Saturday, September 26, 2009
After you have removed the 40 Bass and
Counterbass Button Rods, cleaned them
And placed them in the jig, you can examine
The “fingers” which extend out, and which
The Bass Button Rods push down on to open
The Bass Reed Valves.
These can be cleaned as needed with Q-Tips
And Goo Be Gone. Be Careful not to bend
Them, or to leave lint from the Q-tip on them.
I sometimes cut a strip of fine sandpaper, fold
It in half, and gently clean every slot in the
Wooden guides which hold the bass button
This is a good time to make sure there are no
Loose pieces laying down inside the Bass Side
Of the Accordion. You can vacuum up any
Debris, and do other cleaning or minor repair
At this time. You may want to clean the holes
Where the bass buttons protrude, of any dirt
Or residue at this time, using a Q-Tip and Goo
Once you are satisfied that everything has been
Cleaned properly, you can begin reassembly
Starting with the Bass and Counterbass
Button Rods. I usually begin from the right
Side, nearest the Air Release Valve, and work
My way to the left. As you install each rod, be
Certain that the little pins that push down on
The Bass Reed Valve Fingers, are all positioned
On the top of those fingers. This will become
Very important when you install the Chord
Bass Button Rods, All three pins on each rod
Must be on top of the fingers to make sure the
Entire chord is played when the button is
As you Install each bass button rod, gently test
It by depressing it to make sure it operates
Freely and does not rub. If a bass button rod
Seems to rub, you may need to remove it, and
Gently straighten it with a pair of pliers. Don’t
Overdo the bending, usually if a rod is rubbing
It takes just a hair of straightening to make it
After installing the Bass and Counterbass Rods,
Reinstall the thin Wooden Retainer which holds
those rods in place with the screws you removed.
Then Reinstall the Chord Button Retainer Guide into
The Slot on the Stand Off, and screw it into place.
Then, Begin reinstalling the Major and Minor
Chord button rods into their respective locations
Working from the air release valve over to the left.
Again, test each rod to make sure it operates
Freely and adjust as needed. Make sure each rod
Is positioned so that it actuates three “fingers”.
Once you have reinstalled the Major and Minor
Chord Button Rods, Reinstall the Thin Plastic
Retaining Strip into the slot on the wooden
Retainer guide, and using a Q-Tip and some
Wood glue, reattach the 4 or 5 thin plastic strips
Which you removed previously, and space them
Evenly so that they hold the thin plastic
Retaining strip in place. If you broke a plastic
Strip during removal, take a thin piece of
Cardboard or cardstock, cut it to the approximate
Size, and use in lieu of the plastic strip.
When the glue has dried, reinstall the 7th and Dim
Chord Bass Button Rods, testing each one to
Make sure it operates freely.
When the final Bass Button Rods are installed,
Attach the outer thin retainer wood strip using the
Screws you removed. Test all the buttons to make
Sure they operate freely and make sure that all
The pieces you removed have been reinstalled.
You are done1! Reattach the bass mechanism
Cover plate, and the bass strap and you are ready
By the way, a Great Children's Book about the
Accordion, with a music CD is available at:
from the Minor and Major chords, you will
have to remove the plastic retainer strip
which separated the “Dim/7th” chord rods
from the “Min/Maj” chord rods. It is a very
thin plastic strip which rests in a slot that
runs the length of the guide which retains
these bass button rods. This retainer strip is
held in place by a series of four or five tiny
black plastic pieces which are glued in
place to keep this retainer strip from
popping out of it’s location.
to remove these tiny plastic pieces using
your jewelers screwdriver or a small sharp
chisel to pry them loose. Before you pry
them loose, cut a thin strip of masking tape
and stick it to the top of the strip you are
removing, so that when the strip comes
loose it won’t go flying but will be retained
by sticking to the tape. Then Pry loose.
strips breaks, don’t worry. We’ll cover
how to make a replacement for it later on.
As you remove each plastic piece, take it
off of the tape, and put it in a baggie and
mark it. Once you have removed these
plastic pieces, gently pry the long thin
retainer strip up out of it’s slot, and wipe it
down with some “Goo be Gone” and place
You are now ready to remove the Minor
and Major chord button rods. They follow
a similar procedure as just followed in Part 2
To remove the wooden guide
which holds the 80 bass button rods. It is
probably held in place by a screw at each
end on the top where the guide slides into a
slot in the wooden “stand off”. Remove
those screws, bag and identify them,
remove the wooden guide, and set it aside.
old towel and carefully remove the plastic
pieces and retaining strip as described above,
Follow a similar procedure for the Bass and
Counterbass button rods. More in Part 4.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
After you have built your jig to hold the
accordion bass button/rods, you can
proceed with the disassembly of the bass
mechanism. Before I start, I position the
accordion on a table, supported by a couple
of pillows, with the edge of the keyboard
away from me, and resting against some
sort of support to prevent it from slipping.
