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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Location: The Swamp (go Gators!)
All - I found (what was listed as) a 1950's Paolo Soprani red button box today (price withheld, but a steal)... several of the reeds had come loose and were rattling around, so i pulled the pins and rescued them... bellows good, action good, good condition overall (other than the aforementioned reeds rattling around).

1 - having a difficult time determining the key - I believe it to be a really out of tune BC... using my tuner, it is tuned close to:

inner row (push/pull): C#/F# - F/Bb - Ab/C - C#/Eb - F/F# - Ab/Bb - C#/C - Eb/F - Ab/F# - Bb/C# - F/C
outer row (push/pull): C/F - E/A - G/B - C/D - and so on and so forth.

The top reed pan has E/F sort of carved into the end of it, but has D/E written on it as well. Are these typical P.S. tunings?

Looks like someone with an old CVS value card may have worked on it sometime in recent years (Jerry?)...

2 - anyone have information about this particular model?

3 - who best to give it a go-over?...

it is 23 keys, 8 bass red badge white lettering identical to the one titled han1box at http://www.flickr.com/photos/21478603@N06/page4/

i have an album on my facebook page (John Maze) of the various stages of taking it apart (relax, architect and piper - so used to careful work)...

Any help appreciated. Can email photos as well

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:44 pm 
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Location: The Swamp (go Gators!)
FYI - got it back together - just taped over the intakes on the blocks - will have someone better put the reeds back in - (maybe) and this sucker is singing! now I am thinking that it is a C/C# - maybe get it tuned down?... in any case, sounding good!... just happy that i was able to put it all back and not have any left over parts (like that old fiat of mine in highschool)...

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:56 am 
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Location: Montreal
Nice find! Definitely appears to be C/C# from your description.

It could be tuned down to B/C or up to C#/D and there are a lot of boxes around, especially Hohners, on which this operation has been done. A semitone is reckoned to be the maximum amount that you can retune reeds.

But many tuners will tell you that this severely weakens the reeds and advise against doing it. It would seem a shame to operate on such a classic box with their sought-after reeds.

I'd be tempted either to enjoy playing it at home either B/C or C#/D style.... or look for one set of compatible reeds to convert it - e.g. a B set if you want to go to B/C or a D set if you want to go to C#/D. (I know people who might be able to help you track down old Paolo or other suitable reeds - send me a pm.)

The other use for a C/C# (as it is) is as an Eb box for B/C players - used in bands that play a semitone up like De Dannan and some of the younger bands.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:16 am 
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Wow! Congratulations on a magnificent score! Michael at Irish Dancemaster http://www.irishdancemaster.com/accordion.html is a great reed man. I've had hime do work on a couple PA's, and he's always been fast, thorough, and communicative. He specializes in Irish semitone boxes, and would probably be thrilled to have a go at yours. John Nolan http://www.accordionwizard.com/Repair.html has a solid reputation, though I've never dealt directly with him. He's also a great player and has been at the center of a couple efforts to reproduce the old Paolo Soprani style and tone in modern accordions. Finally, Guenadiy at Accordion Gallery http://www.accordiongallery.com/ tends to specialize in hgh-end PAs, but he's a fanatical lover of the accordion in all its forms who loves anything out of the ordinary. He restored and modified a funky old Hohner Student model with meticulous care and attention to detail.

+1 on StevieJ's advice regarding tuning. There just aren't many of these old Paolos left, and it would be tragic to have one rescued from a junk shop only to be damaged in tuning. I'd guess either Michael or John could advise you on the odds of a successful retune, but like StevieJ says, even the most careful retuning of that magnitude could weaken the reeds. Better to let the box sing in its own voice--IMHO. In any case congrats & Good Luck!
Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:22 am 
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Some people have all the luck

Herself and I snuck out of tow for a few days to southwest Michigan. Did the ceremonial inspection of the antique shops. She was amazed at my level of snooping around.

I told her I keep hearing about folks finding old Paolos in antique shops and was hoping to find one.

All I found was a very old, very dead C one-row missing half its parts and bellows held together with duct tape....


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