Skip Navigation Website Accessibility
CASES WILD SALE - 50% Off All New and Used Hard Cases in September
Store Hours: Tues-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-3 EST

Frequently Asked Questions

Shipping and Returns

Is it safe to ship an accordion?
The short answer is yes!  The accordion was the original portable piano and has been transported around the world since its creation in the 1800s.  

The longer answer is that accordions have thousands of parts and need to be packed with the following considerations:
1.  Accordions must be packed well to absorb shock.  We wrap all accordions in bubble wrap or foam, secure them in the case and pack them in a sturdy box with foam or other packaging to absorb shock.   
2. It is considered best practice to block the bass buttons to prevent misalignment.  We always block the bass internally or externally depending on the accordion. 
3.  Vintage accordions with loose wax and wood glue are an accident waiting to happen.  A small drop can displace the reeds, reed blocks or mechanism and render the instrument unplayable.  For this reason, we service all used instruments and secure all parts for safe transportation. 
4.  Accordions can withstand some tolerance of temperature changes.  However, one important rule to remember is that if an accordion is cold to the touch it is best to let it warm up before playing so that warm air will not condense moisture on the reeds and cause rust. 

We pack professionally and ship with insurance worldwide.  Please check our full terms and conditions for more details.

What types of shipping services do you offer and how much does shipping cost?
We ship worldwide and the online shipping calculator will calculate the cost based on the total order weight.  

For domestic shipping, we use USPS and FedEx and the rates will vary between $2.99 and $49.  We typically ship within 48 hours and then the time in transit will be 1-5 business days.  

For international shipping, we use USPS and DHL and the rates will vary between $12.99 and $149.  Please allow 1 to 3 weeks for delivery including customs processing.  

We prefer not to use next day shipping because the carriers tend to be hard on packages that are under an intense rush but feel free to contact us for a quote for expedited next day shipping. 

What is your return policy?
We understand that buying a musical instrument is a very personal decision that is difficult to make without playing the instrument first.  We welcome you to come to our show room in Philadelphia to try our accordions so you can fully experience them in person.  Since it's not always possible to visit our store, we want you to feel completely comfortable to try one of our instruments in your own home and offer a 7 day trial for a full refund of the purchase price on all in stock merchandise.  This will allow you the peace of mind to make sure that you love the instrument that is delivered to you.  

We also offer an extended rental option for used merchandise.  Under this policy, you may return any used instrument within 6 months for a refund less a rental charge.  

Certain exclusions apply so please read our full Terms and Conditions for more details.

What is your trade-in / trade-up policy?
Trade-In:  We will consider all trades-ins up to a maximum of 50% of the new purchase price.  

Trade-Up:  The maximum trade-up credit for an instrument you purchased from us is based on the original sales receipt price as follows: 100% for all used instrument purchases and 75% for all new instrument purchases.  Trade-in values are depreciated 1% for each month (or partial month) that you have owned the instrument.  
Example 1 - Original new purchase $2000 owned for 15 months.  Trade credit is 75% - 15% = 60% = $1200 max trade credit off a purchase of $2400 or more.  Purchases less than $2400 get 50% trade credit. 
Example 2 - Original used purchase $1000 owned for 30 months.  Trade credit is 100% - 30% = 70% = $700 max trade credit off a purchase of $1400 or more.  Purchases less than $1400 get 50% trade credit.   

All received trade-ins subject to approval based on condition.  Repair issues not covered under warranty may be deducted from trade credit.  Please see our full Terms and Conditions for details.

Service and Repairs

What is your warranty policy?
1. All new merchandise includes a factory warranty. Please inquire for details about each manufacturer's warranty. We will furnish the necessary documentation, including receipt, serial number, or delivery information upon request. Liberty Bellows is authorized to honor most factory warranties. In the event that Liberty Bellows is not able to repair a defective item, the customer will be responsible to contact the manufacturer to seek an alternate repair facility or ship the item to a factory facility.
2. Used merchandise includes a store warranty. Liberty Bellows will service any material defects in the mechanics, body, or reed blocks for 6 months from purchase date. The warranty does not cover tuning or wearable items such as straps, gasket, bellows, or damage resulting from improper use, shipping, or adverse environmental conditions.
a) Exception -- Used electronic equipment including mics and midi features are NOT covered under the warranty, but new electronics installed by Liberty Bellows are covered by the manufacturer warranty.
3. All warranty repairs will be completed in our shop within 30 days of receipt. Liberty Bellows is not liable for loss of use of the instrument while is being repaired.
4. The customer is responsible for dropping off and picking up their accordions within 60 days of completion notification to avoid a monthly storage / casualty insurance charge of $25 per month. The customer is responsible for shipping to and from our shop and the carrier is responsible for damages occurring during transit.

What is your repair policy?
1. Liberty Bellows will issue an estimate for any repair work. The costs will be in the context of any pricing ranges posted on the web site. We will verify any changes to the estimate in writing with the customer. A written estimate of repair work also includes an appraisal and the cost is $25 which will also serve as the base opening fee for the minimum repair fee.
2. We strive to complete repairs within 30 days but in times of high volume, we appreciate your patience and cannot guarantee a repair time unless otherwise noted.
3. At the time the estimate is issued, at least 50% of the estimate will be paid with the remaining balance to be paid upon pickup or delivery.
4. At the time the estimate is issued, Liberty Bellows will indicate a "fair value" estimate of the item(s) at time of receipt. This price represents the maximum liability that Liberty Bellows would be able to purchase the item(s) in the unlikely event of loss, damages, or other claims.
5. Customers may chose to ship repairs to us. All repairs must be accompanied by a detailed written work order and a return shipping payment or voucher. The customer assumes all responsibility of shipping damages and agrees to abide by our "Shipping Policy" listed above.

