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La Tosca restoration.

Tom

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Well, this is interesting. Are accordions getting more expensive and rarer on sales sites on the US? This is in reference to another post. It almost seems so.

Anyway, a quick perusal indicates that the costs are increasing and that Sonolas have become desirable. Go figure. What is your experience? I've had and restored a few Sonolas, in fact the last accordion I bought and restored. I think they are pretty nice.

Anyway, I have a few people interested in learning so need a few loaners. One is the Sonola.

So, a quick look at ebay brought me to a pre 50s La Tosca. Were these made or imported by the Gretsch company in Baltimore?

It's a cool design. I restored a later model La Tosca and thought it was pretty nice.

This one should show up this weekend, and hopefully it's in "good, restorable" condition, suitable for a loaner.

Wish me luck!

unnamed.jpg
 

Dingo40

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Tom,
"..and that Sonolas have become desirable. Go figure. What is your experience? .."
l have a full sized 4 reed LMMH 41/120 , model R460, c. 1972 Sonola from new and two "student/ladies' sized" 41/120 models ( a LMH, and a LMM) both of which I obtained used.
My experience has been they are well made, dependable, and sound good (to me).🙂👍
Over the years, they have given less trouble (all three together) than your average lawnmower by itself!😄 ( Just a very little spot tuning)
My experience is only with Sonola's lower-mid range priced models, there being also some very high priced top of the range ones made, such as my erstwhile teacher owned.)
 
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Tom

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Tom,
"..and that Sonolas have become desirable. Go figure. What is your experience? .."
l have a full sized 4 reed LMMH 41/120 c. 1972 Sonola from new and two "student/ladies' sized" 41/120 models ( a LMH, and a LMM) both of which I obtained used.
My experience has been they are well made, dependable, and sound good (to me).🙂👍
Over the years, they have given less trouble (all three together) than your average lawnmower by itself!😄 ( Just a very little spot tuning)
My experience is only with Sonola's lower-mid range priced models, there being also some very high priced top of the range ones made, such as my erstwhile teacher owned.)
Thanks for the info, Dingo!
 

JIM D.

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That La Tosca in your picture will be a candidate for this advice --
 

Ventura

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Sonola was the accordion of choice among professional Strolling Musicians
for many reasons

Most pro's of this type played thousands of gigs... played constantly...

many many Sonola's are plumb wore out, but still look nice and
play pretty good and could still be useful for Students or occasional players

in my experience, it is near impossible to still find a
(Real by God original from the actual factory) Sonola
in reliably great or even good condition

ciao

Ventura
 

Tom

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That La Tosca in your picture will be a candidate for this advice --
Thanks Jim!!!! Very cool page. You're right, I expect this LaTosca will need full reed restoration but I'm hoping it will play well enough with "minor fixup" to be a loaner for those people who "always wanted to learn accordion." As I've mentioned here, I got out of restoration and sold all my old accordions. But now, in retirement I have the urge to get more accordions going and may have to finally bite the bullet and learn to wax. This accordion will be a good candidate, as it's value won't preclude potential hazards of learning.
 

Tom

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Sonola was the accordion of choice among professional Strolling Musicians
for many reasons

Most pro's of this type played thousands of gigs... played constantly...

many many Sonola's are plumb wore out, but still look nice and
play pretty good and could still be useful for Students or occasional players

in my experience, it is near impossible to still find a
(Real by God original from the actual factory) Sonola
in reliably great or even good condition

ciao

Ventura
Thanks for the info, Ventura. I should say at this point that my current "Sonola" is the Rivoli (student) model which appears factory original and that I posted about the restoration here:


According to our resident expert, the Rivolis were built with some of the same parts and processes as the "Sonola" branded instruments, so, good enough for me!
 

Tom

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So, the La Tosca arrived, in "acceptable restorable" condition. Definitely a "labor of love" restoration. It seems to have all its parts and seems to play out of the box, however sadly. The bellows corners are decent. Will need major cleaning and new gaskezs right off the bat. I'll post interior. My goal is to initially clean it snd render it playable as a small loaner, maybe for practice waxing and releathering without fear of wrecking something.

It's got this interesting window on the back, appears to be for showing the (non functioning) single treble palmswitch. Will be hard to see when accordion is on. Presumably decorative. No bass switches, 80 bass, 16 X 5. Plus the craziest celluloid folds.

Branded "Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co." C4968.

Jim, do you think it was made (or imported) in Baltimore in the 1930s?_IMG_000000_000000.jpg20211023_120607.jpg
 
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Tom

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The leathers, although they should be all replaced at some point, are in surprising good shape. Two reeds are totally out, a couple are loose, showing failure of wax over time. Good because one bass block is waxed in. Interesting set of small "bass reeds" installed sideways, with lots of scratch marks and maybe replaced leathers at some point.

Some writing on bass reed block. One side says "151 Wow" (?), the other "152 Pero" (???) or maybe "Nero (black)"????_IMG_000000_000000.jpg_IMG_000000_000000.jpg

Will need to replace totally bent or missing leathers, but not all to render "playable." Need to clean up and free treble shifter mechanism.
 

JIM D.

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Imported from Italy late 30's to early 40's.
 

Tom

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Added foam gasket on top of leather ones, put paper tape (for now) over hole in bellows leather, adjusted some treble pallets, one still leaks. Will need all new pallet wax.


_IMG_000000_000000.jpg
 

Tom

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Yup lots of treble pallet leakage. Try to save the leather and replace all the wax? Not worth trying to save the leather?
 

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