Key wear and tear
#1
I just purchased a vintage accordion in great condition, and I noticed that they keys were nice and smooth compared to my other older accordions. I almost slip around on the smoothness of the keys. I am wondering if I should anticipate wear and tear on the keys over time. Do finger nails cut into the keys? I know on guitars and ukuleles that fingernail marks and strum marks are natural wear and tear on the instrument, but I did not know of any fingerwear on accordion keys. What are they even made of? I have Titano accordions, so I would think they would be constructed of decent material.
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#2
Hi Valde, I am not a scientist and I don't know what accordion keys are made of (plastic? celluloid?) but I can tell you they definitely can suffer wear and tear over time. I have seen this first hand on older accordions but I suspect it takes a lot of playing over many years. Your results may vary. I don't think there is a thing like the "pre stressed" jeans and guitars yet, but it could become a thing now that accordions are getting so popular again Smile !
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#3
Hi Valde,

I can't image fingernails cutting into keys, as it is the pads of your fingers which should be operating the keys. If you are playing in such a way as to be using your finger nails, may I suggest a modification of your playing style?

The keys themselves should last much longer than the hidden mechanisms behind them. My oldest accordion is about 66 or 67 years old, and there does not appear to be appreciable wear on any of the keys.

Hope That Helps,

Stephen.
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#4
Yes, I try to play cleanly, lol. But I do play quickly, sometimes slide, and with some 5 finger chords I find that no matter how careful I am, there are bumps and such along the way with my nails. I saw that Petosa keys are made of Lucite, is that better than what they used to make?

Also, is there a way to sand down the keys if they do get bumpy?

Actually I find that the other keys that are less smooth might be easier to grip so to speak and that I have more errors with the smoother, slippery keys...
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#5
Don't worry! If you play enough that you begin to wear down your keys you can view it as a badge of distinction!
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#6
(17-05-2019, 04:56 PM)Valde002 Wrote: I just purchased a vintage accordion in great condition, and I noticed that they keys were nice and smooth compared to my other older accordions. I almost slip around on the smoothness of the keys. I am wondering if I should anticipate wear and tear on the keys over time. Do finger nails cut into the keys? I know on guitars and ukuleles that fingernail marks and strum marks are natural wear and tear on the instrument, but I did not know of any fingerwear on accordion keys. What are they even made of? I have Titano accordions, so I would think they would be constructed of decent material.

I've been playing & repairing Titano (Victoria Made) accordions for 60 years now .   The only damage I have found to key tops have been from performers that fail to trim their fingernails.
Owner & Operator "THE FISARMONICA SHOP" Chicopee, MA USA
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#7
Hi Valde,

I wouldn't rush to filing any "bumpy" keys just yet. You may do more harm than good.

Honestly, I have never experienced this problem on my own accordions, and I know of no-one else (besides yourself) who has encountered bumpy or fingernail ravaged keys.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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#8
I`ve seen a few keyboards with small gouges in the celluloid , obviously made from untrimmed fingernails. It`s always a disappointment to me when I see this.
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#9
I’ve found that when you swing your accordion around by the straps to bash hooligans, the key tops can be damaged.
Actually, my Bugari , which was previously owned by the folk singer across my fence, has some cracked and rough key tops, but it looks more like someone dropped a rock on it. I should ask her what happened to it....
I wonder how much it would cost to replace those keys.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed)
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#10
Women accordion players tend to be the biggest reasons you see key gouging. Ladies as a rule have longer nails and this does cause damage. The accordion that I gave to my aunt (a nice Scandalli), has several keys with quite deep scratches and gouges.

When I get the accordion back, you can bet that I will have to replace those keys (there are about 10-12 of which 5-6 are very deep).

It's a part of life as a lady accordionist with long finger nails, I suppose. Smile
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My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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