Articles within the Squeezebox Category

Concertinas Explained – The Anglo, The English and The Duet

We describe here the differences of the three main types of Concertina. The Anglo Concertina. The English Concertina and the Duet Concertina and the music that each type is best suited for playing on Wheatstone, Lachenal and Jeffries type Concertinas.

All the way back in the year 1829 a gentleman by the name of Charles Wheatstone invented the concertina! The other great makers were Crab, Lachenal, Jeffries and McCann. In almost two hundred years the instrument and the way it is played has little changed. if you are lucky you may still find yourself a Wheatstone or other make vintage concertina …the restored old ones are still considered the best, but there are many modern instruments on the market that more than do the job.

The concertina is the smallest and most compact instrument of the squeezebox family, it was the type of squeezebox that was favoured by the sea going men in the early 19th century because it was easy to stow away in their small sea chest. You will often see modern folk musicians singing sea shanties and being accompanied by a concertina.

It is a lightweight and relatively easy-to-handle instrument and is both versatile for playing tunes, song or dance music accompaniment. The two most popular types are the Anglo and the English and thirdly the Duet which is the least common and least available to find or buy in modern times.

On concertinas you play the higher notes with the right hand and the lower notes with the left hand.

The Anglo Concertina produces a DIFFERENT NOTE on the ‘push’ and on the ‘pull’.
The English Concertina produces the SAME NOTE  on the ‘push’ and on the ‘pull’.

Anglo Concertina

The Anglo Concertina is the one most favoured by Irish Music players. There are 20 key and 30 key models available. The G/C tuned instrument is the choice for playing Irish Music. The 20 key model is limited for the number of octaves that can be played on it, but it is fine for beginners. A 20 key Anglo Concertina along with the book ‘Absolute Beginners Concertina’ by Mick Bramich will soon have you on your way to playing Irish Music.

The 30 key G/C Anglo Concertina is the ‘must have’ concertina for playing Irish Music.
A 30 Key G/C Anglo Concertina box along with the Book ‘The Irish Concertina’ by Mick Bramich you have the best squeezeBox and tuition method for becoming a proficient concertina player.

English Concertina

The English Concertina, as it is called,  is the one most favoured by English Folk Music players. However, there are some great players of the English concertina that play ‘Irish Music’ So, it is not set in stone that it is purely an English Concertina! There are 30 key and 48 Key models available. The instrument is chromatic and gives the player the note on the push and on the pull no matter which way the bellows are moving, the same as a piano accordion. for beginners, the Book ‘Handbook for English Concertina’ by Roger Watson is a good start, but check out all the other material available from Eagle Music.

Duet Concertina

The Duet Concertina is the least common and least available to find or buy in modern times. There are three duet ‘systems’ that were  invented in the 19th century by Jeffries, McCann and Crane. Crane’s Duet Concertina ‘system’ was also known as The Triumph Concertina. The Duet is actually a versatile concertina which plays the same note on the push and on the pull in the same way as the English Concertina The high notes are played on the right side and the bass notes are played on the left side, the same as most concertinas. The problem with playing Duet Concertinas, if it is a problem! is that all the three main makers laid the keys out in a different order.

From time to time we have some vintage concertinas in stock. Its always a good idea to check, you may find yourself a fully restored Wheatstone, Crab, Lachenal, Jeffries or a McCann Duet!

Squeezebox jargon demystified – Eagle Music explain the most used terminology

Eagle Music lists below the most used terminology in the squeezebox world and gives simple explanations of all the buzz words and jargon like Musette, Cajun, Dry Tuning, Wet Tuning, Anglo Concertina, Diatonic, Chromatic etc. The list is alphabetical and non exhaustive!

Accordeon

What purists might call a European melodeon or a continental chromatic squeezebox.

Accordion

A squeezebox with bellows, that has buttons or  keys or a combination of both.

Air button

A button or lever that is situated near to the players left bass end operating hand. It enables the player to ‘let air in’ or ‘let air out’ of the bellows.

