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Chromatic accordion - C griff to B griff conversion

Aris PM

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Hi there! My name is Aris and I'm an accordionist from Greece. I have been playing the accordion for almost 20 years now. I begun with piano accordion but the last 5 years I switched to chromatic (b system). For more information kindly check the corresponding thread:
https://www.accordionists.info/threads/greetings-from-greece.6996/

A few days ago I met a person that is selling a beautiful double cassotto, 5 row CBA but the problem here is that this specific instrument is a C system accordion. My first thought was to buy it and after that I was planning to contact my accordion technician in order to convert it from C griff to B griff.

To be honest, I asked two different technicians and I 've end up with two different opinions. One of them says that this modification is possible and the other one supports that is impossible to happen because of the two extra rows above the main three.

I also made a quick internet research and I found this thread:

https://rec.music.makers.squeezebox.narkive.com/DdwRYJBB/b-griff-to-c-griff
Once again two different opinions. One guy supports that this is possible by: “Just all reeds have
to be taken out of the reed blocks and put back in new positions on the
the same reed blocks according to the needed lay out for the keyboard” and an other guy disagrees and says that: “Keyboard construction is different on B and C systems and would need replacement, no way to change the coupling on newer 4 and 5 row instruments.”

I am not a technician but with my common sense I believe that changing the reeds within the reed blocks will do the trick because B system is a “mirror” of C system and vice versa. But I m not completely sure and I don’t want to spend money into something that I’m not 100% confident.

So, dear experts kindly help me with this! Did you ever make a conversion like this one? Is it possible? Which technician is right and which is wrong?

Thank you in advance for your valuable time!
 

saabanders

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Yes, it is possible. I've done it several times. But it is not easy, and you have to rebuild the keyboard, it is not the same. 4th row is difrent. But if you can manage with 3 rows, just move the reeds
 

dunlustin

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I think you will find if the accordion is a 3-row you can just move the whole reed blocks
and
the second is true for more than3 rows.
 

Aris PM

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Yes, it is possible. I've done it several times. But it is not easy, and you have to rebuild the keyboard, it is not the same. 4th row is difrent. But if you can manage with 3 rows, just move the reeds
@saabanders Thank you for your reply! Based on what you wrote I have some additional questions:

1. What do you mean by: "you have to rebuild the keyboard"? Are you talking about just changing the button cups for the sharp and flat keys (black and white) in the new positions or changing the whole key levers?
2. You said that 4th row is different. Only the 4th row or the 5th as well?
3. Will the second row remain the same? I'm asking that because in both B and C system, the second row is the same (kindly look the attached picture)
4. The accordion that I'm planning to buy is a double cassotto. Is this affects the whole procedure?
5. Are you a repair technician?
6. What kind of conversions have you done in the past? From B to C or from C to B?

Thank you in advance!
 

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saabanders

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1. The 4.row is conected to 1.row. But not to the same note. Look at the picture.
2. The 5. row is ok
3 .Yes
4. Everything i more differcult whit cassotto. But it is nearly the same.
5. No
6. C to B
 

debra

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Both the yes and no answers are correct to some extent.
Yes it is possible, the 4rd and 5th row are offset in C versus B system and as a result the keyboard mechanism needs to be altered so that the 4rd and 5th row buttons connected to a note move over. The old repairer who initiated me into accordion repair (before I started taking courses in Italy) told me he had done the conversion once, and never again.
And that's why the "no" answer is also correct: converting C to B (or B to C) is so much work that it's not practically feasible and the cost of the conversion probably means that it's a better idea to look for a used accordion that has the system you want already.
 

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