packing PA: straps above or below keyboard?
#1
I'm sorry to ask what must be a common question; I can't think of a search that retrieves the previous threads.

When I pack my piano accordion in its hard case, between practices, I'd like to place the straps so that the buckles are least likely to scratch the body, and so that the straps are less likely to snag on, say, a key.

It seems that beneath the keyboard (i.e. the back of the accordion) is the safest space, but I can't figure out how to coil the straps to make getting the instrument in it's case straight-forward - it's a tight fit at the best of times, and the buckles leave impressions on the padded bellows protector.

What are your preferences? I expect a soft gig-case would be easier, but for now I just have a hard case.

Thanks!
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#2
If your hard case has a cloth flap, you can put that over the instrument and then put the straps on top. That will protect the finish.
The bad thing about those cloth flaps is that they are generally made of some fuzzy material that gradually disintegrates and can get in the accordion, and that has to be cleaned out so it doesn’t affect the reeds.
I don’t pack my accordion away between practicing, but stand it up and let it air out, with a cover that keeps the dust out. That also makes it less of a procedure when I walk by and want to pick it up and play a tune. I actually don’t know If it’s better for the accordion or just better for me!
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed), Hohner 1974 Melodica (Piano 36)
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#3
I have seen too many times that while moving the straps to a position above the keyboard it catches on a key and bends that upwards. I urge people to always keep the straps under the accordion to avoid disaster. As Eddy says, a cloth flap may help, but you should first put the cloth over the keyboard and only after that move the stras to above the cloth and keyboard.
And if you have an instrument with cassotto or winkelbass (or both) you should store the instrument (in its case) in the playing orientation. If not then the valves inside the cassotto part will sag under the influence of gravity. Some people believe it is a non-issue, but as an accordion repairer I have seen enough evidence of the effect of gravity. So after you put the instrument in the case, bellow straps wherever you want them, but protecting the keyboard, and after you close the case, turn it so the instrument is in the playing position.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#4
I have always placed it in the case with the straps over the keyboard, but I *always* wrap the keyboard with a towel beforehand. Never had an issue, not even a scratch and my accordion travelled from Montreal to Toronto (580km each way) on a weekly basis for several years.
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#5
The hard case that came with my nearly 60 year old accordion was big, heavy (almost as heavy as the accordion itself) and NASTY. The interior lining was shredded, including the flap. It had dirt and crumbs in it, maybe just as old plus some stuff I couldn’t identify. Took it outside and shot it, just in case.  I replaced it with a D’luca soft case. It’s not only very much lighter but the flap is made out of the same padded material as the rest of the case. I’ve never had a problem with the straps catching on keys with the flap properly positioned. 

I did have a problem with bass buttons getting bent in the case. Seems the case would somehow press laterally on some buttons, slightly bending them. I solved this by making a cover out of thick cardboard making one side fit inside of the bass strap and the other long enough to cover all of the buttons. I also made a thin plywood “floor” to sit the accordion on while it’s in the case.  

I made a button straightener tool from a 4” aluminum tube. Had to enlarge one end slightly and filed it smooth so as not to score either buttons or accordion. Just put the tube over the button and SLIGHT pressure will bring it back in line. 

I’ve always stored my accordion on its feet thinking that’s why the manufacturer put them there. Of course it doesn’t have cassotto or winkelbass
Cordially, Tony
Artisto, Italian, LMM, 41/120, PA
Warning: Only speaks/understands American English
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#6
Thanks Paul.. Was never sure re cassotto and storage, too many reed positions, is it perhaps best to rotate storage position...ie on feet, horizontally as played, and on strap side down so as not to compromise any valves in particular...??
Thank you
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...
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#7
(27-07-2019, 04:08 PM)debra Wrote: I have seen too many times that while moving the straps to a position above the keyboard it catches on a key and bends that upwards. I urge people to always keep the straps under the accordion to avoid disaster. As Eddy says, a cloth flap may help, but you should first put the cloth over the keyboard and only after that move the stras to above the cloth and keyboard.
And if you have an instrument with cassotto or winkelbass (or both) you should store the instrument (in its case) in the playing orientation. If not then the valves inside the cassotto part will sag under the influence of gravity. Some people believe it is a non-issue, but as an accordion repairer I have seen enough evidence of the effect of gravity. So after you put the instrument in the case, bellow straps wherever you want them, but protecting the keyboard, and after you close the case, turn it so the instrument is in the playing position.
Thanks, Paul. In your opinion, if you play instrument several times a day, should it still be stored in the way you advise, or is it okay to leave it out with a dust cover? Thanks.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed), Hohner 1974 Melodica (Piano 36)
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#8
If you play it several times a day, and it is not a Cassotto instrument, you can just leave the accordion sitting on it's legs, straps hanging in the back, but I would advise a plastic cover to keep the dust off it. My mom made me a few of those a few years back... cost her about $1.50 a piece back then (let's say $4 today) for the plastic and ribbon per accordion and about 15 minutes on a sewing machine.

