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Excelsior Cosmos III bass issues and questions

JIM D.

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For parts cleaning use -

That brown stuff is grease that has hardened with age.

As for bass assembly removal-- READ THIS COMPLETELY & THOROUGHLY !!!!


Bass machine removal is very rarely taken on by a novice - it will take time and careful preparation.

You will also have to read this ---

 
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Dingo40

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Ex-squeeze,
Before disassembling anything, take enough digital photos of what it's was before you started, to help with reassembly 🙂.
Also,
You can poke holes in cardboard (boxes or strips- label these) to keep parts in order. 🙂
 

Ex-squeeze

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Thanks for the replies fellas! So I had already removed all of my pistons before y'all posted.. I labeled each row 1 through 20 with a different color tape and placed them all by type. I.e. dim Dom Maj etc. I did take several photos before starting and now an at the pipes I believe you call them. After reading about the 47 million ways they can go back together I am going to consider my next move. Questing. If the leathers are in decent shape which they do appear to be, would it be crazy to just re-glue then to the felts? Reason I ask is that at least visually from the block side view look good. Also I am in to this box close to a thousand dollars already and about 10 hours. I would rather avoid the hundred plus for felts and leathers and the added time of lapping the cams and followers if I can get a couple of years out of it as is. Thanks for the help again. I was not looking for a new hobby(accordion repair) but I may have found one 😯
 

debra

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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?
There is only procedure way to safely disassemble the bass machine:
1) Carefully block access to the room you are working in for any possible intruders like spouse, children, pets...
2) Make sure you have ample space on table, preferably using trays to gather everything you disassemble in a very orderly way.
3) Take many many pictures as you work, ensuring you can identify for every piece where it goes.
4) Start with whatever ensures the pistons cannot fall out, and remove it. Then remove the pistons, keeping them in order!!!!!
(Some repairers use a block of wood with 120 holes so you can store the pistons in the correct order in a safe way.)
5) After the pistons, remove the "catorcetti" (or whatever they are called in non-Castelfidardo-speak, maybe combs or rakes).
6) You now have access to the pallets and can replace them or at least glue them back on.
7) Now work your way back, with catorcetti, then pistons, etc. everything in exactly the opposite order of the disassembly. Refer to your pictures to verify you are doing everything correctly.
8) When everything is back together, check that everything is working and sounding correctly. If not, retrace your step, again referring to the pictures as needed.
 

debra

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Also looking for suggestions on cleaning whatever this poor thing got oiled with 😕 Brown gummy stuff.. brake clean safe to use? Like no each individual lever outside of the box?
While disassembling, clean all the crud carefully (without bending pistons or catorcetti) and when you put the mechanism back together, do not oil it at all. The bass mechanism, like everything else in an accordion, does not benefit from lubrication with any type of oil. The oil will work well for a short while but will attract dust and dirt and will eventually turn into a brown gummy stuff...
 

Ventura

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to be honest, i could never successfully do that
(a full bass mech disassembly and reassemble)

this is when i would trade my old fashioned accordion for a modern Scandalli
with the drop-out Bass system !!!

of course i am what, 40 or 50 years behind the times here ?
 

Ex-squeeze

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Thanks guys, very appreciated! Is super glue ok to glue leathers to felt? Felt to pallets(plastic) seems quite secure still! Yes I have heard many times that oil is a very bad idea with these.. I was a bit distraught when I opened the bass cab and saw what I saw. Very wise on the wife and children.. my wife has been known to "organize" for me 😬 this project is locked in my shop!
 

JIM D.

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Ex-squeeze

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Thanks for all the help! All pallets that needed repair have been. All inspected and bass mechanism thoroughly cleaned and all but 3 chord rows back in. Not so scary once you get in to it.. amazing that someone or rather many figured out the math of it all.. think I found a new hobby.. or maybe some side work to shoot for 😏
 

debra

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Thanks for all the help! All pallets that needed repair have been. All inspected and bass mechanism thoroughly cleaned and all but 3 chord rows back in. Not so scary once you get in to it.. amazing that someone or rather many figured out the math of it all.. think I found a new hobby.. or maybe some side work to shoot for 😏
I find that often the most important and difficult part of accordion repair finding the right diagnosis. It's even more of a challenge when you do not actually have access to the accordion itself. The repair itself is then mostly using a set of skills that anyone can learn and can do provided you have the right tools and materials. The only thing that can still distinguish between a really good repairer and a lesser one is the accuracy of tuning that can be achieved. My speciality in accordion repair is... tuning!
 

