Care, Maintenance, and Tuning
to Top Page ]
An accordion is a marvel of nineteenth and twentieth century technology.
It is complex, fragile and somewhat archaic..
- Don't drop your instrument.
- Don't pull or press the bellows when there is neither a key pressed
nor the bellows release open.
- Go easy on the bellows, especially during the break-in period of a
- You'll know by the feel when the bellows are broken in.
- If you can't tell, they aren't broken in yet.
- Don't pound on the instrument.
- Don't overblow the reeds.
- Harmonicas are a lot cheaper than accordions!
- Don't get the instrument wet.
- Avoid extremes of drouth and humidity.
- Avoid playing when the instrument is cold.
- Avoid smoke, dust, and salt air.
- Store the instrument in its case at room temperature.
Accordions are complex assemblies and require maintenance.
Most used accordions need maintenance. Many new accordions need maintenance.
A good repairman is a friend for life!
- The instrument is made predominately of balsa wood.
- Each button connects to a spring-loaded lever opening and closing a
- There are between two and five reeds to sound each direction for each
- Reeds are tiny metal tongues mounted in metal frames which are held
in the wooden reed block by means of beeswax.
- Beeswax is fragile, ages quickly, and can need replacement once a
decade or more often.
- Weather, dust, salt air and smoke have a tremendous impact on the accordion
Accordions are tuned by filing the reeds. Links to descriptions of
tuning theory and practice can be found on
Jax RCFB Free Reed Musical Instruments Page
. Tuning is not something one teaches one's self on one's best instrument.
A really good tuning by an expert can occasionally cost more than the
cash value of the instrument itself.
If you purchase a used accordion, assume it needs tuning unless the
seller guarantees otherwise. If you buy a new instrument, it will have been
factory tuned, but all reputable outlets of quality accordions fine-tune
Generally, a used accordion opened for tuning will be discovered to
require further maintenance
of some sort.
[ Return to Top Page ]