Most of the points below are commonsense and apply to most musical instruments or delicate pieces of equipment, but I think they are worth repeating here.
Keep your accordion clean with a soft cloth
Over the years, I have seen numerous examples of problems with accordions down to some of the issues below.
I have heard of cases where reeds have fallen off an accordion when the wax has melted – yes, even in our usually cool weather.
I have heard of reports of woodworm in a fairly new accordion, thought I have never seen that myself.
But with care an accordion will last you a lifetime, so just pick it up and enjoy playing!
- Cleaning – never use strong chemical cleaners. Dry and polish with a soft cloth only.
- Case – when not in use for prolonged periods store your accordion in its case. A hard case helps to protect your instrument, but a soft case is lighter to carry.
- Keys or buttons – be careful not to knock the keys or buttons, especially when putting the accordion into or taking it out of its case.
- Storage – store your accordion in the same position as when you play. This keeps the valves and palettes in their best alignment.
- Avoid damp – avoid damp conditions for storage as these can result in warping of the wooden frame and rust on metal parts.
- Avoid heat – avoid extremes of temperature, especially be wary of storing your accordion in a hot place, which could soften or melt the wax used to hold the reeds in place.
- Avoid shock – accordions are made up of hundreds of individual parts. Although generally robust, avoid sudden sharp knocks which can cause misalignment of the levers, palettes or reeds.
- Bellows – Do not allow anyone to pull your accordion open unless a key or button is being depressed at the same time.
- Strap – the strap and in particular, buckles can cause damage to the outside of your accordion and its keys. So store your accordion with the straps folded behind the accordion away from the keyboard and bass buttons
- Use it! Don’t store your accordion for long periods, take it out of its case, play it and enjoy it!
I am often asked about buying an accordion and what to look out for or what to consider when looking for an accordion.
Anyone just starting out with the accordion is sure to be daunted by the wide range of accordions available. be that in terms of size, brand or layout of the keys and buttons. The list below highlights just some of the issues to consider, but ultimately there is no right or wrong answer when buying your own accordion. It is very much a matter of personal taste.
So, here are my top 10 tips to consider when buying an accordion
- BASSES – having 96 or 120 bass buttons will give more flexibility. Fewer might limit your playing in the future
- BUDGET – Stick to your budget. Decide what an accordion is worth to you
- TRY BEFORE YOU BUY – Get a feel for the instrument, check all is working and is there a guarantee on the accordion? Especially if buying second hand
- TRUSTED SELLER – Buy from someone you trust, be that a shop, online retailer or friend – My own online shop (Free the Reed) is available here
- SECONDHAND – Pre-owned accordions can offer great value for money. Many shops and online retailers have a good selection
- BRAND – Bear in mind accordions are made in various countries and in varying quality. Do not assume that a European sounding name on an accordion means that it is made in Europe
- PIANO OR BUTTON – This is very much personal taste, but if you are going for a button accordion, make sure you know which system it uses and if you are going for lessons, can your teacher teach button accordion?
- SYSTEM – There are pros and cons for the different button systems. Make sure your teacher is comfortable teaching the system you choose before buying
- ONLINE AUCTION SITES – Only use these if you know what you are getting or if you fancy a punt on an accordion
- RESELLING – A good quality accordion, that has been well looked after should have a good resell value
What do you think? Let me know if you consider any other key issues when buying an accordion.