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Different approaches to wet tuning


I have another one for techies.

What is your preferred approach to wet tuning?

1/ Tuning "X%" wet (same pitch difference throughout the buttons).
2/ Tuning all the buttons for the same frequency of tremolo (the lower buttons then have more percentage of tremolo than the higher pitched buttons). I've heard it referred has progressive wet tuning by Larry Miller.
3/ Tuning for more tremolo the higher you go in pitch (little to no tremolo on the lower buttons and faster tremolo on the higher pitched buttons). This seems to be the traditional approach for trad music other than cajun.

Also, how wet can you get?
Like, if I wanted my accordion to sound like Joe Falcon of Joel Sonnier, how many "percent" should I ask for?



Re: Different approaches to wet tuning

Tuning is such a dark science, there in no right answer, kinda like asking what is the best color. When I tune one wet, say 10 cents, I do the #3 push (the base note) 10 cents, then gradually work my way to less cents as I go to button 10 having about 7 cents. I guess technically staying close to the same tremolo, but probably not exact. I think when you measure in the same cents on every note, the higher end sounds wetter. But not many seem to mind or notice.

How wet? Well, that depends on how bad you want it to sound. My personal preference is not wet, but not sold dry either, just slightly off. I did make one once with some very ancient Hohner G reeds that I tuned about 5 cents off, and I loved that sound.

Re: Different approaches to wet tuning

Usually.. that is usually...
when a tuner or someone who wants a tuner to tune to some specific number.. let's say 5 cents.. the question is where to start the 5 cents.

Usually.. that is usually.. it is meant at the middle of the keyboard.

And.. usually the amount of tremolo increases toward the higher pitch.

If you tune the same 5 cents all the way to the highest npot and each note is tuned to 5 cents.. it is a bland sound and as much tremolo on the bass reed as the higest reed is not so pleasant.

Miller suggesting that his tuning is progressive tuning is just another word for what tuners have been doing for a hundred plus years.

I have also heard tuners talk about beats per second.. 1, 2, 3 beats per second.. and this can be calculated in cents or many do this by ear.

Cents being 1/100 of the pitch in question.

Many tuners have their own formula for getting where they want.. no matter if they sart at 5 cents.. 10 cents 15 cents or even higher.. presuming starting at the middle of the keyboard.

I got my direction from the former head of HOHNER USA back around 115. He has since retired and moved to Ireland.. he is an English Concertina player and harmonica player and a harmonica designer/inventor. No finer tuner except for Walter Vergini RIP born in Castelfidardo trained starting at age 14.. moved to Chicago with his father and started an accordion manufacturing and distribution/sales/ and repair business for over 40 years.. Retired to So Calif and tuned my instruments.. entirely by ear to "patrons" he made himself.. genius at work.

Tuning is a science and an art.. I am neither when it comes to tuning. I fumble through.

Here's a little bit about tuning:


I'll add another tidbit..
Let'say you are going to order an accordion from Castagnari and a similar model from Saltarelle.

You ask both makers to tune the 2 middle reeds "swing".

CAstagnari will likely tune the reed in the middle of the keyboard to 4 cents and proceed from there.

Saltarelle will start at 8 cents.

When completed The Castagnari is drier than the Saltarelle and conversely the Saltarlle is wetter and equal to Castagnari's "Americano" tuning.

Re: Different approaches to wet tuning


Here is a lengthy discussion about accordion tuning from the discussion group

melodeon net.

Here is from a web site of a French maker of SERAFINI Accordeons


Here he demonstrates the different amounts of variation with a two row Hohner Pokerwork.

Dedic tuning.

This is about "DEDIC" tuning as compared to standard tuning of two reeds.

In simple terms.. instead of tuning one reed to standard pitch such as an "A" to 440 and the other higher.. you tune that "A" reed lower and the other the same distance as you would have for the other.. see below.

