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Accessing the bass machine of a small Frontalini

Siegmund

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My mother-in-law has a small 8-bass diatonic accordion (2 rows, 21 buttons) that belonged to her grandparents when she was young, and she has asked me what, if anything, could be done to restore it.

The exterior is very good to excellent. No obvious bellows leaks. There are a couple of buttons that don't speak and - surprise surprise - a nice loud 'clunk' when you tip the box in your hand, so I expect if we open it up we will find a couple of reeds than have fallen off.

There is also one bass button that doesn't move freely - it binds, like it is out of alignment inside and pressing against some other part of the bass machine. The problem is, there's no obvious access point. It's not like a typical 120-bass accordion where you've got screws at the corners of the panel with the air button on it. It's just a solid sheet of something like cork, with vent/sound holes in it, and 4 plastic 'feet' at the corners, seemingly nailed/riveted into place, not screwed.

Anybody know how I'm supposed to get inside that to see what is wrong with the "outside of the valves" part of the bass side?
 

JIM D.

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You will need to remove the bass section from the bellows. Does it have pins ?? Can you remove them ??
 

Siegmund

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Yes it has the usual pins where the bellows meets the case. (I haven't pulled them yet, but they looked the same as any others, none driven in too far to be gripped, etc.)

I hadn't anticipated that the way to access the pistons and rods was going to be 'from the inside out.' There will be no register plates under the reed block in such a small instrument - is it as simple as removing the reed block then removing a wooden sheet pieced by the valves?

(And yes, there's a certain amount of "you better know what you're doing before I let you tear it apart" on my mother-in-laws part... which I don't!)
 

debra

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Removing the bellow pins will give you access to the side with the reed blocks (so you can locate and maybe reattach the reeds (if you have the right tools and materials). For the mechanism of pistons you will need to remove the "plate" where the feet of the accordion are (and to do that you may need to remove the bass belt). Hard to say how opening things up and fixing things will be on an unknown instrument without seeing any pictures...
 

Siegmund

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Hard to say how opening things up and fixing things will be on an unknown instrument without seeing any pictures...

I knew someone was going to say that :) A hazard of getting asked my opinion of an instrument while at a dinner party...

It looks very much like http://bellingersbuttonboxes.com/product/frontalini-2-voice-button-accordion-in-gc/ where pictures 6, 8, 11 are most relevant here. I have no great confidence that removing the bass belt will reveal a way in to the bass side - but looking at 11, taking the bellows off isn't going to get me any closer to the pistons either.
 

JIM D.

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From your pictures, with this one - (1st) unscrew the bass strap - (2nd) remove the feet and the bass plate will come off
to reveal the pistons & valve pallets. To access the reeds - pull the bellows pins. - You will find the so called pistons on these
are really just bent wire and easily bent back to shape.

My first response was from my experience with older Italian models of similar design. On the older Italian models removing the
pins allowed you to remove an aluminum shell that covered the bass machine and with the pin removal, allowed the shell to be
removed and give access to the wire pistons & palets.
 
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Siegmund

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Thanks for replies.

The feet didn't give the impression of being removable yesterday - I'll look again next time I visit and see what I missed.
 

JIM D.

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There should be a small screw in the center of the feet.
 

debra

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Thanks for replies.

The feet didn't give the impression of being removable yesterday - I'll look again next time I visit and see what I missed.
You don't necessarily need to remove the feet themselves, but in most cases you remove the (wooden) plate the feet are attached to. Sometimes this is done by means of screws inside the feet, sometimes not.
 

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