Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

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debra
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Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by debra » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:27 pm

I have talked before about how difficult it is to tune a bayan, at least in the case of my AKKO. The tuning of reeds (especially the ones in cassotto) is not only different in-instrument versus with reed block on tuning table (like with many cassotto instruments), but it's different when the bellow-pins holes are plugged (or taped shut) and again different between accordion on its feet versus in the playing orientation.
Now I have a Pigini Sirius bayan in for tuning and lo and behold, it behaves just the same. To some extent it's not a big surprise as the construction is identical to that of Russian bayans, but it is using Italian accordion reeds (not Russian bayan reeds) so that could have made a difference. This is one of the first Sirius bayans and it uses leather valves which may explain why the orientation may play more of a role (gravity has more effect on leather valves than on plastic ones).
So my spanking new self-built tuning table proves pretty useless for this instrument: after adjusting a few reeds I need to put the accordion back together, turn it in playing orientation and only then can I check whether the tuning is ok. I'm estimating that tuning just the keyboard side is going to take between 20 and 30 hours work, and probably another 10 hours at least for the bass side. (The Sirius does have large multi-reed plates on the bass side, but they are still accordion reeds, not bayan reeds. They are narrower which does have one advantage: there is less of a risk of the reed getting stuck or scraping against the side of its resonance chamber inside the reed block.)
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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by Geronimo » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Calls for a tuning protocol so that you can work on more than a few reeds at one go.

At any rate, I rather suspect that it's a matter of the free space in an instrument. Bayans and their ilk are packed to the gills with stuff in their airways, significantly affecting resistance and resonances they have to work with. A typical Stradella bass PA is so spacious internally in comparison...

My main instrument tends to have its high bass reeds on draw flat when built in and they are stuck in a tight corner (probably limiting the attainable amount the leather valves may open). And you need to remove the bellows to get there or even see them.

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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by jozz » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:11 am

so are you going to charge 40 hours labor? :mrgreen:

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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by TomBR » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:12 am

Very interesting.
Are you able to form an opinion on the tuning of recordings of quality bayans, or does it have to be "in person?"

Is it that you're aiming for a higher standard of tuning than they normally achieve, or do the Russians either have ingenious, or just different, methods, or do they just put in plenty of extra work?

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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by debra » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:13 pm

TomBR wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:12 am
Very interesting.
Are you able to form an opinion on the tuning of recordings of quality bayans, or does it have to be "in person?"

Is it that you're aiming for a higher standard of tuning than they normally achieve, or do the Russians either have ingenious, or just different, methods, or do they just put in plenty of extra work?
I am suspecting that one of the reasons why the Russians not only play generally fast, but also hardly ever play long notes is that playing fast masks tuning errors.

The Russians do not have an ingenious method to tune the accordions and what comes out of the factory isn't tuned better than what comes out of Italian factories. But with a new instrument tuning is a bit more predictable than with an old one because the (leather) valves are still more uniform in their behavior. A different valve or a slight difference in how it is glued in place can already throw a note of by a few cents. Which is exactly why I prefer plastic valves over leather. (Replacing the valves is a much easier job on a Russian bayan than on an Italian one because of the easily removable reed plates, but it is still a lot of work that I have not yet put in.)
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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by debra » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:14 pm

jozz wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:11 am
so are you going to charge 40 hours labor? :mrgreen:
It's for a good friend... and as a retiree I do not need to make a living repairing and tuning accordions. I can just do it for fun and for the learning experience.
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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by TomBR » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:36 pm

All interesting. Thanks for taking the time to reply Paul.
Tom

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Here are a few images.

Post by debra » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:48 am

Just a few images to show how alike and how different an Italian (Pigini Sirius) and a Russian (AKKO) bayan really are.
The treble side: Russian:
Image
and Italian:
Image
The only real difference here is the individual accordion reeds versus the large multi-reed plates (which make tuning a *lot* easier because there is no messing with wax and no difficulty to get to the reeds on the inside).
Then the bass side. First two pics of the Italian:
Image
Image
Then the Russian (one pic):
Image
The construction is virtually identical. The pics of the Italian show clearly that the large reed block has two additional reed sets on each side, for the lowest octave. These are used to make the (Stradella and melody bass) base notes 4 reed versus 2 reeds (switchable). The Italian has this large multi-reed plates for the two lowest octaves and has individual reed plates for the higher notes. There are a few other minor differences like the Russian having the highest three notes directly on the base board to save space.
For all intents and purposes the Italian and Russian bayan give you the same playing experience (but not the same sound or response). For tuning or replacing valves (on the inside) the Russian is much easier to work with. One thing is very clear to me: the Italians tried to copy the Russian design as much as possible without going "all in" with the multi-reed plates. But the design does illustrate that if one wanted it shouldn't be too hard to make an Italian bayan with Russian reed blocks and plates and I believe some Russian players actually had this done.
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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by jozz » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:42 pm

thanks for sharing, I never saw such an "all-in-one" reed plate

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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by Geronimo » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:40 pm

jozz wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:42 pm
thanks for sharing, I never saw such an "all-in-one" reed plate
They are actually standard with both bayans and old bandonions.

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Re: Tuning of bayans seems to be all alike...

Post by debra » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:53 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:40 pm
jozz wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:42 pm
thanks for sharing, I never saw such an "all-in-one" reed plate
They are actually standard with both bayans and old bandonions.
Also used in harmonica's.

The "all-in-one" reedplates are such a great idea for maintenance (except for replacing a broken reed which doesn't happen often with Italian reeds at least) that it's a shame they have not been adopted by the Italians for the smaller reeds. The old Sirius bayan I worked on this week in fact needs new wax and new valves, and that is a large messy job, whereas on a Russian bayan it is a fairly trivial and clean job.
The spacing on the reed blocks of course needs to be standard in order to use the same multi-reed plates, but the reality is that this already is quite standard because accordion manufacturers use standard parts for many things, including register slides (which fit with different reed blocks because the spacing is already standard).
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