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Author Topic: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds  (Read 3306 times)

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Jan Pentz

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2018, 05:18:47 PM »

My Accordion Guru had never worked on one of these....his specialty is piano and Slovenian button boxes. He was appalled at the way the reed blocks were glued right to the sound board....he removed the sound board section and replaced it, first making a template of where the holes were....then he glued in the new section. Then he made a reed block like modern cajun and Ericas have and installed it with keepers so they can be removed for servicing.......He was actually horrified that Hohner would make a high priced accordion in this cheap down and dirty way.......Frankly I've seen many old accordions that though mounted horizontally, you could still remove the reed blocks.....I guess Hohner is the "Gibson" of the accordion world.......they have a leading edge and then shoot themselves in the foot.........
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Winston Smith

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2018, 05:37:26 PM »

"Why Hohner glued down the reed blocks for so many years is beyond me"

Not that I pretend to any particular expertise, but I would have thought that introducing a "soft" joint of any sort between the blocks and the fondo would change the solidness of the reed mounting and therefore the sound that the reed makes. By "soft" I mean a gasket or any other type of seal which is not as rigid as a hard glue.
I should think that the only gasket which would be suitable (to retain, and possibly even improve upon, the rigidity afforded by a hard glue) would be something like a sunken neoprene "O" ring around every hole, but that might require more evenly spaced clamping, and the extra cost of machining etc would probably end up making it prohibitive.
Mind you; the possibility of air loss via the register slides verses air loss at the block mounting face, might obviate the need for gaskets, as long as the two surfaces are reasonably flat and well clamped?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 05:42:14 PM by Winston Smith »
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triskel

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2018, 06:21:04 PM »

My Accordion Guru had never worked on one of these....his specialty is piano and Slovenian button boxes. He was appalled at the way the reed blocks were glued right to the sound board....he removed the sound board section and replaced it, first making a template of where the holes were....then he glued in the new section. Then he made a reed block like modern cajun and Ericas have and installed it with keepers so they can be removed for servicing.......He was actually horrified that Hohner would make a high priced accordion in this cheap down and dirty way.......Frankly I've seen many old accordions that though mounted horizontally, you could still remove the reed blocks.....I guess Hohner is the "Gibson" of the accordion world.......they have a leading edge and then shoot themselves in the foot.........

Then I'm sorry to say that I'm appalled at your accordion guru's lack of knowledge about traditional German accordion/Deutsche Harmonika/melodeon construction.

I'd think Hohner's big mistake in the design of the 114 was to change to building the instrument with two upright blocks, instead of using the traditional glued-in flat ones either side of a glued-in central upright one, and THAT is how Cajun accordions are still made, including the very best of them like the Marc Savoy "Acadian" in my photo:


Indeed if I was going to modify the blocks in a 114, it would be to that configuration, and glue them in.

You get much the best response and volume with reedblocks that are glued to the soundboard/fondo, as they are also in my single-row, 2-voice, "pepperpot-grille" Paolo Soprani:

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malcolmbebb

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2018, 06:47:35 PM »

It's a recurring question, and I don't know where the original design came from. But I think Hohner were very commercially minded.

1) Hohner didn't have a service organisation AFAIK. So the difficulty of repair didn't hurt them.
2) How long before the average box needed rework? Ten years? More? So again, it didn't hurt the factory.
3) Many of the competitors' boxes were throwaway - so if Hohners lasted a bit longer, that was a plus.
4) Hohner could probably sell all the boxes they could make for many years. Why reduce profit/increase cost on a (probably) fairly low volume box when customers didn't seem to care?
5) Maybe they knew that 80% of their production would end up in an attic within 5 years?  ;D ;D

To Hohner, these were just a commodity they were selling. No misty eyes over their products. Mass production. Cheapest materials to do the job. Avoid costly design changes unless sales made it necessary. Buy up your competitors. If the customer doesn't care, don't change it. 

I work for a big multinational company. Hohner were doing then what we are trained to do now.

