Jim,and please do not laugh!!! :).
I don't know what kind of wood, your box is made of, but perhaps, a not too far fetch " idea" or theory is that when you got your box 4 years ago the main larger wooden parts being the frames, might not have been absolutly dried, unless of course your box is made of a recycled 300 year old floor board, or an old piece of furniture.
Then 4 years later , your home , Texas I beleive , where the wheather is quite clement, the wood in your box has had the time to "dried" so to speak and the difference of wood density: dry wood versus sligtly wet, "could" in my view alter the sound progection.
In other words if the wood 4 years ago was slightly wet, the sound emanating from your box might have been somewhat muffled, perhaps not quite noticably, but muffled nevertheless, then 4 years later the wood being drier, the sound progection would be more "amplified".
You should when buying your La made box enquire with the builder ,has to what method of "drying" the wood that you have selected was subjected : Kiln dry, air dried,and so on.
You ask for an "Idea", so perhaps this is one!.
It is widely held ( by all accordion producers and reed producers ) in Italy that hand made reeds and tipo a mano ( like hand mades ).. become louder ( and sound better ) after constant play ( from 6 months to a couple years ).
Most builders will tell you that you will need to play it every day for 6 months at least to get it to start sounding like it should ( as it was meant to sound ).
This may be true of commercial reeds, but I know it is a fact with quality reeds.. builders tell you "it will need lots of playing ".. within a year of constant playing you will have the sound potential that was meant , both in terms of volume and tone quality.
Dryness of wood does figure into changes in accordion sound as well.. but such changes are likely a combination of both reed adaptation and less wood moisture which will increase resonance.
I figure the woods good and dry by now. I've played the hell out of the thing for 4 years so I'm guessing it's probably already bloomed.
Sounds great now, don't get me wrong, just wondering if it'll get louder as more years pass
FWIW, I seem to remember two things in reference
to this topic:
1.) I believe that Mark Savoy had stated somewhere
that the wood had no bearing on tone quality,
but I cannot remember where he said that.
2.) And, I think that the Baldoni's had told me that
the reed quality mellow w/age ..
... I should wood quality does have something to do with it ( try building a box out of OLIVE ..it sounds amped already ! ). This is backed by builders here..
... IF mellow means less loud, than I think he might be wrong. I know the Italian builders of his boxes..and they sustain that handmades will get louder with use.. ( as do most builders hold ).. that is one of the reasons for getting handmade reeds.
Just my opinion.. and nothing more..
That is intersting. I can see the bass box being somewhat more resonant with a different wood, but I wonder how the treble side could be. This is a neat subject
Another way to look at it is to think about the amount of sound that is _absorbed_ by the box by one wood or the other. The sound INSIDE the box must be very loud when it is played, but there are only some small holes allowing direct passage to the outside. Then there are the bellows, which probably don't stop too much of it. However, really dense and hard woods will reflect some sound WITHIN the box.
That said, on my maple accordion I can actually feel the box vibrating when I play it. I don't know what difference that makes to the sound, but it does make the accordion seem more "alive" when I'm playing.
There is a VERY scientific discussion going on at the moment re:tuning and wave length thingamyjigs at Melodeon.net.forums and it all reminded me of the theory that sound waves actually affected the wood of acoustic instruments. One guy alleges he left his fiddle against his stereo speakers and it really brought on the tone !!
Certainly fiddles DO get better the more they are played..
I'm also on melodeon.net.
Note that on fiddles and guitars, you have a totally different way of generating tone, and that the "soundboard" plays a part in that. The soundboard of a fiddle or guitar is only as rigid as it needs to be to hold the instrument together. It works best when it can actually "sway." An accordion 'action board,' on the other hand, should have no play at all. Unlike strings, the accordion reeds are not themselves sounding as they vibrate; rather, their "swinging" is cutting the moving column of air at a certain frequency. I don't think that anything that can be gleaned from guitar acoustics will help in understand what does and doesn't affect accordion acoustics!
Thanks for that Andy....I did think the sound mechanics of the fiddle/etc would differ from the box.
What are you feelings/knowledge on this notion of vibrations actually affecting wood in general?
I can understand that moisture plays a BIG part with fiddles (Top classical players take humidity control very seriously for their violins)do you think the box as a more robust animal is less sensitive once the original drying out from new is achieved.
Geoff wrote: " (Top classical players take humidity control very seriously for their violins)".
Well, for one thing, when fiddles/violins/guitars become TOO dry then damage will occur to the instrument. (When they become too wet, there will also be problems.) Of course the wood used to make a violin has ideally dried for years if not decades in the makers' workshop. However, that is a different issue from humidifying the instrument when it is stored in it's case, especially during the winter when the air becomes very dry in heated houses.
If you "humidified" an accordion during the winter the way a fiddler or guitarist humidifies their instrument in its case, you might actually end up with some moisture-related problems in the reedwork. On the other hand, if the leather valves inside become too dry, that could also be a problem.
If I lived in an especially damp climate I would consider putting something in the case to suck up moisture, but I think that this shouldn't be done unless absolutely necessary.
So my answer is: don't screw around with this stuff and your accordion unless necessary; it is, in more ways than one, NOT a fiddle!
I had problems a couple of years ago with the cherry frames (the outer frames, not the bellows frames) of my accordion twisting a bit in the very dry conditions of the Yankee heated home. This resulted in air leaking around the gaskets.
This year, I have placed an instrument humidifier in the case, and I indroduce water occasionally. This is not a scientific experiment as I won't have before and after photographs of the reeds, but so far the wood seems happy.
One Louisiana accordion builder on this forum recommended never adding humidity to an accordion's environment. I understand the concern, but I'm not sure someone from Southwest Louisiana can really understand how dry things get: when it's 5 degrees F outside, static sparks fly in the house! There is no way that the environment inside my accordion case is going to become more humid than the 80% or 95% relative humidity conditions under which the instrument was constructed (unscientific presumption, I know).
Anyway, I'm not recommending this, but I will report on the condition of my reeds when Spring rolls around.
This may make a difference with an internally mounted microphone. The vibrating reed is right up by the orifice providing an overriding level measured in db. Reflective waves do eminate from these holes as well, but are unnoticable to the majority of ears. The blend of harmonics from all stops open and playing in octaves really swamps out any reflective waves.
I age my violin woods for two years. The wood is supplied air dried as well. I stopped building guitars 10 years ago. Playing the bowed instruments and many acoustic guitars (not all!)change the tonal response and in almost all cases, for the better.