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Excelsior Symphony Grand USA

JIM D.

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Well since you ask -- Your Excelsior was in fact made with Italian parts and assembled in New York in the early 50's. Somewhere along the line an inexperienced repair was performed in your bass machine and will require it to be disassembled and reassembled with proper alignment of rods and pistons. It also sounds like the keyboard was lowered much to much at one time and now has restricted the air flow to the treble reeds. The misaligned bass machine and lowered keyboard is what is causing your tuning problems as the air flow to the reeds is impaired. That enclosed grill is a special order and the initial intent was to increase the sensitivity of the treble mic's (should be 4 of them) under the grill. The work needed to get your box back up to steam is 95% labor and 5% parts. The time required on the bass machine should be no more than 4 hours and the the proper treble keyboard alignment (since it's a tone chamber box) should be no more than 1 1/2 hours.
 

NigelB

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Thanks Jim, I didn't know about the Italian parts. Would that be the case and all the workings and the reeds? How did the quality differ from the USA ones?
 

nagant27

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I was wondering on these older excelsior symphonies, how do you know from looking at it if it has a tone chamber? Is there something that looks different? is it a bigger body? Or do you need to look inside?

Also is it a 940? I always thought a 940 had the different white registers, and the different grill. Is a 940 the Maganate model?

Maybe someone (Jim?) could just differentiate between the different models of excelsiors. I have heard of 960's also, and the excelsiolas.
This grill seems like it would be geared toward jazz to really mute the sound even further than the sordina. The microhpones inside that grill would pick up a really nice sound I would guess. To me this looks like a great accordion, and worth the labor to repair it!
Were all these assembled in NY, or at sometime were all the parts actually made in NY?

Sorry for all the questions at once, but I am specifically intrigued by older excelsiors and own a few myself. I think the sound they have is unmistakeable. Oh and that Kenny Kotwitz video is one of my favorites!!
 

JIM D.

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http://www.accordionlab.com/accordionlab/mall/preown/ExcelSymphony/ExcelSymphony.htm

In the late 40s the major accordion firms in New York were beginning to purchase quality parts from Italy and incorporating them in there existing model lines. By the early 50s most all of them such as Bell, Excelsior, PANcordion and Titano transferred all their production to Europe. During this transition period accordion models can be found containing both US and Italian parts. When having the parts made in Italy they were made by the US specs and in most cases interchangeable. For a short period of time Excelsiors were made with parts from both sides of the pond and labeled MADE IN USA, were in some cases containing more than 50% of Italian parts - assembled here and have the made in US label. Excelsiors are still made in Italy and are a division of Pigini. In the last 10 years I have come across Excelsior badged accordions that are Rip Offs and not genuine. These Rip Offs are marked Made In Italy and are of obvious China origin. If you come across an Excelsior badged model and it is not on this list of models -- http://www.castiglioneaccordions.com/excelsior.html --- or here --
http://www.excelsior-accordions.it/ --- Its a :evil: Rip Off :twisted: .
 

NigelB

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Hi nagant27 - maybe I'm wrong about the 940 bit? The grill does mute the sound a bit more, to be honest it sounds a bit nasal at high volume I was thinking about adding some felt underneath to stop the grill vibrating and colouring the sound. The sound is already unbalanced between the bright bass and the mellow treble. It doesn't quite cut it acoustically on the cassotto voices but I guess that's not the original intention with the grill. Like Jim says it's probably intended to aid amplification. The original mics do sound a bit honky to me though, and feedback surprisingly quickly. I'm considering fitting new condensers. It does sound very similar to Kotwitz's box on the bassoon voice. What Excelsiors do you have? I have an Italian 00 which is quite nice but not a patch on the Symphony.
 

NigelB

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That's very interesting Jim is there any way to tell between the parts used, especially the reeds and the wood? Is there a noticable difference in material/construction quality at that time of transition?
 

JIM D.

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I think you mean capacitor's (Cap's} and not condensers. The original Cap's on these factory installed rotunda kits have European markings but should be .001 uf -- replacing them with .005 uf Cap's should solve your problem. :tup:
 

NigelB

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Jim, I didn't think about upgrading the system that's already in there. I'll do some research on the '005 uf Caps'.Thanks! I thought they were crystal mics or is that the same thing? I did mean condensers though, as in brand new ones to replace the old mic system but perhaps not now.... I was thinking that part of the feedback issue came from the mics being attached to the grill which, because it's made in one peice vibrates like a skin. Also the grill is very reflective on the inside.
 

nagant27

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Thanks jim as always for all your information.

Nigel- I currently have an 00, a 940 Van Damme, continental- straight with no chambers, an AC with only two reed blocks both being in the chamber, and a US made Symphony with no chamber(this accordion needs some work that I hope someday to get to). The double chambered AC I have never seen before but appears to be geared toward jazz as well, and only has two selectors- bassoon and clarinet. It has a great sound, and is a little lighter. Each accordion has a different sound quality. I really enjoy playing excelsiors, and accordions in general! If I get a chance one of these days I will take a picture and put it up here. I would be interested in knowing from what years they are from. I have my estimates but would like to know what others think.
 

nagant27

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Nigel,
Also as far the felt under the grill, perhaps a piece of cardboard you can also try and see what you like better. I have a piece under the grill in the 00 and like it better than felt. I tried a few materials that I posted on here before somewhere including cardboard and sheet metal. All are slightly different and fun to interchange.
 

NigelB

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Hey nagant27 the AC sounds interesting. Is that similar to the Sonola Ernie Feilice? I'd wouldn't mind owning a lighter cassotto box! I'll try the card trick you suggested, Thanks!
 

nagant27

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I think Nigel that is what they had in mind when making it. It has the standard treble and bass microphones with tone and volumes for each side that excelsiors have. Looks just like the AC. I like it because it is lighter but has the classic excelsior chambered tone and sound. I have never played a felice sonola, but I think it has a really oversized chamber from what I have read, and have heard it being played on youtube and it sounds sweet. You can hear a lot of Ernie Felice from the website his son has for his dad. He offers some cds. He was a great accordionist, and a nice singing voice. He has a few videos on youtube too I enjoy.
 

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