Anglo concertina

A concertina that plays a different note ‘on the push’ and ‘on the pull’. The popular sizes are described as ‘20 key’ and ‘30 key’. The popular tuning for Irish music is G/C.

Back strap

A strap located at the back of the player …When fitted, the ‘back strap’ pulls together and holds  the two shoulder straps in place. This gives extra stability to the accordion player.

Bellows

The central part of an accordion. The bellows holds and stores air. When the player presses the buttons or keys of an accordion, this transfers the air to the reeds and makes the voices sound.

Bellows strap

Normally two of these are fitted to an accordion (one at the top and one at the bottom) they hold the bellows together for safe transit, or when the accordion is not in use.

Bellows tape

Special cloth backed tape that is glued onto the edges of the bellows to hold them together and it also protect the edges of the bellows.

Bellows pin

Small metal domed pins that hold the bellows to the casing of a squeezebox.

Button accordion

It looks the same as a melodeon but it is a chromatic instrument eg.. On a 2 row box the reeds are tuned an interval apart eg. B/C or D/D# or C#/D etc. A three row Button Accordion could be in the key B/C/C# etc.

Buttons

The small round ‘buttons’ that the fingers press on a melodeon or button accordion to sound the reeds.

Cassotto

The Italian word ‘Cassotto’ translates to the word ‘box’. ‘The Box’ is the tone chamber containing a set of reeds (or two or more) …The reeds blocks that are housed in the tone chamber can be two voices or more. A box with two sets of reeds can be referred to as ‘Double Casotto’. The quality and design ot the tone chamber can add towards the quality of the tone on the instrument.

Castagnari

A top quality Italian melodeon  maker.

Cajun music

Cajun music is often couple and mentioned at same time as  the Creole-based Cajun-influenced zydeco form of music  which are both of the Acadiana origin. This type of music is rooted in the ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada and also is an emblematic music of Louisiana, USA.

Cassotto

‘The Box’ this is the tone chamber containing a set of reeds (or two or more) …The Italian word ‘Cassotto’ translates to the word ‘box’. The reeds blocks that are housed in the tone chamber can be two voices or more. A box with two sets of reeds can be referred to as ‘Double Casotto’. The quality and design ot the tone chamber can add towards the quality of the tone on the instrument.

Chin switches

These are a type of ‘Treble Voice Switch’ located above the treble keyboard. The player does not have to move their hand away from the playing position to change voices, this makes them very easy and convenient to use.

Chromatic

A squeezebox that can be played in and out of the rows to access all the notes including sharps and flats of a chromatic scale.

Continental chromatic

In simple terms, you could think of this instrument as being a Piano Accordion that has buttons rather that keys! because you get the same note on the push and pull the same as on a Piano Accordion.

Converter bass (Also see Free Bass)

An accordion fitted with a converter bass system is the most versatile squeezebox regarding  the left hand. The left hand bass end of the squeezebox has ‘switches’ to change between standard Stradella and ‘Free Bass’.

Couplers (also called Registers, Switches and Stops)

These are the ‘selector switches’ that are found on squeezeboxes. they are used to select the number of ‘voices’ that can be playing at any one time. Accordions that have a more than two voices are often tuned to different octaves of each voice. An accordion that is described as ‘Octave Tuned’ will have a voice tuned an octave higher than the middle voice and a voice tuned an octave lower than the middle voice.

They have small dots or indentations on them to indicate the number of voices that the coupler will ‘switch on’.
eg. The coupler switch with one dot on it will play only one voice, and if it is the higher octave single reed that is chosen, it will sound something like a concertina.

Depending on how many voices the particular squeezebox has, will determine how many couplers there are. The voices can come tuned to different octaves. On say a three voice accordion, you will be able to select the higher tuned reeds, the lower tuned reeds and the middle tuned reeds in a number of different combinations. On a four voice accordion that is musette tuned, you will can select and play on the three musette tuned reeds. etc.

Crane

A make of duet concertina from the 19th century.

Diatonic tuning

Diatonic. eg. A/D, D/G, G/C etc. (a 5th apart) – Chromatic. eg. B/C, C#/D, D/D# etc.

