How to Repair Accordion Bellows

Written by brandon getty
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How to Repair Accordion Bellows
After years of use, your accordion's bellows may be in need of repair. (accordion music image by Alexander Ivanov from

An accordion's bellows, which is the collapsible fabric linking the two sides of the instrument, is a very important part of its function. When the bellows are extended and retracted wind is allowed to pass through, resulting in the accordion's unique sound. With time and vigorous use, pinholes and cracks can form in the bellows, resulting in leaks that cause both a loss in tonal quality and handling. Small problem areas can be easily patched using a few tips.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Small brush
  • Scissors
  • Thin cardboard
  • Bellows tape
  • Glue (standard all-purpose)
  • Waxed paper

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  1. 1

    Clean the leaky area of dust and debris using a small, soft brush.

  2. 2

    Cut a patch from a sheet of thin cardboard (about the thickness of a business card). The patch should be large enough to cover the hole or crack and with 1/2 inch to spare on all sides.

  3. 3

    Apply a light coat of glue to one side of the patch and place it over the leak. Compress the bellows to hold the patch firmly in place. If the crack is in a groove of the bellows, place a small piece of waxed paper over the patch to prevent the glue from seeping. Allow the glue to dry for an hour.

  4. 4

    Cut a strip of bellows tape large enough to cover the cardboard patch and 1/2 inch surrounding it.

  5. 5

    Spread a light coat of glue on one side of the tape and place it over the patch. Place waxed paper over the tape and compress the bellows.

  6. 6

    Allow the tape to set and dry for two hours. Extend and retract the bellows to flex the repaired area and test the patch.

Tips and warnings

  • Bellows tape can be found at your local music shop, and occasionally at photography stores. Gaffer's tape can also be used as a substitute.

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