Newbie Hohner Owner
#1
Hi folks,
First time on here. I picked up a Hohner accordion at the weekend. It was just bought from a local antiques fair as a bit of fun!

I would like to learn as much as I can about it if possible but I cannot see a model name or number. Some paperwork it came with suggests it could be a Verdi IV but the views of members here would be appreciated.

Hopefully a couple of pictures attached!

Many thanks!

Jake

Technical problems, hopefully resolved now!

   
   
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#2
Hi Jake,

Welcome to the forum.

In order that members may help you with your questions, could you possibly give us a bit more information?

There is a profusion of duct-tape around the area in which model names and numbers may be, so careful removal of this may reveal the answer to one of your questions. It may also reveal the reason some previous owner thought it a good idea to festoon his/her instrument in this way, which is contrary to the instincts of most accordionists.

Apart from the fact that it is unsightly, I cannot help but wonder how effective duct tape is in the repair of musical instruments.

Questions:
1) Are the bellows leaking?
2) Do any of the keys or buttons stick?
3a) Have you tried every key to test the sound it makes? 3b) If so, do the notes sound true and "sweet?"

Truthfully, your instrument looks very tired and careworn. Further advice will largely depend on your aspirations and commitment, but remember, many a good tune is played on an old fiddle. (or accordion) Your Hohner won't win any beauty contests, but it could be adequate for your needs.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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#3
Hi Stephen,

Many thanks for your reply. I can honestly say there is no duct tape anywhere on the instrument. The plastic finish is called nacrolaque and on checking my pictures I can see how it looks like badly wrinkled gaffer tape - but thankfully it isn't!

A bit of googling suggests the model name should be on the thin strip of plastic between the base and the bellows but I have carefully gone over this area and I cannot make out any imperfections where the model number may have been.

In truth the accordion looks in excellent condition to my laymans eye. The bellows are in good condition but I can feel a leak where they meet the body of the accordion next to the treble keys. If I press the flange and the upper body together and press on the bellows the leak goes away - is this something I can get to easily to re-glue?

None of the keys are sticking. Most notes sound pretty good, but the odd one has a raspiness when you press the bellows firmly. The other thing that is perhaps noteworthy is that the base and treble are in tune both with each other and when played alongside a keyboard - if indeed it is possible for them to go out of tune!

I only want to have a play around with it so I would be content to just get a basic tune out of it!

Many thanks for your help on this!

Kind regards,
Jake
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#4
I’m a bit surprised that you haven’t had much of a response to date.
I know v little about piano accordions – unlike many on this forum.
FWIW I’d guess your accordion may date from the 40s or even earlier.
You may well be told it is of little/uncertain value – but I suspect that doesn’t bother you overmuch.

For lots of info, try here (inc leaks):
http://accordionrevival.com/ACCORDION_RE...#Air_Leaks

If it’s as old as it looks, and in tune with a keyboard then chances are it has been maintained at some time. – and yes they do go out of tune.
Enjoy yourself!
Richard
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#5
Hi Jake,

Please forgive my incorrect identification of the tape used on your accordion. Adhesive tapes are not my area of expertise.

The leaking bellows can probably be fixed fairly simply, and the materials will not be too expensive. The "rasping" sound you can hear may not be quite so easy to repair, or as cheap.

Much now depends on whether or not you can tolerate the odd few rasping notes, or how many tunes you can find which avoid their use.

A number of Scottish tunes contain b.a.g -a.b.c. riffs, and are relatively easy to learn. In addition to those tunes, some English folk tunes are also comparatively easy to learn.

I would recommend "Wild Mountain Thyme" and "The Wild Rover" to begin with, both of which you can listen to on YouTube. When you are comfortable with those tunes, "Mull of Kintyre" (by Wings) is a very satisfying tune to play. A little progression could see you attempting "Wooden Heart", after which you should be able to learn other simple tunes with ease.

Go For It,

Stephen.
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#6
Many thanks for your replies, much appreciated. And thanks also for the suggestions for music I will have a look. All i have tried so far is the Godfather Waltz but the problem I have (not including the fact I am terrible anyway) is with the leaking air which makes it very difficult to play so this should be the first thing on my list to fix.

I opened up the Accordion today and noticed that a number of the leather valves are curled, some worse than others. There is a fair mix of colours inside so it has had a fair bit of work in its life. Are these curled valves the cause of my air leak or the raspiness or both? I noticed that at least one leather is missing (I can see the old glue) but on the highest notes on the treble some do not have leather valves on them at all (and no evidence they were ever present). I am guessing this is by design (otherwise a strange coincidence that they have all gone in sections).

Apologies for the foolish questions. That website posted by Richard is excellent but it is always nice to have a conversation with people like you guys on here who know what you are talking about!

I am also having issues posting photos because of the size limit on file size. I have taken a few of the inside which I will attempt to post later.