Double casotto

The Italian word ‘Cassotto’ translates to the word ‘box’. ‘The Box’ is the tone chamber containing a set of reeds (or two or more) …The reeds blocks that are housed in the tone chamber can be two voices or more. A box with two sets of reeds can be referred to as ‘Double Casotto’. The quality and design ot the tone chamber can add towards the quality of the tone on the instrument.

Double Ray

A button accordion model made by Hohner.

Dry tuning

When two voices or more are tuned to the same to concert pitch (No tremolo).

Duet concertina

The Duet Concertina is the least common and least available to find or buy in modern times. There are three duet ‘systems’ that were  invented in the 19th century by Jeffries, McCann and Crane. Crane’s Duet Concertina ‘system’ was also known as The Triumph Concertina.

English

A type of music eg. Morris Dance Music or a concertina that plays the same note on the push and the pull.

Four stop

A one row melodeon that has ‘four stops’ for selecting different reed playing combinations.

Four voice

A box that has four banks of reeds.

Free bass

An accordion  bass system that is favoured by Baroque, folk and some classical players.
Unlike the stradella bass system, ‘Free  Bass’ means that all the left hand buttons play a different note! …this makes the instrument very versatile and gives the player a massive range of musical notes. Classical, piano and organ music can be played with little need for re arrangement.

Fret worked

The way the pattern is cut on the front/grille of a squeezebox, it can metal or wood that is fretworked.

Grille

Located at the front of the squeezebox, the grille is normally fancy, fretworked and displays the makers logo.  it’s job however, is to cover and protect the workings (valves etc.) of the accordion. The grille lets out the treble sound, but it can also be designed and made in a way that it can mute the treble sound.

Hohner

A German accordion maker, probably the World’s best known.

Jeffries

A make of concertina from the 19th century.

Key

The signature of a piece of music eg. the key of C major.

Keys

The black and white keys found on a piano accordion.

Lachenal

A make of concertina from the 19th century

Master bar selector switch

Some sqeezeboxes are fitted with a bar that runs the length of the treble keyboard, it is located at the outer edge of the keyboard. When pressed in it switches in all the voices. It can be operated easily by the heel of the players hand, it springs back automatically to it’s outer position immediately after it is pressed in. very useful in that The Master Bar enables the player to switch on the master set of voices without taking any  fingers away from the playing position.

McCann

A make of duet concertina from the 19th century.

MIDI

Music Instrument Digital Interface.
Introduced in the mid 1980s for accordionists. The MIDI system means that in simple terms, the accordion is fitted with an interface controller, when a note is played it is sent to a sound generator or ‘slave’ as it is called, which instantly plays the same note through an amplifier. A MIDI kit can be fitted to any old accordion by specialist installers.

Musette tuned

Musette describes three reeds in the same octave that sound at the same time. A WET musette tuning would be when one set of reed voices is tuned in concert pitch, one set is tuned sharp, and the third set is tuned flat. this very strong tremolo effect was made popular by the renown Scottish accordionist Jimmy shand. A dry musette tuning that would be desired for Irish music would be when the three reeds voices are tuned as close as possible to concert pitch.

Octave tuned

Accordions that have a more than two voices are often tuned to different octaves for each voice. An accordion that is described as ‘Octave Tuned’ will have one of it’s voices  tuned an octave higher than the middle voice and a voice tuned an octave lower than the middle voice.

One row

A melodeon that has one row of buttons on the treble end.

One voice

A squeezebox that has just one single bank of reeds on the treble end.

Piano accordion

An accordion that has black and white ‘piano type keys’.

Pitch

A reed is tuned to a certain musical ‘pitch’ . Small reeds produce higher pitched notes and vibrate much faster than bass reeds. As such, bass reeds need to be longer and thicker than treble reeds …in fact the longer and thicker the reed, the lower will be the the pitch. bass reeds move much slower than treble reeds. When you press the bellows harder and force more air through a reed, it doesn’t make the reed move any faster, it just increases the volume of the note.

