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Help! Tone on piano side of piano accordion much weaker than button side

AccordionCol

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Hi all

I am a piano tuner but am new to accordion repair and accordions in general.
I am currently tuning a piano accordion.

I have found when playing the piano side alone the tone is very strong and clear but when combined with the button side the sound of the piano side gets drowned out and many of the notes don’t respond as well as when played alone.

Can anyone offer suggestions as to why this may be?
 

debra

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First thing to check out is how the accordion sounds when someone else is listening. The balance between the treble and bass side can only be truly heard by the audience, not by the player. Accordions are (supposed to be) designed so that the sound that comes out from the treble side (which is closest to your head) is diverted away from the player and towards the audience as much as possible, to prevent the player from going deaf (from excessive sound volume). As a result the player does not hear the balance very well.
However, the notes should still respond the same way when the bellows are used with the same amount of force (thus forcing the same amount of air through the treble notes, while forcing much more air through the much larger bass reeds). If you are simply aiming for the same amount of total sound volume then the treble is actually played more softly, hence the problem with note response.
That said... there are large differences in the balance between treble and bass between brands and models, as well as large differences in the total amount of sound produced for roughly the same amount of force.
 

JerryPH

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On a Stradella accordion, there is also the inherent function that the “piano side” is the star of the show and so if playing with a single Reed, it would be overpowered by a loud bass, that is way more a negative. Your thought process is as of a piano tuner, you cannot apply those traits to an accordion… because it is not a piano. :)
 

AccordionCol

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On a Stradella accordion, there is also the inherent function that the “piano side” is the star of the show and so if playing with a single Reed, it would be overpowered by a loud bass, that is way more a negative. Your thought process is as of a piano tuner, you cannot apply those traits to an accordion… because it is not a piano.
First thing to check out is how the accordion sounds when someone else is listening. The balance between the treble and bass side can only be truly heard by the audience, not by the player. Accordions are (supposed to be) designed so that the sound that comes out from the treble side (which is closest to your head) is diverted away from the player and towards the audience as much as possible, to prevent the player from going deaf (from excessive sound volume). As a result the player does not hear the balance very well.
However, the notes should still respond the same way when the bellows are used with the same amount of force (thus forcing the same amount of air through the treble notes, while forcing much more air through the much larger bass reeds). If you are simply aiming for the same amount of total sound volume then the treble is actually played more softly, hence the problem with note response.
That said... there are large differences in the balance between treble and bass between brands and models, as well as large differences in the total amount of sound produced for roughly the same amount of force.
Ok, thanks for the response. I had a feeling what you suggested regarding balance maybe have been the case and if I’m understanding correctly the response issue may be more due to my playing skills (or lack of) than the accordion itself.
 

AccordionCol

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On a Stradella accordion, there is also the inherent function that the “piano side” is the star of the show and so if playing with a single Reed, it would be overpowered by a loud bass, that is way more a negative. Your thought process is as of a piano tuner, you cannot apply those traits to an accordion… because it is not a piano. :)
Sorry Jerry but I find your comment confusing and am unsure of the point you’re making.
Are you saying due to the fact that it’s just a single read it is obvious it would be overpowered by the bass and that’s just how it is? As opposed to a piano where volume balance is achieved by adding extra strings in the treble.
 

JIM D.

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What is the make & model of your accordion ??
 

AccordionCol

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What is the make & model of your accordion ??
Paolo Soprani, I have disassembled it but haven’t been able to find a model number.
Has tremolo on treble side that can’t be turned off.
Has two switches on treble side, one to turn on bass octave and one to turn off bass octave.
 

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debra

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Paolo Soprani, I have disassembled it but haven’t been able to find a model number.
Has tremolo on treble side that can’t be turned off.
Has two switches on treble side, one to turn on bass octave and one to turn off bass octave.
Well... this accordion has just one or two reeds playing in the right hand, and no tone chamber to boost the volume and make the sound more mellow. The bass is 4 voice, meaning that 4 reeds, some with more powerful low sound, are playing at the same time. The bass side produces more volume than the treble side. The construction of an accordion is such that the bass sound is muffled to some extent (by not having large holes to let the sound through) and such that the treble sound is let out as well as possible (by having an open grille). Each accordion has different balance between treble and bass, and that balance is heard differently by the player and by the audience. What you cannot do on an accordion (and can on a piano) is control the volume of treble and bass separately. This is why even when music is simple you can achieve a much dynamically richer sound with a small accordion ensemble than with a single player doing everything at once on a single accordion.
 

AccordionCol

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Well... this accordion has just one or two reeds playing in the right hand, and no tone chamber to boost the volume and make the sound more mellow. The bass is 4 voice, meaning that 4 reeds, some with more powerful low sound, are playing at the same time. The bass side produces more volume than the treble side. The construction of an accordion is such that the bass sound is muffled to some extent (by not having large holes to let the sound through) and such that the treble sound is let out as well as possible (by having an open grille). Each accordion has different balance between treble and bass, and that balance is heard differently by the player and by the audience. What you cannot do on an accordion (and can on a piano) is control the volume of treble and bass separately. This is why even when music is simple you can achieve a much dynamically richer sound with a small accordion ensemble than with a single player doing everything at once on a single accordion.
I see, thank you very much for the info
 

JIM D.

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From your Pic' I can't see if your bass plate has vent holes. If it does try taping them closed.
 

Dingo40

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Here's an earlier thread on the subject:
 

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