Not a dead Parrot, after all!

I have an old Parrot piano accordion, which was given to me by an aunt many years ago. It was the larger (37 keys, 80 buttons) of two accordions she had and played, and was then too heavy for her to manage.

Knowing I was musical, she asked me if I wanted it. Somewhat startled, I answered yes.

Several times, I have sat down to learn how to play it, but – with everything else – couldn’t find a continued interest long enough to master the thing. It has been loaned out on occasion, but eventually came back to me.

Then a couple of years ago, I opened the case and found that – with the age of everything, and a bit of neglect, the inside felt of the case had completely disintegrated. Felt dust was everywhere – stuck to the body of the instrument, all over the bellows and fallen between all the keys and buttons.

Because the felt was green, it looked like the accordian was covered in mould. Even though I hadn’t been playing it, the idea that a fairly nice instrument should end up like this filled me with horror. I dealt with this way in my usual way. I closed the case, and put the accordion back into storage for another time.

Yesterday, I finally steeled myself to look at it. The case could possibly be repaired and relined, but I am not going to bother – the outside was in a sorry state when I got it, and time has been unkind; one of the catches is broken, and – as I say – the inside is a disaster.

As for the accordion. It had disintegrated felt stuck all over it. It looked a real mess.

I wish I had taken a “before” pictured, because a damp cloth, tea-towel, and then a soft cloth and polish got rid of it all – there are still a few marks, but it looks quite respectable. After going over it with a small hoover attachment, the piano keyboard was absolutely fine, but the bass end was more begrimed, with 3 badly stuck buttons, and a couple that were sticky. Throwing caution to the wind, I took off the bass plate, and found some of the buttons stuck solidly jammed with felt, and one actually totally bent out of position. All of those are now fixed; the bent mechanism was easily straightened.

Surprisingly, the bellows appear to be complete.

I ran out of time yesterday, but on a quick play-through, all but one of the notes played fine – again, the piano part was ok, of the bass, one of the reeds appeared to work on the push, but not properly on the pull. This may be fixable, but as multiple reeds play at the same time, it is not a disaster.

The straps are not in good condition, with splits and tears, although they support the accordion.

However, new straps would only set me back 25 quid, and a new ABS case would cost 50 quid, half that price for a fabric case.

I’m completely not sure about spending money on it, as I am not playing it. However, it is an instrument in need of some love, and the cost isn’t going to be that much.

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