Pokerwork

A one row or two row melodeon model made by Hohner. It is names after the pokerwork type pattern on the casing.

Reeds

Reeds are what produce the note/sound of a squeezebox. Steel is the most common material for making reeds. The thin steel reed is riveted onto an aluminium reed plate. The reed plate has a slot in the middle which allows the reed to move freely in the slot. When air from the bellows is passed through the slot the reed vibrates and produces sound at the pitch of the note that the reed is tuned to. Reeds are ‘tuned’ at the time of manufacture and in some cases can be re-tuned. The reeds are mounted onto wooden reed blocks. To moderate and conserve air, reeds are fitted with plastic ‘wind-savers’ or ‘leathers’ as they are also made from soft leather. Some people also call them  ‘valves’.

Reeds types

The playability, sound and general quality of a squeezebox can be attributed to the reeds that it is fitted with. reeds come in four different quality levels. the general quality may vary depending on the source of the particular reed.

Hand made reeds

A squeezebox fitted with hand made reeds is much more responsive to the player, these reeds respond to gentle use of the bellows to extreme pressure placed on them by the player. Each reed plate is hand made from Dural (a  type of string aluminium developed for the aircraft industry). It is hand worked deburred and polished to a fine finish. The high grade steel used for the actual reed tongue is heat tempered which leaves a visible blue sheen on the edges of the reed. When the reeds are fitted to the reed blocks with wax, the base of the reed plate may be smeared with a layer of wax, this is another sign to tell you that the reeds are hand made.

Hand finished reeds

This reed and plate is hand finished in that the maker fits the steel reed tongue by hand. There is a lesser degree of quality and finish relating to the reed plate itself which will be duller and less shiny than a hand made reed plate.

Tipo A Mano. ‘hand made type’

‘Tipo A Mano’ when translated from Italian to English means ‘Imitation hand made Type’ This reed and plate looks similar to a genuine hand made reed and is normally made on an larger plate, in fact the top quality ‘Tipo A Mano’ reeds that are made from the best quality steel with some degree of hand finishing, can be as good as some of the hand made reeds.

Commercial or factory made

Factory made reeds are less expensive to produce and this is reflected in the cost of instruments compared with the ones fitted with hand made reeds.

Factory made reeds plates are smaller, and made from a lower grade aluminium.

they are almost entirely machine made with a little hand finishing. They still play well and sound good, but a box fitted with them in the hands of a professional player will not be as responsive as hand made reeds.

Registers (also called couplers, switches and stops)

These are the ‘selectors’ that are found on squeezeboxes for selecting the number of  ‘voices’ that can be playing at any one time. The often have small dots on them to indicate the number of voices that you are selecting. eg. the coupler with one dot on it will play only one voice and sound a something like a concertina. Depending on how many voices the particular squeezebox has will determine how many couplers there are. the voices can come tuned to different octaves. On say a three voice box, you will be able to select the higher tuned reeds, the lower tuned reeds and the middle tuned reeds in a number of different combinations. On a four voice accordion that is musette tuned you can select and play on the three musette tuned reeds.

Rotella

A rotating thumb screw that adjusts the hand strap on a squeezebox.

Saltarelle

A top quality French designer / Italian accordion company. The first choice for many professional players.

Stops

Stops or Registers are Knobs or Switches or Levers that are operated by the player allowing different combinations of sound from the selected reed banks.

Stradella

The layout pattern of the bass buttons on a swueezebox.

Strap bracket

Metal fitments that the shoulder straps are fitted to, normally one at the top and one underneath an accordion.

Swing tuning

Swing. When one reed is tuned in concert pitch and the other is tuned slightly sharp. Somewhere between Wet and Dry

Three row

A squeezebox that has three rows of buttons on the treble end.

Three voice

A squeezebox that has three sets of reeds on the treble end …ie. three reeds can sound at the same time.

Thumb straps

On lighter weight squeezeboxes a shoulder strap may not be needed. One or even two row melodeons may have a thumb strap fitted on the treble end.

The thumb strap is for the thumb of the right hand, and is mostly used on lighter concertinas and bandoneons, where shoulder straps are not needed.

