Tuesday, August 21, 2012


This Serenellini was silky in a clutch. We may become a couple.
Anita's needles clicked away while I disappeared into the next room to fondle one enticing beauty after another. As it turned out, I didn't buy yet another button box -- though an engagement announcement may be in the works, so I didn't strike out entirely.  Anita, who was only along for the ride, ended up finding the ultimate yarn stash and came back lugging a bag o'hanks.

We made a pilgrimage to The Button Box in western Massachusetts. It was time for a six-week checkup of my new (used) Castagnari G/C. A couple of its higher notes were not so sweet as they could be. Margaret, who is remarkably able in her role as my melodeon acquisition disease enabler, encouraged me to bring my baby by so that they could shower it with attention.

Bringing it involved renting a car and driving a couple of hours, but so what? I'm now responsible for my melodeon's health. Plus, I had seen pictures of The Button Box show room: shelves of finger candy, begging to be played.

 The Button Box adjusts some slightly sour notes
I was ushered into the tuning shop where Bob asked what I thought needed to be adjusted and listened to me play a couple of tunes. He winced at those off-key notes -- at least I hope that's why he winced -- and agreed that an adjustment was in order. I also asked why my taped thirds sounded odd. He cocked his head, listened to the chords, and speculated that I put tape on the wrong holes. We would soon find out.

All my diagrams pointed my Scotch Magic tape
to the wrong holes.
Previously I had opened up the accordion and stuck tape over the holes that allow air to sound the thirds: the middle note in a three-note chord. Taped thirds are the way to go for those who are learning the French Stuff, as I call my efforts, in order to gain flexibility by making a chord neither major or minor. It's like an old guy sporting a brand new tattoo: geezer or dude? It could go either way.

Some accordions, my Gaillard for example, have a lever that blocks off those holes. Others require a little Scotch Magic. Part of the magic is knowing which holes to block and I had somehow stumbled. While Bob sealed off the correct holes and then scratched away at the treble reeds to adjust the pitch, I wandered into the retail side to meet Margaret in person.

Anita trailed along and knitted while I speed-dated button boxes. I started off a bit shy but was encouraged to try this one and then that one and then another. What a strange sensation to hold a stranger and tickle all the same places only to invoke a subtly different response. Well, perhaps not unprecedented. But I've never experienced such a thing in broad daylight, in a music store, with an audience.

Anita clutching her hank
That Margaret, talk about an enabler. She clued Anita into WEBS, which calls itself America's Yarn Store. We were off to Northhampton. The store's front end was impressive, colorful, full of all sorts of wools and tools, and quite busy. That was only the prelude. The back end was warehouse-sized and filled with women wandering the aisles, looking starry eyed. I wasn't the only one fondling lovelies that day. Anita did her share too.

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