Maybe the real question is why they bothered to keep removeable reed blocks in this range?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 06:49:26 PM by malcolmbebb »
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Jan Pentz

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2018, 07:05:15 PM »

I don't mean to offend anyone......but for those of us who have trouble finding HA-114's in any condition, having them impossible to fix/tune is frustrating.....What he did was mount the reed blocks as they would be in a 4 voice Piano Accordion. Piano Accordions are made to be serviced.......That's all......I guess I wonder why the two worlds are so far apart. BTW, he placed leather under the wooden reed blocks like they did years ago.......the sound is fantastic.....
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Jan Pentz

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2018, 07:21:45 PM »

BTW.....this is how the reed blocks are mounted in the newer Hohner Cajun VI and, I would imagine the same, in the Hohner Ariette ......
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Winston Smith

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2018, 07:28:46 PM »

"the sound is fantastic"

I'm sure it is! (And whether any of us could tell the difference, I don't know. But I'm sure there must be one.)
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GPS

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2018, 08:25:07 PM »

H'mm......  I don't really want to have to make a whole new soundfondobasethingyboard (we really should have a generally accepted term for this bit of a box!), but on the other hand reconstructing the old glued-in blocks is going to be a challenge as it seems all the timber is present, but while most of it's intact but unattached to the instrument, some's still glued into the box and a few bits are knocking around loose. And of course some bits may turn out to be totally absent!  Clearly the proper thing to do is to attempt to rebuild it as Hohner intended, but it'll be a pig of a job. Still, it'll keep me off the streets.......

Graham
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triskel

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2018, 08:50:47 PM »

1) Hohner didn't have a service organisation AFAIK. So the difficulty of repair didn't hurt them.

On the contrary, in London (at least) they are said to have survived WW2 with a only a Managing Director and a Repairman, carrying out repairs and selling refurbished instruments, whilst in later years Willi Dannecker was Service Manager at Coldharbour Lane (where I visited him a few times in the '70s) and they had an accordion Service Dept. at Aycliffe Trading Estate, Co. Durham.
 
Quote
To Hohner, these were just a commodity they were selling. ... Avoid costly design changes unless sales made it necessary. ... If the customer doesn't care, don't change it.

Though changing to two upright blocks was itself a design change. 

Quote
Maybe the real question is why they bothered to keep removeable reed blocks in this range?

Perhaps because it was traditional in 2-row Vienna accordions, though flat glued-in blocks were often used in single-row Vienna ones, and produce a more "fiery" sound...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 08:53:51 PM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2018, 09:07:50 PM »

BTW.....this is how the reed blocks are mounted in the newer Hohner Cajun VI and, I would imagine the same, in the Hohner Ariette ......

Yes, but just because Hohner choose (for the sake of expediency, and sales) to describe those instruments as "Cajun" doesn't make them so - ask a Cajun...

Genuine Cajun accordions, made by hand in Louisiana, are copied from the best old German designs of a century and more ago, not simplified more-recent models.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 03:56:03 PM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2018, 09:18:07 PM »

... for those of us who have trouble finding HA-114's in any condition, having them impossible to fix/tune is frustrating ...

There are lots of tuners/repairers/fettlers (call them what you will) who have learnt techniques to fix/tune Hohner 114s, many of them being users of this forum. It's not impossible.

Though it would certainly be easier for them if Hohner had stuck to the old, traditional design that they used to use - similar to the "Acadian" in my photo.

This is how they used to do it, in my (large size) "Grand Prix Philadelphia 1926" Hohner 4-stop D melodeon:


Edited to add photo
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 03:55:30 PM by triskel »
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Theo

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2018, 09:46:46 PM »


There are lots of tuners/repairers/fettlers (call them what you will) who have learnt techniques to fix/tune Hohner 114s, many of them being users of this forum. It's not impossible.

I’m one of those.  As I said earlier in this topic, it’s not impossible, just a little more difficult.  I’ve successfully overhauled many of them without taking out the reed blocks.
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2018, 07:49:46 AM »

Triskel. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought it was Bell Accordions at Aycliffe trading estate in Co Durham.
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GPS

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2018, 09:39:15 AM »

Triskel. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought it was Bell Accordions at Aycliffe trading estate in Co Durham.

You're quite right, Nick. Is it possible Bell's undertook work for Hohner?
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Among others, Saltarelle Pastourelle II D/G; Hohner 4-stop 1-rows in C & G; assorted Hohners; 3-voice German (?) G/C of uncertain parentage; lovely little Hlavacek 1-row Heligonka; B♭/E♭ Koch. Newly acquired G/C Hohner Viktoria. Also Fender Jazz bass, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Epiphone Sheraton, Charvel-Jackson 00-style acoustic guitar and other stuff..........

