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4/5 LMMH treble register switch modification to imitation Musette

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Wondering about the possibility of a modification to the register switch selection on an LMMH. This model has 8 switches (non-master) and I've seen variations of the same model with Musette (MMH, imitation) while others have Harmonium (LMH) in the same place on the register switch bank. Is it possible to alter the reed switches' function to select an imitation musette instead of selecting one of the current 8 combinations? What might that cost or what would be involved to modify? (I thought it might be just filiing out a hole and covering an existing hole in the plate. Finding a matching musette switch to reflect this is limited to scrapping an old one for parts, or do people repaint them? Not sure if its an embedded plastic or painted switch. Thanks for any info you can offer.
 

debra

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Changing the function of a register is a matter of altering the slides. (Part of Tier 3 from Accordion Craft Academy.) You do require some thin aluminium, an old salvaged register slider should do, but you then need to rivet a piece in the right place and remove some in another place...
As for the register button, on most accordions the "caps" are made of celluloid. The dots themselves are a matter of creating small pits in the right place and filling them with paint (or even just whiteout).
 

boxplayer4000

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MMH coupler.
Squeezemeasong:
As Debra says this is not an easy modification. I’ve only done it once and that involved the removal of
a part of the aluminium selector slider. (It would have been harder to have added a part).
It would help if you could post a good picture of the couplers which hopefully would show which coupler selected 
which of the 4 reed banks. Maybe something could be worked out from there.
You say ‘non-master’. Does this mean there’s no master coupler (LMMH) on the grill but maybe there is
a wrist coupler on the edge of the keyboard?
As a fan of musette I would be interested in having a MMH option as well.
A lot depends on how the instrument is tuned already.
 

JIM D.

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I've done this in the past. The process involves altering the aluminium slides. That is to removing some of the keys on the slide and adding some. I attach new keys on the slides with brass rivets. I'm fortunate to have different size slide spacers and old slides to work with. (been saving parts for 40 years now)
The process is tedious as for every key removed a new one or two has to be positioned correctly. And then of course you will have to alter or remark the register selectors. As for replacement slides you will find that they are listed as obsolete parts from suppliers. Depending on the model or make of your box slide alteration and register modifications can run from $150.00 to $500.00 USD
 

Sebastian Bravo

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Instead of modifying a register... why not adding a small single activator for the piccolo reed?
You need to make a small hole in the grill, that activate/deactivate the H reed. In order to achieve the MMH register, you should activate the MM register and then, activate the H switch. Just like some of us made with the third M reed of Hohner Morino accordions...
 

debra

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JIM D. said:
I've done this in the past. The process involves altering the aluminium slides.  That is to removing some of the keys on the slide and adding some.  I attach new keys on the slides with brass rivets. I'm fortunate to have different size slide spacers and old slides to work with. (been saving parts for 40 years now)
The process is tedious as for every key removed a new one or two has to be positioned correctly. And then of course you will have to alter or remark the register selectors. As for replacement slides you will find that they are listed as obsolete parts from suppliers.  Depending on the model or make of your box slide alteration and register modifications can run from $150.00 to $500.00 USD

Yet another alternative is to check whether you can get a "blank" register mechanism that fits (the "that fits" is the problem). A "blank" is one where all registers are in fact blocked and making them work only involves removing tabs, not adding a new tab. A large accordion parts store may have blank register mechanisms in different sizes. You (Jim) may have used them in all your years of experience, so you may be able to tell whether starting from a blank is going to be cheaper or more expensive than altering the existing mechanism.
 

boxplayer4000

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To my mind there's not one simple answer to Squeezemeasong's request. It depends on the coupler arrangement he has what the answer will be.
It would help if he could provide details of the accordion and coupler arrangement.
 
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Wow, all great replies above. Thank you, I already love this forum! This is a used instrument I don't actually own. I can't say how the coupler arrangement looks, but its a Lira Centro Matic model 35 LMMH 4/5. 11 switches total (2 duplicate masters, 1 palm master, 8 other combination switches (bass, acc, harm, band, org, vio, clar, picc). I have seen for sale online other variations of this model that have a MUS instead of the BAND switch. As was pointed out, it probably makes more of a difference how the reeds are tuned as this will determine how it will sound when MMH was activated (dry, wet, odd?). The acc combination is there, LMM, so there's that! I kind of had it in my mind that alterations mentioned would be approximately what to do, but the particulars are just that, particular to the exact model. It does seem like it can be done more than 1 way, but how it would sound remains to be heard/determined.

*On a side note, I'm torn about buying this instrument. Seems like a great deal on a stellar model and would be PLENTY of accordion upgrade. Any thoughts on this brand/model? Is there such thing as duplicate bass register switches? As in, if there's 5 bass register switches are they always all unique? Should I post this question somewhere else in the forums?*
 

JIM D.

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The Lira accordion models were well made & sturdy. Centro Matic refers to the switch machine on this accordion.
Most all Lira's were made by Universal of Italy and had unique switch machines. Lira as other makers used there own designed shift machine as not to pay royalties on shift patents of the day. The Centro Matic design all though unusual is
very dependable. The model you speak of will have hand made reeds marked with a "LIRA" stamp on them.
On your side note, I know of no accordions ever sold with duplicate bass registers.

A video of a Centro Matic
 

boxplayer4000

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Squeezemeasong:
I think that what you have said about the couplers makes it very possible that you could have your MMH without too much modification.
It's very helpful that there are two duplicate master couplers. If one of these couplers is modified to NOT engage with the L reed slider then
it will select only MMH. Without seeing the coupler mechanism this will probably mean the removal of metal rather than adding anything
which is a much simpler operation.
 

boxplayer4000

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Squeezemeasong:
The Lira accordions which are online appear to be very good quality. Is the one on this video the same or near the one you own?  As JimD points out the coupler mechanism is not standard design but it must follow that the mechanism selects reed block slides in an order to suit the individual couplers (as is done in a more standard design).
The duplicated master couplers appear to be the larger ones at the ends. If the tuning was suitable and MMH was acceptable one of the master couplers could be altered to not engage the L coupler slide.
To test if the tuning of an MMH arrangement is acceptable to you, without making any major alterations, it’s probably fairly simple to disengage the present coupler arrangement and select the MMH reeds by hand and then have a listen.  
 

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