Ex-squeeze

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Very good. I imagine I will be picking your brain when I start digging in to tuning. Have any recommendations on a tuning table? Or suggested reading? You a rotary tool or file man? With harmonicas I use sanding sticks mostly but a some harmonica guys use something called a greenie. It is a small green abrasive used in dentistry for polishing metal parts on dental work. Wonder if they would work in this realm?
 

debra

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Very good. I imagine I will be picking your brain when I start digging in to tuning. Have any recommendations on a tuning table? Or suggested reading? You a rotary tool or file man? With harmonicas I use sanding sticks mostly but a some harmonica guys use something called a greenie. It is a small green abrasive used in dentistry for polishing metal parts on dental work. Wonder if they would work in this realm?
The best tuning table is the accordion itself. I do have a separate tuning table to diagnose and fix voicing or valve issues, but never for tuning.
As for "rotary tool or file man": there are two types of people who work on accordion internals: there are "butchers" who use a rotary tool and there are "tuners" who use files and scratchers.
There is one exception: for the largest bass reeds (tuning up, not down) you can use a rotary tool on the added weights, and when tuning larger Russian bayan reeds with very tough steel you can use a rotary tool, but *only* with a sandpaper attachment, never with a grindstone.
 

Ex-squeeze

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very good very good. Thank you so much for all the help! Got the box all back together this morning and it plays well.. Will need to dig in to tuning it at some point but I think I will play it as is for a while first.
To recap. I started realizing that several reeds were not speaking only on draw. After visually inspecting and plinking and testing each reed in each direction with breath pressure (yes I know not advised) I was not convinced it was a read issue. When I would play very very very softly I could get the reeds to speak. When I applied every so slightly more force I could hear a Slap! inside the box and the reed would stop. I removed all the reed blocks and depressed bass buttons to lift the pallets and then wiggled each gingerly with a pick. I found that several would slide around. So with pressure pushing out past the pallets they were fine, but with air pulling in(drawing the bellows)they would pull down and cut off air.
Just in case anyone else encounters this someday. Also biggest regret. I did not measure the thickness on my felts and leathers on the pallets so I could order it and have it on hand when I eventually need to replace it :(
O well.
Thanks for the warm welcome to a newcomer all. I can not even play a song on accordion yet but I have accomplished a complete bass machine disassembly cleaning pallet repair and "proper" re-assembly. If that gives me any street cred haha.
 

JIM D.

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You have accomplished one of the most labor intensive and difficult procedures in accordion repair -- Give your self a pat on the back !!!
Being successful in your endeavor makes you a fine candidate for a start in accordion repair. Wish you well as in todays accordion
world there is a need for accordion techs. Visit here for advice anytime on the Forum or in a PM.
JIM D.

P.S for your intended reading I can think of no better start than a serious read of ---
 
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Ex-squeeze

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Thank you very much Jim! I have read a bit of it so far but would like to print it out and be able to ruminate on it. I will for sure not be a stranger and hope I won't annoy with to many questions 😯 glad to be a part of the community!
 

debra

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Thank you very much Jim! I have read a bit of it so far but would like to print it out and be able to ruminate on it. I will for sure not be a stranger and hope I won't annoy with to many questions 😯 glad to be a part of the community!
You did very well indeed! Many people find working on the bass mechanism to be a daunting task. But really it is much more "a lot of work" than it is "difficult work". You just have to be careful to keep all parts in the right order and make sure you have lots of pictures as backup to your memory. After this, every other repair task will feel easy. And by now you know that it's not the repair that's the most difficult, it's making the right diagnosis of the problem. The rest is just a lot of labor.
 

Ex-squeeze

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You did very well indeed! Many people find working on the bass mechanism to be a daunting task. But really it is much more "a lot of work" than it is "difficult work". You just have to be careful to keep all parts in the right order and make sure you have lots of pictures as backup to your memory. After this, every other repair task will feel easy. And by now you know that it's not the repair that's the most difficult, it's making the right diagnosis of the problem. The rest is just a lot of labor.
Thanks Paul! It is as you say.. A fair bit of work, and slightly tedious but not so scary once you understand what is going on. Would definitely hurt to get to the end and realize you missed something though :cry:
The bass is really a beautiful piece of work.
Now that I have been inside mine I have a buddy who has some issues with his.
Yes proper diagnosis is ware it starts.. In the middle of an HVAC diagnosis situation right now lol
 

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