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Bellows Straps (clasps) on Bayan Accordions

henry d

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I note that on several Bayan accordions- including my own- there are no bellows straps. Aside from tradition, is there any particular reason to forgo them?

I don't have a case for the thing and it sits on a shelf along with several others (all be-strapped) and the lack of clasps makes it awkward to pick up and move about as I- mind like a steel trap; rusted shut- consistently forget that there is nothing to keep it from opening when I grasp the body. I normally pick up any accordion (when not wearing it) by the bass side but there are times... and it's a bit disconcerting.
 
Prior to seriously taking up accordions I spent decades repairing and overhauling woodwinds; sax/clarinet/flute and so in my own mad-dog obsessive way I set about accumulating a closet full of likely accordion carcasses and a ready supply of frequently used repair parts.

This is, to put it mildly, a... source of friction twixt the wife and yours truly.

To the point in this case- I'm awash in various bellows straps and could surely fit a pair.

But fearless repairer/customizer/vandalizer that I am I learned long ago that just because I can doesn't mean I should.

There might be some reason unknown to me (which leaves a LOT of ground to cover) that the Bayans don't have the straps. I figured I'd ask and see if anyone has light to shed.

Thanks for your suggestion though.
 
I don't think there is any reason other than "tradition."

My Victoria and my Cavagnolo didn't have bellows straps when they adopted me. They do now.

I once had an old CBA (Guerrini?) that had two interesting features:

1. The bass buttons was upside down (e.g. row G was lower than row C).
2. It needed no bellows straps. The bellows were locked when being closed and unlocked when I squeezed the bellows in from the lock position.

I wish all accordions had feature #2.


Victoria.JPG


Cavagnolo.JPG
 
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I don't think there is any reason other than "tradition."

My Victoria and my Cavagnolo didn't have bellows straps when they adopted me. They do now.

I once had an old CBA (Guerrini?) that had two interesting features:

1. The bass buttons was upside down (e.g. row G was lower than row C).
2. It needed no bellows straps. The bellows were locked when being closed and unlocked when I squeezed the bellows in from the lock position.

I wish all accordions had feature #2.


Victoria.JPG


Cavagnolo.JPG
Reversed fifths on the stradella would be disconcerting in the short run.

Nice locking idea on the Guerrini- I'm a big fan of the Scandalli bellows lock system. Easy to adjust just so and pretty reliable.

The straps go on the Bayan tomorrow!
 
There is a very good reason why a bayan has no bellow straps, and it is the completely flat bottom when you put it down in the playing orientation. If you were to add a bellow strap at the bottom the bayan would wobble.
The reason why the bayan then has no bellow straps at the top is just symmetry. It would be perfectly feasible to add a bellow strap at the top (in the playing orientation) and the awkwardness when picking up the bayan would be instantly gone. I keep thinking of adding one to my bayan but so far each time I ordered new accordion parts (from Italy) I forgot...
 
...
I once had an old CBA (Guerrini?) that had two interesting features:

1. The bass buttons was upside down (e.g. row G was lower than row C).
2. It needed no bellows straps. The bellows were locked when being closed and unlocked when I squeezed the bellows in from the lock position.
Feature 1) is just a feature of the "Belgian bass system", which often comes with the buttons in a square pattern but sometimes with the normal diagonal pattern (parallelogram)
Feature 2) could be a bit of a problem if while playing you run out of air and have the bellows closed completely. I expect they then would not open again until you squeezed the bellows once more... Was this never an issue?
There are accordions with internal closing mechanisms that use a knob, either on the top (in the playing orientation), like on some old Hohners like the Atlantic IV and other models with "metalbau" or a knob on the grille, like on other old Hohners like the Morino M series. Either way I generally prefer the simple bellow strap approach.
 
I have noticed that (in the case of older accordions), where fitted, the internal, knob-activated locking-claw often becomes bent out of alignment, at which point it either simply doesn't grip the latch or begins to "chew up" the inside of the adjacent bellows folds.🤔🫤
The simple press-stud strap system has less scope for malfunction.🙂
Even more reliable/robust is the heavy gauge wire and press stud yoke which works in the same way as, but outlasts, the leather. (One accordion I have has these: approximately 80 years old and still working!😄)
 
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Dingo40: The Morino Ms have the knob-activated locking claw and I have seen a few which were out of alignment but I haven't seen the type which 'chew up' the bellows folds. The type which might have done that may have been some older Atlantics which had two 'claws' operated from a knob on top of the bellows end. They all get out of alignment mainly because with age the bellows 'compress' a bit in the closed position; a few millimetres in fact. On one VM I saw the claw was broken. Even although the accordion was 50 or 60 years old Hohner, with their usual efficiency, quickly supplied a new claw and knob/spindle. The tricky part was that since the claw is screwed to the spindle and of course with the closed, compressed bellows it was not easy to see where to the fix the claw to the spindle. I can't remember if it was plasticine or engineer's blue which helped to locate the claw. How old those knob operated systems are was demonstrated at a recent accordion club I attended. A visitor to the club asked if they could borrow my 1VM and a bit later I got a frantic call to explain how to unlock the bellows!
Regarding the head of this thread (no bellow locking/straps at all) I don't see a problem with this provided you lift and carry the accordion properly.
I am a guilty as anyone in carrying mine using the straps, which of course is wrong.
 
