The other day it became suddenly, unmistakably, and annoyingly evident that a key was sticking on my accordion. This is so because when the key sticks it plays any time the bellows are moving. I wasn’t sure what the fix would be and was delighted when fellow PKOer, Mirko, offered to repair it. He said we’d have to pull the rod that the keys are held in place by and that all the keys would pop out. That sounded horrifying and also like an adventure into accordion land and I was game. I’ve always heard about people who work on their own accordions. I’d like to be one of those people. Now I am (sort of).

the offending key: #30 (b flat)

This morning Mirko came over armed with tiny screw drivers and a needle nosed pliers and a blanket to work on. I had prepped for the operation by sticking tape on each key and numbering them so we’d able to keep track of what went where once the keys came out.

1 – 41, marked and ready for removal

On one side of the keyboard there’s a little cap held in place by two screws. The expectation was to remove it and access the rod that holds the keys. What we found was not one rod but two. In my accordion there is one rod for the white keys and one for the black keys (really red keys but we called them the back keys). Once this was apparent it was amazing to me that Mirko could immediately figure out which rod held which set of keys. He could see where they pivoted from.

the black (red) key rod starting to come out.

As the rod was worked out Mirko removed the first black/red key. It is a complicated little item complete with a curved wire that acts to make the key spring. Given the age of the accordion it wasn’t surprising to find that the keys and felts were dirty. I worked on clean up crew. It didn’t take Mirko long to figure out that he could pull the rod almost all the way out and still leave most of the keys in place. He did this until he got to the stuck key which he completely removed.

first key out:

Mirko examined the bad key and figured out that the wood part of it was rubbing against something metal. He shaved the wood down a bit, fit it back it and . . . presto. . . it worked again.

Mirko working on the key:

With the keys back in, the rods was carefully rethreaded through the keyboard. THe cap put back on. The switch plate replaced (did I mention that had to be reomvied?) and then the grill screwed back in place. All done. Ready for playing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mirko.