"Here's an example of an octave interval between the notes A4 and A5 using, say, a 4 Hz tremolo:
'Normal' tuning:
A4 Reed 1 = 440 Hz, Reed 2 = 444 Hz, Perceived pitch = 442 Hz
A5 Reed 1 = 880 Hz, Reed 2 = 884 Hz, Perceived pitch = 882 Hz (i.e. somewhat flat of the true octave frequency of 884 Hz)
Therefore when the two notes are sounded together e.g. in a RH chord, it will sound 'rough' because the interval is not a true octave.

However, in Dedic tuning:
A4 Reed 1 = 438 Hz, Reed 2 = 442 Hz. Perceived pitch = 440 Hz
A5 Reed 1 = 878 Hz, Reed 2 = 882 Hz Perceived pitch = 880 Hz
This time the perceived pitches of the octave interval is exactly double the frequency and so it will sound sweet and in tune.

You can extend these calculations to all other intervals, not just octaves, but they're the easiest to illustrate the principle.

The other advantage of Dedic tuning lies in the LH bass notes and chords. Because these are not tuned with a tremolo, but should be 'spot-on', the bass notes will always sound in tune with the RH notes.
E.g. a LH bass A fundamental with three reeds tuned at 110 Hz, 220 Hz and 440 Hz will always sound in tune with a Dedic-tuned RH side, in this example the perceived pitches of the RH side A notes will be 220, 440, 880, 1760 Hz, etc. - always doubling the frequency and always a double multiple of the LH side. In a non-Dedic tuned instrument, there will be increasing discrepancy between the LH and RH sides as you go higher in pitch.

Hope this explains the basic principle of Dedic tuning and why it is indeed different from standard tuning. "

Dedic is good if you are playing all the reeds all the time.. meaning both middle reeds together all the time.

But if you want to play just one of the 2 middle reeds.. neither will be in tune with other musicians.. One reed would be higher or the other reed lower and may clash with every one else such as the fiddler or guitarist.

DEDIC tuning is common in Quebec.. or was.. my first custom made Quebec box from Clement Breton was DEDIC tuned... when I sold it the Irish buyer had it tuned standard.

Most manufacturers do not tune to the DEDIC formula.. you would have to go to a tuner familiar with the technique.
In England DEDIC tuning is becoming popular on two row boxes in the favored Brit key system of D/G

Re: Different approaches to wet tuning

Jim Pettijohn discusses his project of "progressive tuning" back in August - September 2012.

Re: Different approaches to wet tuning

Most Euro made accordeons are "progressive" tuned , they just don't call it that.. they call it tuning.

Re: Different approaches to wet tuning

Tuning is a very dark science, and with one row accordions, it's really a matter of what version of out of tune do you like best. We've mostly simplified it in Cajun music to a somewhat standard style, at least when dry. The one debatable topic is whether to sharpen the 4ths or not. Some do, some don't. I didn't used to, now I sharpen the 4ths about 10 cents to start.

The one area I'd like to experiment with is what Jeff is calling dedic tuning. I've done one that way. I'm not a fan of wet tuning for cajun music, but I'd like to experiment more with this. Experimenting with tuning is not very appealing in the manner that you have to remove metal each time you tune a reed, well, that and the fact that I'm getting lazy in my old age.

Re: Different approaches to wet tuning

So, in a nutshell, DEDIC is LM+M-H as is common on Quebec boxes?

Re: Different approaches to wet tuning

"So, in a nutshell, DEDIC is LM+M-H as is common on Quebec boxes?"

Usually designated as L M- M+ H

It used to be more popular. As of late in Quebec one M row at "A" 440 then the M+ row.

If you see a description "equal tempered tuning" usually means no dedic.

I have a Quebec made box on its way.. when it gets here I'll see if it's dedic. About 10 days.

Consider this.. With dedic tuning if you want to play with only one M reed you are out of tune with every one else.

Often you will see Quebec boxes with non functional stops or only the L and H have working stops or no stops at all.. or often 2 reed boxes with fixed or no stops. These could be dedic as the idea is that MM are working all the time.

If you close off either of the M reeds you are out of tune with every one and yourself.

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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