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Author Topic: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass  (Read 11188 times)

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Bill Young

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Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« on: May 08, 2009, 12:47:28 AM »

WARNING: Long-ish post.

I'm posting this here, rather than in Instrument Makes and Models, because you can't readily buy one of these. Here's how this particular box came about.

I've long fancied a small button box with a fuller stradella base than the 12 available on the Hohner Double Ray DeLuxe and Hohner Trichord, after seeing Bruce Lindsay's Double Ray DL with a 48 bass from a Hohner La Divina piano accordion, and more recently, Waltham of this parish mentioning his Trichord with 48 bass. Indeed, I once had a Double Ray DeLuxe that I intended putting a 48 bass on, but I never got one of those circular things - a round tuit - so it didn't happen.

Then in the first two weeks of March this year, two rather good eBay purchases (thanks, Auction Sniper!) gave me the materials needed to make this hybrid. The first, a Hohner Trichord III 3-voice BCC# box, somewhat challenged cosmetically but in good voice (for 60% of what I was prepared to pay for it, and with a brand new Fuselli bag worth �50), then a Hohner La Divina 48-bass piano accordion which looked as if it had hardly ever been played.

The work fell into three areas: bellows, air valve, and some tarting-up of the Trichord.

I don't think there is a 48-bass accordion with exactly the same bellows dimensions (height, depth front to rear) as a Trichord III, so it's a case of adapting a "near fit". The La Divina bellows is slightly taller and narrower than the Trichord's; a Hohner Student V is similar. The most elegant (and costly) solution would be a custom-made bellows, tapered to match the different sized treble and bass ends. However, this was a project on which every expense was to be spared, so a second solution was adopted. This needs an adapter plate to mate the bellows frame of the 48-bass end to the differently-sized bellows. I made one from 3mm MDF, which seems quite suitable for the purpose. The adapter plate height is made to suit the taller PA, and width to suit the deeper Trichord. The aperture in the adapter plate has a height to match the Trichord, and width to suit the narrower PA. It would be possible to stack the bellows, adapter plate and bass bellows frame symmetrically, so that there was a small step all round. I chose to have the discontinuity at the rear and bottom of the instrument, as can be seen in one of the photos. It isn't really noticeable from the front or when playing.

The PA bellows were "as new", unlike the Trichord's where the taping was much worn, so at first I joined the PA bass end and bellows to the treble section of the Trichord. I suspected this might not be successful; and so it proved. The PA bellows has fewer and shallower folds and a smaller cross-sectional area than the Trichord's, and the resulting instrument ran out of air too quickly. So I re-taped the Trichord bellows (a time-consuming job for me, doing it for the first time) and made a different sized adapter plate to join the Trichord bellows to the PA bass-end bellows frame. This combination works fine. For all the glueing - tape, adapter, bellows ends, frame - I used standard PVA white glue.

The air valve on a piano accordion is used only to close the bellows after playing, and has a small hole and a push button in the top corner of the bass cover plate. I enlarged the hole by about 150%, made a new pallet and fashioned a lever to operate the air button while playing the basses. It's a wire lever suggested by the Shand Morino design, and seen in the photos.

As received, the Trichord had the aforementioned worn bellows, a keyboard worn down to the bare wood where it had been gripped using a tatty thumbstrap, a tarnished grille, grubby cloth and worn-down buffer felt under the keys. I took off the thumbstrap, made a thumb groove up the edge of the keyboard, renewed the buffer felt, painted the keyboard and grille black and fitted some perforated silver grille lining. I'm in two minds about the black grille, and might look for a replacement chrome one sometime in the future, but it'll do to be going on with. The bellows straps were worn , so I replaced them as well. Oh, and a new gasket on the bellows frame. The Trichord would probably benefit from relining of the treble pallets, but that's something else for the future.

The 48 bass (8x6) gives, for Eb Bb F C G D A E, counterbass, bass, major, minor, 7th and diminished. It's still lacking the useful B and F#, but I know that approximations to, e.g. Bm and F#m are possible by combinations of buttons. I just have to find out what these are!

I'm quite pleased with the Trichord BCC# 48 bass. It plays quite well and is nice and light. It's intended to sit around, ready to hand for when the need for a quick tune arises. My wife wasn't too enthusiastic when I said it'll be handy for taking on holiday (but I'm not going to Barra without the means of playing "Father John MacMillan" thereof while I'm there).

Now I have a 26-key, 2v piano accordion treble end and bellows and a Trichord 12-stradella bass end to dispose of . . .
« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 04:36:23 PM by Bill Young »
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graememackay

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 01:16:24 AM »

Bill

You're a genius!  Fantastic looking box, you'll need to take it to the workshop.

Well done!
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pete /acorn

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 07:41:43 AM »

Hi,
What size is have you for the bellows please,I've just bought a early 48 bass Hohner student VM cheaply and may be usefull for other members for comparisons.


Pete,  [Jillys husband]
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HallelujahAl

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 07:47:33 AM »

Wow Bill! You must bring to the workshop at Aviemore! I've been thinking about the exact same operation for my TriChord II - do you a picture of just teh adaptor plate that you made? As that's the crucial bit isn't it?
AL
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george garside

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2009, 10:38:41 AM »

absolutely brilliant Bill.   pity hohner havn't the sense to make ones like this as they must have most of the components already available in their parts bin & if made in quantity they could easily use a specially tapered bellows.

