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the "beater" tremolo

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  • the "beater" tremolo

    On my 1874 George Woods, I can't for the life of me get the tremolo to work.

    All the innards are free to move, seal is tight on the cavity board, but pulling the stop to activate results in no change at all.

    The Tremolo is built onto the Celeste box. Is the tremolo supposed to affect *all* the reed sets? or just the box it's attached to? The air feed to the Celeste box is through the tremolo box; celeste has no "separate" air feed.

    Moving that lead weight on the beater wire changes nothing. Maybe if I knew approximately where on the wire the weight should be, I'd have a better chance of adjusting it.

    Thanks
    Tom M.

  • #2
    Hi Tom.

    Is there noticeable airflow present through the feed hole? Do the stop links opening the airflow work properly? The position of that weight is critical for proper tremolo tempo. Too far out and it will not open, too far in and it will vibrate at a zillion beats per minute. I made the mistake of fiddling with the position of the weight on my old Jilles van der Tak - am still sorry I did.... But it will not work if there is no airflow. Check all the channels and conduits for blockage.

    Good luck!

    Nico
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request... B-)

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Nico. There's air flow, but something's not right. When the lower valve in the tremolo box closes, cavity vacuum is moved directly through the "beater" section of the box, then into the celeste/concert flute chest. But altho' the celeste and concert flute stops work fine, there's no "tremolo" effect.

      Other than the two reed sets, the only users of suction are (1) sub bass chest, and (2) celeste/concert flute chest. The tremolo box is built onto the side of the celeste/concert flute chest. I assume that means the tremolo only affects the celeste and concert flute?

      Slight adjustments of the weight on the beater wire dont' change anything.

      One possible clue: if I'm using celeste or concert flute, and pull the knob to activate the tremolo, the sound slightly decreases. Like the tremolo lowers the amount of air going into that chest.

      On a different tack, here's the instrument as of today, with all the exterior and interior work completed:

      https://photos.app.goo.gl/5FAh6rBcN5m9c1NB6

      and here's where I started:

      https://photos.app.goo.gl/fpKs46RgYG77hdpg6

      Tom M.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello Tom. Thanks for the update. You are doing a fine job there. And you will not be sorry.

        From what you describe it would seem you have assumed correctly regarding the ultimate effect of the tremolo. In my humble opinion it seems that the tremolo valve is either binding somewhere so that it struggles to open - certainly the weight adjustment is off. Check the hinges first and lubricate carefully if made of metal and rub some leather creme into the leather if made of leather. Try again. If that fails still, move the weight to where it would have the lightest weight on the valve. This should produce a vibration of the valve mechanism. move the weight progressively outwards until you reach the desired effect. Note: That weight adjustment is very sensitive and on most moving it a millimeter makes a difference. You might also consider lightening the weight altogether but only as a last resort. Check that the beam on which the weight is mounted is secured to the valve body and does not slide or otherwise move, upsetting the adjustment. My feeling is that your problem is in a combination of binding hinges and incorrect weight adjustment.

        Nico
        "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request... B-)

        Comment


        • #5
          Evaluate the condition of the felt and leather on the trem. It needs to seal nicely on the down-stroke. The weight is so there is enough mass to cause the spring to maintain the cycle by closing off the airflow, I have found that the brass spring may harden over time.If you're out of other options, start scraping or filing the spring to weaken it. You should note an improvement.How far you keep filing to optimize it is up to you. Shorten the weight/file/get some positive result/lengthen the weight to fine tune?

          Comment


          • #6
            Solved! (almost)

            I just discovered that if I pump the treadles fast as possible, the tremolo works. So to my inexperienced brain, the problem all along has been lack of air flow (insufficient suction).

            I tried a reservoir test. Pumped the treadles rapidly, held one single note (G below middle C) on Diapason stop. Stopped pedaling, and counted how long the note sounds.

            Three to five seconds maximum. Seems it should speak longer than that.

            What should it be if there's no leak anywhere?

            If I knew what I should expect, that would help tracking down a leak problem.
            Tom M.

            Comment


            • #7
              If you view my Woods video, you will hear an organ with the bellows completely shot, but an extremely, violently-functional trem. I think the title is Recent Acquisition George Woods Organ. On youtube. Masonhamlinorgans.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Casey.

                In that video (https://youtu.be/pAkztgrk69g) you mention the solo chest (concert flute) has a "cloth back". Mine has what looks like rubber cloth on the back.

                https://photos.app.goo.gl/wC7y3gzEtMmmFcvi8

                The solo chest has Concert Flute, and Celeste. Neither of those are as strong (loud) as any of the other reed sets. Still seems I'm not getting the full suction I should be getting.