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triskel

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #34 on: August 05, 2018, 01:48:16 PM »

Triskel. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought it was Bell Accordions at Aycliffe trading estate in Co Durham.

You're quite right, Nick. Is it possible Bell's undertook work for Hohner?

Like we've said before:

Interesting,  there is more than I knew to the history of accordion repair in Darlington!

There's an intriguing history to be researched and written up there, going back to the old Hagstrom factory that was set up in Darlington after WW2, and involving Bell's, Hohner, [Rolston Accordions, Geoff Holter,] and the only accordion bellows making facility in the UK...

Whilst the full address given by Hohner was:
Hohner Service Dept.,
c/o Bell Musical Instruments Ltd.,
Leaside North,
Aycliffe Trading Estate,
Nr. Darlington,
Co. Durham
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GPS

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2018, 03:14:21 PM »

Ah, all is revealed!  Thanks for that clarification.
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Among others, Saltarelle Pastourelle II D/G; Hohner 4-stop 1-rows in C & G; assorted Hohners; 3-voice German (?) G/C of uncertain parentage; lovely little Hlavacek 1-row Heligonka; B♭/E♭ Koch. Newly acquired G/C Hohner Viktoria. Also Fender Jazz bass, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Epiphone Sheraton, Charvel-Jackson 00-style acoustic guitar and other stuff..........

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triskel

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2018, 01:41:11 PM »

Triskel. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought it was Bell Accordions at Aycliffe trading estate in Co Durham.

You're quite right, Nick. Is it possible Bell's undertook work for Hohner?

Except that the shoe was really on the other foot - Bell's was actually OWNED by Hohner by then (1970s):

... after Arthur Bell’s death in 1961, the company were taken over by the German company, Hohner. Hohner took over the production of accordians but continued to sell under the Bell label, which was well-respected and well-established.
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pgroff

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2018, 03:16:43 PM »



I'd think Hohner's big mistake in the design of the 114 was to change to building the instrument with two upright blocks, instead of using the traditional glued-in flat ones either side of a glued-in central upright one, and THAT is how Cajun accordions are still made, including the very best of them like the Marc Savoy "Acadian" in my photo:


Indeed if I was going to modify the blocks in a 114, it would be to that configuration, and glue them in.

You get much the best response and volume with reedblocks that are glued to the soundboard/fondo, as they are also in my single-row, 2-voice, "pepperpot-grille" Paolo Soprani:


A compromise would be to have 2 A-frame reedblocks, each accommodating 2 voices, and glue in one of them, but with the other block removable and clamped in.

That approach is found in some MM 2 row boxes (but would also work for a 1 row, 4 voice box). It allows one reedblock (2 sets of reeds) to be tuned on the tuning bellows, and also allows good access to the other 2 sets of reeds mounted on the block that's glued in (when the other block is removed).  The glued-in block will often have a more powerful sound (depending on where its pallets open), which might be good for the piccolo reeds.

I agree that having all blocks glued in is a great idea for tone!  Having said that, I'm sure triskel will agree that the Baldoni & Walters 1-row boxes can also sound great with easily-removable (and easily-serviced) melody reedblocks.

PG
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 03:22:39 PM by pgroff »
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gettabettabox

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2018, 10:40:52 PM »

HA113 in D with one removeable block only, the low octave set. The reedblock with two middle reedsets remains glued in place, but is easily accessible with the neighbouring block removed.
This would work with a HA114 as well.
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mselic

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2018, 11:18:05 PM »

HA113 in D with one removeable block only, the low octave set. The reedblock with two middle reedsets remains glued in place, but is easily accessible with the neighbouring block removed.
This would work with a HA114 as well.

The challenge to this approach is usually the initial removal of the glued-down reedblock. I got lucky once and the glue on one of the blocks had already given away and the block came free without any tearing of wood. The components that house the sliders are made from very thin plywood  and would be very easy to damage. Even with removable blocks on a HA114, getting the slider assembly back into the reedblock could be tricky.
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