Maintenance and fettling
#1
about a year ago I upgraded to a Paolo Soprani 120 bass 4 voice single casotto c griff accordion.  As I have become familiar with it I have noted minor defects which were beginning to irk me slightly.  In particular, high frequency reeds in the right hand registers were a little reluctant from time to time, and some of the lower frequency bass reeds were slow to sound.  So I arranged to drop it off at Allodi accordions in Lewisham for him to give it his best attention.  Today I retrieved it.

To say I am pleased would be a little bit of an understatement.  He has transformed its responsiveness and sound.  It’s like a new instrument.  I am just delighted.  It’s still a weighty and cumbersome beast, but it now sounds absolutely gorgeous.  And for a very reasonable sum.

Excellent!??
Elderly teenager still experimenting with music of all descriptions.  I may not please anyone else, but I’m long past caring about that.
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#2
Glad to here about your results. In the US lately there are more independent accordion repair tech's that have retired
than new ones taking on the business. The independents need business to justify their existence financially.
In most cases the fellow repairmen I know (including myself) take extra time & care that they never charge the customer for. Taking you box to a local repairman for even minor repairs will mean for them a reason to stay in business and continue to stay in business. I see in your post your repairs were done satisfactorily and the price reasonable. Again glad to hear your results.
Owner & Operator "THE FISARMONICA SHOP" Chicopee, MA USA
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#3
(27-06-2020, 11:50 PM)JIM D. Wrote: Glad to here about your results.  In the US lately there are more independent accordion repair tech's that have retired
than new ones taking on the business. The independents need business to justify their existence financially.
In most cases the fellow repairmen I know (including myself) take extra time & care that they never charge the customer for. Taking you box to a local repairman for even minor repairs will mean for them a reason to stay in business and continue to stay in business. I see in your post your repairs were done satisfactorily and the price reasonable. Again glad to hear your results.
Hello Jim,

I asked a question on another forum some years back.  It was about the scarcity in the US of both accordion teachers and repairers.  I'm lucky because I have both within an hour's drive from where I live.  The teacher part of the question has been partially answered by such services as Skype, Facetime and Zoom, although I still feel that those of us who are lucky enough to see their teachers in person have the best possible learning experience. 

You wrote that in the US lately there are more independent accordion repair techs that have retired than new ones taking on business.  Again, I'm lucky in that regard, but those who live in areas where there are no repair techs within, say, fifty miles are forced to ship their accordions back and forth to a repair person they've never met, which is risky, at best..  Add to that, the older techs don't know their way around acoustic accordions with Italian midi added so if a midi problem comes up, they are reluctant to deal with it.

So, accordions are gaining in popularity in the US and there is a shrinking infrastructure of repair technicians. Where will the new technicians come from? I'm curious as heck about the inner workings of accordions, and I've satisfied my curiosity to a great degree through talking to people about it, by following forums like this one, but at eighty years old I'm not going to be hands-on about it. Any manual dexterity I once had for fixing things is now all but gone, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Kids and teenagers who are curious enough about accordions to take lessons are a very small portion of instrumental learners in general, and of those, a very small portion might  be inclined to consider repairing accordions. Although a great part of the increased popularity of accordions in the US is due to the introduction of digital accordions, servicing them has largely been the province of the manufacturers and factory-trained technicians working in factory-authorized service centers that also aren't fifty miles from the average American user. 

Where, indeed, will the next generation of accordion repair techs come from?

Alan Sharkis
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#4
(27-06-2020, 11:02 PM)Chrisrayner Wrote: about a year ago I upgraded to a Paolo Soprani 120 bass 4 voice single casotto c griff accordion.  As I have become familiar with it I have noted minor defects which were beginning to irk me slightly.  In particular, high frequency reeds in the right hand registers were a little reluctant from time to time, and some of the lower frequency bass reeds were slow to sound.  So I arranged to drop it off at Allodi accordions in Lewisham for him to give it his best attention.  Today I retrieved it.

To say I am pleased would be a little bit of an understatement.  He has transformed its responsiveness and sound.  It’s like a new instrument.  I am just delighted.  It’s still a weighty and cumbersome beast, but it now sounds absolutely gorgeous.  And for a very reasonable sum.

Excellent!??

Glad you found a trustworthy repairer. Indeed, such "minor" defects that started to irk you are all fixable. Too many accordion players just accept these defects as a "normal property of the instrument". They are not, and now you know it.

I took the courses at the Accordion Craft Academy in Castelfidardo, and these are a good start for new repairers and even interesting for already experienced ones. Many people are taking these courses and that raises hope that there will still be enough qualified repairers in the future.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#5
I am a six hour drive from the nearest accordion repair person, so called one I knew in California to see if he’d work on it if I mailed it. He said, no, you’ll have to stop by the shop. That’s a $500 plane ticket during a pandemic and a $200 stay in a possibly infected hotel. Unacceptable. Glad he’s got enough work to turn me down.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed), Hohner 1974 Melodica (Piano 36)
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#6
(30-06-2020, 02:24 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: I am a six hour drive from the nearest accordion repair person, so called one I knew in California to see if he’d work on it if I mailed it. He said, no, you’ll have to stop by the shop. That’s a $500 plane ticket during a pandemic and a $200 stay in a possibly infected hotel. Unacceptable. Glad he’s got enough work to turn me down.

