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Re: Re: Martin Accordion

Bellows should be tight and springy. If you're having trouble changing directions you must use your air regulator on the back, pushing it quickly and slightly when changing directions. The air regulator is there for a reason.

Also do you play your bass side? If you don't the bellows will seem much tighter... in this case you must use your air regulator more so.

Keep your bellows tight. I know one thing, I would never hang up my bellows to stretch. That's just my personal opinion


Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

I must stress that you do NOT hold your air regulator in, you will lose volume and it will seem like a leaky accordion.

Like I said use it slightly and quickly. Another use for the air regulator is when you're really far out and you need a note on the pull use it to come back in quickly. Then and only then should you hold the air regulator in for about a second or less


Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

Difference of opinion Jim. Mine is that the bellows should be responsive, not stiff. Maybe its just semantics.

I don't think the air regulator solution works in all cases, though it is one of the things one needs to learn.

If you're used to playing a responsive bellows, then try one stiff, its a pain, and just another layer of things to fight with. A more experienced player could probably compensate for a stiff bellows, but for those starting out, its needless aggravation.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

Oh Boy,
I'll states what I know!!!.
I've tried and owned different LA made 1 row boxes,
And not "ONE" had responsive bellows!, Why?, I don't really know, and further more they have improved in expension only " marginally".
Was it a construction flaw, like engineering versus accoustics (box size, in relation to bellows size)or poor quality bellows , or......!!!.
I'll agree with Dwight that experience is the key in playing these little "guys", and one certainly doesn't have to extend the bellows like a showman would do, But new bellows should play effortlessly the first time around.
And it should also be said that I have tried other 1 rows , you know the ones nobody wants to hear about, like the Saltarelle 1 row,now not produced anymore
( fabricated by S. and designed by Gagne freres in Quebec city)but it had soft bellows or some Quebec 1 row makes, and even new HA-Hohner 1 rows that Marc sells, or the one made in Italy,that Petosa in Seattle sells,or the Castagnari one row I own , WELL not ONE of them has had stiff bellows to start with,
why ?, I don't know, I mean, can you explain?
and also, my other question is, why would any one hang his beloved ,expensive, new pet, in order to "try" to "expand it's bellows, I mean I wouldn't do that to my dog .


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion


These bellows are made stiff for a reason. I have some worn in bellows I don't like as much, they tend to draw a little further than necessary.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

"[...] like the Saltarelle 1 row,now not produced anymore
( fabricated by S. and designed by Gagne freres in Quebec city)but it had soft bellows or some Quebec 1 row makes, and even new HA-Hohner 1 rows that Marc sells, or the one made in Italy,that Petosa in Seattle sells,or the Castagnari one row I own , WELL not ONE of them has had stiff bellows to start with,"


"and also, my other question is, why would any one hang his beloved ,expensive, new pet, in order to "try" to "expand it's bellows, I mean I wouldn't do that to my dog ."

Even if the dog was cheap (or free) I wouldn't hang it up!
But then again, I wouldn't take it apart, either. Or "tinker" with it. Or test its "responsiveness"!!!

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

I had been given the suggestion of hanging my acordion by the strap in order to stretch the bellows, mind you, not for long, just for a night. This just doesn't sound like it'd be good for the instrument. Instead, I plan to just keep plugging at it and over time they should loosen up a bit.

Thanks for all the suggetions.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

FYI, when I received my Larry Miller (Bon Cajun) last summer, Larry suggested that I hang it by the bass handle in my closet fully stretched out for several days. It is okay, don't worry. These bellows are pretty tough.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

"It is okay, don't worry".......

BUT, for the amount of money , you paid for your box,"SHALL" you not expect your dealer to take care of the problem beforehand, that is to make sure that the bellows are to say the least "playable".
You would have at least saved one phone call, unless he was there in person, at your place delivering the box, as you mentionned earlier in one of your post.
Still, it just doesn't sound right,like after the fact, so to speak.
If that's the case let the dealer do his job, that is to make sure that the box for the price you paid, should be "in every respect" up to snuff, after all you don't want to have to send the instrument back and forth in bettween the dealer and yoursef.
Besides, I happen to think that Larry's "method" is a "remede de bonne femme", kind of:), like buying a pair of shoes that don't fit, and then asking the shoe repairman to strech them on his special "magic machine", I mean why not buy the right fit to start with.
You should purchase your box,"knowing" that "everything" is going to be in "playable" condition, period.
You should expect your dealer to do a condition check, so,armed with your new knowledge, the next time you buy a new box,(although you shouln't have to ask), specify that you want the bellows to be "playable" as it shouldn't be your job to make them so!!!.
Another thing: sometimes Larry and some other dealers make the "treble" side holes, that is the ones accepting the 10 buttons, way too small, so that with different weather conditions others then LA, , the treble board expand and contract, thus blocking the button's up and down travel!!!.
I'm not kidding, and it's ****ing when that happens,like all of a sudden one button when depressed doesn't come back up, because it's stuck under the treble board, so you have to fish out the little suck:).
I mean do you have to "stop playing" until the weather gets more "clement" or less humid that is.
Insist for the dealer's quality contol,"DEMAND" it,don't be shy!!!.
And another thing : It really, doesn't matter to me wether I've developped a friendship with the people that I do business with, because essentially and iregardless "Business is Business", so in that sense I'm the least bit afraid to speak my mind.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

One more thing, bear with me ,

When I stated that the 10 holes ( that is the holes accepting the 10 buttons!) on the treble board side of the box, are sometimes made too small by the builder, I meant to say , that they are the right diameter, but the wrong shape .
Let me try to explain: the 10 holes shouldn't be round, but rather "ovoid" in shape,as each button travel in a arc fashion, rather then vertically to the hole, thus the builder has to compensate for that feature, and has to change the shape of the holes and their edges as well, so that they should be beveled opposite one another allowing for the buttons too travel up and down unempeded.
The holes should always be larger then the buttons, allowing also for temperatures changes.

