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I may have found the one.

Mr Mark

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Further exploration has revealed that it is not a fifth in the bass section, rather a full 5 octaves when playing bass and counterbass, while the chord notes have three octaves. The piccolo is just subtle enough to pique curiosity without being annoying.

This is where I was saying above that the overall tonal balance of the reed selection in terms of timbre and tone is about as good as I have heard - which is saying at least a little something as I have definitely owned a lot of higher end accordions than this with similar piccolo on the bass but not so complimentary. Side track note : I assume these are piccolo being the bass range is G1, G2, G3, G4, G5 so the piccolo is G5? Is there such thing as range relating to reed naming or again is that an accordion manufacturer free for all sort of thing?

The 7th buttons are indeed playing a seventh without the root (eg. A7=E C# G). I am aware of how this can be used to produce the diminished one row above (in conjunction with the root note of the row above) but I do not use that at all in my music (I am not that far along with my theory alas). Curious then, does a 96 bass typically play the root note on a seventh button then? Or again the free for all I suppose o_O :LOL:.

From my limited experience with adding a quint, I have found that arrangement, limiting. I have only found it useful on the piano side when performing solo passages, and only certain types of music, so I'm happy not to have that going on.

Good chord site for shore!

I have had good experience with Wilson Music in the past, my plan is to email a variety of places and see what's out there.
Isn't your Hohner from a later date? This is my Hohner Tango. I always thought mine was from the late thirties. I had it restored and it sounds great.

Sorry Richard. My meaning was more along the lines of do you find this feature of value in your playing and or does it make the accordion lighter in weight etc, not how do you physically find it.

Do you mean that the bass chords have an extra note? That might be from before it became standard to leave out the 5th note from the 7th and dim chord buttons. I knew somebody who had an accordion like that which might have been from the late 30s or so. It didn't sound good when they tried jazzy chord combinations.

Clever players started clipping those notes out with pliers. It became standard to leave them out as time went on. I'm not sure exactly when this started, or when the new standard became the norm, maybe in the late 1940s?

Check and see if chord combinations that use the 7th and dims buttons, like the 7b9 on guides like https://accordionchords.com/category/7b9-chords/ work on your accordion?

I am not really a musician, so I can't say I understand this stuff, but my friend's older accordion didn't sound jazzy, and this was a good excuse.

(Thanks to lmschgo for mentioning that cool chord site.)
 

debra

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Further exploration has revealed that it is not a fifth in the bass section, rather a full 5 octaves when playing bass and counterbass, while the chord notes have three octaves. The piccolo is just subtle enough to pique curiosity without being annoying.
...
Interesting, but maybe you should check again...
Most accordions with just stradella bass have a setup with 5 reeds, but not doing full 5 octaves. To hide the octave jump they offset the octave jump somewhere in the middle. This is why on bass register markings you see one dot offset from the other four dots.
 

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Mr Mark

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Interesting, but maybe you should check again...
Most accordions with just stradella bass have a setup with 5 reeds, but not doing full 5 octaves. To hide the octave jump they offset the octave jump somewhere in the middle. This is why on bass register markings you see one dot offset from the other four dots.
Just to be sure I did check again, and this is what I observed;

1) G1-F#2 (49 mm reed)
2) G2-F#3 (44 mm reed)
3) G3-F#4 (28 mm reed)
4) G4-F#5 (24 mm reed)
5) G5-F#6 (16 mm reed)

There are no registers on the bass, when the bass and counterbass buttons are pressed, it activates all five reeds, when any chord button is pressed it activates reeds 3, 4 and 5 only.
 

Morne

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These old Hohners were definitely 5 octaves in the bass and 3 in the chords. I restored a similar vintage 1938/1939 Hohner Tango II (only single palm switch for MM/LMM) which also spanned G1 - F#6.

If you look at the early Hohners with bass registers, a lot of them actually stack all 5 dots. You can see this on the M-series Tango and Verdi. I haven't physically checked any of those, so maybe it was just a visual thing to indicate 5 sets of reeds. But if they meant what they showed then that suggests they were still stacking all 5 octaves at least in the 1950's.

