Taking Care of your Accordion

Talk about accordions (digital and acoustic), amplifiers, straps, and any related musical equipment.
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Chris B
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Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by Chris B »

Hi Everybody!

So I often joke with people saying that if this place ever burns down the only thing I really need to get out of here is grandpa's accordion.
That being said, since it is a special item, do I need to worry that I play it as much as I do? If I want to preserve it and keep it for years to come. I was thinking about getting another one just so I don't put so much wear on this one. Do you guys have any suggestions, Do's or Don'ts for how to take care of your accordion? Also does anyone recognize the model? I know it's a Sonola 120 bass but thats about it. Thanks for the help!

I do have a case, and I think I remember him saying to avoid exposing it to temperature swings.



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annadalvi
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by annadalvi »

Accordions that are played regularly tend to fare better than accordions that aren't.

In general, avoiding extreme temperatures and temperature swings is a good idea. Don't store it in the garage or the attic. Don't leave it in the car in the winter or summer. Etc. Also of course keep away from moisture. And dust.

Beautiful accordion!
Chris B
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by Chris B »

"Accordions that are played regularly tend to fare better than accordions that aren't." - Love it.

Thanks for the advice Annadalvi!
douglas felsenthal
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by douglas felsenthal »

Chris,

A couple of more comments

Clean air is important. Remember he bellows is pumping air in and out over the reeds. The reeds are very delicate, you don't want to get them dirty. So for a instrument you want to keep pristine, don't take it outside. Use a less valuable one for that.

The wear item on the reeds is the leather seals. These can get stick and stuck. Then you get funny sound. They can be loosened and cleaned if you have a delicate hand.

Most old accordions I pick up are out of tune. The question is how out of tune is a problem. I am finding an average accordion can be 10% high. The seems significant but doesn't seem to matter to my playing. I would like to comment on your experience. I'm not sure why I'm seeing so many highs. The lighter the reed the higher the sound. Over time, I would think that the reed gets heavier and not lighter.

I haven't seen a sample of your playing on this instrument. That would be most nice. Also you could send me just a example of all the keys one at a time - just do a scale from top to bottom. One the base side, I find that the 7th and dim are usually the problem makers. If you can isolate then you can figure out the reed sticking.

I'm getting a Dirk's tuner soon. If you would want to borrow arrangements could be made. It's software so there is no transport.

Douglas
Chris B
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by Chris B »

Doug, thank you for your response.

I was thinking I should get a second one for playing outside. I am beginning to shop around and see what I like in terms of size and sounds.

I have a couple posts playing with this accordion on the site under the name Chris B, but I will upload a video playing each of the notes. I would be curious as to your thoughts on the sound if its not to much trouble. There is an accordion shop near me, and I'm 95% sure they do tune-ups, but the quality of sound up until this point hasn't been bothersome.



Thank you for your help Doug.
Chris B
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by Chris B »

Hi Doug, Thanks for all your insights. I recorded a video showing each note of the right hand and for the left hand I did the root, Major and minor chords. To my untrained ear, I feel like there is a slight wheezing when I get into the higher notes on the right hand. That is interesting that notes tend to get higher over time. I would think it would be the opposite.

douglas felsenthal
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by douglas felsenthal »

Chris,

I listened to your Amore post and key post. I also used my tuning program - Dirk's Tuner - over the studio mic. I do hear a bit of a wiz on some notes. The tune is not terrible, it's probably as good as mine - average +5.0%. Most likely not great for a band, but not bad solo. My personal opinion, I think both sections could use some cleaning. This is especially true on the base section. To do so, you would have to separate the accordion and get in there with some air, vacuum, and lightly make sure the reeds are not sticking. I use very thin feeler gauges for this.

My readings show that in your test - you have 2 reeds working and they are a bit harmonically tuned at the moment. Reed one is slightly minus and reed 2 is plus about twice the amount. You are getting a bit of a musette sound in this condition.

Drop me a note if you want to talk more.

You might want to drop me a song with some multi finger notes and I can see more. If it would help, I could do the same and you could compare with what mine is getting.

My direct email is douglasfelsenthal@gmail.com - if you like.


Douglas
douglas felsenthal
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by douglas felsenthal »

Chris - One after thought - Did you record multiple reeds on the sample video?

If not you might do one on the clarinet setting. That will be just the middle reed. Might get a better read on just one at a time. We can start with that set.

Douglas
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Dawn G
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Re: Taking Care of your Accordion

Post by Dawn G »

I agree with Douglas. I have recently been playing my accordion by a dusty fireplace and have noticed a rattle in my accordion because of this.
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