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Wondering about a long dead father's CBA

craigd

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A kind lady passed her father's accordion on to me, and told me some of his story. Her dad died in 1975, and clearly this accordion means a lot to her, even though it's in pretty rough shape. I'm guessing it dates from the early 1950s. Are there any aspects of accordion design and construction that are particular to that era? I was surprised to find it has a low A in the bass - none of my other accordions has that. It's a 4 voice with MMM, the concert switch is two Ms, while the musette is all three. First time I've seen a "concert" switch. I have yet to open it up; I'll do that during the Christmas holidays. Surprisingly, no visible bellows wear, despite the condition. There is nothing to be found on the back, except for "Made in Italy". Any info is much appreciated.
 

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NickC

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I can't offer any information. Are you going to restore it? Looks like a fun project.
 

craigd

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Yes, I plan to restore it. I think it's a middle-of-the-road instrument, not the finest, but I don't think Guerrini made junk. The tuning I'll have done by Gary Anderson in Burlington, Ontario. Otherwise, cleaning, key leveling, valve leathers I can do. I look forward to getting started during the Christmas holidays.
 

debra

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Best of luck with the restoration. Guerrini made fine accordions, so there is a chance it can be salvaged. The first thing to do is to check inside under the leathers for rusted reeds. If the reeds are badly rusted then sadly restoration is less feasible (and requires all reeds to be replaced) but it becomes less work as replacing the reeds is easier than cleaning + revalving them. It's just a lot more expensive.
To the things you listed you should add renewing pallets if needed, and replacing the bellows gasket which will almost certainly be needed.
 

craigd

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Best of luck with the restoration. Guerrini made fine accordions, so there is a chance it can be salvaged. The first thing to do is to check inside under the leathers for rusted reeds. If the reeds are badly rusted then sadly restoration is less feasible (and requires all reeds to be replaced) but it becomes less work as replacing the reeds is easier than cleaning + revalving them. It's just a lot more expensive.
To the things you listed you should add renewing pallets if needed, and replacing the bellows gasket which will almost certainly be needed.
I haven't opened it up yet to see the reeds etc. Maybe I shouldn't! Rust is definitely a possibility - this is the dustiest accordion I've seen under the grill. The pallets themselves look okay, but that was a quick look. Can't spare the time to work on it now, unless I trade my 15-20 minutes of practice time for repair work. I am considering it, because I think I am more successful as a tinkerer and "restorer" than I am likely ever to be as a player.
 

Ventura

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looks like a possibly awesome even legendary box once you
get it into playable condition

hey that dusty stuff is what i meant by the handy old tank Electrolux Vacuum
having the port opening slide on it's back.. the blower throws a jet of air
straight up and you can just sort of run the reedblocks in a sweeping motion
harmonica style crossing back and forth... it will blow the heck out of the dustyness
(and the weak curled reedleathers may take flight too)

but it is a handy way to start the process (and sort of hear the reeds sounding)

you should assume the area under the keyboard is just as dusty but
if the felt and action seem ok, just pop the grill and blow air towards it while
a small/weak vacuum focused through a straw in your other hand can grab the
dust bunnies that get pushed into sight

ciao

Ventura

PS: about that low A... it just seemed to me Guerrini has always shown
itself to be a more personal, and perhaps thoughtful, accordion maker
that the average bear... that they did something a bit different or specal
for the fella who originally ordered that box does not surprise me

PSS: i recommend you document, while it is still possible to do so, her fathers
musical history information as detailed as possible... having a written
Provenance for an specific accordion we try and save or rebuild is definitely
of interest to future owners (and one of our objectives is to see that
special boxes do not Die, but end up in apreciative as well as skilled hands)

i personally have done this for the Dallape, the Atlantic IV, the Galanti, and the
Tonaveri Ranger (projects which i have worked/continue to work on)
actually along with the written history, i add, in Magic Marker, the original
accordionists full name and dates inside, near the reedblocks
 
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craigd

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looks like a possibly awesome even legendary box once you
get it into playable condition

hey that dusty stuff is what i meant by the handy old tank Electrolux Vacuum
having the port opening slide on it's back.. the blower throws a jet of air
straight up and you can just sort of run the reedblocks in a sweeping motion
harmonica style crossing back and forth... it will blow the heck out of the dustyness
(and the weak curled reedleathers may take flight too)

but it is a handy way to start the process (and sort of hear the reeds sounding)

you should assume the area under the keyboard is just as dusty but
if the felt and action seem ok, just pop the grill and blow air towards it while
a small/weak vacuum focused through a straw in your other hand can grab the
dust bunnies that get pushed into sight

ciao

Ventura

PS: about that low A... it just seemed to me Guerrini has always shown
itself to be a more personal, and perhaps thoughtful, accordion maker
that the average bear... that they did something a bit different or specal
for the fella who originally ordered that box does not surprise me

PSS: i recommend you document, while it is still possible to do so, her fathers
musical history information as detailed as possible... having a written
Provenance for an specific accordion we try and save or rebuild is definitely
of interest to future owners (and one of our objectives is to see that
special boxes do not Die, but end up in apreciative as well as skilled hands)

i personally have done this for the Dallape, the Atlantic IV, the Galanti, and the
Tonaveri Ranger (projects which i have worked/continue to work on)
actually along with the written history, i add, in Magic Marker, the original
accordionists full name and dates inside, near the reedblocks
Thanks for the response Ventura. I received a very nice card with the accordion, from the original owner's daughter. Through phone conversations with her, and her letter, I have learned a bit about her dad. Would you say early 1950s is an accurate if imprecise vintage for this accordion?
 

Ventura

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there are a couple of clues, though these are not universal

first you see the grille is mounted by front facing screws, so the
grille is curved aluminum, and then you have the supporting wood
pieces glued inside... this style is more associated with the 1950's
i think. Second, you see the excess metal, sort of like the Cars in the 1950's.
I feel the overdone chrome fell out of favor in the 1970's and shifted to
non-metal Plastic type shiny stuff for the extra glitz, so i associate that
stuff with older vintage accordions

When you see if the action is round rod based key linkage and action
or flat aluminum action arms will help you date it older or newer (relatively)

just my general opinion on these features
 

Tom

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Cool accordion and story, Craig, a good project. You're a tinkerer but you play your own way with feeling, that's what's important. Good luck!
 

craigd

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there are a couple of clues, though these are not universal

first you see the grille is mounted by front facing screws, so the
grille is curved aluminum, and then you have the supporting wood
pieces glued inside... this style is more associated with the 1950's
i think. Second, you see the excess metal, sort of like the Cars in the 1950's.
I feel the overdone chrome fell out of favor in the 1970's and shifted to
non-metal Plastic type shiny stuff for the extra glitz, so i associate that
stuff with older vintage accordions

When you see if the action is round rod based key linkage and action
or flat aluminum action arms will help you date it older or newer (relatively)

just my general opinion on these features
Yes, looks like round rod key linkages. So early 50s is likely. Thanks Ventura.
 

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