I can't be sure what happens with them.

From comments made recently in various threads on here, it appears that the finished sound we actually hear from our instruments is incredibly complex, and affected by almost all of the construction features of the instruments, and I would suggest that waxing reeds in place would certainly be one of the factors involved.

Having said all of that, I am NOT saying that waxing is good or bad - it's merely different. Not everyone likes the hard ringing sound of pinned reeds, and the sound produced by modern accordions with waxed reeds is FAR more suited to many kinds of music played nowadays.
 

JerryPH

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Yeah, metal reeds vibrating in a wood box are a bad comparison to a wine glass. A closer comparison to your example would be reeds nailed in vs reeds with wax liberally poured ON them, not around them. I only saw my first Ranco (never heard one) at a museum recently so I don't know what that special Ranco sound is, but I think that as was said, the differences are gong to be very hard to hear, and only before or after or side-by-side comparisons of the same instrument would reveal minor differences.

Nails definitely *do* have an advantage in that they don't melt and let the reeds fall out at high temperatures. If you live in hot climates, this would have to be a must.

I'd have to say that the refurbished Rancos that you heard were more greatly affected by the refurb than the wax instead of nails.
 

debra

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JerryPH post_id=49092 time=1501427426 user_id=1475 said:
...the differences are gong to be very hard to hear, and only before or after or side-by-side comparisons of the same instrument would reveal minor differences...

That really sums it up nicely.
A small anecdote: In 1999 I ordered a new Bugari Artist Cassotto. A few months later I got it and soon I found out that it had a Champion Cassotto label. So the question was: is the label wrong or is the instrument wrong? Its hard: when you play and hear just one and are new to Bugari like we were, you cannot really tell. So we took the accordion back to the store where we could hear it side by side with a Champion Cassotto. There was absolutely no doubt that I had an Artist Cassotto (well... that what I had was not a Champion Cassotto and that it was better than a Champion Cassotto). Bugari mailed a new label and the store owner put it on.
This just goes to show that often you can only distinguish between accordions that are close (like identical but waxed versus nailed reeds) when you can hear them side by side.

So yes, nailed versus waxed will make a difference, but it is only in a minute part of the sound an accordion makes. Most of the sound is determined by how the vibrating reed interrupts the airflow through the hole in the reed plate and by how that air and sound can exit the instrument, obstructed by a cassotto or not (dampening high frequencies), and obstructed by the grille or not (depending on the same and material of the grille... all of these are factors with much more effect on the sound than the nails versus wax difference.
 
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wout

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Well i am thinking about since i might Be moving to southern Spain again where temperatures reached 48 degrees celsius in summer last Time i lived there. Makes me a bit worried about the wellbeing of my instrument, but i am worried as well about losing the sound of mine when i would change the wax to nails
 

debra

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wout post_id=49096 time=1501449012 user_id=1654 said:
Well i am thinking about since i might Be moving to southern Spain again where temperatures reached 48 degrees celsius in summer last Time i lived there. Makes me a bit worried about the wellbeing of my instrument, but i am worried as well about losing the sound of mine when i would change the wax to nails
Ouch, changing wax to nails is quite hard, much harder than the other way around!
Reed plates on an accordion with nails are separated from the reed block by a thin strip of leather. Before you can make the switch from wax to nails you have to add this strip of leather and it has to be glued on perfectly everywhere and the holes cut out precisely. Removing the leather to go from nails to wax is an easier job (just scraping off the leather and glue and sanding everything so its nice and even). It may be worth getting a new box that does not have waxed reed places. You could think immediately of a Russian one, but be careful as especially older Russian accordions that were not the large bayans may have waxed reeds. A new accordion, even a PA, should have large bayan-style reed plates and no wax.
 

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