Repairing Accordion Keyboards.
When the accordion keyboard needs mending it is often because they are too stiff to open and close properly, and sometimes I need to take them to pieces. All the pictures in this blog are accordions I have repaired for The Accordion Shop.
I’ve always liked accordions because of their mechanical nature. The first accordions were really just crazy machines to play a mouth organ; the key or button that you press opens a hole allowing air to flow through a metal reed.
Older Piano Accordion Keyboards
Older piano accordion keyboards are usually made of wood. Each wooden key pivots on a single spindle or key rod which runs the full length of the keyboard. Sometimes the black keys have a separate spindle. If a key is stiff I may have to pull the rod out until I get to that key, releasing all the other keys. I often end up taking them all off to clean years of dust, spilt Guinness and insect nests (I kid you not). The end of the spindle normally has a little metal cover which reveals about 2mm of metal to try to pull through as many as 41 keys. Sometimes the spindle is VERY hard to get out!
Other Accordion Keyboard Systems
Many more modern accordions have keys that can be removed individually by various methods. I’m guessing the first ones came in the 50’s, but single spindle wooden keyboards are still made so there is no hard and fast rule.
This wooden keyed Galanti has a little hook tool under the front panel so you can unhook a spring on each key.
The Galotta on the right has individually removable metal keys. The one on the left has wooden keys and a spindle. They both use the same plastic molded tops.
This Galotta has a different system again – I think it’s newer still – keys are mounted on round pegs and held on with little flat red plastic wedges stuck through them.
Do It Yourself
If you have sticky keys have a go at mending them. Don’t use oil or WD40 – dismantle and clean first and if you need to lubricate use the smallest amount possible of silicone or graphite (I use silicone).
P.S. there is a good website for accordion repair HERE.