making an accordion

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making an accordion

Post by accordian » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:24 am

Hi. I have an accordion which I'm just using for parts and so with that I have enough parts to make a bandoneon maybe. I plan on making 2 boxes out of wood for each end and then gluing down a finger layout so that I can drill some holes for the buttons and then remove the layout.

I plan to make it with one sound going both ways

I got some old reeds which is bad condition and so they wouldn't even be all that great for spares
but for this will do

what do you guys think?

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Re: making an accordion

Post by debra » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:09 am

You are "very brave" to try this. It is an enormous and delicate job (especially to get it mechanically right) and even then you may still not like the final outcome. Eons ago we had a local accordion maker and he was very unhappy with his first few instruments. (I did not witness this, I only heard it from his son who is now well over 80...)
I suggest you first look into the available (images of) C-griff bandoneons that are in existence (and production) to see what you can learn from that. First difficult decision will be the position of the buttons. There are such bandoneons with the buttons at the front (i.e. towards the audience) and there are the ones with the buttons at the side like with normal bandoneons. (I tried a C-griff bandoneon with the buttons at the front and didn't like the feel, but I never tried a "normal" one.)
A bandoneon is more square than an accordion so you will also need to get or make a fitting bellows, with many more folds than an accordion has. (An accordion typically has 16 or 18 folds but a bandoneon will need about twice that many.)
You may not like my advice, but if I were you I would concentrate on learning to play the accordion rather than on building a bandoneon, but if you can manage both (with lots of spare time...) then by all means try the bandoneon build and share your experience!
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)

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Re: making an accordion

Post by TomBR » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:23 am

It's do-able. I made a 1 & 1/2 row melodeon from scratch, including bellows, a few years ago. It played ok but by the time I finished it I was concentrating on other things.
Here's some information I posted about it ... l#msg19449

There is infinitely more information available online now than there was when I started.
Lots of information and a few scratch-builders over at

I'd say a big advantage of building an "accordion" of any type compared with other musical instruments is that the whole thing could be done with not many tools and minimal facilities. It could be done as a "kitchen table" project that has to be cleared away into boxes when you're not working on it.
It does need ingenuity. There will be loads of questions where you have to work out the answers yourself, no one can tell you.

[Addendum] Thinking about it a bit (whilst working) I think a chromatic "bandoneon" would actually be a very sensible choice for a scratch build - a flat "concertina family" action would be much easier to build using readily available materials than an accordion action. Very simply, the action arms are straight, not right angled, and of course you've got no bass machine to worry about. Good choice! (No, no, I'm not tempted.... :D )

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Re: making an accordion

Post by losthobos » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:11 pm

If you're ever in Emilio Allodis shop check the small CBA above the door to the backroom/workshop...
He proudly told me his father had made it from scratch...and was blind by the time he finished building it...
With that heritage it's no wonder that Emilio's work is so good
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

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Re: making an accordion

Post by Dingo40 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:54 am

Look up an Aussie guy called Peter Hyde (Peter Hyde Accordions) on the web.
He began building instruments entirely from scratch, including harvesting, seasoning and milling the various timbers he used for the “ boxes” some thirty years ago, while a merchant seaman.
He’d be worth talking to!🙂

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