Question on Buying Accordions

What to look for when buying an Accordion

Question 1

Is there any musty or moldy smell to the accordion or case?

I think this is one of the most important questions you can ask. Because if there is a musty or moldy smell to the accordion, that means the accordion was not stored properly. Getting rid of mold in an accordion is one of the most pain staking process I had to encounter. Not only is it time consuming, but also very expensive. Once mold is in the accordion, wood starts to swell causing many problems with keys and button function. Rust will start to form on the reed plates and causing the accordion to go out of tune. Most of the time if mold has set into the accordion it is not worth fixing, unless you have a strong attachment to the instrument. But it will be expensive.

Question 2

Do all treble keys on the keyboard work properly?

If there are keys that stick and/or protrude and are unaligned on the keyboard, you will need to take each key out of the keyboard track. By doing this, you will need to take the axle pin out to release the keys one by one (be careful not to bend the rod, difficult to bend back.) Usually when the key sticks, the spring has come off the shaft or needs to be adjusted. Some time the spring breaks. Sometimes the tracking that the valve rod shaft sits in begins to swell and will need to be sanded. When the keys become unaligned, you will need to find the key that is protruding above the other keys and bend the valve rod slightly back without breaking or bending it to much. So, when someone tells you that a key sticks or protrudes above the other keys, remember what you might have to do to fix the problem.

Question 3

Does each key sound when pressed and are they in tune?

The best way to check if keys are sounding and are in pitch, is to press each key squeezing the bellows in and then press the key while pulling the bellows out. If a key does not sound. You will need to open the accordion up and take a look at the treble reeds, by pulling out all the reed blocks. Some times there is a piece of dirt or wood chip that is stuck in the tongue of the reed plate. This can be corrected just by flicking the tongue with a thin knife. It is very important that you do not touch the metal on the reed plates. The oil from your finger can make the reeds go out of tune. Another reason for a key to not sound, is that the tongue is broken off on the reed. If this happens you will need to send your accordion out to get fixed by a professional accordion repair man. Because the reed will need to be taken out of the accordion, and a new reed plate will be placed back in and then re waxed. This can be a pricey process.

Is the Accordion in tune?

When a reed is out of tune, the accordionist will notice an excessive amount of vibrato or tremolo on one particular key. This usually means that one of the three or four reeds controlled by that key has dropped in pitch. If one or more keys are out of tune, you will need to take the accordion to a repairman. This process is done only by a professional . They will open up the accordion and pull out the reed blocks. They will locate which reeds are out of tune. Sometimes when the pitch is way out of tune, this indicates that the reed tongue is cracked or broken at the base. (Reed will need to be replaced) Sometimes the reed is just a little out of tune. The repairman will use a pitch pipe to find the correct pitch. Then he will ever so lightly file the reed tongue to the correct tone.

So when the seller tells you, that the accordion could be a little out of tune. Remember, that it could be very costly to bring the accordion back to the correct tone.

Question 4

Do all the Bass Keys (buttons) work properly?

First look for any sticking or sluggish buttons. It is frustrating playing an accordion

with sticking or sluggish keys. If the bass button is stuck, you will need to open the back bass panel. First unscrew the bass strap, so it will not get in your way. After the panel is open you will need to remove each bass shaft individually. You must not mix bass shafts or you will have a real mess on your hands. Each shaft has a different number of pins connected to it. Sometimes the pins will get caught under the upright pin from the pipes. This will need to be corrected. If the pins are not the problem, then sometimes the pipes need to be removed and cleaned. This will give the buttons quicker action. Sometimes the whole will need to be sanded if the head of the button keeps getting stuck. One easy way to check if a bass note or notes is stuck, is to squeeze the accordion without hitting any keys or buttons, if the accordion makes a sound then there is a stuck key or keys.

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