Tone chamber

‘The Box’ this is the tone chamber containing a set of reeds (or two or more) …The Italian word ‘Cassotto’ translates to the word ‘box’. The reeds blocks that are housed in the tone chamber can be two voices or more. A box with two sets of reeds can be referred to as ‘Double Casotto’. The quality and design ot the tone chamber can add towards the quality of the tone on the instrument.

Tuning

In simple terms, the three different tunings of reeds for accordions are what is called Wet, Swing and Dry tuning.

Wet Tuning is where the reeds are tuned apart to give a wavering / tremolo effect. eg. on a two voice box one reed would be tuned to concert pitch and the second reed would be tuned sharp …the sharper the second reed is tuned …the wetter the sound. On a three voice WET tuned accordion one reed would be tuned to concert pitch and the second reed would be tuned sharp the third reed would be tuned flat …the sharp and flat reeds beating against the reeds that are tuned to concert pitch gives a very WET sound. Wet tuning is the most accepted for Scottish music. Jimmy Shand being one of the great players that made this tuning popular in Scottish music.

Swing Tuning is the most common tuning for instruments bought ‘off-the-shelf’ and can be accepted in most genres of music. Swing Tuning falls in the middle of Wet and Dry. The reeds are tuned slightly apart which gives the a slight amount of tremolo, but a little more body to the sound.

Dry Tuning is where two voices or more are tuned to concert pitch. Dry tuned accordions are the most widely accepted in Irish music and can be likened to a concertina ‘sound’.

Two row

The number of rows of buttons on a melodeon or button accordion.

Two and a half row

A squeezebox that has two rows of buttons on the treble end, with the addition of half row of extra buttons situated above the two rows …the extra buttons give the player ‘accidental notes’ these notes can be notes that are repeated from the two rows for easier access to the player, or they can be  notes that don’t exist on the standard tuned  two row box.

Two voice

A squeezebox that has two sets of reeds on the treble end …ie. two reeds can sound at the same time.

Valves

Located inside the squeezebox under the grille, you will find sound ‘holes’ that are covered by moveable wooden blocks, these wooden blocks have ‘pads’ fitted to them, they are known as the ‘valves’.
When the buttons and keys are pressed on a squeezebox, spring loaded levers are operated that lift and lower the valves to let air into the reeds.
Also the Small plastic ‘wind savers’ that cover the reeds to conserve air in a squeezebox
are sometimes called valves.

Voices

Voices refers to the number of reeds per note in an instrument. E.g 1 voice = 1 reed, (sounds like a concertina) 2 reeds = 2 voices, 3 reeds = 3 voices. etc.

Wet tuning

Wet or Tremolo. When one reed is tuned in concert pitch and the other is tuned sharp – sharp enough to set up a fast tremolo beat between the reeds.

Wheatstone

A make of concertina from the 19th century …Charles Wheatstone invented the concertina in 1829.

Zydeco

Cajun music is often couple and mentioned at same time as  the Creole-based Cajun-influenced zydeco form of music  which are both of the Acadiana origin. This type of music is rooted in the ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada and also is an emblematic music of Louisiana, USA.

Squeezebox Buyers Guide – melodeon, accordion, concertina

Eagle Music demystifies the main differences between a Melodeon, Button Accordion, English Concertina, Anglo Concertina and Piano Accordion. The types of music that are best suited for playing English folk music and traditional Irish music styles are all explained.

You may have heard someone playing a squeezebox at a festival, session or village summer event somewhere and thought  to yourself  ‘I would like  to do that’. However, to the beginner, the melodeon, button accordion, concertina and piano accordion all sound similar! Eagle Music helps you here and gives you specialist advice that will help you to make the right choice and not waste your money on the wrong squeezebox. We need to make  you aware that there are many retailers in the UK that don’t specialise in accordions, and out of their own ignorance  would sell you the wrong instrument.

The popular types of squeezebox that we shall explain are Concertina, Melodeon, Button Accordion and Piano Accordion. Please see the specific technical sheets for each instrument.

