Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Recent Repair Continued

When all of the white keys were removed, I then pulled the axle rod for the black keys, rotating it with a slight back and forth motion and using my channelocks. I again numbered each black key as it was removed. Once all the keys were removed I checked the springs, and all were in good condition. I examined the valve pad felts and brushed each one gently with a soft brush to remove any residue and restore the surface.
I also thoroughly cleaned each key using a mild plastic polish to remove years worth of accumulated dust. The wooden underlayment of the keyboard was completely dusted and vacuumed to remove years of dust. I also made sure to vacuum both sides of the aluminum register plate to remove any dust there as well, and thoroughly vacuumed around where the treble reed blocks are installed. I also wiped down the two axle rods with some Goo B Gone, and then wiped them dry, and finally wiped a very light coat of sewing machine oil on them, and then once again wiped them dry before reinstalling them.
Then came the slow process of carefully installing each black key, and when that was done, each white key. Then the treble register mechanism was re-engaged with the treble register pivot arms and screwed into place. Finally the grill cover was reattached.
When I played the accordion after doing these repairs, three of the notes on the Clarinet setting played in one direction but not the other. I suspected a stuck reed tongue. I removed the appropriate reed block and using a thin bamboo skewer I gently pushed on the tongue to free it up. The bamboo is very soft and can in no way scratch the reed tongue or change it's sound. Once I did this I reinstalled the reed block and the accordion plays perfectly, or as far as I can tell without having a chromatic tuner. But when you play each note opening the bellows, it sounds the same as when you play it closing the bellows. I then proceeded to clean the outer surfaces of the accordion with a plastic polish and wipe it to a lustre as best as I could without a buffing wheel. It is a SWEET instrument and sounds wonderful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Documenting a Recent Accordion Repair

I recently obtained a nice Contello 2/4 reed accordion which had some sticky keys, and a sluggish treble register mechanism. Having successfully done a limited degree of disassembly and reassembly on a number of previous accordions, I felt comfortable tackling these particular problems. The first step was to remove the Bellows Pins from the Treble and Bass sides of the accordion. I do this very gently with a pair of pliers, pulling the pins out with a slight back and forth twisting motion to help break some of the friction, and being very careful to in no way mar or scratch the body of the accordion. I am careful to identify which holes the bellows pins must be reinstalled in.

Once the pins are removed, I gently separate the treble side from the bellows, lifting the treble side straight up and away from the bellows so as not to risk having the reed blocks rub against the side of the bellows. I then removed the reedblocks from the treble side and stored them safely aside. After removing the grill cover by unscrewing the machine screw on either side, it was a simple matter to unscrew the treble register mechanism and disengage it from the treble register pivot arms.

Now I had the keyboard of the accordion with no treble register and no reed blocks installed.

I removed the aluminum end cap which covers the keyboard axle and to my surprise I noticed that this little accordion had a double axle! I think this is somewhat rare. The double axle seems to give the keyboard a nicer action when playing. I took my channel lock pliers and gripped the end of the axle which held in the white keys. I gripped down very tightly on the exposed end of the axle, and with a slight back and forth twisting motion I began to withdraw the rod. As I did I placed a number identifying each white key as it was removed. After all the white keys were removed, the accordion looked like the above photo. I will publish more info at a later time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Accordion Reed Blocks and Reeds, A Revelation

I have sold around 30 accordions or so to date. I thought I understood things like how to count the number of reed blocks on the Treble and Bass Side of the Accordion. I just recently listed a small accordion on ebay, which had 3 reed blocks on the treble side, I counted them. I listed it as a 3 reed accordion, only to find out it is actually a 2 reed accordion. Yeah, 2 reed blocks. Here's the reasoning according to the helpful ebayer who pointed this out. Even though there were 3 blocks installed on the treble side, there were only 82 reeds. This is a 41 piano key accordion so functionally, there were two reeds for each key, or two reed blocks. I noticed after looking more closely that the middle reed block had a lot of empty spots on it. Thank You to the helpful ebay user for pointing this out. See the photo and look for yourself.

I hope to upload some photos of other accordions I have worked on, and would love to hear from you about your interests.