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“Safe operating temperature” for playing an accordion in the heat?

AccordionUprising

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it’s getting hotter out

What would be a “safe operating temperature range” for Accordions that have beeswax/rosin sealing the reeds? For storage, but also for playing?

Considering that wax would get soft and reeds fall out before the wax would totally melt. Would playing while the wax is soft make them fall out more?

Ambient temperature out of the sun?
Would 30°C be safe to play? Or 40°?
90° or 100°F?

That heat would make a car much hotter, so definitely avoid that or a hot attic or next to a radiator/heater/stage-light. (all disasters I have heard about.)

But out of baking sun, what might be a safe upper temp for playing?

(Perhaps we will see more accordions using nails and leather gaskets rather than wax to seal reeds? I have one like that that presumably would do better in the heat.)

This is being discussed over on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Accordion/...urce=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
 
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debra

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Playing in an ambient temperature (large indoor venue or outdoor in the shade) should be safe up to 35c. Playing in temperatures above 30c begins to be quite uncomfortable for the player, but the wax should still hold at 35c. What kills an accordion more quickly under such circumstances is direct sunlight.
To prevent reed plates from falling off when the wax is becoming softer some accordions have the reed plates held in place with nails (as well as wax). This techniques also helps to keep reed plates on when the wax becomes old and brittle (but at that age it doesn't help the sound from becoming bad when the reed plates are no longer firmly attached to the reed block).
If you live in an area where you often need to play in questionably hot temperatures, better get an accordion made for the tropics, with reed plates nailed or screwed onto the reed blocks, using either leather or cork between plate and block as a seal. Or get a Russian bayan that has no wax either (using large reed plates on a leather seal).
 

AccordionUprising

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Playing in an ambient temperature (large indoor venue or outdoor in the shade) should be safe up to 35c. Playing in temperatures above 30c begins to be quite uncomfortable for the player, but the wax should still hold at 35c. What kills an accordion more quickly under such circumstances is direct sunlight.
To prevent reed plates from falling off when the wax is becoming softer some accordions have the reed plates held in place with nails (as well as wax). This techniques also helps to keep reed plates on when the wax becomes old and brittle (but at that age it doesn't help the sound from becoming bad when the reed plates are no longer firmly attached to the reed block).
If you live in an area where you often need to play in questionably hot temperatures, better get an accordion made for the tropics, with reed plates nailed or screwed onto the reed blocks, using either leather or cork between plate and block as a seal. Or get a Russian bayan that has no wax either (using large reed plates on a leather seal).
Thanks Paul,

35°C / 95°F is a recommendation that I will pass on to others.
 

JIM D.

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If you can stand the high temp;s that will be experienced in some performances the accordion will not be harmed as long
as air is flowing thru the bellows. Once a performace is completed an accordion must be stored in a cool place.
 

Ventura

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used to do a Summer Strolling gig in Annapolis every year for a huge Senior community..
Dick Sowell was the other half of the Duet.. Trumpet player

wireless Audio transmitting back to my PA system so he mostly
pointed his bell toward the accordion grill (where my Mics were hidden)

too hot was when Dick started to look a bit ashen.. then we would
look for some shade and a break

i DID blow a few reeds loose one time.. pushed them back into place
during a repair break and still did one more set
 

Corinto

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My spanish fettler says he uses a wax mix adapted to our temperatures.
Otoh with my accordions fettled in the UK, before Brexit, there hasn't been any problems so far.
 

EMan

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I live in Florida and have some rules I live by. First, when I load my equipment in the truck getting ready to depart for a gig, the last thing to go in the truck, just prior to departure, is my accordion. I won't leave my accordion in a closed vehicle in during the day in Florida, sun or no sun. Secondly I don't play outside. I don't think that it would harm the accordion; it's just too uncomfortable for me. During the day in the summer months down here, it is not uncommon for the temp to be in the high 90's with high humidity. I think if the temp was high enough to harm the accordion, I wouldn't have to worry as I would probably wither and die. I have never had any problems with my accordions following these rules.
 

JeffJetton

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I use the same rule of thumb for accordions that I do for pets: If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for them. (And never leave them in the car.)

Conversely, if I'm comfortable, no worries. Any gig that's hot enough to damage an accordion would be way too hot for this pale redhead to make it through! :)
 

Dingo40

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Not the heat this time but the cold.
It's winter here and my music space has been hovering around 10 degrees C (thanks to us having the world's highest energy prices while, simultaneously, being in the top 10% for availability of energy resources😛)
When playing , moisture tends to condense on the accordion from the player's breath (as per brass instruments).
Interestingly, older accordions, containing a higher proportion of wood in their construction, are virtually immune 🙂
 
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donn

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When playing , moisture tends to condense on the accordion from the player's breath (as per brass instruments).

That sounds like a problem. Brass instruments don't mind, but steel reeds could corrode with intermittent damp. I wonder if you could breathe in while pulling, and out when pushing the bellows?
 

debra

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That sounds like a problem. Brass instruments don't mind, but steel reeds could corrode with intermittent damp. I wonder if you could breathe in while pulling, and out when pushing the bellows?
Unless you have sudden temperature changes the condensation should not be an issue. A gig bag is certainly good for taking care of a temperature difference. Let the accordion sit in the gig bag for an hour, or better two hours, before taking it out to play. And when you're done playing the gig bag will let the accordion slowly adapt to the different temperature in the car.
But... when it's really cold you should not be playing the accordion at all. The aluminium reed plates have twice the expansion rate from the steel reeds. As a result, the opening in the reed plate will shrink twice as much as the reed as it gets colder and the reed may eventually jam. Better quality reeds have tighter tolerances and will therefore jam faster as it gets colder than cheap machine reeds.
 

Caps

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Also you have to remember that all wax is not created equal and there are variations of the mix of the wax that affects the melting temperature. . Some use straight beeswax, others use a mix of rosin and beeswax and a tiny bit of linseed oil (probably other stuff -trade secrets, don't you know) . The rosin and oil supposedly make it a bit harder and stickier. I popped a reed off, playing outside in direct sun at 36 degrees on my little pancordion but the wax was in the 50 year old range, a bit crazed and was due for an update anyway I did see an accordion several years ago where almost all the reeds fell off and were sitting in a puddle of wax at the bottom. The accordion was setting in the front window of a pawn shop in direct sun and had been for several weeks according to the sales person. He said it worked perfectly when they put it on display.....
 
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