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Excelsior Cosmos III bass issues and questions

Ex-squeeze

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Hey there new guy here. I recently picked up an Excelsior Cosmos III 41 120. My Cs Fs and Es are not sounding on the bass when the bellows are drawn.. and only in the highest level register. I have had the pallets out and confirmed all reeds move freely. I can not see anything wrong visually wrong with the movement of the bass mechanism. Any help would be greatly appreciated. This is my first accordion by the way. Also wondering if anyone can tell me anything about this instrument. Wondering how the electronics on it work? It has Mics but it also seems to have a lot more going on. Thanks, EZ
 

debra

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If notes play in one direction and not the other the problem is never with the mechanism and rarely the pallets. You need to "dive into" the accordion to check out the reeds and leathers. When you take out a reed block the reeds you see on the outside are for "close" and the reeds on the inside are for "draw". With the leathers it's the opposite: the outside leather is for the reed that plays on "draw" and the inside leather for the reed that plays on "close".
 

Ex-squeeze

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Thank you sir. Sorry if my terminology is wrong.. . Have had the whole thing apart and sounded the notes with breath pressure and all sounded. I plinked then and made sure leather were not stuck. Can open it again today but had all my reed blocks out and about all seemed good. I suppose I should add I play and tune chromatic harmonicas 😊 so reeds are not new to me. What should I look for with the reeds? Also any suggestions on a test bellows? Think I might want to get in to this more.. repair and tuning and such. Thanks. EZ
 

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So I just had the all the bass blocks out again and confirmed all leathers sealing and all reeds moving freely. After reassembling the unit and under the very very lightest of bellows pressure the reeds will sound. But with a whisper more pressure and I can hear a snapping shut and no more tone. I understand that you sir know an awful lot about accordions and I very little. But perhaps there is for some reason a problem with the gapping of the bass mechanism that is allowing air when it is being forced open i.e. when I am closing the bellows and air is going out of the reed block but when I try and pull air through the reed it is causing that felt or whatever it is to close.. I will restate that this is only on the highest register of the bass.. it appears to be a very very small opening directed when I depress those buttons. Thank you in advance. EZ
 

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So I just had the all the bass blocks out again and confirmed all leathers sealing and all reeds moving freely. After reassembling the unit and under the very very lightest of bellows pressure the reeds will sound. But with a whisper more pressure and I can hear a snapping shut and no more tone. I understand that you sir know an awful lot about accordions and I very little. But perhaps there is for some reason a problem with the gapping of the bass mechanism that is allowing air when it is being forced open i.e. when I am closing the bellows and air is going out of the reed block but when I try and pull air through the reed it is causing that felt or whatever it is to close.. I will restate that this is only on the highest register of the bass.. it appears to be a very very small opening directed when I depress those buttons. Thank you in advance. EZ
Not good news... When the reeds play well when played very softly but not when you pull harder it means they are "choking". The air pressure pulls the reed towards the reed plate and the reed offers "springy" resistance and starts to vibrate, but when the opening between reed and reed plate is too small the air pressure is stronger in pulling the reed in than the resistance is pulling it back. The adjustment of this opening (how far the reed sits above the reed plate) is called voicing. To increase the opening, as needed in your case, the reed needs to be pulled a bit at the tip, but as this is on draw it is the inside reed so it needs to be pushed into the resonance chamber to increase the opening. But, warning!!!, this will not work as the resonance chamber is not deep enough. When you push at the tip the tip will just hit the back of the resonance chamber and this will have no effect when you let go again. The reed plate needs to come off so you can effectively pull on the tip of the reed to increase the gap. But this means you also have to wax the reed plate in again... so it's not an absolute beginner's job.
 

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Ex-squeeze

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Thank you for the good info! Question would it work to support the reed a bit back from the tip inside the chamber and push from the outside with the leather held out of the way? Also any recommended vids on both voicing and waxing? In harmonicas we call it gapping. Thanks a bunch. Oh and so you know a little more about me I do micro electronics welding and all sorts of small tedious things so I am not scared.. also as mentioned previously I tune and work on harmonicas. So these reeds are massive compared to the wee ones I am used to working around. Also has anyone ever tried Mylar valves instead of leather? What we use on harmonicas. Even on some bass harmonicas with reeds near these guys. EZ
 

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Could you help me understand why the reeds would sound with breath pressure but not bellows? Thanks.
I don’t know the answer to your question. However my understanding is that using your breath to sound the reeds is generally discouraged due to risk that moisture can condense on the steel reeds and lead to rust and reed damage.
 

debra

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Could you help me understand why the reeds would sound with breath pressure but not bellows? Thanks.
When you blow into the reed block the inside reed (used on draw) will sound and when you suck the outside reed (used on push) will sound. The "source" of the air pressure is reversed versus playing the accordion. On draw air is sucked through the hole in the reed block whereas when you blow you "push" the air into the hole. When you push the bellows the air is pushed via the (outside) reed through the hole in the reed block but when you suck you such the air through the hole. The difference in source of the air pressure is important for checking the voicing. When adjusting piccolo reeds for instance the reeds may start well when the reed block is on a test bellows but not start when the reed block is in the accordion, or vice versa. It may work well in the accordion but not on the test bellows.
 