I need to confirm, but I believe the same applies to my 1959 Morino VI M. The Stradella bass master has 4 stacked octaves (4 bass, 2 chord) and then the 5th octave, which applies to bass and chord, can be added with a slide register. However, it is a free bass instrument, so the range would have been required for non-Stradella reasons either way.
 

debra

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Just to be sure I did check again, and this is what I observed;

1) G1-F#2 (49 mm reed)
2) G2-F#3 (44 mm reed)
3) G3-F#4 (28 mm reed)
4) G4-F#5 (24 mm reed)
5) G5-F#6 (16 mm reed)

There are no registers on the bass, when the bass and counterbass buttons are pressed, it activates all five reeds, when any chord button is pressed it activates reeds 3, 4 and 5 only.
Thanks. Good to know. This would suggest that the octave jump should then always be very easy to hear... Maybe the offset reed bank was a later invention, to partially mimic the Shepard scale.
 

debra

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These old Hohners were definitely 5 octaves in the bass and 3 in the chords. I restored a similar vintage 1938/1939 Hohner Tango II (only single palm switch for MM/LMM) which also spanned G1 - F#6.

If you look at the early Hohners with bass registers, a lot of them actually stack all 5 dots. You can see this on the M-series Tango and Verdi. I haven't physically checked any of those, so maybe it was just a visual thing to indicate 5 sets of reeds. But if they meant what they showed then that suggests they were still stacking all 5 octaves at least in the 1950's.

I need to confirm, but I believe the same applies to my 1959 Morino VI M. The Stradella bass master has 4 stacked octaves (4 bass, 2 chord) and then the 5th octave, which applies to bass and chord, can be added with a slide register. However, it is a free bass instrument, so the range would have been required for non-Stradella reasons either way.
The old Morino, whether M or later N series, has free bass indeed, and this makes a good Stradella tone a bit harder to obtain than on an accordion without free bass. It requires more pallets to open and that makes the Stradella bass require more force to play (button press force, not bellows force). The Morino is also the only accordion I ever saw that has reeds going from E1 up to D#7, for 6 octaves in LM, or 60 notes, but only the lower 58 notes are available in free bass (stopping at C#, so the highest notes (D and D#) only play in the Stradella bass. Go figure...
 

Mr Mark

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Some Reed Porn I made.

Progressing along well here, the leathers have been installed to the reeds and the reeds have been waxed into the reedblocks. It has been awhile so that turned out more messy than I would have liked, but all is well. I used painters tape most places and while it was a ton of prep work it was definitely worth not getting any wax on the reeds and leaving me a nice clean finish. I used Aleens high tack glue for the leathers and that process went fairly well, although I find the leathers trickier to work with as they 'seem' to have some inherint static properties so they seem stick to everything they touch, a bit unlike the plastic valves I have used before. The glue is nicer to work with than contact cement is for the plastic valves though. I reinstalled the nails as well (if for some reason my box gets really hot hopefully they'll keep the reeds in place), using a paintbrush to apply a dab of wax where the original hole was first then quickly reinstalling a nail to the same hole. As per always waxing gets better as I go, I used a cosmetic wax warmer and it was perfect. Next time I will invest in the temperature controlled solder iron for the tight bits, I was running low on time and still am here so blazed it all with a wax spoon. I keep working the one sticking slide with a tiny bit of naptha in the reedblock and it seems pretty good now.

The next step is to tune. I spent all day today fine tuning my Verdi II as my new bellows came in from Liberty Bellows recently and it was time to get serious with that box as well. It went fairly well, however, I did manage to damage a couple of reeds (bend) as I was filing tips. These were the two smallest reeds of course, and they were inner reeds. I was pushing them up through the reedplate then filing them, using a .1 feeler gauge behind for support. I was very careful but of course these tiny reeds are very fragile and don't take much to damage. I have managed to bend them back again with much painstaking effort and they seem ok, but I am wondering if there is a better way to tune these small inner reed tips - it's a bit of a nightmare trying to straighten them again and I'd prefer to not have to go that route again!
 

