Every accordion has a story. When I started repairing accordions, I didn’t realize how many fascinating stories I would hear. Your accordion may have belonged to one of your parents, or a beloved spouse or sibling. Many people bring me an accordion that belonged to their mother or father, and now they’ve passed on. These “children” are usually over 40 years old themselves, or even 50 or 60. Their mother or father hadn’t played it for decades before passing on, but they still remember hearing it when they were young. I love to hear the stories of a long life playing an accordion. One time a few years ago a man emailed me to say he wanted to sell his deceased wife’s accordion. He had saved it for many years because he had so many fond memories of her playing it. But he had prayed to her and she gave her permission to pass on the accordion to the next owner. Last year, I got a call from a woman who lived in Florida, about 70 years old. She had her brother’s accordion, a brother who had passed on a few years ago. He loved to play the accordion. She just wanted it to find a new owner, someone who would bring it back to life.
Sometimes the person I meet is the first and only owner of a very old accordion. They’ve played it since childhood. Maybe they played in a band in college. Maybe they played at festivals or in nursing homes for the residents. But they no longer have time, or they have trouble picking it up as they grow older. Accordions can be heavy instruments. A surprising number of my customers have more than one accordion, and often they’re downsizing and moving into a smaller place. They no longer have room for any more than one favorite accordion. I love to hear their stories, too.
Accordions love to be played! If they sit for a while unplayed, they start to fade away. Accordions are incredibly complex instruments. The leather parts inside will dry out and cause odd sounds. The wax dries and cracks; the reeds fall out of place. Dust and lint gathers. I often find the exoskeletons of tiny insects. Most of my customers aren’t selling their accordion for money; they just want to know that someone will play it. They don’t want it to sit, abandoned. They remember hearing how much pleasure it could give people. A surprising number of people don’t even ask for money; they just want to know that someone will play the accordion. They tell me “I don’t want it to sit in a corner somewhere.”
Unfortunately, there isn’t a big market for used accordions, even accordions that still look good and even when they play well. The accordion you’re thinking of selling almost certainly will need repairs and cleaning up. It takes me hours to do that before I can post an accordion on this web site. I rarely pay more than $100 or $200 for an accordion; maybe more if it’s a legendary high-end brand. It’s sad to have to say that, because the story that comes with the accordion tells me that it’s worth so much more than that. I don’t buy and sell accordions just to turn them around and make a lot of money. I take them into my house, I clean them and fix them up. I play it for a month or so before I list it for sale, because when it’s played it comes back to life.
If you’d like to tell me the story of your accordion, I’d love to hear it!