Here we explain the popular types of music suited to the squeezebox.

English Music

The most popular squeezebox that you will see in the hands of Morris Dance Music players is the two row Melodeon in the key of D/G (you will also see concertinas and piano accordions used by these players which we shall explain further on in these technical notes), the D/G melodeon will give you that rhythmic bouncy style which is achieved because you have to change the bellows direction to play notes that are the same as their accompanying chords on the bass end of the instrument.

There are also one row melodeons which are just as hard to learn to play, but are limited to the diatonic key on the single row. (for the one row melodeon,  the key of  D is the most popular) For English music players, the D/G Hohner Pokerwork has been the ‘industry standard’ if you like for beginners that want a tried and tested quality box, that has the ‘authentic strident sound’ at a fair price. On a D/G melodeon you can access playing in the major keys of A D E G and the minor keys of A minor B minor and C. Accomplished players can spider around the buttons, substitute notes here and there and play in more keys! For beginning to play the melodeon we recommend the Hohner Pokerwork Pack with detailed instructions from Dave Mallinson …a most respected English and Irish music melodeon player. The Hohner Pokerwork will give you the best value when you compare quality with price, nothing on the market can beat it. the Pack also included a deluxe Extreme Protection ‘Mally Bag’ which is the accepted way to carry a melodeon.

Its amazing how soon a beginner can get a tune out of a melodeon. Learning from the ‘Mally’ method book and CD you will soon be playing tunes and on your way to playing in the local sessions or joining your local Morris side! The amount of practise that you put in will decide how good you will become as a player.

The English Concertina and Piano Accordion is also used in English folk music, please see the separate sections for English Concertina and Piano Accordion

Irish Music

The squeezebox is a wonderful instrument for playing traditional Irish music, and there is a wealth of of brilliant players that have produced recorded music that you can listen to for each type of squeezebox. By listening to these recordings you will be inspired, and they will also help to develop your style and feel. The most popular squeezebox for Irish music is the B/C button accordion However, there are some great players using the diatonic D/G melodeon. The B/C system has been most  favoured since the 1940s and early 1950s when Irish players such as Paddy O’Brian started to develop the modern B/C playing system. The Hohner Double Ray Black Dot is an excellent B/C starter Button Accordion that is excellent value when you compare quality and price …the Saltarelle ‘Irish Bouebe’ is also one of the fair priced, best sounding Irish music squeezeboxes. Along with the book ‘The Box’ or one of our instruction tuition DVDs you will soon be on the ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’ as a player!

The Anglo Concertina the Piano Accordion and the Melodeon are also popular squeezeboxes for playing Irish Traditional Music. The English Concertina can also be used for playing Irish music. Please see the specific technical  sections for each specific type of squeezebox.

European Music

The most popular keys for melodeon in the rest of Europe is G/C and C/F …G/C being the predominant key. The keys of G/C and C/F are also typical and excellent keys for songs and many singers sing  in the keys of G C and F. The Hohner Pokerwork and many of the excellent squeezboxes in the Saltarelle range are available in the keys of G/C and C/F. Not books or tuition material is available here in the UK for playing European music. The book Bal Folk is also a great  book which contains 214 tunes, mostly from Central France and will be of interest to anyone who enjoys playing French music, or playing for French dancing. The tunes are suitable for melodeon, fiddle and accordion, and many will also fit within the range of bagpipes and hurdy gurdy. Dansons La Morvandelle! A Collection of Traditional French Dance Tunes From the Morvan is also available from Eagle Music. ‘Le livre du Débutant’ is a useful G/C tutor and can be obtained.

Cajun Music

Cajun music is often couple and mentioned at same time as  the Creole-based Cajun-influenced zydeco form of music  which are both of the Acadiana origin. This type of music is rooted in the ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada and also is an emblematic music of Louisiana,USA.

The French Louisiana sounds of Cajun Music  have influenced American popular music for many decades, and can be found especially in country music. They have also influenced the pop culture and strains of the music can be heard in much pop music.

