Button Box question ADG Vs B/C vs C#/D

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Doc Jones
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Button Box question ADG Vs B/C vs C#/D

Post by Doc Jones »

Hi gang,

I am something of a concertina player (among my other vices).

I've recently become interested in button accordions.

Since my concertinas are G/C and CGF I see little point in a GCF accordion so was looking at the ADG models when lo and behold I find written that lots of IrTrad folks play a B/C model. Just wondering if anyone can give me any pros and cons before I decide.

Thanks,

Doc
Last edited by Doc Jones on Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cayden

Post by Cayden »

Think very hard about a csharp/D, personally I immensely dislike the B/C sound
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Post by Doc Jones »

Peter Laban wrote:Think very hard about a csharp/D, personally I immensely dislike the B/C sound


Hmmm, that would give you all the accidentals too wouldn't it.

Does anyone make them commercially or is it a special-order thing?


Doc
Rando7
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Post by Rando7 »

I am not much of an accordion player (do have a B/C though) but here is a discussion on B/C vs C#/D I read when deciding what to get:

http://www.buttonaccordion.com/irboxtobcort.html
Last edited by Rando7 on Sat Dec 06, 2003 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Bretton »

I voted for B/C, but I think C#/D is really the way to go. Or get a D melodeon (that's what I did).

-Brett
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Post by Wombat »

B/C and C#/D are probably about equally common and you would probably want to get one ordered from a good maker unless you're lucky enough to find a good one secondhand. Both are available off the rack though, if that's the way you want to go. (Oh, if certain people around here are to be believed, you'll find just what you want in the dumpster under the banjo.) In any event, as with concertina, you'll need a good repairer close by to keep it well-maintained unless you're good at that stuff yourself.

I'm thinking of buying a box too and I lean towards B/C at the moment. The difference according to folklore is that B/C lends itself to more fluent, less rhythmic, playing but I think it has more to do with the player than the instrument. For every generalisation about the difference, I can usually find as many counter examples as confirming examples when I think about it. I certainly want something that strongly contrasts with my concertina, why buy something that duplicates that sound? For me, that means going for a slightly wet tuning. Not dripping wet, say swing tuning perhaps.
Cayden

Post by Cayden »

I think you should really listen to examples of the various, I don't generally like the sound of the B/C, how ornamentation sounds and a few other things too. Joe Burke, Paddy O Brien [and not the present one playing in the US, the old one from Tipp] etc are all B/C players. Joe Cooley, Jackie Daly, Conor Keane etc are all Csharp/D players. It's pretty much worth looking into before you decide.
There the issues of the basses as well, notice Joe Burke's use of the basses, pretty much he uses the one all the time. Jackie Daly told me once how before a concert Joe's bass seized up. He said 'Jackie Jackie my bass isn't working' 'Well' said Jackie 'You could try using one of the others every now and again'. :lol:
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Post by Caj »

Hiya hiya,

If you decide to go with either a B/C or a C#/D accordion, you can get a practice box really cheap from Billy McComiskey. He sells a learner box for somewhere around $450, and that comes with a hard case, a gig bag and a strap. This is probably the cheapest you'll ever pay for a student-level Irish accordion.

I got one myself (a C#/D), and it's all I need for a while, as I figure out this infernal notion of having to move my fingers from place to place. The box is swing tuned, probably a good idea for cheap reeds, and it's nice and light, with open fifths on the chord buttons.

Caj

[And the air coming out of it smells like Home Depot.]
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Post by Doc Jones »

So Caj How does one get a hold of Mr. Billy McComiskey?

Does he have a website?

Also, how long would the waiting period be?



Doc
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Post by Caj »

Doc Jones wrote:So Caj How does one get a hold of Mr. Billy McComiskey?

Does he have a website?

Also, how long would the waiting period be?


You can email him directly for more info. I found details here:
http://www.buttonaccordion.com/linandotgood.html
I forget the waiting time, but it wasn't long for me.

Caj
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Post by fluter_d »

If you're thinking about getting an accordion, check out http://www.apollosaxes.com/apollosaxes/po19ac.html
These accordions are made in the Czech Republic, and are almost as good as a Hohner Black Dot or equivalent, but at a fraction of the cost. I'm not an accordion expert, but I've been playing one of these (that was a joke, Wombat, man :P !) and they're pretty decent - in tune, good bellows, ok action (and if you're willing to do some taking-apart-and-putting-back-together, it's pretty easy to add some felt under the keyboard so the action is MUCH better). Johnny B. Connolly was consulted on these, and said much the same. Check 'em out! It doesn't specify what tuning these accordions are on the website, but it wouldn't hurt to check. The ones here are B/C (the Central Missouri Celtic Arts Association has some loaner accordions). I believe Hobgoblin music also sells these, but possibly at a slightly higher cost.

(I have also been known to try banjo, but sadly am far too uncoordinated to attempt to play that... )

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Tell us something.: Been playing Irish music for years, now I want to learn more about whistles to help teach my kids. Currently I play the Anglo Concertina and B/C accordion.
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Post by Liam »

Ok, here is the scoop more or less on button boxes. Far and away the two most common tunings are B/C and C#/D with B/C tuning probbably being about twice as common as C#/D. The B/C tuning goes back to the late 40s and early 50s and for of a variety of reasons came to dominate irish box playing in the 60s/70s and 80s. C#/D has been popularized in recent years by the likes of Jackie Daly and Sharon Shannon but is still definitely less common but it is growing more popular. Because of the the fact that the most common keys in Irish Music are D, G and A (and their relative minors) the B/C box does lend to smoother playing (it on average requiring fewer changes in bellows directions in those keys than a C#/D) and the C#/D is a bit more rhythmic. Regionally C#/D seems to be more common in Kerry music with its many Polkas and Slides though I expect that C#/Ds can be found in most regional idioms where the box is accepted as part of the tradition. East Galways seems to be dominated by B/C but that might just be my view because my teacher (Billy McComiskey) and his teacher (Sean McGlynn) both played B/C for East Galway music :).

All this being said, the best advise on what box to pick for your first box comes down to this; if you have a B/C teacher in your area get a B/C box, if you have a C#/D teacher in your area get a C#/D; if neither are available get a B/C simply because what meger resources are out their for box players (and they really are meager) are almost exclusively for the B/C player.

Regarding boxes, I wouldn't worry about their durability.. a decently made box taken care of reasonably well should not need much in the way of maintainance. I started off with a 30 year old Hohner Double Ray that had sat in my Dad's dresser for 20+ years and it played and still does play fine... though I did need to do a little work on it when I left it sitting in a car on a 90+ degree day. Castagnari, Saltarelle, Cairdin, Boxeen and others all make decent to excellent boxes that should play for years without any significant work.

--
Bill
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