Thursday, August 6, 2009

Buying a second hand accordion.

A new accordion is very expensive, count on at least $1000 for a cheap 120 bass and many people will still say that the quality of theese cheap instruments are not good enough anyway. For the accordionist on a budget the obvious answer is to look for second hand instruments.

When buying second hand you should either decide to spend some money and go to a dealer that sells second hand accordions that has been tuned and checked up or buy something really cheap from a garage sale or ebay and expect it to fall apart the next few weeks.

Buying an instrument second hand from a dealer will likely cost as much as buying a cheap new one, at least $500, but the quality of the instrument will likely be better. Buying an accordion for more than $100 dollars second hand with no guarantees are not recommended unless you know the seller or feel confortable you know your stuff.

That said you can make real bargains at garage sales and ebay. Here are some things to check that will maximise your chance to come home with a playable accordion.

  • Squeeze it gently with no buttons pressed. Does it seem to leak air?
  • Ask the seller where it comes from. An accordion that has been played for 30 years are usually in a better condition than one that has been stuffed in a box in a garage for 30 years. Even if the former may have more skratches on the surface.
  • Test every button separetly. Both on push and pull with the bellows. If the sounds differ obviously theese keys are really out of tune. Some bad tuning is to be expected with all old accordions but as long as it isn´t obvious I personally think it is OK.
  • Tilt it gently while playing and while not playing and try to hear if any loose parts are rattling around.
  • Try to smell the bellows and the case. Is there a smell of basement or damp? Mould and rust are the accordions worst enemy.