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Musical Instruments of Canada's
Care Sheet
for the Accordion


1. Protect your accordion from temperature extremes. Don't leave it in the trunk of a car where the temperature may be too hot or too cold. Accordions should be kept in a clean and dry place where an even temperature prevails. Never put you accordion near a radiator, hot air vent or in direct sunlight. Keep your accordion away from moisture or very damp conditions (important).

2. Your accordion needs air, especially after playing. Occasionally store it out of the case and always on its feet (whether its in the case or not). You can protect your instrument with a dust cover or cloth to help keep debris and dirt off of the exterior.

3. Wipe down the keys and accordion body with a chamois or cotton cloth. Dust and dirt clog reeds. If reeds won't sound, take your accordion in for a professional cleaning. Light soap and water may be used to clean your accordion's exterior after the dust has been removed. Remember to apply any cleaner to your cloth directly and not the accordion. Try an inconspicuous area first to see if a cleaning product is safe to use.

4. The back of the bellows often gets torn and scratched from belts, zippers, or buttons. Protect the bellows by having a backpad installed and avoid wearing pins or brooches. It's best not to wear a watch on your left hand when playing to prevent scratches on the bass panel and bass strap. The shoulder strap buckles can also cause scratches, so be careful when taking your accordion in and out of its case.

5. If you have leaky bellows, you should get them repaired because they can degrade the performance of your playing. Make sure to tighten any loose screws when possible, as they can cause leaks or even fall out. Notes that sound on their own may be due to bent key pads or buttons. Have any adjustments or alignments performed by your local accordion shop.

6. Frequently played accordions in good condition will usually need tuning every three to five years. If yours goes out of tune more often, there could be underlining problems such as dry reed wax. This is often the case if you hear rattling or buzzing when playing a note. Never play the accordion if something is loose inside. Have these issues looked at by a professional repairman before they get worse

7. If you play in a band or ensemble, you might get more out of your accordion with a special microphone system installed. This allows you be heard without playing so hard. Strive for expression and tone colour in your playing, not mere volume. Forceful playing puts a strain on the reeds and could even cause them to crack or break. Your accordion is strongly constructed, but like any other fine instrument it must receive careful handling. Never work a new accordion too hard for the first month or two. Get to know your instrument and it will reward you with longer service.

8. During transportation, make sure your case latches are closed properly and inspect shoulder straps for tears before playing. When shipping, pack the accordion inside its case and than inside a cardboard box. If your accordion is dropped or jarred it is better to bring it in for service. Have it inspected internally even if there appears to be little or no damage. This may prevent further problems that could occur later on. If your accordion has been in extreme temperatures, allow it to settle back to room temperature before playing (approx. 1 hour).


Remember, a little bit of care goes along way!

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