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debra

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When you get to the tuning, here are a few tips.
You pull up inner reeds in order to file the tip. When you get to the high pitch reeds that no longer have a valve, stop doing this. Instead, use a narrow metal piece (a small square file would do) so that you can push the reed up only part-way (still not coming out), and with that tip firmly supported use a scratcher on the tip (in small motions towards the tip). If you push the reed all the way through you already experienced that this may bend the reed (ruining the voicing), so just supporting it from beneath, pushing up just a bit and using the scratcher is a safe procedure.
With the high-pitched reeds that are reversed the tips of the reeds are near the base of the reed block. Here on both sides you support the reed by means of a very thin piece of metal (maybe the thinnest feeler gauge) and on the inside reed you can then use a file and on the outside reed the scratcher (you cannot use the file as the wooden base of the reed block is in the way). You have to be very very slow and careful not to put any bending force on these reeds. With this method, plus being extra careful, I can tune piccolo reeds to perfection without ever bending or ruining one (that wasn't already ruined when the accordion came in for repair).
Final tip: always double check that you are tuning the right reed! (Every repairer has stories of tuning the wrong note or the wrong reed (inside versus outside).
 

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Well done so far Mark. I had the full size Tango IIm, exact same style as yours, with the full musette register, also needing work and I decided I best give it away. Regret that a bit now, but you're inspiring me to get to work on my Guerrini CBA restoration. Good luck, keep us posted.
 

Mr Mark

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I May Have A Problem.


After all this time imagine finding not one but TWO of these things. The second Tango II B (on the top right) I found yesterday on the cheap, it also needs new valves and wax, otherwise is very similar to the first one except a little more wear and tear. The only differences are white and yellow keys, badge location, pinstriping and the palm switch assemblies are slightly different. I've also pictured my Verdi II as it seems to have been the one to have started it all a few years ago, and is the one I fine tuned last weekend - with success.

It was good to have fine tuned the Verdi II last weekend, it helps to have been able to roll that experience into tuning this rebuild. For the next one I have already begun to assemble some things to improve upon things this go around, better files, scratches, bellows for a dedicated tuning table, lighted magnifying goggles omg lol.

I'm going to have to rebuild my tuning table as well but it got me through (one idea I have had was to put a light inside the tuning bellows shining up into the reed chamber so you can see how the reed is aligned with reedplate much better).

More than anything I need more patience. Must remember that ha. Sometimes you file and scrape and nothing happens. Then a lot happens. I actually had to do a lot less tuning than I thought, more time seemed to be required for realigning reed toungues (I've been using the hooks and need to try the other method - I forget either Italian or German - where you insert the lifter through the reed plate and pop it through but I am paranoid about bending the reed this way). The leathers turned out great, none of the inside ones needed trimming. Too bad I made a mess of some of those tuning, perhaps it is better to leave them off and tune the inside reeds first?

Anywho, just thought I would chime in that I'm chiming along. I actually got to play it tonight and it was pretty fantastic, I'm super stoked. I will need to fine tune over the next couple of days but it's mostly playing now :).


Thanks for the helpful tips, encouragement and participation - this is a great site!
 

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craigd

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Mark, I have yet to build the tuning bellows and your setup looks good to me. For me, patience in restoration is a challenge too. And also the temptation to make it a full time job instead of just a hobby activity in the evening when I have a bit of time. I am thinking about putting away my beautiful accordions until I am retired - I get too preoccupied with thinking about how I'm going to deal with this or that.
 

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Craigd,
"Use it or lose it," is good advice!
Don't postpone anything till retirement: you never know what physical/mental shape you'll be in by then.'🤔
Seize the day, and do it while you're able!🙂
 
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debra

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Craigd,
"Use it or lose it," is good advice!
Don't postpone anything till retirement: you never know what physical/mental shape you'll be in by then.'🤔
Seize the day, and do it while you're able!🙂
Good advice in general. But when you have a very demanding job it's hard to devote "enough" time on anything but work. I've been playing all my life but only took up "serious" accordion repair after retirement. It is very time consuming... Focusing on the essence is a way to get things done. You can spend years setting up a fairly complete accordion repair workshop and in the meantime not getting any repairs done. There is a lot you can already do with limited resources. I started out without a tuning bellows, and in the meantime I do have one but end up using it mostly for checking voicing and valve issues (with a small one-note hole) but rarely for actual tuning (with half an accordion on the bellows). When you start out with repairs you can just use the accordion itself as tuning bellows, and I mostly do that because it gives more accurate results.
 