Theo - can this post of Bill's be  put to somewhere permenant eg instrument data base as a reference for  anyone wanting to do a similar job in the future

george
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Bill Young

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2009, 11:56:43 AM »

Hi,
What size is have you for the bellows please,I've just bought a early 48 bass Hohner student VM cheaply and may be usefull for other members for comparisons.


Pete,  [Jillys husband]
Pete,
The Trichord III bellows are 310 x 190mm (H x D front to rear) (don't know if Trichord II is the same).
The La Divina bellows are 315 x 180mm. Is that the same as the Student VM?
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 11:28:09 PM by Bill Young »
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Bill Young

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2009, 12:38:55 PM »

Wow Bill! You must bring to the workshop at Aviemore! I've been thinking about the exact same operation for my TriChord II - do you a picture of just teh adaptor plate that you made? As that's the crucial bit isn't it?
AL
Hi Al,
I didn't think to take photos as I was doing it, but I've attached some of the MkI version, La Divina bellows interfaced to Trichord bellows frame, which I hope give the general idea.

The adapter plate is just a rectangle of sheet material with a rectangular hole cut in it and the corners rounded off. The external dimensions match the greater outside dimensions of the bellows and frame involved. In the finished one, the height = PA bellows frame height, width = Trichord bellows width. The hole dimensions match the smaller inside dimensions, i.e. height to suit Trichord bellows, width to suit PA bellows frame. You could cut the hole either bang in the middle of the sheet or, as I did, slightly offset so that the front and top of the two ends of the box line up. A couple of minutes with a tape and the back of an envelope will figure it out. I used 3mm MDF to make it, but thin ply would do as well.

Hope this helps,
Bill

HallelujahAl

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2009, 01:54:57 PM »

Thanks Bill, most helpful. I'm just in the process of trying to line up an appropriate PA at the moment - then I shall be snapping my surgical gloves on >:E
AL
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pete /acorn

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2009, 08:15:16 PM »

Bill,
The VM bellows measure the same as your La Divina,
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Lester

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2009, 09:25:23 PM »

What's with these Frankenmelodeons?

Isn't there a law against it?

It will be Genetic Modification next     ;D

Waltham

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2009, 10:10:44 PM »

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HallelujahAl

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2009, 06:31:14 AM »

Hi Waltham - I too have BAD. Fortunately I get to pass them out to other players. If ever you're in the Derbyshire area come and have a blow with us sometime (preferably make it around Christmas so you can contribute to our carolling effort! ;D)

Quote
If anyone else wants one of these they can make me an offer for mine which I can no longer play
.

Don't suppose you'd consider swapping your BCC#/48 for an English concertina would you?
Regards AL
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Waltham

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2009, 04:30:25 PM »

Hmmm, one-handed English concertina, can anyone see what's wrong with this picture?
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HallelujahAl

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2009, 05:50:06 PM »

Quote
Hmmm, one-handed English concertina, can anyone see what's wrong with this picture?

Well Grasshopper...it's very Zen!
 ;D

Actually, I have to apologise as I'd forgotten about your current state of health. Best wishes with one-handed brassing!
AL
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2009, 07:32:04 PM »

Bill, I'm really impressed with your project. What a great idea in the first place and a clever solution to the slightly different dimensions of the two donor boxes. The tapering bellows would have been an ellegant solution from a cosmetic point of view but your idea is simple, effective and is only slightly less visually attractive at a tiny fraction of the cost of custom built bellows.

The ebay value of old Trichords and small Hohner PAs has just gone through the roof though ...  ;)
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george garside

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2009, 08:18:38 PM »

Bill, I'm really impressed with your project. What a great idea in the first place and a clever solution to the slightly different dimensions of the two donor boxes. 



reminds me of the adaptor plates that were used to fit 4 speed gearboxes from other makes to replace the 3 speed box on Ford 8's & 10's - very similar idea but I would never have thought of  doing it to join disimilar box ends!

george 
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Bill Young

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2009, 09:59:26 AM »

Bill, I'm really impressed with your project. What a great idea in the first place and a clever solution to the slightly different dimensions of the two donor boxes. The tapering bellows would have been an ellegant solution from a cosmetic point of view but your idea is simple, effective and is only slightly less visually attractive at a tiny fraction of the cost of custom built bellows.

The ebay value of old Trichords and small Hohner PAs has just gone through the roof though ...  ;)
Thanks very much, but I can't claim originality for the idea. Something similar was suggested in another thread a while back and all I've done is tried to implement it as simply as possible.

When I started looking, there were a lot of 48-bass PAs on eBay. Nearly all of them red - it would be more difficult to get a match for a black Trichord.

Bill Young

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2009, 07:24:32 PM »

When I started looking, there were a lot of 48-bass PAs on eBay. Nearly all of them red - it would be more difficult to get a match for a black Trichord.
Having said that, here's one on eBay UK.

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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2009, 10:03:13 PM »

Here on ebay is another route to B/C/C#/stradella bass heaven.   It is a Hohner Amati, a small CBA with 48 bass.  a reed swap on the treble side and your sorted.
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Re: Hohner Trichord III BCC# with 48 bass
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2009, 12:07:48 AM »

I thought about doing that, and bid on a couple of Amatis a few years ago but didn't get them.  A while later I picked up a chinese CBA but, perhaps predictably, ended up learning CBA instead of converting it.  I suppose I could convert it now, though it's only two voices and the donor box has three.
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