Once made, those things last forever and are the best way to store an accordion if it is out in the open in a cool room.
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#9
(27-07-2019, 11:02 PM)JerryPH Wrote: If you play it several times a day, and it is not a Cassotto instrument, you can just leave the accordion sitting on it's legs, straps hanging in the back, but I would advise a plastic cover to keep the dust off it.  My mom made me a few of those a few years back... cost her about $1.50 a piece back then (let's say $4 today) for the plastic and ribbon per accordion and about 15 minutes on a sewing machine.

Once made, those things last forever and are the best way to store an accordion if it is out in the open in a cool room.

My teacher (Charles Nunzio) taught me to keep the straps underneath the accordion when putting it back in the case. Also (as per Mr. Nunzio), be sure to insert the keyboard side in first.
Petosa AM-1100 LMMH, Borsini “Lars Ek Nostalgic” LMMM, "Nunziola" LMMH
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#10
When I bought my first accordion, the seller (a professional accordionist, teacher, and widely respected repairer and music shop owner) showed me how he preferred the instruments to be stowed in their hard cases.
Sitting the instrument on its pods ( along the bass strap) in front of you and from behind with the bellows locked shut, you bring both shoulder straps to your right ( with your right hand) holding the instrument steady with your left hand.
You then lay the instrument flat on its back, tilting it treble edge towards you while bringing the slack of both straps from behind the instrument around what would be the bottom edge in the playing position and nestle this slack in the angle the grill makes with the treble keyboard.
Holding it all together ( the gathered slack of the straps makes a good handle for the right hand)
Use the left hand to grasp the left ( or what is the top of the instrument when playing) and pick it up, keeping it horizontal and place it in the box ( base strap alongside the hinged edge of the box)
Shut the lid and stand the box on the hinged end.
Both he, I, and several thousand of his customers have stored our accordions this way for decades (our summer temperatures go as high as the odd 46 deg C in summer) without noticeable ill effects.
To retrieve, just reverse the procedure!
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#11
The towel Jerry mentioned is a very good idea, but you *always* have to place the towel over the keyboard *before* you move the straps over it.

The only accordions where this is not needed are those with a "waterfall" keyboard, like old Hohners (Morino M series for instance)  because the keys do not have an "edge" for the straps to catch onto by accident. Of course there is never a problem when you handle an accordion properly, but that's the difference between a careful player and a repairer who sees just the cases where it went wrong. It is just like it is safe to play the lottery and hope to never win it, but it's not safe to organize the lottery and hope that nobody will ever win it...
I googled for a picture of what can happen when the straps catch on a key, and these keys do not even have as much to "catch on" as most keyboards. This is a problem waiting to happen on all non-waterfall keyboards. But of course *you* may think it will never happen to you as you are always careful... yeah right!
[Image: mfsdinc4ztm01.jpg?width=960&crop=smart&a...371a5287f2]
Regarding the position in which the accordion is then stored I am going to show an image of a set of reeds as they came out of an accordion that was played very regularly but stored in its case on its feet (meaning on the hinge side).
On this accordion the lower notes on the M register in cassotto had a noticeable delay in starting when played softly and this was because the valves (of the opposing reed) needed to be sucked close. On the L register the valves hanging down are on the outside of the reed block and the (plastic) booster springs had been tightened by a previous repairman already but on the inside of the reed block for the M reed this had not been done (as they are close to impossible to reach). Removing the reeds was necessary to solve the problem (and I did not just tighten the plastic springs but replaced the valves by leather with metal booster springs, which hold better over time). On higher notes most accordions do not have booster springs and then the leather valves will certainly start to sag over time.
Note that when you have an accordion without cassotto or winkelbas there is no problem storing the accordion on its feet as all the valves are then vertically. It's only when valves are hanging horizontally and being pulled open by gravity that there is a problem.
[Image: P6051878.jpg]
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#12
My Arietta IM is my first piano accordion and initially, I wasn't sure of where to put the straps when putting it in the hard case. After giving it some thought, I have found that the following procedure is satisfactory; laying the instrument on my lap with the keyboard uppermost and facing me, I take the left shoulder strap and place it around the bass end and rest it parallel to and above the bass strap. The right shoulder strap follows and being slightly longer, fits comfortably over the other two. Making sure that the buckles are clear of the bellows, I then lift the instrument by holding the casing at the strap brackets on either side and lower it into the case, gently placing the edge of the keyboard frame down before the bass end. When closed, I stand the case on the hinge end.

