Repairing Bass Unit

Talk about accordion repair and tools (⚠️ use caution when repairing your own accordion).
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AstinBryson
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:00 am

Repairing Bass Unit

Post by AstinBryson »

Hey, y'all! I know I'm not super crazy active on here, but I just wanted to give this a shot!

I found a fairly cheap Vintage Scandalli Salerno accordion on Ebay and bought her (only $250 after shipping and handling), but the bass side is falling apart. I took the unit out and the piano side sounds fantastic, so I have been practicing using that side for the moment while figuring out how I can repair the bass side. I had a few questions and just wanted to see if anyone can answer them!

So, first off, several of the buttons have fallen out of the actual unit, since the resin or whatever material they used to hold the pins (the arrow-shaped metal pieces that are on the inside) in place has completely dry-rotted and crumbled away during shipping (she is a pretty old model...not sure exactly what year, but the seller estimated around 1950's or 1960's). Does anyone here know of or have a chart that shows where each of the bass buttons needs to be placed in order for the accordion to function right? Additionally, do they sell this resin-material for repairs or is there an acceptable substitute that I could use?

A little extra info, just in case: I have been studying the inside of the bass unit and the model number that is stamped onto the inside of it is "BREVETTO N. 310281 SCANDALLI", which almost makes me think the bass unit has been replaced during the life of the accordion, as the outside of it reads "Salerno". The bass unit just lifts out for easy access, so I have it taken out. I'm also keeping a journal on all my repairs just in case I end up sending her to a repair shop in the end.

I'm not experienced at all in accordion repair, but Joan (as I have dubbed her, thanks to the name plate on the front) was too pretty to pass up and she does sound absolutely wonderful! She has two registers on each side (I think. One "off" and one "on") and is VERY in-tune!

Anyways, please let me know if you have experience or might know of anything useful at all! Thanks in advance!
- Astin "Blue"
Coral_M
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:24 am

Re: Repairing Bass Unit

Post by Coral_M »

Hi Astin. I found loads of instruction on a website called Accordion revival.
http://www.accordionrevival.com/Home.php
Thanks Ronen for the link.
I'm in the process of refurbishing a box but I'm not brave enough to open up the bass unit and thank fully mine doesn't need it. I'll watch your post and the answers with interest.
Coral
douglas felsenthal
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:06 pm

Re: Repairing Bass Unit - Douglas

Post by douglas felsenthal »

Astin,

I just saw your post now. You should send some pictures of what you got. I do a lot of work on my accordions. It can be fun.

On glue, I would use one of two things - E6000 - you can find it online, Amazon. I would also consider some JB Weld, it's an epoxy, with the metal rods and the plastic covers, this might grip the wire rods better. Either way, use sparingly so it doesn't get all over.

I'm assuming the stradala mechanism is in tack?

Then putting the keys back on should be easy enough with some care and small tools.

Let me know if I can help further.


Regards,


Douglas
AstinBryson
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:00 am

Re: Repairing Bass Unit

Post by AstinBryson »

Thank you so much to both of you for responding to my post! Sorry for the late response, too...life got insane...anyways, I'm going to attach some photos here of what "Joan" looks like! Hopefully it works! This is only the bass side, as that's the part that needs the repairs. Piano side looks and sounds awesome!


Image

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I grabbed some JB Weld and tested it on one of the little pins and it seems to work much better than E6000 did for me (I found it kinda hard to work with but this seems okay), but I want to wait for it to cure before I try anything else. I'll most likely just work on it one pin at a time so that I can take my time and go from there!

Also, not super sure what mechanism you are referring to, Douglas, but I will do some more research on that, too!

Thank you SO much!!
- Astin "Blue"
douglas felsenthal
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:06 pm

Re: Repairing Bass Unit

Post by douglas felsenthal »

Astin,

Thanks for the pictures, that helps alot. This is the stadella mechanism that I spoke of. It looks in very nice shape. It looks like only key caps are the issue.

1) Carefully look at the return tube part and make sure it is nice an clean. Dirt and oils tend to collect and make things sticky.
2) See if there is an orientation for the keycaps - someway of telling the rotation = try to get back as close to original as possible
3) Yes, I thought the JB weld might work better - remember sparingly
4) The goal is to make sure the keycaps are square and travel in the center of the keycap board. Also pay attention to the key height. Where not imperitive, but equal height in keys make playing easier.

Keep up the good work, it looks like you have a method.


Douglas
AstinBryson
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:00 am

Re: Repairing Bass Unit

Post by AstinBryson »

UPDATE (May 6, 2022)

Hey, y'all! Joan's repair progress is very slow with a ton of trial and error, but I'm super excited to say that I'm FINALLY getting things back into place and the bass unit is coming together! The Accordion Repair site that was linked earlier was a huge help in at least learning how most accordions work. This is such a fascinating and educational project for me that I'm actually enjoying a lot, so I'm glad it's finally paying off!

I'm also taking time to carefully "deep-clean" all the metal with rubbing alcohol so I can get all the dust off and it seems to be helping things not stick so much. That JB Weld works great for holding the pins in place, too, by the way, and if needed, I can just gently peel it off with a little effort (but it comes off in one big chunk and doesn't tend to leave bits behind) and just redo it.

One really weird thing that I've noticed is that all the bass button notes are shifted over by one (so the Major 3rd A flat is where the D flat should be, E flat is where A flat should be, B flat is where E flat should be, etc.). At first I thought it was out of tune, but I found a pattern, so I think it was just built different. XD Has anyone else ever seen this kind of thing before? Just curious. I don't think it should affect my playing too badly once I get used to it :)

Also, I have a question. What are these?

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Image

I'm missing a few of these little things, but I don't know what to search for when googling spare parts. So far, I haven't found them under pins, rods, or bars of any kind...if you have any replacement ideas, that could be helpful, too! I have some ideas, but I'm not really sure what I want to do about these just yet.

I'm gonna call that good for now! I'll update again when I get closer to the end!

Thanks for reading and thank you in advance for the help,
- Astin "Blue"
douglas felsenthal
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:06 pm

Re: Repairing Bass Unit

Post by douglas felsenthal »

I will give this a look see today, but off the top, these are valve actuator rods. That said, since you are missing some, I would think some chords or are sounding with all the notes. I'll look around and see if I can find something.

Maybe some pictures of the bigger base section if you can so I can see how these are connected to the button panel.


Douglas
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