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Choosing my 1st accordion
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Author:  Bartleby [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:16 am ]
Post subject:  Choosing my 1st accordion

I seem to have developed accordion fever. I've played around with several over the years and I'm ready to acquire one. I've read the debates over the B/C and C#/D button accordions. I was wondering what would be the downside, or limitation, of the Hohner Pantera G/C/F model?

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I don't have a whole lot to spend, and it's reasonably priced, for sure, at around $500. Any advice from accordion players?

Author:  rh [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choosing my 1st accordion

Bartleby wrote:
I was wondering what would be the downside, or limitation, of the Hohner Pantera G/C/F model?


it won't really work if you are going to play Irish music, it's more appropriate for Mexican or Tejano music.

virtually all the good Irish players are using either a B/C or C#/D box.

Billy McComiskey's Learner boxes are pretty reasonable, i know Ro3b has owned one.

i've heard good reports on these instruments:
http://www.irishdancemaster.com/accordion.html

i've seen cheaper B/C boxes on eBay, sometimes Hohner Double-Rays go for around $500.

Author:  Martin Milner [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:37 am ]
Post subject: 

Nobody I can think of plays Irish music on a G/C/F accordion, so you'll be on your own in that respect. Doesn't mean you can't, but you won't be able to go to any workshops or find a teacher, you'll be developing your own style.

That said, anglo concertinas play in G/C, so you might possibly find something in common with players of Anglo G/Cs.


Tuning apart then, Hohners are generally good instruments - you pretty much get what you pay for in the accordion world, with prices topping about around £3,500.00 or approximately $6,300.00, for big, complicated, multi-voiced instruments. A lot of people start on a Hohner and swear by them, though I don't know anything about this particular model.

I'd suggest you ask on Melodeon.net, that's a site dedicated to melodeon and accordion players, and they'll be a lot more knowledgeable.

Author:  rh [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:02 am ]
Post subject: 

Martin Milner wrote:
That said, anglo concertinas play in G/C, so you might possibly find something in common with players of Anglo G/Cs.


Most players of G/C anglo concertinas in Irish music have 30-button instruments which have a row of chromatic notes and enable you to play in keys other than G and C. The G/C/F accordion does not have this row, so you can only play in G, C or F, which leaves you S/O/L if you want to play tunes in D.

Kitty Hayes, of course, is an example of someone who's played for years of a 2-row G/C concertina without the chromatic row, but if you are in the USA and just starting out, i would say that being able to play in D is pretty important.

Author:  Martin Milner [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:21 am ]
Post subject: 

rh wrote:
Martin Milner wrote:
That said, anglo concertinas play in G/C, so you might possibly find something in common with players of Anglo G/Cs.


Most players of G/C anglo concertinas in Irish music have 30-button instruments which have a row of chromatic notes and enable you to play in keys other than G and C. The G/C/F accordion does not have this row, so you can only play in G, C or F, which leaves you S/O/L if you want to play tunes in D.

Kitty Hayes, of course, is an example of someone who's played for years of a 2-row G/C concertina without the chromatic row, but if you are in the USA and just starting out, i would say that being able to play in D is pretty important.



Quite right. I was wondering where the F#s were going to come from, but didn't have time to get my head round it. :)

The button layout is the first decision you need to make, and G/C/F isn't going to be the right one if you want to play Irish music (in the same key as everyone else).

Author:  Bartleby [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:22 am ]
Post subject: 

rh and Martin, tks. for your advice! I'm a harmonica player, and I guess I incorrectly assumed that the 'G' row would allow you to play some songs in 'D' in the same way a 'G' harmonica allows you to play a song in 'D' in cross harp.

Having said that, would it make any difference if the rows were ADG instead of GCF?

Author:  rh [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Bartleby wrote:
rh and Martin, tks. for your advice! I'm a harmonica player, and I guess I incorrectly assumed that the 'G' row would allow you to play some songs in 'D' in the same way a 'G' harmonica allows you to play a song in 'D' in cross harp.

Having said that, would it make any difference if the rows were ADG instead of GCF?


the G row will let you play in D but you'll have to "fudge" the C#'s... some (primarily English) players do play Irish music on a D/G two row, and if you were going to play on a standard "quint" (rows tuned one fifth apart) three row box, then i would say A/D/G would work best. You'd largely be playing "one-row melodeon style", which means playing on the D row for tunes in D, G row for G, etc. I play some one-row melodeon and C#/D system which is very similar.

However, IIRC the Panther model is only available in G/C/F, so a decent three row in A/D/G would probably run you about what a B/C or C#/D Dancemaster would cost.

