Child Prodigy Piano Accordion

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Re: Child Prodigy Piano Accordion

Post by artelagro » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Part 5

No, the piano key removal has not progressed. I have searched for a retaining peg as suggested by Soulsaver but can’t see anything. With the seven screws removed the edge of the baseplate nearest the reeds is loose but it feels as if there is one screw, positioned roughly in the middle of the piano keys still holding it. That’s a job for tomorrow.
There have been a couple of warnings from Kimric which are, of course, helpful but this accordion cost the same as a conventional mouth organ so we must remember that when I am finished, this will still be a toy.
However, I shall move on to the reeds and hope I can get some progress there. I have a couple of questions for others to hopefully answer.
I have looked out a replacement set of treble (clarinet) reeds which are physically slightly different from the originals. The widths are almost identical but the reed plate length of the four lowest notes (C, C#, D, & D#) is about 3mm too long. I can see 2-ways round this:-
1) I can extend part of the plastic reed block or
2) Can cut the reed plates by 1.5mm each end.
I bought a wee hot melt glue gun yesterday so am tempted to go for option 1) and build up the plastic.
Any suggestions?

I found the Youtube video mentioned by Matt Butcher earlier –here:-" onclick=";return false;

The other query I have is a musical rather than practical one.
Looking at the bass layout in part 3, I am wondering whether to copy their idea or change to ‘single notes’? This could easily be done by blanking off the middle row but what would the effect be? If I keep to the Bass/Chord idea which notes should make up the chord.
I also have the option of making it fundamental row / counter bass row and do away with the chords.
I have a blank canvas just now and 8-buttons waiting to be joined to the reeds.

End of part 5, I will add some photos later.

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Re: Child Prodigy Piano Accordion

Post by artelagro » Tue May 30, 2017 4:01 pm

Part 6 – Treble Reeds

It’s been a wee while since I did any work on this but I have been jotting down my thoughts, so here is an update:-

Space inside the bellows is tight, the critical limiting dimension being the reed block height. The Italian reeds I have chosen are almost 3mm longer than the Chinese ones and when I measured the wooden Italian reed block where the ‘C’ & ‘D’ reeds had come from, this showed 53.8mm – The existing plastic moulding is 50mm - Work to be done!

I have given a fair bit of thought re how to fit the longer reed plates into this restricted space. Each idea I came up with seemed to have negative aspects so maybe the Chinese have hit the optimum solution by making their reed tongues shorter.

To find out just what the limit is I put a piece of Blu-tack (putty) on top of the highest part of the reed block, reassembled the accordion then fastened the bellows clips. When I undid the clips, the Blu-tack had been compressed to a thickness of almost 5mm. Unfortunately, this is not spare clear space because the bass reeds lie flat and their valves need room to move. This has made me think again and obviously the simple idea of just increasing the plastic reed block height is not an option.
The Blu-tack measuring method.
I decided not to modify the original reed block and instead, make a complete new one. This would allow me to swap back and forth for comparison.
A search was made through my stack of pallets to find wood of suitable quality. Since my retirement, pallets have been the donor material for a coal bunker, hen coop, garden chairs, etc., etc. so why not an accordion?

The options I considered are:-
a) Reduce the length of the aluminium reed plates by 2mm
b) Set the reed plates at an angle instead of the (near) vertical orientation at present. (1mm saving)
c) Replace both the dense foam gaskets with chamois leather. (1 - 2mm saving)
d) Plane the top of the new wooden reed block to a minimum. (1 – 2mm saving)
e) Plane the bottom of the new reed block as above. (possible 2mm saving)
I think I may need to use a combination of all the above options.

I want to keep the accordion as near standard as possible so a simple act such as an extension to the bellows is ruled out. Similarly, modifying the internal parts should be limited to the new part only.

I have now made the reed block and pared it down to 50mm so I will next fit the reeds and see if it works. The photos show one reed plate which has been shortened and the construction of the new wooden reed block.

My apologies for the break in service - just hope you can remember what this project was about

Comparison 3
Comparison 2
Comparison !
Start of the new bl

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Re: Child Prodigy Piano Accordion

Post by artelagro » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:43 pm

Part 7 – Treble reeds continued.

I wasn’t happy with the finished appearance of the new reed block so it was time to make the mark 2 model using the experiences gained last week. This time I opted to make the entire unit from 1.5mm plywood with vertical sides. There are no fancy angles to be cut now, each part being a plain rectangle. The division walls between adjacent reed plates provide a locating surface for the reed plates. Using Charlie Marshall’s paintbrush method I applied a skin of wax to the front face to hold the reeds firmly in place awaiting their final wax seal. The reed plates are all of different lengths so I had to thicken the base or the roof locally to compensate.
All Ply Reed Block
Now the good fun - trying to wax the reeds in place. I pressed the reed plates firmly into the wax coating then ran a seam top and bottom using a 6mm reed wax stick. This only left the sealing of the gap between each plate. The piano keys are 18mm wide and the reed plates are 16.5mm wide so you don’t need a calculator to tell that there’s only a tiny wee slot for the wax to run down. With my eyesight, a special tool is called for so I riveted a Stanley blade onto a rod which fits into the soldering iron and inserted this into the slot. The wax, when melted against this blade just ran nicely into the void.
Shaky Hand Cure
Over to the scales now and the new complete reed block showed 150 grams against 159 grams for the plastic Chinese one. This was a surprise because the new block feels much bigger.

The first sound test and it’s good. I am working on a way to let you all hear both – bear with me.

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Re: Child Prodigy Piano Accordion

Post by JerryPH » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:00 pm

Dang if nothing, you are displaying some skills there, Garth!!
My musical memoires blog/website:

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Re: Child Prodigy Piano Accordion

Post by artelagro » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:18 am

Part 8 – More of the same?

Last week this one was on Ebay but no one showed any interest, so £6.99 and it was mine – a real genuine ‘Child Prodigy’. The seller was very honest with his or her description and the main fault turned out to be the reed block which had come off its mountings.
The New & the Original
OK it’s not perfect but I have big plans for it.
Is it identical to my own? It looks bigger but surely they don’t make the world’s most popular piano accordion in different sizes!
A quick glance inside to confirm it’s built the same way then test to see that it makes the right noises. Lots of air leaks but it does play.
The grille came off next then the big shock - the main body is made from real wood with a celluloid cover, just like its big brothers. The piano keys also look and feel like normal accordion ones instead of the modern toy plastic mouldings.
The naked front view
I had planned to use this one for tone comparison against the new reeds then later to sacrifice to find out how the treble keys are attached (they are still beating me), after that I would have plenty of spare parts but I can’t do it – it’s pleading with me not to scrap it. This is certainly going to change my plan of attack and put a spanner in the works.
The Bass workings
Does anyone know how many of these have been made, how many factories make them or anything else about their history? Was the Hohner Mignon the starting point?

I just looked down at my bench and it’s now full again – Why do I keep doing this?

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