Accordion for Sale: La Melodiosa Model 40, S/N A1122

I’m selling a full-size lower-end professional piano accordion made in Italy during the second half of the 20th century. It has art-deco styling and plays well. At 24 to 24.5 pounds (around 11 kg) with straps, ready to play, it has the advantage of relatively low weight for a full-size accordion.

See photos with lots of detail at https://photos.app.goo.gl/PRsBPwW7hKtfD1u17

It’s located in San Francisco, California.

Treble

  • 41 keys
  • 19.125-inch (48.5cm) keyboard (low F to high A)
  • LMMH, +5-cent musette tuning
  • 9 registrations including master
  • Palm master switch bar
  • Switchable grille mute

Bass

  • 120 Stradella
  • 5 sets of reeds
  • Low C
  • 3 registrations

A442 Hz pitch reference.

Made in Castelfidardo, Ancona Province, Italy. Uncertain year of manufacture; estimating late 1960s or early 1970s (I think La Melodiosa stopped making accordions in 1973).

Reeds appear hand-made (faceted rivet hammer marks, blueing visible on reed tongue bases — see photos) but I’m not an expert so I can’t say with certainty that they are hand-made. Reed plates are both waxed and nailed onto reed blocks (see photos). One of the piccolo reed plates has been re-waxed into place oriented opposite the others, i.e., with rivets near the edge of the reed block rather than near the base of the reed block; this must have been a repair. It was done before I owned the instrument so I don’t know the reason but it’s never given me any trouble.

The number 1194 appears on the reed blocks and the body of the accordion (see photos). I don’t know whether it means anything.

It comes with a case which I believe is the original case because I’ve seen other La Melodiosa Model 40 accordions with cases that look identical.

Included are straps and a bellows pad that attaches with adhesive snaps to the back of the instrument.

Functional Condition

Very good, completely ready to play. No internal damage, and everything works. No rust on reeds. Good compression, tight bellows, all reeds play correctly, all registrations work, no spurious tones, all keys and buttons are level and operate smoothly with no sticking, no bad smells. Ventilli (reed leathers) and boosters are unusually good for the age of the instrument, but some are nonetheless standing slightly curled away from their reed blocks (see photos).

Straps might be original. They are intact and usable but definitely need to be replaced because they are cracked and might fail soon.

The case works fine for holding and transporting the accordion but it looks like the wood in the hinged side of the case (the side opposite the front handle and latches, with four metal feet on it) has cracked (see photos) so it should be treated with care. Case shows wear that’s normal or perhaps lighter than expected for an instrument of this age.

Cosmetic Condition

Good to very good. Some minor scratches on chrome grille trim, chrome bass register switches, and celluloid body of instrument (see photos). Wooden feet on bass side show some normal wear (see photos). No pitting on key tops. Overall typical condition for a well-cared-for, used instrument of its age.

Reason for Selling

I like this instrument very much and if I had enough space I would keep it. I’m selling because I’ve got more than one other accordion now and I need to thin the herd.

Story Time

The La Melodiosa brand has a special connection with San Francisco through Vince Cirelli, who was not only their distributor, but who was a master accordion maker and technician, and who created many design improvements that the La Melodiosa factory in Italy adopted over the years; this accordion probably sold new from Mr. Cirelli’s North Beach shop in San Francisco.

I bought this instrument in the SF bay area from a previous owner’s daughter after her father’s death; I believe she told me her dad had bought the accordion new.

Interestingly, this instrument contained an assembly error when I received it: The G7 Stradella chord button sounded reed pitches G-D-F instead of the correct G-B-F because the button piston had one of its rivets in the wrong position. I purchased a new rivet and installed it in the correct place, removing the old one so the G7 chord is now voiced correctly like all the others. Most likely the instrument’s prior owner(s) simply never noticed the problem since G-D-F sounds more or less like a G7 chord in many musical contexts.

Comparables

Comparables are a bit hard to come by, but I found one.

Apparently the same model accordion sold for $1100 used in Houston, Texas, USA with a pickup system installed that needed some TLC. I suspect an old pickup system in need of TLC has negative value because the installation has meant drilling holes in the instrument, and not only does it need TLC, but older systems simply didn’t sound very good nor resist feedback all that well. It’s hard to tell whether that accordion was in condition as good when it sold as mine is now; certainly its ad didn’t include as much info nor clear pictures showing the internal condition. That one looks like it has no bellows pad but its bellows could well be fine anyway. The bellows on mine are definitely fine and they’re going to stay fine thanks to the bellows pad.