                In your video, you demonstrate the Tremolo. I sounds exactly like mine - a kind of fluttering sound. But in that video I don't see any other stops pulled at all - just the Tremolo. Yet it does make an 8 foot sound. I get no Tremolo sound unless the Concert Flute or Celeste is pulled. On mine, Tremolo doesn't affect anything but Concert Flute and Celeste - and both of those are weaker than the other non-Solo Chest reed sets.

                Edit: Regarding "leaks", if I pump up the treadles fast for a few seconds, I notice the main reservoir has only moved halfway in. It never fully "collapses". With the reservoir in as much as I can get it, a single note only plays for about three seconds. That seems too short. How long should a single note continue playing with the reservoir collapsed and the treadles not moving?

                In your video, you mention the instrument basically has "no reservoir" - yet the sounds are stronger than mine with the reservoir.

                Tom M.
                Last edited by nutmegct; 11-20-2018, 11:23 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by nutmegct View Post

                  Edit: Regarding "leaks", if I pump up the treadles fast for a few seconds, I notice the main reservoir has only moved halfway in. It never fully "collapses". With the reservoir in as much as I can get it, a single note only plays for about three seconds. That seems too short. How long should a single note continue playing with the reservoir collapsed and the treadles not moving?

                  Tom M.
                  Tom, it may be a bummer to say but it surely sounds as if your main problem overall is not enough vacuum. You need to check your exhauster flap valves and everything else in the feeder assembly providing suction to empty the reservoir. The bellows should compress completely after just a few good pedals or until the relief valve opens (you asked about that one somewhere). Do not forget to check the return springs. Since they are located outside of the bellows that should not be too difficult. Sometimes they can slip and stop the bellows from compressing. However, you have completely rebuilt the bellows so your issue would most certainly be a feeder problem. (Unless you forgot a pair of pliers or a hammer inside the bellows... :embarrassed:). But do check for other leaks from the bellows - yours (if there is a leak) could be a major one and should be quite audible when operating the treadles. A single note should sound a whole lot longer from a fully compressed bellows.

                  Luck!
                  Nico
                  "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request... B-)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you Nico! I've been asking about pressure, how long a note should sound, etc., and now you've confirmed. When I was doing the restoration, I never could figure out how to test the air system properly when it was out of the cabinet. I'd plug the holes with different wads of cloth, etc.,, but there was always leakage from around the plugs. I'd hear the same "hissing" after reinstalling into the cabinet, but didn't know how to make it completely air tight.

                    So after reading your post here, I realized I could push the back board to close the bellows, and use the air system in reverse as a "pump". I actually felt air hit my face as I pushed the back board. It was coming from almost all the joints: top and bottom of the wind chest, under the sub bass chest, under the solo chest, etc.

                    Altho' the screws were in nice and tight, I guess the leather I used for the "gasket" wasn't correct. Back to the drawing board - but I did find when I put masking tape over all those joints as a temporary test, the organ doubled in sound output, the tremolo worked, the main reservoir fully closes and opens, and I stopped all the hissing sounds.

                    I'm thinking there's no way to make one of these *completely* air tight, but when I was doing my reassembly and testing, I wish I had known how to do it right!

                    Thanks.
                    Tom M.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you manually close the reservoir by pushing it, all the wind will be exiting through the flap valves which are the path of least resistance for air exiting the reservoir. (the safety vale too). If air is being forced through the gaskets something is extremely incorrect.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        " ... something is extremely incorrect."

                        Exactly!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have to wonder if the flap valves are on the proper side of the air flow. They should hold vacuum/release pressure.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SubBase View Post
                            I have to wonder if the flap valves are on the proper side of the air flow. They should hold vacuum/release pressure.
                            Probably correct, as I put the new valves where the old ones were - exhausters as well as reservoir..

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Tom, If you have the bellows cloth secured properly the only place where you might encounter these major leaks is with the seal between the upper bellows and the wind chest. You need to remove the action again and check the material of that seal. I use soft suade-like 1/16" thick leather strips about an inch wide. At least now we know the feeders work properly. But before you go to all that work, make sure the leak does not come from another place, like the relief valve at the back, or its leather seal. It would be simple to remedy that. You mention "air hitting your face when you pushed the bellows" - that might indicate something like what I said above.

                              Let us know what you find.

                              Nico
                              "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request... B-)

                              Comment

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