Modifying the Victoria Vibrandoneon

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    Hey Binyomin, I decided to create a new thread. So you wrote:

    “Quetscher, not to derail the thread, but I’m wondering if you would elaborate on how you are refining your vibrandoneon. I have one too, and I’m very interested to hear about improvements.”


    Binyomin, I’m also interested in each improvement of that fantastic yet prototype-like instrument. Melodica-Me already showed us his new mouthpiece, and I have also some things that I modified or would like to modify without having the right clue how to do this.

    1. Just like Melodica-Me I went to a brass manufacturer who built a new pipe for me. It looks a little different from Melodica-Me’s and it has a seperate end piece which allows you to change the angle in which you blow into the pipe. I personally don’t need a spit valve because it’s so easy to remove the pipe to clean it.

    2. It is very important for me that the left hand doesn’t have to carry the instrument because I need that hand to cover and uncover the grille; so I took two guitar straps with security locks that I fixed to the back of the Vibrandoneon and that I use like shoulder straps.

    3. I thought for a while that it would be great to have a second set of reeds identical to the deeper set of reeds instead of the octave above to back up the first set just in case anything happens during a concert. In the meantime I have been working on a film score where I needed the upper octave very much, so I actually didn’t replace this set of reeds. Still it could be a good option to have that kind of backup (cheaper than a second Vibrandoneon!).

    4. I haven’t found a solution yet how to fix the back panel with quick releases which I think would be very important to maintain the instrument. Any suggestions anyone?

    5. I did not dare to mess around with that incredibly beautiful grille, still I’d like to have a grill with a built-in shutter to be able to change the sound or create a WahWah.

    So these are my realised or desired modifications of the Vibrandoneon. I will post some photos of my refinements as soon as possible.

    Greetings, Quetscher


    Cool, thanks for sharing those.

    I agree about the instrument feeling like a prototype, and about not wanting do anything affecting the cosmetics of it.

    I’ve been wondering about a strap, as it gets very heavy to hold.

    Jerry Ballard

    Bolt inserts flush
    Bolt inserts before sinking

    I took a risk (perhaps too much) and made a mod I’ve been thinking of for a while. Its bothered me that repeated removal of the back could eventually strip out the wood holes from the metal screws, so I enlarge each enough to put in metal insert sleeves that will accept 4/40 bolts.

    Sadly, I made some rookie woodworking mistakes, although none disastrous.
    1) I originally used brass bolts, and that combined with allowing the sleeve openings to collapse a bit during installation resulted in a very tight fit for the bolts. The soft brass then broke off for several of the bolts. I was able to extract all but one, which broke off flush with the insert. Its not fixable, and I’m going to have to drill a new hole next to the ruined one.
    Fortunately, I’m able to get a good seal on the air chamber (thank god) with the one corner bolt missing.
    2) In drilling said new hole, I made the mistake of using a hand drill instead of a drill press, and managed to chip off the corner of the chamber lid.
    Again, repairable, but I’m angry at myself for the sloppy mistake.

    I’ll eventually turn it over to a good wood craftsman to replace the corner, and the cosmetic damage is only evident to me, and the instrument is fine sound/playability wise.

    I’ve switched to black anodized, phillips head screws, and a touch of lubricant to keep them movable.

    I think the idea is still good, and 14 out of 15 screws are now solid bolts with metal on metal.


    Hi Jerry, thanks for beging the first to try and prove that this is possible. I also thought about putting in sleeves but didn’t dare because of the thin walls…

    Jerry Ballard

    There’s plenty of room to widen the holes to accept the inserts.
    I used these…
    Specifically the 440 press inserts. (And in another ‘oops’, installed them upside down according to the diagram on this page. I’m lucky I got away with this. Its really not that difficult.

    There’s also these, made specifically for wood…

    My black anodized steel bolts arrive Friday and I’ll lube and install them then.
    I think I’ll cut my losses and leave the corner bolt off until I get it into the hands of a good woodworker who can repair and install for me.

    I still would like to see this incorporated into the rumored new instrument (if Guido’s hints bear fruit.)

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