Sensible person. I understand your pain, but mailing an accordion is always quite risky. Sometimes there may be no other solution, but maybe there is a repair person closer by that you don't know about yet? I have no idea how to find out. Social media may help?
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#7
(30-06-2020, 04:23 PM)debra Wrote:
(30-06-2020, 02:24 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: I am a six hour drive from the nearest accordion repair person, so called one I knew in California to see if he’d work on it if I mailed it. He said, no, you’ll have to stop by the shop. That’s a $500 plane ticket during a pandemic and a $200 stay in a possibly infected hotel. Unacceptable. Glad he’s got enough work to turn me down.

Sensible person. I understand your pain, but mailing an accordion is always quite risky. Sometimes there may be no other solution, but maybe there is a repair person closer by that you don't know about yet? I have no idea how to find out. Social media may help?

If only that were true, Paul. There is an accordion repair group on Facebook. I've followed it for several months, and I find that people seeking professional repairers in the US are still referred to repair persons that are a long distance from where they live.  What's the answer -- shrink the United States? (just kidding.)  

Some years ago, I bought an acoustic accordion with midi in it from a dealer who, some time later, stopped taking repair jobs at a time when I needed something done. He referred me to a repair person who was within an hours drive from my home, who then did an excellent job. But that seldom happens, as I've been told.  Because my accordion has midi in it, I also asked if he repaired midi should I ever need something like that done, and he said he didn't. 

I learned more recently, that a man who was a long-time professional accordionist and teacher opened a repair shop even closer to where I live. He also won't touch midi. However, having those repairers so close to me seems to be a function of where I live -- in a suburb of New York City.  Not all people who own accordions live in large population centers, and may have to transport or ship their accordions a long distance to a repair tech as a result.

And, as you said, mailing an accordion is risky.  There are some repairers and dealers with repair shops who have posted videos about how to pack an accordion for shipment. I have no idea how effective these methods are.  They seem to make sense. So does the advice given about how to transport an accordion in your car or how to fly with an accordion. But again, not every accordion owner has seen these videos or has read that advice, so instruments are still being damaged in transit.  Maybe the campaign should center around increasing accordion owners' awareness about how to pack an accordion for shipment or how to transport one.    

Alan Sharkis
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#8
https://www.petosa.com/pack-accordion-shipping/
Owner & Operator "THE FISARMONICA SHOP" Chicopee, MA USA
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#9
(30-06-2020, 04:23 PM)debra Wrote:
(30-06-2020, 02:24 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: I am a six hour drive from the nearest accordion repair person, so called one I knew in California to see if he’d work on it if I mailed it. He said, no, you’ll have to stop by the shop. That’s a $500 plane ticket during a pandemic and a $200 stay in a possibly infected hotel. Unacceptable. Glad he’s got enough work to turn me down.

Sensible person. I understand your pain, but mailing an accordion is always quite risky. Sometimes there may be no other solution, but maybe there is a repair person closer by that you don't know about yet? I have no idea how to find out. Social media may help?
Thanks, Paul. Montana is a bit larger than the size of Germany. There are a million people here.
There is a repairman 4 hours away who did his best to tune my accordion, but not well. There is a teacher 2 hours away who said he’d “try.” Since we can no longer cross the Canadian border, the next closest is in the state of Washington.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed), Hohner 1974 Melodica (Piano 36)
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#10
(30-06-2020, 06:57 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: Thanks, Paul. Montana is a bit larger than the size of Germany. There are a million people here.
There is a repairman 4 hours away who did his best to tune my accordion, but not well. There is a teacher 2 hours away who said he’d “try.” Since we can no longer cross the Canadian border, the next closest is in the state of Washington.

Wow, yeah in that case shipping may be the only option. It can be expensive if done right. The upside is that once you do shipping (within the mainland) the cost does not vary in a significant way on distance. Packing is the problem, not cost. The way I see packing an accordion for shipping described makes me wonder how many accordions make it through in one piece... Yes, all good advice (like blocking bass buttons) but no description I have found tells you to use the amount of padding around the accordion that I would feel comfortable with. I remember around 1989 when I had a computer shipped oversees (and back a year later). This microvax was about half the size of a dishwasher and transported in a crate that could hold about 8 of such computers, meaning the crate was 2x the length, width and height of the computer. All of the extra space was used for padding. Now that is what I call safe!. Besides being safe by itself it also means the case is so large nobody will throw it around.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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