Dingo40: The Morino Ms have the knob-activated locking claw and I have seen a few which were out of alignment but I haven't seen the type which 'chew up' the bellows folds. The type which might have done that may have been some older Atlantics which had two 'claws' operated from a knob on top of the bellows end. ...
The Morino Ms have a knob on the grille and the claw hooks into a bracket mounted on the largest bass reed block (in the center of the bellows cavity so no risk of doing anything to the bellows). The problem with the Morino M is that the bass block is held in place on the soundboard with a small bracket and bolt that may give way when you try to pull on the bass belt while the bellows are "locked". The bass block may suddenly be loose inside and do all sorts of damage (to valves and even reeds). And yes I have seen this happen and had to repair the damage.
I have not yet seen the case where the Atlantic locking mechanism damaged the bellows.
As for carrying the accordion using the straps, it should in theory not be a problem provided you always use both straps and provided that two brackets are used when the accordion is too heavy to rely on a single bracket. Just don't do it on a Pigini Peter Pan because the plastic case may simply break at the point where the bracket is attached.
What I have seen someone do which is an absolute no-no is to carry the accordion by the bass strap. The way that strap is attached to the accordion (on either side) is too weak to carry the weight of the accordion.
 
The Morino Ms have a knob on the grille and the claw hooks into a bracket mounted on the largest bass reed block (in the center of the bellows cavity so no risk of doing anything to the bellows). The problem with the Morino M is that the bass block is held in place on the soundboard with a small bracket and bolt that may give way when you try to pull on the bass belt while the bellows are "locked". The bass block may suddenly be loose inside and do all sorts of damage (to valves and even reeds). And yes I have seen this happen and had to repair the damage.
I have not yet seen the case where the Atlantic locking mechanism damaged the bellows.
I've never seen as much damage as that due to a faulty claw or loose reed block. I have also not the seen damage caused to the bellows in older Atlantics. Maybe accordions other than Hohner have knobs/claws/hooks bellows locking. A friend learned the very hard way when he lifted his Gola on the straps alone; they broke and a very costly repair was made in Italy.
 
There have been several brands ( not just Hohner ) which had claw locking models in the past. Our member Ffingers bought an old one in his neighbourhood some time ago and posted pictures showing the mechanism and damage. Maybe he can link us to that thread?🤔
 
There is a very good reason why a bayan has no bellow straps, and it is the completely flat bottom when you put it down in the playing orientation. If you were to add a bellow strap at the bottom the bayan would wobble.
The reason why the bayan then has no bellow straps at the top is just symmetry. It would be perfectly feasible to add a bellow strap at the top (in the playing orientation) and the awkwardness when picking up the bayan would be instantly gone. I keep thinking of adding one to my bayan but so far each time I ordered new accordion parts (from Italy) I forgot...
Good point on the wobbling. Since the clasp, in my case, is used for short term "just initially picking it up" the single on-the-top should be just fine. I can live with the lack of symmetry.

On the Belgian bass system reversed fifths- for me at least, only a short term (as in the first few minutes of playing after a prolonged absence with the system) issue and really no issue yea or nay otherwise. The variations in what goes on the seventh and eighth rows of 140 and 160 bass accordions is more irksome to me.

The efficacy of the internal locks is individual dependent. Tinkerers such as myself who routinely have issues with too loose bellows pins as a result of compulsively pulling and reinserting them find the adjustments straightforward and have no issues. Others who leave the innards to people who know what they're doing -IE people other than me...-may occasionally have issues over time as things get out of whack. Mainly I enjoy the purely cosmetic "clean" appearance and the neato-keeno aspect. Bellows straps are generally - straps wearing and failing with age aside- more reliable.
 
I've never seen as much damage as that due to a faulty claw or loose reed block. I have also not the seen damage caused to the bellows in older Atlantics. Maybe accordions other than Hohner have knobs/claws/hooks bellows locking. A friend learned the very hard way when he lifted his Gola on the straps alone; they broke and a very costly repair was made in Italy.
Ouch! It is rare for both straps to fail at the same time. (I have had a single strap failure on an older Weltmeister, but that's all.) Still, I tend to lift the accordion by both straps plus the bass strap to divide the weight over three straps. Some people also think that shoulder straps will last them just as long as the accordion itself. The reality is that after about 10 years most of the life has been take out of the shoulder straps already.
I have done repairs on accordions that fell down (even from as high as a table). I won't comment on how costly it is to repair, but it is a lot of work for sure!
 
I never lift an accordion by the straps, always by a corner below and the diagonally across corner above: so far, so good!🙂
 
There have been several brands ( not just Hohner ) which had claw locking models in the past. Our member Ffingers bought an old one in his neighbourhood some time ago and posted pictures showing the mechanism and damage. Maybe he can link us to that thread?🤔

Gordorlmity it took me a while to find that post - blabber fingers!

...but here 'tis:





 
Thanks, Ffingers!👍👏😄
The bellows locking mechanism appears to be of steel and much sturdier than most others of the same kind. 🙂
 
Gordorlmity it took me a while to find that post - blabber fingers!

...but here 'tis:





Oh yes, I remember seeing this. That mechanism is a recipe for disaster (for damaging the bellows folds).
 
Thanks, Ffingers!👍👏😄
The bellows locking mechanism appears to be of steel and much sturdier than most others of the same kind. 🙂
That's the good part about it. But if it isn't turned open all the way (90 degrees) over time the damage to the bellows folds is almost unavoidable.
 
-Added the bellows clasps to the Bayan top and bottom. Also added four unobtrusive rubber feet to add stability when placed on a flat surface in the playing posiiton. I've got to say- most "normal" accordions are not particulary happy sitting on their ends in the playing position since the keyboards are generally wider than the body anyway.

-I own a Scandalli which appears to be identical to the one pictured. It's surely pushing three quarters of a century in age and there has been no apparent wear to the bellow interior folds from the locking mechanism. Perhaps in addition to being rusted and filthy is was also abusively handled. I suppose it sums up as one of those "your mileage may vary" items. Mayhaps the player arched the bellow outward or inward to an unusual extent when playing? The caution to keep the latch fully turned when playing sure can't do any harm and might well have helped in that case..
 
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