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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:28 pm 
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I really want to get into the button accordion, but I really don't know much about them. I don't know which would be the best fror ITM. The most common ones I hear about are C/C#, D/C#, B/C. Which would be the best for Irish music? And, I am unbelievably poor, so what would be a good affordable brand? I don't want to get some crappy made toy, but I just can't afford a good one. Is there such thing as a decent inexpensive accordion that is in tune?

Are any of these good? I can't afford them now, but I am finishing up a work project and should be getting money soon. Hopefully enough for these.
http://cgi.ebay.com/3-ROW-DIATONIC-BUTT ... 414aedd224

http://cgi.ebay.com/Irish-Style-B-C-But ... 27b279be8a

http://cgi.ebay.com/RAMON-AYALA-ACCORDI ... 4cf04b7501

Sorry for all the questions, and I would appreciate anyone with the patience to put up with them, or any further knowledge on them.

Thanks,
Jon

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:49 pm 
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Here's a hint on the terminology, WC.

When you see B/C, for example ... This means that the outer row (closest to your hand) plays a B Major scale, and the inner row plays a C Major scale. The inner row is the main row, and the outer row is the chromatic row. So a B/C box is effectively a C instrument. Similarly, C#/D means a D tuned box with an C# chromatic outer row. The note after the slash is the main key.

These two, B/C and C#/D are by far most common now for ITM, though others certainly exist. The D/C# with "inverted" rows was popular with some players a few years ago, especially around the New York area. Other combinations are usually played as transposing instruments.

The choice of B/C or C#/D is fairly important. Each leads to a slightly different technique, and a different set of finger habits.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:17 pm 
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Never heard of the first two - Berkeley and Tara. I'm guessing Chinese-made, and woefully inadequate.

The third box is a 3-row Tex-Mex accordion in ... G/C/F? It doesn't say. Definitely not standard for ITM.

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a good, ultra-cheap accordion. Cheapies are basically unplayable. It's not just the tuning, which can always be fixed. It's the action and the reeds.

In a new instrument, I'd start by looking at a Dancemaster or a Weltmeister. I've tried both, and they're quite OK, especially the Dancemaster. In a used instrument, I'd look for something like a Saltarelle Bou√ębe or older Hohner Double Ray Black Dot. And you can expect to spend $600 - $1200 for something playable.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Thank you very much, MT, for that input. That really does explain a lot.

Which accordion would you prefer personally? To me, it would seem that a C#/D would be the best for ITM, or the easiest at least. Would B/C be for more of a jazzy type like Beoga?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:01 pm 
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B/C vs. C#/D ... That's the question that starts accordion wars. :lol:

B/C was most popular from post WW2 until a few years ago, when younger players started turning more to C#/D. But it's still pretty evenly split, I'd guess.

As a very rough generalization ... B/C gives you a smoother sound in the common Irish keys, with less pumping and bellows movement. C#/D gives a "bouncier" push-pull feel, akin to a one-row melodeon. But honestly, in the right hands, it's hard to tell the difference just by listening. Neither is harder or easier than the other.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:20 pm 
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:lol: I really do like the sound of the B/C from what I have heard.


According to John Williams website, he has a Tara accordion listed for over 3500.00. I don't know if the one I showed on ebay is the same maker or not.
http://www.johnwilliamsmusic.com/accordions.htm
http://cgi.ebay.com/Irish-Style-B-C-But ... 27b279be8a

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:49 pm 
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The Whistle Collector wrote:
According to John Williams website, he has a Tara accordion listed for over 3500.00. I don't know if the one I showed on ebay is the same maker or not.

No, the JW box a Saltarelle Tara, a newer version of my Saltarelle B/C Killaloe. Completely unrelated to the other, I'm sure. The eBay box looks like a Hohner Double Ray copy in MOTS (Mother-of-Toilet-Seat).

There's a starter box FS in the Exchange Forum here, if it's still available:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=76258

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:44 pm 
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If you are in the US of A, especially the Northeastern part, I would recommend a visit to the buttonbox.com website. Good reputable dealer who fixes all used boxes they sell. In fact, internet research is highly recommended, there is a lot to learn about accordions. And nothing beats tracking down someone who plays accordion, and asking their advice, and maybe if you are nice, they will let you try playing their box, so you can get an idea.
(By the way, I have no connection with The Button Box, other than being a satisfied customer.)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:30 pm 
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That Tara - don't touch it. BTW you could order it directly from the maker in China via eBay for $125 + $125 shipping. Yes, really. Including the flight case you see in those photos. A friend and student of mine did, out of curiosity, thinking he couldn't really go wrong. They built a C#/D to his exact specs, down to the choice of chords I recommended on the bass side, and delivered it within a few weeks.

It works sort of OK, but is very stiff and hard to play. You'd end up with tendon or muscular problems if you played it for long, I think, unless you are a bodybuilder or maybe have been playing big accordions since you were small. Did my friend waste his money? Perhaps not, in that he is learning a lot about accordions trying to improve this one's playability. Otherwise, yes he did.

The Billy McComiskey learner model advertised in the exchange forum is a much better idea. Also made in China, but to a better standard. One of my students got one of these 2nd-hand at a very reasonable price and it's totally OK as a starter box.

Consider putting a wanted ad on the yahoo irishbox list, or here, or at the melodeon.net forums. I netted two quite decent boxes for my students via that route at very reasonable prices - the McComiskey learner and a Hohner Erica that had been tuned up to C#/D from C/C#.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:51 pm 
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I played a Tara once. Be very very afraid, and avoid it.

I have not played the Learner Box, but have repeatedly heard good things about them. There were, I understand, a limited number made so they might even go up in value a bit somewhere along the way. :) . Seems to me it could be a fine starting point. I had a Dancemaster for quite some time and they are excellent instruments and may not be outgrown as quickly as the learner box (though I don't really know). But they are a step up in price, and the last time I checked Michael was not making Dancemaster instruments available right now. It might be worth a note or a call to see what that situation is.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:53 pm 
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I have a Learner box, keep it as a backup. Some of them play very well, but the quality was not consistent, and on mine, the reeds don't stay in tune well and it is a bit leaky. So I quickly found myself dissatisfied. The next box was a Saltarelle Irish Bouebe, which I am very happy with and still play. The trouble with accordions is that the prices have gone up markedly in the past decade, and that includes prices of used accordions. Part of this is the fact that the popularity of accordions is on the upswing. So you just don't find a good bargain on a good instrument popping up.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:52 pm 
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Thanks for all the info guys, I really appreciate it. There is some good stuff to look into here.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:15 am 
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Couple of B/Cs just went on sale here: http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,4454.0.html


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:31 am 
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Thanks for looking out Stevie. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten paid yet. :cry:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:41 am 
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I see a number of freinds here.

As the voice of experience on this one, you really need to understand what you want to do and find a box that works for your musical plans. I might suggest that you visit thesession.org if you have not already. There have been numerous threads on your topic, as well as alot of good advice.

Al is right. The price of boxes is really growing in the past couple of years. Better to do your homework before going to the sales sites. I am a bit biased, but John Williams is very generous with advice and can also set you up with a new box which I think is a good bet for someone just starting out . I am not a proponent of used boxes unless you are an experienced player and know what you are getting into. You usually need to get them tuned/re-reeded and reworked a bit. It can be pricey and time consuming.


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