Mr Mark

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Mark, I have yet to build the tuning bellows and your setup looks good to me. For me, patience in restoration is a challenge too. And also the temptation to make it a full time job instead of just a hobby activity in the evening when I have a bit of time. I am thinking about putting away my beautiful accordions until I am retired - I get too preoccupied with thinking about how I'm going to deal with this or that.
Craigd,
"Use it or lose it," is good advice!
Don't postpone anything till retirement: you never know what physical/mental shape you'll be in by then.'🤔
Seize the day, and do it while you're able!🙂

Good advice in general. But when you have a very demanding job it's hard to devote "enough" time on anything but work. I've been playing all my life but only took up "serious" accordion repair after retirement. It is very time consuming... Focusing on the essence is a way to get things done. You can spend years setting up a fairly complete accordion repair workshop and in the meantime not getting any repairs done. There is a lot you can already do with limited resources. I started out without a tuning bellows, and in the meantime I do have one but end up using it mostly for checking voicing and valve issues (with a small one-note hole) but rarely for actual tuning (with half an accordion on the bellows). When you start out with repairs you can just use the accordion itself as tuning bellows, and I mostly do that because it gives more accurate results.
Time is something we all have less of.

A full time job (unrelated and unfulfilling :LOL:) along with this restoration during the week and weekends has consumed most of my time (and energy!) in the last month. In the meantime there has definitely been life sacrifice lol. All my playing regimens basically went on hold, but the end goal(s) are there and on schedule so I haven't set myself off entirely into the Sargasso sea of squeeze. Plus I received a bunch of parts to repair a few other accordions and a concertina so I've been doing those too - sometimes things run concurrent for me and I'm on a roll so am currently going with it (y). There is a progression of trying to at least make this work to pay for itself - which it already has at least in terms of labour cost savings on my own instruments - and if I can make that a full time gig I'm all for it; but that will probably take time to build and learn, mostly by doing but hopefully a bona fida repair course will be in there sooner than later. Overall I do pretty well with the essence of things though! I am thankful I actually have the time or success would be a lot more difficult.

In the meantime making do, building, reading, researching, doing...unfortunately the playing side of things isn't paying so well right now, so I might as well get these tuned up and ready to roll for when that happens again - hopefully summer or sooner! At the very least I have a couple of projects to record coming up, so being whatever tunings I end up with I will get to live with forever so they better be good!

One of the issues I think I have had with this setup is air leakage around a screw hole, so my readings ended up being flat on the table as opposed to what they are in the accordion - the end result being the accordion is now 'a wee bit' sharp. Live able but I don't want that happening again. Learning is fun :unsure:.
 

Mr Mark

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we need a picture of you tinkering along in your mancordion cave with your magnifying goggles
The goggles are a godsend, if not somewhat awkward. The new files were a good choice as well. Relatively finished at this point, things are sounding really good with only a few notes to sort out now but they are minor. I would say the leathers are a lot less forgiving than plastic valves in that they don't flatten out so much if you bend them, so mostly the tuning issues are leaking leather. I have ordered an internal element from one of those green bullet harmonica mics and am going to install that as well. I am really liking the 5 octave bass section sound, really full but nothing overbearing. Love this accordion!! Now must play!
 

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Ventura

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i have taken an innertube and cut pieces out to hold a GreenBullet element
so it is somewhat protected from vibration
(making an envelope for it with a big hole slightly smaller than the mic)

there are newer soft rubbery materials with less weight and density now

a 2.0 microfarad tantalum capacitor in the circuit from the positive leg
is a good protective coupler, but electrolytics are fine too

if you mount a dedicated volume control for the mic, 10,000 Ohms is enough,
i prefer click types as they hold their setting firmly (but are getting hard to find)
22,000 Ohms is fine too (audio taper of course) stay away from high resistance
potentiometers, as the more resistance in a passive audio circuit, often = the more noise

adding a tone control is easy if you want one... just drain a .0047 or so Microfarad Capacitor
through any old leftover potentiometer you have laying around to ground...
that trims off just the highest frequencies

if mounting without screws, the mounting tapes for Automotive Trim are much more
reliable and firm than normal white foam doublesided, and 3m actually has a
permanent type available to the market now (positioning is ok, but once
you pressure it into place, it never moves again)

currently, parts express has some surplus bulkhead phono plug passthroughs that
seem airtight (couple of dollars each)

AND you are making me ashamed of my laziness !

ciao

Ventura
 

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