Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

I’ve recently purchased a piano accordion and a couple of the reeds make a slight buzzing sound. There’s only one that buzzes loud enough to be a major problem, but several seem to be starting.

Is there an easy fix, or do I need to source some new reeds. And can you even buy single reeds, or do you have to buy a whole set? Is it the sort of maintenance you can do at home?

It’s not a major problem yet as I’m only learning, but I know it will start to bug me when I get more proficient.

The box is a Chinese Baile 120 bass.

Cheers,
Eno 🙂

Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

Hi Eno

Sounds like the reeds are coming loose from their wooden mounting - hence the buzzing or gurgling sound. They need to be re-set with beeswax (NOT candlewax - no good).
Baile accordions aren’t known for their fine craftsmanship so this may become a recurring problem; therefore I wouldn’t bother with new reeds; I would probably consider getting a good second-hand accordion or a new one if it’s within budget.

Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

As Conán points out, questionable quality control can lead to recurring problems, and these symptoms might be only the first ones of a constellation of others that may appear and plague this instrument, or not. The wax would be more likely to disintegrate on an accordion that frequently was exposed to extreme swings in air temperature, or one that is aged (setting aside initial quality control issues).

On the bright side, it could be the noise is from some weak valves vibrating sympathetically when the reeds are vibrating, and that it’s those vibrating valves (less costly items than reeds) that need replacing, not the reeds. Whatever the problem, if other notes are starting to buzz, then, unfortunately, all eventually may need repair. Repairing a 120 bass PA is a big bear to tackle, but if you’re willing to accept that you might convert it prematurely into a cadaver for the benefit of increasing your technical knowledge, maybe this guide is still available.
http://www.musicforaccordion.com/boutique/inform/reuther/content.htm

Otherwise, let an experienced technician sort it out. You’ve still got your B/C, right?

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Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

hi. i got a lesson recently in accordion repair and to me, it sounds as if it’s the valves that are causing the trouble. if the reeds were coming loose, i would suspect a lower volume for that particular note and with a good sqeeze of the bellows, the reed to come out. you can check this yourself by pulling the pins out and havin a peek.

open up your accordion and have a look to see if the wee plastic or leather strips that are over the read are curled up. they should be flat down. if you want to do it yourself, you are going to need to buy valves and stick them on with evo stick. not super glue! if you know what thickness the valves are and exactly what material, then you could cut them into shape and stick them on. i don’t know where you’d buy them. however, each reed is double sided so you’d need to take it out of the reed block. the prob there is that to put them back in again, you’re going to need bee’s wax. solid bees wax (normally it’s a pasty type stuff they have in shops) use a soldering iron to melt it back in making sure nothing gets on the reed.

as far as i know, you can buy reeds singularly but i haven’t worked out where.. sure it’s not hard to find out though (google). if you were to buy reeds, make sure they are of the same type as what you already have in there, you may have to contact baile for this. prob with buying a whole set is that you are only ever going to need a small percentage of them and it’s always the same that break.

good luck with whatever you do, and take the utmost care.

hope that helps,

martin tourish.

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Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

actually the wax is a mixture of bees wax, rosin and linseed oil.
You can get a bit of wax for accordions on ebay or your local accordion guy should be able to fix it in a couple of minutes and would have the right wax. The rosin helps the wax stick to the reed block, the linseed oil allows the mixture to flow and prevents the wax from drying out.

Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

And you bought a piano accordion because……????? Surely you are not giving up on the button box already??

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Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

This thread reminds me again why I never open my accordion, some jobs should be left to a professional…..

Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

Al, I broadly agree. As a long-time box teacher and fairly-handy-person I will attempt some repairs. But having long lived with a professional repairer I would say that most reed/valve related problems are best left to a professional unless you wish to at least take up accordion repairs as a serious hobby. It isn’t just about skill (and dealng with reeds and valves is very skilled work) but materials. There are zillions of different valve sizes and materials and ditto for reed types and qualities. And even pros sometimes get it wrong when trying to guess by the sound of the buzz whether the cause is a cracked reed, cracked wax or a valve. Sometimes it’s trial and error. The wax has to be in a really crumbly state before the reed plates would actually drop off the block, but very slight cracks and gaps can cause buzzing.

Baile accordions are certainly cheap and cheerful. The older ones (say 1970s) have a better build quality and reeds than the newer ones, though. But wax is often a problem in these accordions which have a bit too high a ratio of rosin to beeswax - at least for our climate. Good luck contacting them, by the way - they are a Chinese company! Not sure whether they’re still on the go or not…

The reed plates in a Baile are pretty standard sizes and any repairer will have replacements (probably Italian) which will fit and will be similar enough to sound okay.

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Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

Having several reeds acting up is a definite red flag. I would get an estimate from a repairman to help you decide which avenue you’re willing to take. However, older boxes generally cause all sorts of dilemmas down the road.
Best of luck to you.

Raymond

Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

Thanks for that, guys. And don’t worry - the B/C is here to stay (and getting better by the day).

The big PA is for acoompanying songs and doing some of the fast Scottish stuff that I love. I can play some of Brian MacNeill’s stuff straight off the bat, even throwing in a few basses for good (?) measure, so it’s been refreshing to not worry about weird key signatures. Thirty years of piano have put me in good stead for the right hand. The single high reed setting sounds similar to a concertina, which is what Bri composed some of his tunes for.

I’m not overly concerned about occasional buzzes, but I’ve a feeling I can probably sort them out with a delicate tinker. My BC suffers from sticking reeds occasionally, courtesy of a two year old who likes to combine his hobbies of digging in the dirt and helping daddy play his button box, so I’m getting real quick at whipping the reed blocks off and blowing out the offending notes.

My plan is to use the Baile to learn the rudiments of the thing and work out what I actually need to play the stuff I want, then spend the dough I need to get a good one. I bought my Mengascini box new and have learned from scratch on it - I got a couple of searching questions from the repairer when he looked at it for me as to who I had been lending it to, so I get the feeling it’s suffered a little through over enthusiastic inexperience.

Having said that, I’ve just found a single reed on the PA which doesn’t sound at all, so I’m hoping it’s dropped off inside the case…

Thanks again,
Eno 😉

Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

Let a concertina player have a look - they are generally used to opening boxes up and blowing out reeds.
You may also get advice from a post on concertina.net - a lot of repairers look in on there.

Re: Buzzing reeds on a piano accordion

hi.i have a hohner black dot double ray.the keys when played seem to vanish in to the holes making it very hard to play.i was reading on here that some one said they placed a flat bit of wood under the keys.my husband is handy with things like that but my question is to get at this part of the keys it seems that the bellows has to be removed and i have to take out the pins.is this easy and does the gasket need to be glued and sealed.or can this be done with out sealing it up.meaning simply replace the caskit and pins?the box is new so the gaskit is ok.any advise guys? thanks.stacy