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Perhaps if the accordion leaks enough air that it escapes the bellows and doesn't apply enough pressure to a reed that is partially blocked by a leather?
 

Ex-squeeze

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I don't think so.. at least with no keys depressed the bellows will not move. Seems to be a pretty well put together instrument. It was impeccable clean inside. All the leathers looked great. And yes I understand it is not a good practice to use breath pressure to test but I do not own a test bellows. Although I would like to get one. I can sound every bass reed with breath pressure from a whisper to full volume. Even the ones that "choke" starting to notice a couple of other reeds only speaking while drawing,. It's also becoming clear it is in need of tuning. Seems I may have inherited a basket case πŸ˜•
 

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Is there any other possible cause for the reed not speaking?
The simple answer is "no". But there is one very last thing you could maybe try to find out: When you draw (pull) to play a note the air is being sucked into the accordion (bellows). If the felt+leather part of the pallet of a note is loose on the side of the lowest reeds it may get sucked off the wooden pallet base and on the hole and that will block the air flow to the note. This is a highly unlikely cause of the problem, but not impossible. Unfortunately it is hard to see because the whole bass mechanism is trying to block your view of the pallets.
This is so unlikely that really the voicing of the bass reeds is by far the most likely cause of the problem. Everytime you play a note there is more force drawing the reed tip into the hole in the reed plate than force pushing it out. So over time as you play an accordion the reed tip ever so slowly starts resting closer to the reed plate. So a new accordion that has no reeds that are choking when you play loud may start developing a choking problem after decades of use (without maintenance that includes readjusting the voicing). Voicing is typically not hard to adjust, except to avoid a choking problem on large bass reeds (because you cannot push the inner reed inside far enough to have any effect).
 

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I must agree with Paul's suggestion That you have a loose leather on a bass pallet. I would suggest you remove the large bass reed
block - assemble the accordion and depress the lowest reed shift and try each button with a in and out bellows movement. If the
bellows resistance varies on In and out motion - you have a loose bass pad. Unfortunately this will require bass machine removal
to repair.
 

Ex-squeeze

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Thank you sir I will try this. I have tried it with the two smaller blocks but I will try with just the big out.
 

Ex-squeeze

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So I have pulled just my biggest bass block out leaving the two smaller ones. The reeds that would not sound before still to not. But some buttons offer far more resistance than others on draw. Your thoughts on this? Thank you in advance. And thank you to Paul! You input is very much appreciated. Like I said brand new to this particular situation but confident I can get through it with help. For what it's worth the gapping on the reeds that don't speak appear on different from all those that do. Also is it possible to support the inside reed like half way down an just push the tip up? Thanks
 

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So I have pulled just my biggest bass block out leaving the two smaller ones. The reeds that would not sound before still to not. But some buttons offer far more resistance than others on draw. Your thoughts on this? Thank you in advance. And thank you to Paul! You input is very much appreciated. Like I said brand new to this particular situation but confident I can get through it with help. For what it's worth the gapping on the reeds that don't speak appear on different from all those that do. Also is it possible to support the inside reed like half way down an just push the tip up? Thanks
Please do not try to adjust the voicing on the inside reeds. The only way to adjust the voicing is to remove the reed plate. The reed needs to be bent more than is possible when the reed plate is on the reed block. There simply isn't enough depth. And if you support the reed half way down and then push the tip you will bend the reed out of shape and it will be ruined.
 

Ex-squeeze

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Thank you for the warning friend.. I have confirmed the issue lies with the pallets! Only excited because I know what it is now. With all my reed blocks off I depressed different buttons and very gingerly wiggled the felts with a pick, and reveal me them move freely back and forth. So now comes the real need for advice.. the bass machine.. how to disassemble in such a way I can put it back together?
 

Ex-squeeze

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Also looking for suggestions on cleaning whatever this poor thing got oiled with πŸ˜• Brown gummy stuff.. brake clean safe to use? Like no each individual lever outside of the box?
 

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