Hope this helps!.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

Claude, I'm not sure how hard and still your bellows were... By the sound of your comments, it looks like there might be an unusual problem if they are that stiff. Anyway, brand new bellows, ARE more stiff by nature, whether you like it or not, and that's not the builder's or dealer's fault.
It's like you buy a brand new car and you complain that it smells like.... a new car. (plastic-like).... and that it's not broken in.
You wouldn't expect the car dealership to use your car for a few months to break it in and change the smell??? The same analogy would apply to brand new shoes that need to be broken in.
Regarding the climate change, I live in Nova Scotia, where we have a very different climate than LA, and wide variations of temperature/humidity. So far, I haven't experienced any problems with either the Acadian or the Bon Cajun.
Just a thought, and my two cent's worth... :-)

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

I strongly believe that breaking in the bellows by any other means than by playing them is taking years off their life span.

I promise you, if you learn to slightly tap at the air regulator when playing at appropriate moments, the tightness of the bellows will be an advantage. Some people worry that they won't be able to play loud enough if they're too tight.

stiffness = compression.... compression = volume. This is why most experienced accordion builders to not let the bellows hang before they are shipped.

Stiffness is yet another thing you learn to work with over time, I'll say it again, it is an advantage.

I played an accordion where the bellows were very very worn. There were NO leaks, they opened and closed real quick like an old rag. If you want the old rag effect, than hang your bellows.

This in turn weakens the corners of the insides of the bellows. Those corners are sewn tight for a reason.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion


I was answering, Maz, not you ,sorry!!!.
I'm chocked, that Larry would suggest that kind of remedie, to one of his customers, that's all,obviously he has a different opinion then Marc,on how to fix the problem, and Larry is a player as well, go figure, but I'm of the same opinion as Marc, insofar as his method of breaking the bellows in, and maybe I was not patient enough using his method..


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion


What do I know anyway,I just said that whoever built the box , shouldn't sent it , if the bellows are "stiff", I mean to the "point" that the fabricator suggest to you, such as a drastic method of hanging your little baby by his "derriere" for a day or two, and why didn't he do it himself to start with, maybe he wants you to bond with it, kind of a "cavalier" attitude ,like a do it yourself deal, don't you think?.
You and I have a different point of vue on quality control,that's all,no big deal really .


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

Maybe we should also make a distinction between what an experienced player needs and what a beginner needs. Loose bellows make things much easier during the first months. You are more relaxed (I started really progressing and playing steadily once I had a loose bellows accordion). And on the other hand I have seen an experienced accordion player play great even on an Ariette (hard to find stiffer bellows).


Re: bellows

I have to say that times have changed somewhat. A good quality bellows will be nice and flexible when new. (that is not to say it will not get looser after broken in)

A cheaper bellows will be overly still when new and acceptable when broken in, but will wear out sooner.

One sign of a cheap accordion is a cheap bellows. Beware builders that try to save money by using cheap bellows. They are probably cutting corners elsewhere as well. (pun intended :)


Cutting corners?

Cutting corners? That mitre might not be true!


Re: Cutting corners?




(he he he)


Sorry, I couldn't resist. Although, I was not taking a poke at you, I just like bad puns.


Re: Cutting corners?


Re: Re: Cutting corners?

Sorry Dwight,

Actually, it was a lot better when you said it.


Re: Re: Re: Cutting corners?

Actually, I had forgotten all about it until you repeated it to me that time. Seems there was more to it, but who remembers.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Cutting corners?

There was more - I remember it well. It went like this:

"This mitre might not be cause for re-butt all."

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cutting corners?

with corn like that, I could run my car on ethanol.

Re: Martin Accordion

O.K. I've been reading this thread & find it entertaining & educational, so I'll add my 2 cents to the original question. "To push and pull takes just about all my effort" "Is this just because it's new?"
Yes. The accordion and bellows are new & probably require more effort.
"I don't play much at all, just learning"
If you are just learning & not playing much than this is also a reason that playing is difficult.

I started learning, for real, on a new accordion. I found the bellows to be stiff. The solution for me & the bellows is to PLAY MORE. I found myself getting tired after playing for 1/2 hour. I found that doing push ups helped me get in better shape to play this instrument. Playing the instrument helped get it into better shape to be played by me.

I had asked for suggestions, about 3 years ago, on caring for a brand new accordion. It was suggested that I not hang it up by it's B-ass. (I believe David Sousa told me that, thanks David!) I had never heard of doing that but readily agreed not to try it. Playing is the key. Play play & play. For me, anyway, that's what's it's all about & ends up answering most of my questions about how to do it. No need to be hanging it from a tree or obsessing about it's corners & such. (unless your into that sort of thing) Enjoy Daniel!

Re: Re: Martin Accordion

good call Tom, glad you didn't hang yer accordion like a criminal.

Good analogy..... Don't hang the accordion like a criminal.

Use the air regulator! tap it very gently with the meat of your palm, think of the air regulator was a baby's bottom. The trick is to figure out when to do it. EXPERIMENT.

Keep them bellows like NEW. LIKE NEW


Re: Re: Re: Martin Accordion

just think of it as Gravity Shoes for your accordion. Stop before the box gets glaucoma.

Some people might not be old enough to make sense of this.

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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