Ian.
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#13
I have a large case for my Excelsior 960. It allows for the straps to be gathered at the top and pulled to the side. Not on the bottom or on the top, but away from everything on the side. It's really an elegant solution.
Current Accordions:

2003 Excelsior 960 Custom Magnante 5/5 - Hand Made Reeds
Excelsior 930 Van Damme Jazz Accordion - Hand Made Reeds
Roland FR-8X Digital Accordion - No Reeds
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#14
I was moving my straps around the keyboard into the grill space. Lately I've gotten the Neostraps, since I'm on the tall and lean side, and couldn't get the straps I had tight enough to stop moving. With the bottom buckles, I've now been using those to take the accordion off, and then the straps go over the top to use the grill/keyboard open area. No chance of catching the keys now that the slide around the end of the key is eliminated. You do have to be a bit careful taking the accordion off when using these buckles. Sitting in a chair is highly recommended.

I may go back to my other straps once I've played with the infinite adjustment of the Neostraps a bit more, and just fold them under. It seems there isn't enough length to move the left strap around the keyboard if it's adjusted right for me.
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#15
Wherever the straps are placed covers for the buckles would help prevent scratching. Easily made from a broad piece of elasticated material stitched along the edge.
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#16
(29-07-2019, 01:28 PM)Jibberin Wrote: Wherever the straps are placed covers for the buckles would help prevent scratching.   Easily made from a broad piece of elasticated material stitched along the edge.

Indeed. For people who prefer to buy over making these Carini (www.carinidena.it) sells them.
Alternatively you can also cut tubes from an old bicycle innertube, but beware that the rubber may leave marks on a white shirt.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#17
Like Jerry, I always put a double-sewn linen tea towel over the keyboard before putting the straps over them.  Linen is supposed not to make "lint".  My Brandoni came with the buckles that attach to the accordion covered by elastic but that's a good tip to cover the other strap buckles as well. 
(it takes 5 minutes with a machine to sew two tea towels together to make a double thickness !)
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#18
(29-07-2019, 03:41 PM)Corsaire Wrote: (it takes 5 minutes with a machine to sew two tea towels together to make a double thickness !)

It would take me THREE HOURS to do it!
Current Accordions:

2003 Excelsior 960 Custom Magnante 5/5 - Hand Made Reeds
Excelsior 930 Van Damme Jazz Accordion - Hand Made Reeds
Roland FR-8X Digital Accordion - No Reeds
Reply
#19
I wanted to thank everyone on this thread for a really interesting, open discussion, and I've learn't things that I hadn't considered were related (particularly Paul's comments about the orientation to store cassotto instruments).

The walk-through provided by Dingo40 was very helpful, and I'm adopting a similar drill now - except my straps are too stiff and my case too tight to allow the slack to wrap around the bottom of the instrument. But I've figured I can coil the slack which can sit against the bellows protector.

Jibberin's suggestion of buckle covers seems like a good idea, so I'll see what I can make myself.
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#20
(28-07-2019, 02:45 AM)Zevy Wrote:
(27-07-2019, 11:02 PM)JerryPH Wrote: If you play it several times a day, and it is not a Cassotto instrument, you can just leave the accordion sitting on it's legs, straps hanging in the back, but I would advise a plastic cover to keep the dust off it.  My mom made me a few of those a few years back... cost her about $1.50 a piece back then (let's say $4 today) for the plastic and ribbon per accordion and about 15 minutes on a sewing machine.

Once made, those things last forever and are the best way to store an accordion if it is out in the open in a cool room.

My teacher (Charles Nunzio) taught me to keep the straps underneath the accordion when putting it back in the case. Also (as per Mr. Nunzio), be sure to insert the keyboard side in first.

That damages the pad on the back of the accordion over time.
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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