Many thanks!

Jake
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#7
Hiya,

The curled leather valves will only cause a problem to that reed (and just possibly the one next to it) when that note is being played.
Mostly valve noises if it slaps closed, or slightly more air use if it doesn't close, plus possibly modified reed tone.
They won't cause an (external) air leak in general.

Edit: And yes the highest frequency notes don't have valves.

There are 2 reeds per note (+ other banks for multiple voices) and the valves are to control the air flow for bellows push/pull so that
only 1 at a time of the reeds gets air.

More likely from what you said is a bellows leak: there's a thin gasket where the bellows joins either end of the accordion.

Have a look in Accordion Revival for how to remove the bellows pins (on the treble end) and check the bellows gasket.
Or put soapy water along the treble bellows joint and compess the accordion (having filled it first on the air button), a wet lip will also work.
That should show you where it is leaking.

You can get replacement valves and bellows gasket from several places, but CGM Musical Services is the one I used (there's a web site) and
delivery is really fast.

Best of luck,
Gareth

ps. For a conversation on air leaks have a look at https://www.accordionists.info/showthread.php?tid=5666
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#8
Hi Jake,

Gareth has provided you with some good and relevant information.

It may be that you will be bitten by the bug sufficiently to risk spending a few pounds on your instrument, especially if you are technically proficient enough to save a few bob on labour costs.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun doing it.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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#9
Many thanks all for your very helpful comments. I have done a few leak tests with a wet face, torch, etc. and I have bent a few notes that were clearly leaking. The main leak is at the bellows especially at the top so I was going to get that ordered in the hope that would sort the large part of the leak.

The only question I had was is it worth me getting the valves at the same time and if so what valves do I need to buy? Would the following be suitable:

http://www.cgmmusical.co.uk/CGM_Musical_...ves.html#3

Sorry about the daft questions.
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#10
I found it quite educational fixing leaks/valves/keyboard on my first accordion (a 1935 48 bass), but how much you want to do is obviously entirely up to you.  I've had CGM orders turn up the next morning though so no need to start everything at once.

It doesn't say if those are vinyl or leather, you could email Charlie (Mr CGM) and ask him - I usually got a reply within an hour.
It's generally best to replace valves with the same type (ie. vinyl or leather).
But try not to knock the reed plates loose if the wax is starting to go (not fatal but more work).

An alternative would be http://www.cgmmusical.co.uk/CGM_Musical_...ves.html#5, I used 2 or 3 of that.
You also need glue: Fabri-Tac (see amazon) works well and can be removed with no bad effects.

There's no problem with daft questions - we all have to start somewhere Smile
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#11
Brilliant, thanks. I am in touch with Charlie and hopefully getting the bits I need. Head-torch and tweezers are on standby.

Cheers,
Jake
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#12
Morning all,

I have replaced the bellows gasket and the exernal air leak is way better. However, so much air is leaking internally that I cannot play bass and treble notes together so I will have to get at the valves.

I saw on this link a method of using a bent paper-clip to "stroke" the valves straight and wondered if any members here had any success?

Otherwise - I think I will start by replacing the bad valves and leave the good and see if that gets me a tune of some sort.

Cheers,
Jake.
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#13
Morning,
well done on the bellows.

It's probably a good idea to do the drop test from Accordion Revival:

From http://accordionrevival.com/ACCORDION_RE...#Air_Leaks

"To find out if your leak is internal or external, measure the amount of time it takes the bellows to close under its own weight from the full open position with all valves closed."
"If the bellows takes less than 35 seconds to close, it has some external air leaks, as nearly all accordions do."

That way you get an objective (ish) measure of how much external air leaking is going on.


I never tried straightening valves because I knew they were at least 40 years old (more like 80 probably).
I just replaced the worst ones and observed the difference until I got some idea of how it all works and whether the remaining valves were were bad enough to need fixing.
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#14
Thanks for your reply. I saw the drop test and tried it to find the big leak around the bellows but it still drops in about 12 seconds and air is leaking from a host of treble keys. Looks like I have some work to do!
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#15
12 seconds is definitely an external leak.

The up side is that a leak that big should be fairly easy to find.

Sounds to me like an issue with the treble pallets and pallet facings.  Removing the grill and then compressing the bellows should let you feel/hear the leaks.
An absolute check is to put masking tape under the treble reed blocks and do the test again with definitely no treble pallet leaks and measure the difference.

Accordion Revival on treble pallets: http://accordionrevival.com/ACCORDION_RE...reble_side?
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#16
Hi Jake,

I admire your "can do" attitude, and wish you every success in fixing your box.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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#17
Many thanks for your kind replies and valuable advice. Unfortunately I have to put this project on the nack burner until I have more time on my hands. It's a great shame but I shall be back!

Kind regards,
Jake
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