Cajun music can be played on a diatonic squeezebox, but a dedicated One Row, Four Stop is best suited for the Cajun sound and style of playing. The first choice would be a One row, four stop melodeon tuned in C. It is possible to play in the key of G on this instrument and you will find that the Cajun music player will often play in the Second Position which is the same as a blues harmonica player playing G over the main tune in the key of C.

The usual myths and folklore surround this type of instrument as it does with many instruments …The types of wood used to make a Cajun Accordion The layout of the reeds, design etc. are all said to contribute to its unique sound …For example a ‘Genuine Louisiana Cajun Accordion’  for example has two of its four reeds laid flat on the soundboard and two of them placed upright on a block. However, there are also many
lower priced One Row instruments available that will do the job. For tuition material, we recommend you buy the Dirk Powell DVD  ‘Learn to play Cajun Accordion’ – Starting Out’ this will give you an an excellent start to learning and playing Cajun Acccordion.

Continental Chromatic Squeezeboxes

In simple terms, you could think of this instrument as being a Piano Accordion that has buttons rather that keys because you get the same note on the push and pull. However, on the continental chromatic a greater number of notes is available to the player under the span of the players hand, this makes the instrument very versatile. The layout of this instrument is quite logical relatively simple to understand there are two systems and the systems are named  …The B System and The C System.

One of the smaller sized models such as the Four Row, Sixty Bass would be our recommendation for a beginner in either system B or C. Each system has its advantages for the player and none is superior to the other.

Squeezebox Care & Maintenance – A guide to looking after your squeezebox

We are often asked how do I look after my squeezebox  and how do I clean it?

Here Eagle Music answers in simple terms the important dos and don’ts regarding general care of your squeezebox, storing, cleaning and transporting your squeezebox safely.

Eagle Music Shop offers a full tuning and repair service for squeezeboxes.

The Bellows

Take great care of the bellows on your squeezebox. this part of your box is the most vulnerable part of your instrument. Damaged and leaking bellow can make your box hard to play and cause you to put more effort into your playing than is needed. Check before playing that you don’t have a belt buckle or other part of your clothing that is rubbing on your instrument. Also watch out for buckles and metal fitting on shoulder straps that may damage your box. its also good practise to cover the buttons and keys of your box with a soft towel or cloth when you put your instrument away in its case.

Storing

In general musical instruments like the same environment as their player …conditions where it is not too hot or hot and certainly not wet or damp!
keep your instrument clean and free from dust,dirt and moisture …In a UK home, its OK to leave your out say on a table between playing sessions, in fact we encourage this as it makes you pick up the instrument more frequently to play and practise. Try to keep your instrument ‘out of the way’ on a table in a corner of the room. Never leave it near a radiator or in a window where direct sunlight can fall upon the instrument and bake it! Also, never leave your instrument stored in a cold or damp place eg. cellar, loft or out in the garage, and never leave your instrument in the back of a car!

Cleaning

Each time you have played your instrument give the keys a wipe over with a lint free cloth to remove finger marks. From time to time you may want to polish your instrument …always check that this is suitable for the finish on your instrument eg. On a modern gloss finish, always choose a non-smear wax free polish. Never use abrasive cleaners as this can damage finishes.

Transporting

Care of your instrument during transportation really depends on where it is being transported to, and how it is being transported. Hard-shell cases, Mally Bags and accordion rucksacks  have their pros and cons. It can be said that a padded gig bag is sufficient to take your instrument out to the pub or a jam session.But please note …when using a gig bag, you must always remember that your instrument can still be damaged if you don’t take extreme care of how you handle it, how you put it down and where you leave it …other persons can sit on your gig bag! Also, If you are a gigging musician, It wouldn’t be a good idea to put your gig bag/ instrument in the back of a van or in the boot of a car with PA gear and other hard objects! We recommend a hard-shell case always for gigging musicians. If you’re travelling by by airplane we recommend a hard-shell or even better a flight case. Also, for added protection  ‘bubble wrap’ your hard-shell case before letting it go in the hold of an airplane …the handling of baggage at airports can be very rough!

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