Reed tuning table

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  • #11802
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    I’ve been working with brand new accordion style reeds that are 20-30 cents flat from the factory. There’s a lot of material to remove to bring them into tune that I’m going to try tuning them roughly before waxing them in place.

    I’ve seen a few youtube videos with an array of homemade contraptions. I’m going to make my own, and post the progress here so others can learn from my mistakes!

    Before I start, has anyone else made one, or have any ideas? Currently, I like this one, a simple accordion bellows user a a flat surface, with a handle operating the bellows:

    #11804
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    I like this system as it seams to be a more consistent way to tune a reed. Daren are your reeds sharp or are they on the flat side. For my new project, I use the Binci reeds that were about 4-7 cents off the reed plate and on the sharp side. I have noticed that after about 3 weeks of play they are not as off as they were prior to installing them. Octave wise there are a few slightly out of tune. I am playing it for a bit longer to break them in then I will remove the reeds and tune individually then in octaves. In speaking with the accordion tech that tuned my Vibrandoneon, he said that they would change once installed on the reed block slightly but could not tell me what slightly was as it is always off.
    Melodica-Me

    #11805
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    That seems strange that they’re coming down in pitch after a few weeks of playing. Unless you’re testing them while they’re still wet from playing? That would bring them down a few cents. I haven’t heard of breaking reeds in before. Why remove the reeds to tune them – why not leave them on the block and tune them in situ, seeing that they will need adjusting again once installed? Or do you have a removable block?

    My Harmonikas reeds are on the low side. I plan to give them a rough tuning on the table with a file, and then install them, and fine tune them there. I’ll tune them 4 cents higher to compensate for reeds getting wet

    #11807
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Hey Daren, the term of breaking-in is also known as playing-in there are several discussions on this topic on concertina and accordion forums you can check out where they discuss tuning and the reed sound. There are some that feel that this is not needed but I usually have had to retune after several weeks of playing to adjust by 2-4 cents when dry on new reeds, the greater on the Lower notes. The Diamanté reeds are installed with the tongue facing inward so once waxed in they need to be removed to be retuned. For the new Diamanté #004 the reeds are on a removable wood reed plate but still need to be removed for tuning since they are inward as well.
    Melodica-Me

    #11810
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    That’s interesting, I wonder why they go out of tune…

    I’ve ordered a cheap melodion bellows to start off my project 28 x 15 cm!

    melodion bellows for reed tuning table

    #11828
    AvatarAntonio Freixas
    Participant

    Daren, good luck with your tuning bench!

    I’m going to make some comments that are based on theory and not practice. The best advice, of course, would be from someone who has successfully built a tuning bench for a melodica (I wouldn’t assume a tuning bench for an accordion would work equally well for a melodic–it might; I just wouldn’t assume it would).

    My physics site has languished as I’ve tried to come up to speed on the fluid dynamics. I’ve created a few models of reeds and run them in SimScale to check on air pressure and velocity.

    When you are playing a single note, the amount of air that flows through a reed is equal the amount blown in–not more, not less. However, one can “shape” the airflow by trading velocity for pressure and vice versa. This could affect the pitch of the reed.

    Using the wrong “shape” may cause reeds that are perfectly tuned on a bench to be off pitch when mounted in the melodica. While I don’t have any practical experience with this, I have run into some accounts where people noted having this problem. I wish I could give you a citation, but I’ve done a LOT of reading in the last few months and I’m not sure where I saw this.

    Back to theory: it would seem that the most successful tuning bench would be one in which the airflow mimicked that of the melodica as closely as possible. The big problem with tuning with the reeds in place is that one needs to install a lot of screws in order to test the tuning. Perhaps a good melodica tuning bench would use an air chamber that could be quickly sealed and unsealed. I could imagine a system where a lever could be used to lower a cover and seal a chamber containing the reed. So: file, lower the lever, blow, check tuning, lift the lever, file, repeat.

    OF course, if you build a simpler tuning bench and you find that, say, the notes are consistently sharp by a predictable amount, you could just tune them flat by the same amount.

    Good luck with the tuning.

    #11830
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the info Antonio. I’ll be using the table for initial rough tuning, as they seem to be really out of tune from the factory. Once they’re round about right, I’ll wax them in, and fine tune them in situ, the traditional way.

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