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Booioioing Broke A Spring!

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While I was practicing last night on my cheap, venerable Lachenal Anglo, something bad happened. My high C# started sounding all the time. The button was getting stuck down and wouldn't come up. So I took off the top expecting to find I had broken a pad or something, but it turns out the spring was broken instead. Metal fatigue, the top part snapped right off.


Horrified at the thought of not being able to play for even a Single Minute more, for however long it would take to get a proper repair, I decided to do something quick myself. I noticed that the other springs looked suspiciously like the non-business-end of a safety pin (all hail that miraculous invention 2nd only to duct tape!). So I got myself a safety pin, cut off the business ends, and bent it to look like the other springs, with the latchy bend on top and the one on the bottom to go into the hole on the action board.


Much to my surprise it actually worked. The tension on the button is much like the others. Perhaps a little softer, but not as much to be a problem.


So my questions are:

1. How long do you think this make-shift repair is going to hold for?

2. Where would I obtain some proper replacement springs (looks like some other ones are also achin' to go to spring-heaven).



Tom Lawrence

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Hi Tom,


I hesitate to say it, but the safety pin is quite likely to last you a good while.

Certainly long enough to order a new full set of springs It is a fiddly job but is straightforward if you are reasonably handy.

A good starting point for a supplier would be to contact one of the sponsors of this site. Do remember to count up and specify the number of left and right hand hook springs and don't forget the air button.

When one spring goes it is often an indication that a goodly proportion of the others are about to throw in the towel....if springs can do that?


As for safety pins, I once bought a cheap 20 key Lachenal that was sprung throughout with safety pins and pretty heavyweight ones at that. I guess that all started with one spring failing but the local shop must only have sold them in packs of 20. The result was very heavy springing which made it a quirky box to play with a feel not unlike a single row melodeon and produced a strange clipped quality to the sound. I never did find the heart to change them!


In an emergency I have also used a snip from off the end of a steel guitar string wound round a thin screwdriver to make a spring. A good stop-gap when out and about but best soon replaced.

If the guitarist is a 'bit of a pain' about it, take the snip from the middle;)


A rubber band passed under the lever and tied off over the fretwork is another bodge-dodge I have seen. This saves opening the box in the middle of a session.


By far the best way is to always carry spare springs and a screwdriver in your case and if you frequent dark dingy pubs like me, a small flashlight!





Edited by Dave Prebble
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I learned how to make my own springs here. Check out the section on torsion springs. You'll need:


safety glasses (ALWAYS!)

music wire

wire cutters

variable speed drill

a drill bit whose diameter is the desired spring coil size

one or two pair of needlenose pliers


You can use an old one as a guide. Once you get the hang of it, you can turn out a dozen in no time. Amaze your friends! B)




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