A couple of large spring clamps attached to
the edge of my table work well. You will
need a small jewelers screwdriver, and a
long nose pliers for this. If you can obtain a
“Bass Button Straightening Tool”, it may
come in handy to straighten any crooked
buttons. Also some masking tape, a pen or
pencil, a small straightedge, some cleaning
cloths, a bottle of “goo be gone”, some Q-
tips, and some small containers or baggies
for the screws you remove. A small
flashlight also comes in handy.
First, you must obviously disengage the
Bass Strap from the knurled adjusting nut
by spinning the nut until the threaded end is
free, and then moving the strap aside and
out of the way.
Then you must remove the
bass mechanism cover by removing the
appropriate screws. Make sure you mark
these screws and place them in a small
container in a safe location. Once the cover
is off you can see the Bass Mechanism
On older accordions there may be a
lot of dust and debris loose on the bottom. I
make sure there are no essential pieces
lying loose in there, and then I take my
vacuum cleaner and gently vacuum out any
obvious dust or debris. You may notice
“greasy” or “sticky” debris on the bass
button rods. Don’t worry about that now,
we will clean all of that up later.
The first set of Bass button rods you will
remove are the Diminished and 7th chords.
To do this you will have to remove the
“retainer” which holds them into their guide
slots at the bottom of the rods. Usually this
is a thin strip of wood held in place by four
small screws. Before you do anything,
mark the retainer with a pencil in some way
so that you know how to orient it when you
reinstall it. I usually put a letter “R” on the
appropriately and place them in a small
container in a safe location. Remove the
retainer and set it aside.
Now the first set of rods is available for you
to begin to remove. Starting at the far right
side, with the bass button rods nearest the
air release button, remove the first rod by
gently sliding the bottom of the rod out of
the guide, and then gently lowering it until
the button is free of it’s hole up above.
Carefully withdraw the rod from the
accordion and being sure not to bend it.
These rods are made of aluminum and will
bend easily. Examine it for cleanliness and
straightness. Put a few drops of “Goo Be
Gone” on a cloth and clean the rod to
remove any grease or dust. Hold the rod up
against the small straightedge to see if it is
straight along it’s axis of movement. If it is
bowed at all, gently straighten it and then
place it into your jig in the appropriate
location. Follow the same procedure with
the remaining 39 bass buttons from the
Diminished and 7th chord locations.
More in Part 3.
Monday, September 7, 2009
If you’ve ever had an accordion that eventually
Before you begin, it is important to have
When I started my first disassembly I noticed
I chose to use “Jumbo Plastic Straws” and
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hi All ~
I am extremely fortunate to be married to an accordion player...
namely the gentleman pictured above.
The music he plays is a delight to my heart. It is joyous and sentimental, festive and soul-tugging! I love to hear him practice at night and look forward to any 'concert' he gives
(whether at home or in the community).
I eagerly introduce friends, family and acquaintances to the unique musical offerings of this wonderful instrument.
If you play the accordion, do you realize how much joy it brings your listeners?
The point of this short blog is to encourage you to practice and play to your heart's content. And to confirm what a pleasure it is for your "audience," whether they are 2 years old or 90!
For over 25 years, I had to implore and nag my husband to drag his squeeze box out of the closet to play birthday songs for family and special friends. Perhaps you too have relegated your instrument to the dark recess of storage.
Take it out, dust it off and enjoy the merry tones!
Remember, it's never too late to learn to play
and with practice, you can bless many.
ACCORDION PLAYERS GIVE GREAT HUGS!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
"The accordion today is one of the largest selling instruments in the musical world. According to statistics, more than 125,000 accordions were imported into the U.S. from Italy alone in 1953 and with the demand constantly growing it would not be too presumptious to predict that in the near future there will be an accordion in practically every home. A census conducted by the American Music Conference discloses that in 1955 there are an estimated 1,500,000 persons playing accordion in the US."
Wow. Who would have thought that the accordion had once been so popular in the US? But it is making a resurgence. Artists like Cheryl Crow, Billy Joel, and Barry Manilow play the accordion. For more interesting facts, check out http://www.ladyofspain.com/naam.html.
There are also some awesome accordion performances you can check out on You Tube. Frank Marocco is of course my favorite. But I checked one out the other day at this location, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwFr--TG_KY It is Joel Guzman doing a jam session and it rocks!
I had never looked at the inside of an accordion until about 4 years ago when I took the bellows pins out of my Sano with great fear and trembling, and gingerly separated the bass and treble side from the bellows and peeked inside. I'm not recommending that everyone do it, but it was very informative.
If you are an enthusiast, and you have any interesting stories about your accordion experiences, we'd love to hear them. Hope you are spending a little bit of time each day working those fingers and squeezing the bellows. Spread the happiness!