I have just received an almost unused Ariette - no other identifier, 4 stops, in C. The ends are wood effect and the bellows are white with black tape, and I am sad because although it doesn't sound too bad it is so far from airtight is is really hard to play.
I have had the bass end off to put back a reed block and fix some holes in the wax. The bellows tape appears sound, at least on that end.
I took the opportunity to tweak the valve pressers into holding the leather flat, and will probably do the same for the other end - the pallets seem to be airtight, so does anyone have any hints on where to start to try to make improvements?
It has a strap and the single screw fixing point on the top has pulled out after one day so that will need work - but I can cope with that - it is the air which is the big problem
Ah - on closer examination, it becomes obvious where the leaks are.
The gussets of the bellows are made of some sort of mesh fabric with an inner impervious layer - except where it has split leaving just the mesh and lots of places where the air can rush in and out.
I noticed after I put new gaskets on. Drat.
And that is just the beginning of the deficiencies of the Ariette.
Best of luck.
It was intended to be a beginner instrument - but it is far more likely to put off anyone with any interest in learning than give them a good introduction to making music.
The physical size of the bass end makes it impossible for me to operate the bass and air buttons, I would have to shorten the strap by moving the fixing point around onto the end of the box rather than the top of it, to stop it dropping down, and be working at full stretch even then.
I have been able to improve Ariettes, but with a great deal of work for minor improvements.
The Ariette would be a deterrent for an aspiring accordionist to continue.
Chinese Hohners are far better. Used older German made Hohner 114 models even better.
Many years ago in a 25 year auto biz career there was a saying..
There is such a thing as a car for free that isn't worth the price.
Anne, I went through all that a few years ago, trying to salvage any possible value from my Ariette. Every time I fixed one leak, another would pop up.
My Ariette now sits on a bookshelf as a reminder of all the money I saved.
Cut your losses - don't waste your time postponing the inevitable.
Well - it looks as though the problem is resolvable.
I bought a bottle of Polygen liquid latex, removed the bellows and clamped them open, then painted on the latex so as to fill in the holes in the mesh, inside on the bottom and them outside on the top. I allowed the latex to dry then turned the bellows over top to bottom so as to be able to get to the other side, waited until the latex was almost dry and replaced the ends so as to be able to try it out.
It is very much improved though I did miss a couple of holes, but I plan to repeat the procedure this weekend, allow the latex to dry overnight and then coat it with either French chalk or talcum powder, and the bellows should be airtight.
I rubbed off as much of the perished layer of old rubber as I could before I started, and used a No 10 artist's paintbrush.
For under £10 it seems an easy fix - the mesh is mechanically perfect, and is joined to the edges of the bellows, the box is hardly used, just left in its case since bought new. The problem is simply that the materials used do not stand the test of time.
I have been playing the box for a couple of days now, getting used to it after playing the D/G. It was a bit hesitant at first after its long lie in, but it is fairly roaring away now, and hopefully it will have a long and useful life.
If anyone would like to send me other examples of similar boxes then I would gladly repair and then add them to our teaching inventory - this coming Monday we are starting an after school club for music and dancing, there is the Maypole dancing and longsword starting up soon - all contributions gratefully received.
Good Job !!