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Mailing or traveling with accordion

96Bass

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I have purchased two new Beltuna accordions from Castiglione in the past. John Castiglione would not ship an accordion in its case. He placed the accordion in a sealed plastic bag and then put it in a sturdy cardboard shipping box and the accordion was surrounded by about 12" of shipping peanuts on all sides of the accordion. The bass was also blocked with cardboard. He would ship the case separately. Both accordions arrived with no damage.
I recently purchased a new Serenellini wood accordion from Liberty Bellows. I asked how they shipped the accordion and was told they shipped it in its case. This caused me some concern and I related my experience with Castiglione's shipping method. The salesperson said the accordion would be insured for shipping damage.
The accordion arrived with a crack in the accordion's wood body, the block where the grill thumbscrew secured the grill was broken, and the keyboard frame joinery had separated. The accordion was not well packed inside its case as it had room to shift around within the case.
The accordion was sent back. I'm surprised to see it has been relisted on their website as "new", same price as I had paid for it, and no mention that it had been damaged and repaired.

 

Elizabeth

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Good grief- what an interesting story.what an important story to share, thank you.

I am curious, as a side note, what playing on a wooden accordion is like. And what extra maintenance is required to yake care of a wooden accordion. Someone brought to my attention a wood one that Petosas sells that looks. Interesting to me. Maybe it was you.
 

debra

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I have purchased two new Beltuna accordions from Castiglione in the past. John Castiglione would not ship an accordion in its case. He placed the accordion in a sealed plastic bag and then put it in a sturdy cardboard shipping box and the accordion was surrounded by about 12" of shipping peanuts on all sides of the accordion. The bass was also blocked with cardboard. He would ship the case separately. Both accordions arrived with no damage.
I recently purchased a new Serenellini wood accordion from Liberty Bellows. I asked how they shipped the accordion and was told they shipped it in its case. This caused me some concern and I related my experience with Castiglione's shipping method. The salesperson said the accordion would be insured for shipping damage.
The accordion arrived with a crack in the accordion's wood body, the block where the grill thumbscrew secured the grill was broken, and the keyboard frame joinery had separated. The accordion was not well packed inside its case as it had room to shift around within the case.
The accordion was sent back. I'm surprised to see it has been relisted on their website as "new", same price as I had paid for it, and no mention that it had been damaged and repaired.
Sad story... Shipping accordions is taking a gamble. I like my accordions too much to take a gamble with them.
I try to go everywhere by car, and at least within Europe we can get almost everywhere with Ryanair that lets you book an extra seat for your instrument. Shipping or baggage in cargo hold, never ever for me!
 

Scuromondo

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Over the years, I purchased two used accordions from Castiglione’s: one was a full-sized 4/5, the other a much lighter 37/96 and 3/5 accordion. He shipped the heavier one separate from the case exactly as @96Bass described, but he shipped the lighter one in the case. Both were securely padded and arrived with no damage. In the case of the one he shipped in the case, there was not only plenty of padding around the accordion within the case, but the case itself was padded and packed within a slightly larger, heavy, cardboard shipping box.
 

oldbayan

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Hmmm... I wonder how accordions get shipped from their factory to their retailers :oops: Accidents can happen to anything and any form of shipping. I had accordions shipped to me from Ukraine and Russia to Canada and nothing bad happened, since they were well packed.
 

debra

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Hmmm... I wonder how accordions get shipped from their factory to their retailers :oops: Accidents can happen to anything and any form of shipping. I had accordions shipped to me from Ukraine and Russia to Canada and nothing bad happened, since they were well packed.
I have only bought accordions through a dealer who drives his van to Castelfidardo to collect new instruments when they are ready, and then drives them back. He doesn't take any chances with any carrier that may potentially damage the instruments.
 

Scuromondo

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Hmmm... I wonder how accordions get shipped from their factory to their retailers
The one new accordion I bought from Castelfidardo was shipped in its case. The accordion was surrounded with foam inside the case. The case itself was fitted with seemingly custom surrounds of rigid dense foam at each corner and along each side before being placed in a heavy cardboard shipping box that was just slightly larger than the case, so it was all packed pretty tightly. The accordion arrived intact, however one of the reed blocks had shifted slightly during shipping, enough to interfere with the register switches. So I had to open up the new accordion, and reseat the reed block.
 

donn

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My first accordion was a heavy full size Fratelli Crosio LMMM. Sent by mail from France, in a soft case surrounded by a some scraps of what I remember as some kind of batting, in a paper box that was more like bag by the time it arrived at the local post office. Those were sturdy accordions.

The box in a box system is a good one, especially if you're using something like packing peanuts that can shift around. Though I can't recommend packing peanuts, terrible nuisance. Large bubble wrap is very good at spreading a load out across an uneven surface.

As mentioned, if shipping in case, the case needs to be padded up so the accordion won't be flying around inside there - it needs to be immobilized - and that's hard because there isn't as much room to pack the padding. (I'm not sure there's any real point in packing inside the accordion itself, other than fixing the bass mechanism, because everything in there should be fastened down - but I've never sent an accordion.) Even with great big tubas, it's ideally better to ship the case separately.
 

