It’s so pretty! On the outside that is … the accordion is truly a beautiful instrument. However, when an accordion has lived a long, well-loved life, sometimes the interior mechanisms can get downright scary. As a repair tech who’s worked with many accordions in the past few years, I can tell you that from personal experience. The most common work I do with accordions is cleaning. I often hear the words; “It’s been safely stored in the basement/garage/attic/wherever for the past 25+ years. It’s in great condition!” Honestly, I almost cringe inside when I hear that!
First of all, please never store your accordion anywhere that will subject it to any kind of extremes in temperature or humidity. The accordion is a masterpiece of design with hundreds of small parts, which includes the special wax used to hold the reeds in. That wax needs a moderate, consistent temperature for its health. Too much heat and it can melt or soften, causing the reeds to reset, move or fall out. Too much cold and the wax can constrict and crack, leading to the same problems. But, that’s a rabbit trail for another time.
Dust to Dust
Speaking of rabbit trails … have you ever lived or worked someplace where dust bunnies multiplied in the corners faster than you can keep up with them? Crazy, eh? Guess what? It happens with accordions too!
Often an accordion comes into the repair shop that looks quite lovely on the outside, but either the bass/treble mechanisms are slow or there are notes that don’t sound quite right. While these issues can be caused by other factors, more often than not the dust bunnies have invaded and need vanquished.
The amount of dust, fuzz, spider webs, and dead bugs that I have encountered in my repair time has been mind-boggling. I’m not a germaphobe, but occasionally it’s quite disturbing to see the amount of gunk that an accordion can collect! Check out the photos below to see what I mean. You can click on each one to get a closer look … Go ahead, I dare you. 🙂
So, now that you know what may be lurking in your accordion … what should you do about it?
If you feel that dust bunnies may have overtaken your beloved instrument, I recommend finding a repair shop or tech to clean them out for you. The bass side especially can be very delicate to work with and sometimes has to be completely dismantled for cleaning. The reeds have to be gone through one by one with care as even the tiniest speck of dust bunny dandruff can cause a reed to be silent or sound weird. If you’ve never worked with accordion repair yourself, I recommend leaving it to someone who has.
Dust Bunny Prevention Program
Are there ways you can keep those rascally little dust bunnies at bay? Yes! The following tips will help keep your instrument in clean condition:
• Vacuum your case regularly.
So much dust and lint gets into these cases that it eventually moves into the accordion itself. If you’re like me and have a cat that likes sleeping in your open case, this is even more essential. Dust bunnies with cat hair are scary!
• Keep your accordion covered.
If you like having your accordion out on display, keep a clear cover over it to help prevent dust from getting inside the treble keyboard and grill. You can purchase these online, or simply pick up some clear vinyl and cut it to size.
• Dust your instrument.
Use a soft dry cloth to wipe down your accordion every now and then. If you don’t have dust on the outside, it can’t make its way inside.
I hope these tips have been helpful and I wish you all the best in your own battle against the dust bunnies. I am off now to fight some of my own. Comment below if you have any questions, I am more than happy to help!