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Creating a wet sound on a dry-tuned Cajun accordion

Try this little tip I learned from someone at the Balfa Camp: Push down your 3rd stop (2nd from you) to about 1/2 to 2/3. This will distort the sound, and create a wet sound. Pretty cool. It was interesting to see that some Cajun boxes are wet tuned, like the one Geno Delafosse had at a workshop he facilated at the Camp. Does anyone have any other similar type tips to share?

Re: Creating a wet sound on a dry-tuned Cajun accordion

You could try shaking a dry box when you play it to create a vibrato. Just kidding. But, you could run it through a BOSS chorus pedal, although it just ain't the same as the "real deal."

Go wet young man!


Re: Re: Creating a wet sound on a dry-tuned Cajun accordion

that's the key to the whole thing. Quoting Rick Reid, (It ain't the real deal). By having your accordion tuned wet you can close that stop off and play dry.

dry tuned / mock wet --- bad for reeds?

I discovered this too about a dry tuned box, completely by accident. One of my mid-stops was pushed half way down and I thought to myself "Crap! It's going out of tune already!" But then discovered it was just pushed in a bit.

I wonder, however, if doing this too often can actually put the reeds out of tune...

Anyone know?


Re: dry tuned / mock wet --- bad for reeds?

I would doubt that it affects the reeds negatively. It just disturbs the vibrations, which causes the wet sound. Who knows?

Re: Re: dry tuned / mock wet --- bad for reeds?

Actually, it has the same affect as "bending" a note on a harmonica. By changing the pressure of the air flowing over the reed you change the vibration speed.

It uses the same principal as the "Doplar effect"
Density of air, speed of sound through air, etc.

Supposedly it will increase the stress to the reeds in the same way it does in a harmonica and will wear them out sooner, but I think you would have to do this a LOT to have it make any difference in my oppinion.


doing it electronically

i use a boss se-50, which allows for a lot
finer control of parameters than a standard
stomp box, or even a guitar multi-effect processor.

what you want is a pitch shift algorithm.
or actually 2 of them if you have that.
set one +10 cents
the other one -10
or whatever you like
then mix the detuned signals with the
'dry' one from the accordion.

this is pretty close to wet tuning, though
technically speaking, it detunes all 4 reeds,
a real accordion would only have one middle
set detuned.

chorus is not really the same thing.
it does provide a sort-of similar, and
not unpleasant, sound variation.

chorus usually modulates the de-tuning, whereas
a real wet tuned accordion would not
constantly be raising and lowering its 'off-pitch'.

my favorite effects to throw in for b-parts and
breakdowns, are phasers [steve riley style]
and flangers.

reverb for waltzes, sometimes.

distortion for a couple trick parts

and an octave-down doubler to make
cheap chinese 3 rows sounds like
well, cheap chinese 3 rows with a weird
electronic effect.. :)

and a tremolo/reverb hammond organ simulator for
slow blues song backup chord vamping..

some 'end of song' weird sound effects that i made.
you hit the pedal, play a note or a chord, and
it will rise in pitch and fade out simultaneously,
taking about 10 seconds, sounds like a space
ship taking off. oh the band loves that. NOT!

one where it just keeps looping over and over.

gated step flangers to sound like a robot.

and super chorus sometimes.

it;s all to cover up my playing, i know.. :)


Re: doing it electronically

That is some of the best info I've ever read in this forum! COOL! Thanks Larry!


the SE-50

forgot to say
the se-50s are obsolete
not sure what else you can get that does all
this stuff
this was a studio-quality half-rack
unit that cost about $600 when it was new
people still use them though
they are 12 years old now
you can still get them on ebay for $150 or so
[of course mine came from a yard sale, though
at the time i didn;t realize how good it was]
be sure the display works though, they fade
and be sure it has the real power supply,
they are hard to find
they also do midi
and some of the effects can have stereo outputs

and they have enough gain that a mic can
plug right in, no preamp needed

but no wah-wah or autowah.. no downloadable
effects or programs..


Re: dry tuned / mock wet --- bad for reeds?

i doubt it hurts the reeds, after all, closing
a stop makes for less air flow.

the problem with partially closing a stop is that
some reeds detune more than others.

it won;t be uniform.

though it may be close enough for a few notes.

also the next time you try it, it will probably
come out all different..


Re: Re: dry tuned / mock wet --- bad for reeds?

I'm with DP on this one. I believe that it would not take long for some of the reeds to go our of tune. Maybe all but some. Harmonicas go out in this way.

Re: Re: Re: dry tuned / mock wet --- bad for reeds?

harmonicas only go out because you are also
REALLY blowing or sucking to bend a note, putting
much more stress on things.

my 2c worth


Re: Re: Re: Re: dry tuned / mock wet --- bad for reeds?

I agree, but some button box players do the same thing and if you have some reed banks partially closed off When you put the old air compressor hold on the box. Well you know what happens.

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

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

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