96Bass

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Good grief- what an interesting story.what an important story to share, thank you.

I am curious, as a side note, what playing on a wooden accordion is like. And what extra maintenance is required to yake care of a wooden accordion. Someone brought to my attention a wood one that Petosas sells that looks. Interesting to me. Maybe it was you.
Yes Elizabeth, I did reply to you with a link to a wood Petosa accordion. The Petosa appears to be a much, much better build quality compared to the Serenellini that was damaged. The Serenellini was a beautiful accordion but the build quality seemed sub-par compared to my Beltunas.
The Serenellini on close inspection had some fit and finish issues. Not the attention to detail and finish that I was expecting. It did seem more fragile than a traditionally made accordion. I would hope that the celluloid Serenellinis are of a better build quality.
 

96Bass

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The one new accordion I bought from Castelfidardo was shipped in its case. The accordion was surrounded with foam inside the case. The case itself was fitted with seemingly custom surrounds of rigid dense foam at each corner and along each side before being placed in a heavy cardboard shipping box that was just slightly larger than the case, so it was all packed pretty tightly. The accordion arrived intact, however one of the reed blocks had shifted slightly during shipping, enough to interfere with the register switches. So I had to open up the new accordion, and reseat the reed block.
The Serenellini that was damaged was shipped to me in the factory cardboard shipping carton. There was a thin sheet of styrofoam between the carton and the accordion case on all six sides. The dealer had removed the accordion from its original packaging and had it on their showroom floor for at least six months. I doubt that the dealer repacked the accordion back into the accordion case as they had received it from the factory as the accordion was not immobilized within the accordion case and it had room to bounce around within the case.
 

Jibberin

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Several years ago I had an ex demo Fr7 delivered. It had been put in the first cardboard box that came to hand, I suspect, along with a modest amount of polystyrene chips. The delivery company had dropped it from a great height as the keyboard was loosely attached to the accordion body. A replacement was sent but this time it came in the original Roland packaging which was a work of art in itself. It was basically triple ply cardboard with the accordion safely insulated in a section in the middle of the box. I did contact the original delivery company but they couldn’t be bothered to reply.
 

WaldoW

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Liz,
I bought a 120 CBA on ebay and when it arrived, the box was crushed on one end with paint transfer from the impact on the box surface. I opened it in front of the shipper and discovered a damaged grille. I made a damage claim which went on for 4 months (send pics, send description, etc.) without resolution. The shipper (FedEx, who I will NEVER use again) cleared 2 BILLION $$$ in profits in the quarter in question. They ultimately claimed improper packaging, requiring double boxing (see FedEx for specs. for sending fragile items) that would result in an oversize package (quadriple the shipping fee). It was clear they had crushed the box and double boxing wouldn't have protected the instrument.

I have also received a half a dozen other Accds. damage free. I currently have a military surplus precision instrument box (HD fibreglass w/8 twist clamps) that I fitted memory foam to the interior. There is about 3" between the foam panels without the accd in. When placing the accd. in the bottom half of the box, then the top half over the accd. and sit on the top, the foam easily compresses to encompass the accd.. It is held tightly within the shipping box without damage. I would, without reservation, ship over the road or in an airplane hold with this set up (it's the handlers that are the problem, not the hold). Finding such a military box would be the challenge.

There is a Department of Transportation (USA) regulation that REQUIRES airlines to accommodate musical instruments accompaning passengers within the continental US at no additional charge. Check the DoT website to find the regulation. I've seen it and have a copy somewhere. Make a copy and present when arriving at airport (or, perhaps when booking the flight).

Lastly, not all accds. require bass blocking. Remove the bass side cover and inspect the bass pistons (the rods) for a positive "stop strip" (usually felt padded) that prevents the pistons over traveling. Push a button that is close to the removed cover and see if the bottom of the piston contacts the aforementioned "stop strip". Repeat for the other piston columns. If so, bass blocking is not required. All my modern accds. are so constructed. Blocking is only necessary if the bass buttons can travel below the "button board" (the piece with the 120 holes in it) and become dislodged from the guide hole.

Have a fun trip (before the lock-downs return),
Press on, Waldo
 

donn

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There is a Department of Transportation (USA) regulation that REQUIRES airlines to accommodate musical instruments accompaning passengers within the continental US at no additional charge.

Carriage of Musical Instruments

Which mainly just says they have to be treated like other carry-on baggage - no extra restrictions or fees, just because it's a musical instrument. They don't have to let you buy a seat for it, but if they do, they can't charge extra just because it's a musical instrument. They can however apply a lot of safety requirements, etc. American for example will do it, but the seat has to be next to you. United won't allow a string bass. Etc. These were already policy on most airlines, and maybe the main benefit of the FAA rules is that it may have caused them to get their flight crews on the same page. That has been one of the serious problems, that whatever the airline told you, you could show up at the cabin and they'd refuse to let that thing on their airplane. For what they felt were good reasons, but of course it's awkward.
 

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