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Converting a LMMH accordion to MMM

ArtMustel

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Hello. I would like to add a set of clarinet reeds to an older LMMH accordion in order to make it MMM. Eliminating the piccolo reeds and substituting them with clarinet reeds would be my favorite option, however the block apertures for the higher piccolo reeds are way to small to put clarinet reeds on them. The other option that I don't like much would be to take the bassoon reeds off and install the 3rd set of clarinet reeds on the bassoon blocks, but that would yield a strange MMMH instrument missing the bassoon and bandoneon registers, (which I will do if there is no other option, because I really want to have an MMM accordion). Any ideas or suggestions or advice will be very appreciated. Thanks!
 

Ventura

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yes

use a different accordion

ideally, a simple nice quality 5 shift LMM oldie from Excelsior Giulietti Iorio
or other popular back-in-the-day student model

they are still plentiful, like the Candido, and often in the 3/4 size
so when you swap out the Bassoon (L) set for the replacement Clarinette (M)
you will have a nice, lightweight, strollable and sweet sounding, fairly legit Meusette box

since most of that era were tuned to 442, finding a junker donor box tuned to 440
will actually give you the equivalent of M- for a conversion of this type

just get a bag or 2 of assorted wood spacers/tabs/popsickle stiks at the Crafts store
to whittle down to fill the gaps on the L reedblock

this is actually a quick job to do if you are half decent with Waxing and the
reeds don't need many leathers replaced
 

JIM D.

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I've done this conversion for customers many times in the past. In your case the (H) piccolo reeds are removed - the reed blocks (2) there are
1/2 sets of (H) in each block. The reed blocks will have to be modified to accept the larger set of (M) and since the shift machine only has
5 shifts, the slides will have to be modified.
Your Accordiana has well made machine reeds and there are plenty of good used (M) sets around. If you do the conversion yourself the
cost will be worth it but having a mediocre student model accordion done by a shop will cost more than the accordion is worth.

In the Excelsior model line Excelsiors were Pro models - Excelsiola Semi Pro - and Accordiana Student models.
This is a general rule of thumb , but over the past 80 years exceptions can be found.
 
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ArtMustel

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Thank you Ventura.

Jim, very interesting what you said about modifying the piccolo reed blocks but I believe on this accordion it would be not possible to do that mod. This is not an Accordiana (thta pic was posted by Ventura as an example). The one I wanted to mod is a very old Pancordion LMMH, and the piccolo blocks are cut in a way that won't allow a mod, unless it involves an extensive cabinetry work (almost making new blocks), that is why I thought of modifying the Bassoon blocks, although eliminating bassoon doesn't make me particularly happy). Decisions...:sick:

pan2.jpg
 

JIM D.

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Yes modifying the (H) blocks (enlarging) is a chore but after setting up to do one, setting up spars & shims, the process becomes
easy by repetition.
 

ArtMustel

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Phew, quite a job!
The reed blocks on the piccolo side are just a bit taller than the piccolo reeds. That would mean cutting all the upper part of them and constructing a new top for the blocks since it is impossible to enlarge the apertures. No room for that, this job is simply out my league Jim. On the other hand, modifying the bassoon blocks would be relatively easy (just making the apertures smaller with shims), But then the accordion would be MMMH which makes no much sense. Thank you Jim, it was very helpful.
 

Ventura

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one other point of consideration

if this is a New York build Pan, then it is too rare and valuable
to modify to that extent

i only recently realized from other posts about the excelsior concept "rocker style"
4 flapper shifts on these old Pan's, and considering the era
when such shifts were used, it made me wonder if this is an indicator
of the New York factory period when Pancotti was the master of this house

and i wonder how much Pancotti's influence was involved at Excelsior when
they adopted the rocker shift system in the first place

Jim, does your knowledge of PanCordion mechanics and models go back that far ?

i also wonder if another indicator is the 8 shift vs 10 shift "Myron" model
such as we saw in the TicoTico video posted by Jim.. it seems the pre-1960
album covers and promo photo's and such all have the 8 shift (or earlier) models
featured, and i wonder if the move in production to Crucianelli is marked by
the change to the 10 shift model

one last thing (sorry for ranging widely in your thread, Art)
but while we have Jim's attention it was very interesting what you wrote about
in another recent thread regarding the typically selected chambered reeds and
the Why of it... but i have come across something interesting and i think the
PanCordions with tone chambers that were prepared for the use of the Welk
organization (such as the 8 shift model in the TicoTico vid) have swapped the
Clarinette reeds so the M+ is in chamber and the M out

i am guessing Welk wanted the slightly more bright middle frequencies to
project through the cheap TV speakers common in those days... i do
believe he was that detailed and smart about such things

any thoughts on this ?
 

JIM D.

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The Rocker switch design was used long before Pan accordions were marketed. The Pans used flaps but are not a rocker design.
The rocker switch was used on accordions back to the 20's. A rocker switch opened or closed only one set of L M or H reeds.
When Pan moved production to Crucianelli The original flapper & body design continued. There were accordions badged Pan
but were a Crucianelli design with a conventional shift machine.
 
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Ventura

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yes.. thank you..

Arts accordion in the pic above has 4 full width flappers,
i believe each one opens or closes one full set of reeds
as it is a 4 reed treble model

so they are working similarly to 4 Excelsior rockers

as opposed to Crucianelli models with 4 full width flappers and a palm shift
which look almost the same but do not have the dot markings
and are 3 reed
 

ArtMustel

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Right, this Pancordion has 4 sets of reeds and 4 flappers that can be combined; they open and close a set of reeds each. Also has a palms switch.
I haven't owned an Excelsior rocker but they must work in a similar fashion. However, something tells me that the Excelsior rocker switches are easier to operate and combine.

There are 2 bars on the bass side that are actually 4 registers. One of them produces a very deep bass and counterbass. And there is a visual indicator on top to show which bass register is in use.

By the way, this Pancordion model is Baton #1358
 
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Ventura

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well, perhaps if you are tired of it, someone who would like
to own and fix up a classic accordion from the Golden Era
would swap you a decent Meusette box for it !

the visual indicator is really old school !

and i see that the bass side has (what eventually evolved into)
the re-direct louvers
(it looks like yours are just glued on as a decoration, they seem to
be flush with the body, and there are none on the treble side)

but maybe they have the holes under them... have you looked inside the
bass section and ever noticed ?

i bet the reeds are top quality
 
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