The most important parts of a concertina are the reeds. The reeds generate the sound, determine the
          sound quality, air consumption, dynamics, etc.. Traditional concertina reeds consist of a reed frame (shoe),
          clamp with two screws, and the reed itself.  Besides the different materials used for the reeds, the fit of the
          reed in the slot also has an effect on the sound quality. The better the reed fits in the slot, the better the
          sound production will be.



          These are two different ways to of mounting a reed on a frame. The reed on the left with clamp and screws,
          is the most common. The reed on the right is from a Wheatstone from the1870s. The reed is riveted on the
          frame. Wheatstone used this method for both steel and brass reeds. Accordion reeds are riveted in the same

          Reed problems that frequently occur are corrosion of  the reeds (steel) and/or frames, broken or missing reeds, 
          bent reeds, clamp screws which are missing, or rusted through.
          A standard 48 key English has 96 reeds, which all have to be individually checked, cleaned, set, and tuned.
          Concertinas used to be tuned to 'high' or philharmonic pitch, which was A= 452.5Hz. Tuning a concertina
          down to concert pitch, A= 440Hz. is very time consuming.




          On the left are three different sizes of brass reeds. On the right three different steel reeds. The third
          variation of material is nickel silver, which was common in early instruments.
          Nickel silver looks like steel, but plays more  like brass. The longer the reed, the lower the note.

          In General, the harder the material, the more harmonics the reed produces, which results in a brighter and
          louder sound. The dynamic range also increases with harder reeds. Steel reeds are the hardest used in
          concertinas. They produce a bright sound. Nickel silver reeds are the softest used in concertinas. They sound
          is rather soft and has very few harmonics. Brass reeds are warmer sounding than steel and louder than nickel
          silver. They also 'color' better than steel. With coloring we mean the difference in harmonics spectrum
          between soft and loud tones.




          Valves, the strips of leather next to the reeds, always have to be replaced. In this picture you see that the
          valves are not laying flat on the reed pan anymore. One reason for this is the natural deterioration of the
          leather. Storing a concertina in the original hexagonal case also causes the valves to hang. Because the
          instrument is stored on one side, the bottom valves will eventually hang down.
          A concertina has about as many valves as it has reeds (the highest notes are not valved).

          Also note the rust on the reeds (riveted reeds: 1870s Wheatstone)




          This instrument has new valves. The size and thickness/stiffness of the valve is very important. If the
          valves are too heavy, they will interfere with the air flow. When they are too light, the will 'flutter'.

          These reeds have been cleaned. Note the difference with the previous picture