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How to fix an accordion keyboard

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As much fun as accordions are, they can be quite intimidating to take apart, clean, or fix. There are very few accordion builders and very few accordion restorers as well- professional or amateur. Most accordions are antiques, which means that most accordions are in some state of disrepair. The most common problem with accordion keyboards is that they are dirty, and contain oxide and/or gunk thats gumming them up. This can be obvious, as when a key stays depressed when pushed, or subtle, like some keys might have a slightly delayed response that can be hard to recognize if you haven't played a recently cleaned accordion. There can be other probems with keys, however, which I try to get at in step #7.

Before we get started, though, I'd just like to disclaim a few things.

For one: All accordions are different. Chances are, your accordion will have a keyboard somewhat like this one's, however because so many companies make accordions and because they can be very technical instruments, there could be some accordions around that make this instructable completely irrelevant

Because of this, fanatical and meticulous caution should be taken. losing a screw could prove very hard to replace, and I like togo to the extreme of putting the same screws back in each same hole every time. Also, don't force your accordion to do something just because it was how mine was put together in the picture. Try to mechanically comprehend the process and look at your accordion from every angle to see if it works the same as mine. I'd love to answer any questions of yours if at all possible.

Enough of me worrying you, though. As important as being careful with your accordion is having fun and doing it for the love of your instrument.Onward, then...

 
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sarahrw6 months ago

Terrific photos and instruction, thank you so much. Turned out I couldn't budge the spindle, but since you showed me where to find it, I could sight along the length of the key to where it would be. I then used a hypodermic syringe to squirt an infinitesimal amount of Prolube and Protek CLP on either side of sluggish key where it should fit onto the spindle. These are excellent polymer lubricants that claim not to swell the wood and can deal some with the corrosion. (A 4-ounce bottle is more than a lifetime supply. I am hesitant to use oil near wood on my accordion.) It worked, anyway. If it's a short fix, I may budge that spindle yet.

naught1011 year ago
Watch out on step three - I started pulling the the spindle out of an accordion that needed some attention, and half of the keys sprang out, some landing half a foot away from the keyboard. Don't do this on the edge of a table! Definitely had me worried for a bit that I'd lost the order, until I realised that they were all numbered - one set of numbers for the white keys, one for the black keys. Putting them back in is pretty time-consuming, but not too difficult. In mine, I had to put the last two keys in before the third last one, because they are under a little ledge in the body. Thanks for the instructable. Very helpful. Would be very keen to see more - especially if you know what to do about reed valves letting air through!
I have a Honer Verdi III and there's no way to access for removing the spindle. What can I do in that case?
skrie2 years ago
In my case , removing the spindle wasn't just hard... With the hugest of effort I was able to get about 1 centimeter out... then it was jammed absolutely stuck!

So I gave up and kinda hammered it back in!

The thing is... the stuck key I was trying to fix worked perfectly after that... So, operation a failure... patient cured :D

I guess all that violence loosened something up.

So, thx anyway. I'd never have touched that pin without this tutorial.

beenjammin (author)  skrie2 years ago
Totally! While I don't abdicate accordion-violence, rust is a hated enemy. As long as it worked and you're happy.
I have a red "Traviata" accordion (120 bass, LMM treble reeds, MM=wet). I need to adjust the height (and therefore key-travel distance) on the piano keyboard. They are too high, and the height varies along the keyboard. I have no idea how to adjust those, and am afraid of messing it up if I start experimenting.

I did see a "key tool" or something for Titano accordions that looks like a metal strip or bar (don't know how thick) with a square notch cut in on the side of each end (slightly different size notches I assume). I don't know if that would work on the Traviata. I occasionally perform in public accompanying a friend, and would really like to get the key-level and key-travel problem fixed.

Do you have any advice or photos?

Thanks so much,

Lee Patterson
beenjammin (author)  banjocordian2 years ago
I haven't researched the "key tool," so I can't really say what that would do, but a lot of cheaper accordions get the variable height symptom from the bar (that goes from the actual key to the reed-stop-padding) being slightly bent. Carefully bending the bar forwards (or backwards), while making sure the leather sits in the exact same place (allowing no air to squeeze through- or else you'll get that faint pitched-squeak) has always worked for me.
alvarucho2 years ago
Wonderful step by step instructions to fix the accordion keyboard. I have an old Hohner Tango IVM with a thin brass spindle that I haven't been able to remove it. It's extremely hard, does not turn or moves when I pull it with the pliers. Please let me know what can I do to take out this frozen spindle. I have tried soaking it with silicon spray for several days and it still like frozen or glued to the keyboard wood. Thanks in advance for your advise. Best regards. - Al
beenjammin (author)  alvarucho2 years ago
The only tip I can think of would be to put the accordion on its side (the bass button side) and drip oil in under the keys. Or maybe vice-grip the end of the spindle and try rotating it first, to loosen it up...
That's a hard one, though. You might have to get a new keyboard and destroy the old one to get in there. Maybe a new spindle, too. Sorry.
jscott292 years ago
Great instructable, but I have encountered a problem. Not sure if you'll be able to help. The spindles on my instrument are uncovered (they have to balls on the outside of the instrument to pull them out with) but I cannot budge them at all. I don't know if there just super gunked up or if I have to have them in a certain direction to pull them out, there are no holding screws or any thing. Just wondered if you knew anything about it, thanks.
beenjammin (author)  jscott292 years ago
I'm not really sure what you're talking about. Sorry. If they're the kind of pins that also hold the bellows' frames on, they should pull straight out with some pliers or with a screwdriver used as a lever. I wouldn't try to force it, since I'm not sure what you're talking about... Have any pictures?
samtwig3 years ago
great instructable!
detailed and good pictures!
Thank u!
djkopel3 years ago
you are great ! thank you so much. gave me the confidence to move ahead with this. I was gonna try, but thought best to look first, your description is absolutely wonderful thank you.
I have this exact accordion! Thanks for this - a perfect instructable! :) 5*
aeray4 years ago
Fantastic, and timely. I have an accordion that I bought for my fiancee for Valentine's day last year that is currently being semi-repaired at Petosa in Seattle. A full repair is very costly though, more than the very old accordion is worth, so they are only taking care of the major issues. I had long been considering attempting the remaining repairs myself, and this 'ible has inspired me, and given me direction. Thanks! 5 stars.
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