Review: a $99 one-row D accordion from Irish Dancemaster

We have some evidence, however, that you may have to pay for the reeds.
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MatthewVanitas
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Review: a $99 one-row D accordion from Irish Dancemaster

Post by MatthewVanitas »

As alluded to in another post, I really liked the Hero toy accordion I had as a teenager. By some miracle the first one I bought was actually decently in tune, so I carried it with me all over Seattle. Got lots of compliments for playing it, but really wished that there were a version in D so I could play it for Irish sessions.

Fast forward a decade, and I hear a rumor that Michael at IrishDancemaster.com can re-reed toy accordions. I figure, the box itself is solid, the keys aren't bad, the reeds are the weakest link.

So Michael installs $75 worth of Hohner D reeds into a toy box and mails it up to here in Newfoundland. Overall summary: it's awesome!

Plays well in tune, keys have really shallow action and can keep up with fast playing. I chose single-reed because it was cheapest, and was initially concerned about volume. As it turns out, the singles put out a tone of sound, to the point where I wouldn't really want doubles. I honestly think doubles would overpower my singing voice. The other unplanned upside of the single reeds is that they don't need much air, so even the tiny Hero bellows give me plenty of run-time.

Chords/bass also replaced, not that I use them much. I almost think that I might ask for an E drone and a D drone on the next box I have him make.

This little 'box will be great for traveling around, taking as a secondary (to my mandolin) at sessions, loaning to newbies, etc. The price is very reasonable and durability is great (although the stock straps/screws need replacing). I've loaned this 'box to other players at sessions, and though all have been dismissive at first, they all were pleasantly surprised when they actually tried it out.

Michael can also do these in C or low/high G. Possibly other keys given more time. I'm also tempted to try one in an alternate scale, like on the Oskar harmonicas, get a harmonic minor or something.

Here's a clip of my meager skills:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3e7iYw7jj4


If anyone knows any other forums where I should go post this (unsolicited) review, let me know and I can go talk it up there too. I just think this is a heck of a deal for a traveling or newbie instrument, and the potential for cheap experimental boxes in odd keys/configurations is intriguing.

Contact Michael for more into at www.irishdancemaster.com
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StevieJ
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Post by StevieJ »

Does he make any other improvements, such as to the airtightness of the bellows?

There's a very good player in my neck of the woods who has put Hohner reeds into one of these jobs and it's quite amazing what great music he can get out of it.
MatthewVanitas
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Post by MatthewVanitas »

StevieJ wrote:Does he make any other improvements, such as to the airtightness of the bellows?


I think he'll tweak the pads if needed, but I believe the only mods on mine were the reeds/flaps. Mine does have a little leak when I tested it, but nothing that impededs my playing. As noted, these single reeds don't need much air. If it ever bugs me, I'll just wet my finger and run it around the seam until I feel a draft, open the box up and put a little goo onto the weak spot in the seal.

There's a very good player in my neck of the woods who has put Hohner reeds into one of these jobs and it's quite amazing what great music he can get out of it.


I'm sure that there are a few folks who have done this over the years. I think it's a pretty slick idea, as these boxes really aren't bad once the reeds are going.
Bretton
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Post by Bretton »

Cool! Thanks for posting that. I'll try and do a video of mine this weekend. It's in C with the stock reeds, but I have one set covered with tape so it's a single voice too.

-Brett
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