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"plunger mute" reliability

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  • "plunger mute" reliability

    I don't know the correct term, so I'm using "plunger mute" for those small wooden dowels which rest on the treble reeds to prevent their sound even with a little bit of suction, when the mute is closed. The dowels raise up off the reeds when the full mute is opened. Photo:

    Click image for larger version

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    Photo showing the two "legs" which rest on the reed when the full mute is closed.

    Click image for larger version

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    Each leg is glued to a small tab of felt (or leather), which is glued to the underside of the rectangular cover. Thus, the wooden legs are not rigidly in position.

    This works *most* of the time, preventing reeds from speaking when the mute is closed. But too often, when the mute is being closed, one or two of those wooden legs slightly changes position, not resting where it should, and causes (1) a high pitch whistle, or (2) the reed to speak, when the mute is closed and the "opposite" reed set is in use.

    Has anyone dealt with and remedied this problem?

    Thanks.
    Tom M.
    1874 George Woods

  • #2
    Look at that short leather on the lower edge of the mute. I would recover the mute with a bit more attention to that area, the leather should reach the reed. Even if they don't speak, there is wind loss.
    I feel that those warped wafers of pine could be contributing or causing the problem. Maybe get a piece of 1.5mm or 2mm plywood and replace them. Not a job I'd enjoy by any means.
    I just finished an 1860 M&H melodeon that still has these "mutes" working perfectly; slightly better design and execution; one lever per mute, warping not an issue.
    Casey

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    • #3
      Happy to say I got it all back together and cranking out the Bach and Sibelius. I repaired those faulty "plunger mutes" and for the time being all is well.

      It really is a marvelous sound. Strong sub-bass, ethereal celeste, and an "interesting" beater tremolo.

      Casey - are you saying the leather on the mute should extend down below the bottom of the wood itself, to block any air from coming through? That seems very logical, but also seems that the maker would have done that originally.

      Tom M.

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      • #4
        That is exactly what I meant. Glad it's working better now.
        Casey

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