General Accordion Questions

What do the various reed configurations mean?
All accordions are free reed instruments with individual metal reeds for each pitch.  Moreover, each reed is double sided to play the tone for both push and pull directions of air.  If an accordion were built with one set of reeds for each note, however, the sound would be thin.  Most accordions will have multiple reeds playing for each note akin to organs that have multiple stops to regulate octave and tremolo combinations.  Accordion register switches will designate various combinations of the reeds to create a variety of sounds and the most common ones are listed below:

L = Low = 16' organ pipe 
M = Middle = 8' organ pipe
H = High = 4' organ pipe

Register Combinations Using 3 Reed Octaves
LM = Low + Middle = 16'8' = Bandoneon
MH = Middle + High = 8'4' = Oboe
LH = Low + High = 16'4' = Organ
LMH = Low + Middle + High = 16'8'4' = Harmonium

What does musette tuning mean?
In the same way that thicken the accordion sound vertically by adding octaves, we can thicken the sound horizontally by adding additional reeds at the same octave.  Typically this is done by adding reeds to the middle octave M = 8' reeds although on a few accordions you will find double bassoon options where the L = 16" reeds are doubled. 

Multiplying the reeds at the same octave will make the instrument louder and fuller.  However, what gives an accordion its distinctive sound is the fact that middle reeds can be intentionally de-tuned to create a slow or fast tremolo effect.  The speed of tremolo is determined by the number of "beats" you hear per second when the de-tuned sound waves cancel out. 

German 2 Reed Tremolo Tuning
M = A440hz
M+ = A444hz
Number of Beats = 444hz - 440hz = 4 hz = 4 beats per second

We use the term musette loosely to refer to this effect in a general sense but a true French musette will have 3 middle reeds which are typically configured as follows:

French 3 Reed Musette Tuning
M- = A435hz
M = A440hz
M+ = A445hz
Number of Beats = 445hz - 440hz = 440hz - 435hz = 5hz = 5 beats per second symmetrically doubled

What are other types of tremolo and musette tunings?

We list some typical tuning below.  Note that many people refer to tuning in "cents"which refers to percent detuning from the next half step.  For example a German Tremolo A440hz to A444hz = 4 beats per second = 15% de-tuning = 15 cents.  The conversion is roughly 1 hz = 3.5cents in the middle of the keyboard. 

0 hz = 0 cents = Unison
0.5hz = 2 cents = Concert
1hz = 4 cents = Swing
2hz = 7 cents = Demi-Swing, Irish
2.5hz = 10 cents = American, Cajun, Quebecois
3hz = 12 cents = Slovenian, Tex-Mex 
4hz = 15 cents = German, Italian
5hz = 18 cents = French
6hz = 22 cents = Old French, Old Italian
7hz = 25 cents = Scottish

We are happy to offer custom tuning services to suit your preference.  Contact us for a quote based on the number of individual reeds we must de-tune. 

How often do I need to tune my accordion?
Unlike pianos and other string instruments which need to be tuned frequently, accordions will stay in tune for many years if they are maintained properly and not exposed to extreme temperature, humidity, moisture or other adverse conditions.  That said, accordions will eventually go out of tune and need to be tuned by a professional. 

Tuning a neglected accordion can be a big job because each accordion will have hundreds of reeds.  Consider a typical professional model:
4 Sets of 41 Treble Reeds = 164 Reeds x 2 Sides = 328 Treble Reed Tongues
5 Sets of 12 Bass Reeds = 60 Reeds x 2 Sides = 120 Bass Reed Tongues
Total 448 Reed tongues that need to be playing the correct pitch!

A proper tuning requires that the reeds first be serviced so that the wax, valve and tongue on each side are positioned properly.  Then the reeds need to be filed, pitch tuned, and ultimately fine tuned so they are in tune in the accordion.  We are happy to provide full reed servicing and tuning at our shop.  Contact us for a repair quote which will depend on the number of reeds that require service and tuning. 

What is a chambered accordion?
The original concept of a tone chamber (cassotto) was to allow accordion builder to place larger 16' bassoon reeds in the treble section.  Larger reeds without heavy weights move more freely and in general have a richer tone with less twang.  Manufacturers achieved this by adding an extra section that was perpendicular to the normal reed placement.  An added benefit was that the additional chamber created more resonance and the idea was expanded to a second set of reeds which is most commonly the 8' clarinet reeds.  The downside is that a chamber adds some weight and makes the accordion more expensive to build and maintain because all key arms fork off into two pads that must be aligned with a great deal of precision.

Most professionals play tone chambered accordions because they want the most powerful low reeds possible to obtain the greatest dynamic range.  Tone chambers are often paired with handmade reeds to maximize the richness of tone. 

There are a few other commonly found features:
  • Amplisound - An additional resonance box is added inside the accordion that further enhances and amplifies overtones. 
  • Mute (aka sordina, tone modulator, tone labyrinth) is a feature that places a wood, plastic, or metal slide mute system across the treble pads.  This has the effect of muting the sound to create a darker tone and can help reduce feedback on some microphone systems. 
  • Tube chamber adds small tubes to the grill to mimic organ resonance. 


Contact Info
  • Liberty Bellows LLC
  • 267-815-4407
  • 614 S. 2nd St.
    Philadelphia, PA 19147
  • Hours:
    Tues-Fri: 10 - 6 EST
    Sat 10 - 3 EST
    Closed Sunday & Monday
Get Directions