One thing to correct from my earlier post: i'm don't know much about Quebecois music, but i think that G/C/F might be used there too. But the Panthers are definitely being marketed to the Tex-Mex players.

Author:  Bartleby [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks, rh. To have 3 melodeons in one, with the A/D/G accordion, would be sweet to me. I doubt I'll ever get past the melodeon level of playing anyway!

Author:  StevieJ [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Bartleby wrote:
Thanks, rh. To have 3 melodeons in one, with the A/D/G accordion, would be sweet to me. I doubt I'll ever get past the melodeon level of playing anyway!


Melodeon-style playing is nothing inferior you know! The other thing to consider is weight and ease of carrying and playing. A three-row is bigger and heavier than a two-row with the same number of voices.

I think you'd be much better off for Irish music with a C#D than an ADG. You can play in far more keys with a lighter, nimbler box. Same goes for BC of course but you have to like the BC sound and to be able to get your head around playing in D on a box with a home row in C.

What an ADG would allow you to do that a 2-row half-step box will not is explore cross-rowing for greater fluidity of phrasing - but this is not necessary or even desirable in Irish dance music. To exploit this possibility you would have to stop looking at an ADG as three melodeons next to each other - which some quint players never seem to do.

And to go simpler still - have you considered a simple one-row box in D? You can make lots of lovely music on one and a number of Irish players specialize in them.

Steve

PS GCFs are indeed popular with Québécois musicians for playing stuff that you can't get on the one-row D melodeon.

Author:  Bartleby [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

StevieJ, tks. for the advice! I've definitely considered a single-row 'D' melodeon. But I'm working with a limited budget and now being able to play songs in G or A would be a serious limitation- I play some IrTrad but I most play American fiddle tunes and folk music.

Author:  Rick C. [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

Saltarelle Irish Bouebe.


Rick

Author:  StevieJ [ Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Bartleby wrote:
I play some IrTrad but I most play American fiddle tunes and folk music.


You might have mentioned that at the outset - here we all were foolishly assuming that since you posted your question in the Irish traditional music forum, Irish trad was what you were interested in. :sniffle:

ADG might well be the best choice for you. If you want more informed advice about its suitability for your purposes, I suggest you ask on http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/diatonic/

Steve

Author:  Bartleby [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:54 am ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
I play some IrTrad but I most play American fiddle tunes and folk music

You're right, StevieJ, I should've mentioned that in the outset, sorry! But, thanks for all the input, it's been very helpful.

Now, does anyone have any recommendation for finding an A/D/G accordion? I'm looking at the Hohner Corona II, but it's way expensive.[/quote]

Author:  Martin Milner [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:38 am ]
Post subject: 

Way Expensive? There's one here on eBay

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Three-row-A-D-G-Hohner-Corona-II-Accordion-Melodeon_W0QQitemZ7404009049QQcategoryZ16218QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem">Hohner Corona II</a>

that is right in your budget of $500. Bidding ends on 6th April, and nobody's bid yet.

Author:  rh [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:47 am ]
Post subject: 

Bartleby wrote:
Now, does anyone have any recommendation for finding an A/D/G accordion? I'm looking at the Hohner Corona II, but it's way expensive.


In the USA, because three-rows are mostly found in the hands of Mexican or Zydeco musicians (who routinely play with horns), the cheaper boxes are often only available in GCF or FBbEb. The Corona Classic and the Weltmeister 509 retail usually for around $1000 (i've seen the 509 go cheaper), and those are about your only options for a decent starter ADG box.

You might email Acordeónez.com in Texas
http://www.acordeonez.com/acordeones.html
which carries primarily budget three-rows, and ask about availability and cost of ADG boxes.

Reyes accordions usually has used three-rows
http://www.reyesaccordions.com/

You could also talk to Jim Coogan, who is a Weltmeister dealer -- he caters to the Irish players but he can order any model and his prices on Weltys are usually pretty good -- i got my one-row from him and it is a really solid, nice-sounding box.
http://members.aol.com/jimattheboxofc/welt.htm

Also have a look at the Melodeon.net forums
http://melodeon.aimoo.com/
there are often used boxes listed for sale and a lot of English players (for whom ADG is a common tuning).

There are cheap Chinese boxes going on eBay all the time, but i would beware -- you get what you pay for. The reeds might be out of tune, action stiff, and materials generally chintzy. You might get lucky, or you might get a real junky box which you will have a hard time re-selling for anywhere near what you paid for it.

EDIT: You'd be hard pressed to find a better deal than the box Martin just found above -- a German-made Hohner (equivalent to the Corona Classic -- the newer cheaper Coronas are made in China) for a BIN of $600.

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