How to repair an accordion

How to repair an accordion ?

Accordions are complex instruments. Their mechanics end up being damaged with time and this alters the quality of their music. The bellows are also quite fragile if not properly maintained. Moreover, most accordions are old models and it is rare to find a new one.

It is therefore essential to know how to repair an accordion if you want to play it.

Mechanics, music and bellows, the three main types of repair

In an accordion, there are three main categories of components: those related to the mechanics, those related to the music and those related to the bellows. The bellows is the simplest of them and it is also where a defect is the easiest to identify since it often appears as a hole, a damaged seal, etc.

Then, there are the defects related to the music. All these defects and dysfunctions correspond to the problems that the blades and the skins that filter the air to give the notes may encounter. With time, they oxidize and inevitably tear or break.

It is therefore very important to know how to identify the problem and to learn how to solve it.

Finally, there are mechanical problems. These problems concern all the components of the accordion that participate in the musician’s control over the sound. The most obvious element of the accordion mechanics is the keyboard.

All the mechanics underlying the keyboard connect it to valves and other fragile parts that can easily be damaged.

The most classic problems

The most common malfunctions encountered by accordionists on their instrument concern the mechanical part. The most likely parts to malfunction are the valves and the keyboard. In the case of the keyboard, the appearance of the slightest discomfort to the touch is a sign that rarely deceives, whether the keys resist too much or not enough.

It can also happen that the keyboard is noisy and that you feel a rubbing.

For the valves, they often shift and you hear a note that you do not play all the time. There are also the pistons (the buttons of the keyboard) which are often problematic when the felt that surrounds them gets damaged or when the mechanism that connects them gets bent or displaced. Finally, the height of the pistons can also be modified by the wear of the valves and disturb the play.

The bellows can also be a problem, but the nature of the problem is often the same: a hole lets air through. This air leakage is a real problem and you will find your accordion “out of breath. It is then necessary to locate the leak before being able to repair it. The earlier you spot it, the less risk you have of the situation getting worse and the bellows tearing.

Basic mechanical maintenance and repair

Most of the mechanical problems and malfunctions of an accordion can be managed by a non-professional player who takes the time to look at it. In the case of a seized mechanism, it is enough to lubricate the instrument. To do this, you still have to dismantle and reassemble the instrument very carefully to be sure not to damage it.

The keyboard is quite easy to maintain and all the problems it encounters can be quite easily solved. If your keyboard is noisy, simply change the worn felts. The height of the pistons can also be easily adjusted. It is possible to do this for the sake of comfort.

In fact, from a mechanical point of view, once you have identified the problem, you have done half the work.

The most delicate part of repairing an accordion is when it has to be dismantled. If you modify the valve skins of your accordion, it will be necessary to take care to reassemble the instrument correctly so that it does not suffer from any alteration of its sounds. Obviously, there are much more complex problems that require the replacement of several parts.

Maintenance and repair of the bellows

The bellows is one of the most fragile parts of the whole accordion. You have to take good care of it, because it tears easily when it gets old and too dry. However, even with a very regular maintenance, you will never be safe from a hole or a tear on the bellows of your accordion.

When you spot one, you have to know how to manage it.

First of all, you should not fill the hole with glue or putty. Holes often appear at joints and must be filled with a suitable product. The corners of each basane are also fragile and one should not hesitate to restore them completely.

Finally, you should also check the joints between the keyboards and the bellows and repair it with the appropriate products.

Where to get your accordion repaired ?

Sometimes the bellows have holes or are irreparably torn. In this case, it is better to change it completely. The operation is not particularly more complicated than the others previously mentioned.

However, if you feel uncomfortable and are afraid of making the situation worse, it is best to take your instrument to a professional.

Repairers specializing in accordions are increasingly rare, but it may be worthwhile to look for them. They will make your instrument look like new again and you will not have to run after repairs anymore. On the other hand, you have to be ready to pay the price. Their know-how is rare and their techniques complicated !