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Accordion Players
  • I just read Lenny's post on sax/clarinet players and I thought that this type of exhange might be useful for accordion players also.
    For instance:[list]
    * Where are the best (and most reasonable) accordion sellers? (The accordion is not exactly the most popular instrument and therefore finding good accordions at reasonable prices is becoming difficult)
    * Where are the best accordion repair people?
    * Is it better to purchase a good old accordion (1950-1960's) that was well made or should you purchase a new accordion of lesser quality?
    * What are your opinions on brands of accordions?
    * When playing in a group, what are your opinions of Midi accordion versus good acoustic accordion?
    * And any other topic you feel that would be helpful to discuss[/list:u]

    Barry LuBrant
    Surprise, Arizona
  • MikeSurrattMikeSurratt August 2009
    Great topic --

    1. SIZE of the instrument is very important to me now -- since playing large heavy boxes has hurt my shoulder over the years. My main instruments are Hohner accordions - nothing sounds like a hohner. I have played many Italian boxes and the key action has never been as good as a hohner to me -- I'm sure many would argue that point. I currently perform with a small 72 bass Hohner. I only had the bass buttons midi'd and kept the keyboard acoustic. I can' stand full midi'd accordions. I think an accordion should sound like one.

    2. I have never bought any of my instruments from an accordion dealer. They have always come to me as used instruments. I always need to justify how long something takes to get my money back since I play full time, so, I'm not shelling out $4,5,6,7,8K for an accordion when so many of them have been offered to me over the years. I was in Munich a few years back and saw that they had a Zupan acoustic for sale at 10,000 euros -- unbelievable!!

    3. I know 2 good repair people -- one is in Fredericksburg Virginia and my midi guy lives in Rading, PA.

  • Thanks for your response, Mike.

    The last accordion that I purchased was through a deal brokered by a man named, Guenadiy Lazarov. He is from New Jersey and has a web site that features sales (new and used) and repair. The web site is: http://www.accordiongallery.com Guenadiy refurbishes old accordions and put me in touch with a person in California who bought an accordion from him but no longer was interested in playing it. Guenadiy guaranteed the instrument and told me that if anything were damage through shipping, he would stand behind it. He seems to be a very sincere man who is dedicated to providing good service.

    Another person (also from NJ) that does accordion repair is a man named Danny Cintioli. He comes from an Italian family who used to make accordions back in Italy.

    My personal preference is to buy a good quality old instrument (1950-1960's) rather than a new box. I currently have an old Excelsior AC accordion. I am toying with the idea of either buying a midi accordion or putting bass only midi into my Excelsior. I hesitate altering the Excelsior because I don't want to do something that might damage a real good acoustic accordion.

    Any other opinions or recommendations out there?

  • LGomulka September 2009
    The more musicians I talk to, the more the opinions are NOT to get your box tuned unless the tuner did work for someone that you know well, etc. Same with concertina. If they round off the bite of the reeds and there's no edge, I'm not sure anything can be done to reverse that. I personally enjoy a "reedy" sounding accordion or concertina, especially the left hand on concertina's.


    Lenny Gomulka
  • accordionBarry November 2009
    Does anyone know where I can get some old crystal accordion microphones (silver dollar mikes)? I need two for the bass side of my Excelsior AC. With today's modern technology, they are making new pickups for the accordion but I do not want to go through the problems of installing a new microphone system. I would just like to replace the existing 2 bass microphones with the same type. (Small crystal mikes).

    Thanks for any help.

  • squeezeboxted November 2009
    As far as the debate on whether or not to MIDI an accordion, or get one with or without MIDI? I would highly recommend getting one either WITH the midi already installed, or get it installed on an accordion that doesn't already have it. And I wouldn't recommend only getting one side midi'd (like just the bass hand). You never know what kind of gigs, or what kind of songs you may end up playing where you may find that having complete MIDI makes a huge difference in the sound. My first MIDI accordion, only has MIDI on the left hand, and in the end, I wished that I had full midi for the variety of gigs that came along.

    I would definitely recommend getting MIDI that is velocity sensitive on the right hand if possible. It allows you to play different sounds in a manner that sounds more realistic like pianos and strings and allows you to show more expression in your playing. I have velocity sensitivity on both the right hand and the left hand side of my Petosa that I currently play, but honestly, I've never used the Velocity sensitivity on the left hand side in the 2 years that I've owned this box. (I can turn it off or on).

    Additionally, I don't know that all the older accordions are necessarily better in regards to the sound and the reeds. My Petosa is a mere 10 years old, and I think it sounds as good if not better than a lot of the older accordions. It's truly a matter of preference. Make sure you play the instrument and make sure you like the sound of it before you purchase it, which I have been able to do with each accordion that I've purchased, including a couple on e-bay (where I had an agreement with the sellers that they must be willing to take it back if I didn't like the accordion once I got it, usually for a small fee for their trouble, and I had to cover all the shipping costs).

    Regarding doing anything to "hurt the value" or "Cosmetically alter" your Excelsior accordion: Adding Midi to any good quality accordion, increases it's value. There are many different MIDI set-ups available out there, and quite a few of them make such a SMALL change to the cosmetic condition of the accordion, that the only thing that you see that is different, is where you plug in the MIDI cord. (meaning, you don't have to have a LCD screen installed in your accordion or any special buttons installed on the accordion in order to get it MIDI'd, and to have a working MIDI system in an accordion). You can get foot pedals where you can program the different sounds and options so that you wouldn't need to cosmetically change anything on the accordion except the addition of the MIDI plug.

    Do LOTS of research on the different systems available from the various different sources (many of which, are musicians with an electronics background who custom build MIDI systems such as Brian Seehafer from the Music Connection Band from Wausau, WI), and make sure you ask lots of questions and get lots of feedback from musicians who are using those various systems.

    Hope that helps a bit!

  • accordionBarry November 2009

    Thanks so much for your input regarding MIDI. I really appreciate the help.

    Barry LuBrant
    Surprise, AZ