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When did European accordions stop using multi-reed plates?

Morne

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Higher-end Russian bayans and garmons still use multi-reed plates where many reeds are attached to a large plate.

When did European-made accordions stop using those? And when did they start using single reed plates?
My assumption is that these multi-reed plates were the original way of building accordions.

Here is an example of a very old, supposedly German-made, Geraldo PA using multi-reed plates:
<ATTACHMENT filename=Multi-reed.jpg index=0>

Are there other modern, non-Russian, non-bayan-style accordions that still use these multi-reed plates?

Here is a blog post that touches on this topic: http://gumshoearcana.blogspot.co.za/2011/07/in-old-days-accordion-builders-riveted.html
 

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debra

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I can think of several reasons for and against each solution, having compared the inside to my (and other) accordions and bayan.
1) On the large lower reeds the reeds on a multi-reed plate can be closer together, which is especially important on a bayan that needs to fit 64 notes.
2) The multi-reed plates are typically held in place by hooks and rest on leather, so no messing about with wax, and no problem in high temperatures.
3) For repairs having single-note reed plates is easier: on a multi-reed plate you have to learn how to replace a single reed when it breaks, but with single-reed plates you just replace the reed plate with a new one.
What we are currently seeing is that European (Italian) manufacturers are going back to multi-reed plates for the low notes (Cagnoni for instance makes single-octave plates for the lefthand side, Artigiana Voci makes the 6-reed-pair plates for the Pigini bass accordion I have. But for higher notes the Europeans stick to single-note reed plates. My experience with the Pigini shows that there is no sound difference. The bass accordion starts off with multi-reed plates and as you go up the scales it switches to single-note reed plates but there is no difference in sound when you cross that border.
 

TomBR

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Its an interesting question - I wonder if diatonic accordions were a factor in favour of individual reed plates, more flexibility in coping with many different tunings?

Nice page of pictures of bayan reed plate production on the Harmonikas website. You can see what Paul means about close spacing of big reeds.
http://www.harmonikas.cz/en/bayan-1#obsah

As noted before in this context - individual reed tongue replacement seems to be routine in the harmonica world - DiY instructions here
http://harp.andrewzajac.ca/GuitarStrings

The only multiple-reed plate instruments Ive had my hands on have been seriously rubbishy old melodeons and german concertinas, but its an intriguing system.

Sorry morne, you were interested in history....
 

Soulsaver

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I've been inside Italian and German accordions going back to the early 1920s only with individual reed plates.. so either before that, or maybe it's a later innovation?
 

JIM D.

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Same here:
Ive worked on American, Italin, French and German accordions dating back to the 20s and always found individual reed plates. I have however worked on American & Italian concertinas and Russian (TULA) accordions with multi-reed plates.
You got me curious now, so I plan to call my friend Paul at -- http://www.newenglandaccordionmuseum.com/about-us/ -- and see what he has in his old stock.
 

Morne

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For what its worth, the bass reeds in the accordion with the reeds from the first picture are single reeds, so they were obviously using both kinds here:
<ATTACHMENT filename=Bass chord reeds.jpg index=0>
(Those are the bass chord reeds. The triangle and ||| markings are used to arrange the chord notes in a triangle on a single pallet.)

Theres a Russian guy who was building his own garmon, and it looks like he was cutting his own multi-reed plates (bottom of the page):
http://poigarmonika.ru/statyi/moya-chetvyortaya-garmon.html

These large plates also appear to have been used in the Azerbaijan garmon:
https://nardingallery.blogspot.co.za/2007/03/garmon.html

It might just be a total coincidence, but some of the Russian garmon which are considered to be really good, e.g. 1956 model), that makes me think that maybe thats the technology they started with.
 

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AccordionUprising

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Demians 1829 patent (Happy Accordion Day today!) had individual reed plates, each with five note chords. So a combination of both?
http://www.concertina.com/chambers/michaelstein/images/Chambers-Michaelstein-009-W1000H801.jpg>Chambers-Michaelstein-009-W1000H801.jpg
http://www.concertina.com/chambers/michaelstein/

It seems like early French accordions had individual note reeds, like I believe most anglo and English concertinas use.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Flutina-reeds.JPG>Flutina-reeds.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flutina
Or maybe a mix of individual reeds and twin-note plates?
http://www.concertina.net/forums/uploads/monthly_06_2010/post-8677-12779337624532.jpg>post-8677-12779337624532.jpg
http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=11433

I think a lot of the early German button-boxes used the smaller two-note plates.
My 1910-ish(?) German piano model has two-sided individual note reed-plates, so they go back pretty far.
https://accordionuprising.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/antique-piano-accordion-006.jpg>antique-piano-accordion-006.jpg
https://accordionuprising.wordpress...ly-old-piano-accordion-how-old-good-question/

I believe that traditional bandoneons and maybe Chemnitzer concertinas used longer multi-note plates.
http://www.818daily.com/uploads/1/0/1/2/10126347/2648912_orig.jpg>
2648912_orig.jpg

http://www.818daily.com/bandoneoacuten.html

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Bandoneon-inside.jpg>Bandoneon-inside.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Bandoneon

And of course bayans are famous for them. Russian accordions seem to have started at least as early as others and developed as a separate realm thats been too little explored by Westerners.

Why the different choices in design? I dont know, but since separate plates in Western Europe started very early Im wondering when and where people started using multi-reed plates. Were Russian makers and German bandoneon-makers sharing design ideas? Did Russian designers start earlier?
 

debra

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I have no idea where that Geraldo accordion came from. (Hard to find any info on it.) But the original picture shows not only a multi-reed plate but also fairly clearly rectangular reeds, not trapezoidal like found in accordions. The main difference between bayan reeds and accordion reeds is that bayan reeds are rectangular and accordion reeds are trapezoidal. At least that is true for the "low and middle region". Bass reeds or the lowest reeds on the keyboard side of an accordion are typically a bit more towards rectangular but that depends a lot on brand and era and piccolo reeds on a bayan are trapezoidal like on accordions (but they are still on multi-reed plates. I have the rare luxury of owning both a bayan and some accordions so I can experience their differences quite well.
When you look up "accordion reeds" on Google images you get lots and lots of examples, and you can see very well the trapezoidal shape. You can also look for concertina and bandoneon reeds and see that they are rectangular, which explains why a bandoneon or concertina made with accordion reeds has a different sound than one with real concertina reeds. But you have to be careful when looking because some "butchers" place accordion reeds in a concertina or bandoneon. That should be easy to spot though. Final note: diatonic accordions have (diatonic) accordion reeds, meaning trapezoidal, and that causes a diatonic accordion to sound much like an accordion.
 

Morne

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kimric

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debra said:
The main difference between bayan reeds and accordion reeds is that bayan reeds are rectangular and accordion reeds are trapezoidal. At least that is true for the low and middle region.

That is certainly true by the 1930s in most cases but some older accordions I have restored have reeds that are pretty much square throughout the instrument.
 

debra

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debra said:
The main difference between bayan reeds and accordion reeds is that bayan reeds are rectangular and accordion reeds are trapezoidal. At least that is true for the low and middle region.

That is certainly true by the 1930s in most cases but some older accordions I have restored have reeds that are pretty much square throughout the instrument.[/quote]
I guess that making perfectly fitting trapezoidal reeds (and holes in reed plates) is a greater technical challenge than rectangular. I dont know whether that is the real explanation or reason why reeds were initially all rectangular, but it sounds believable to me.
 
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