Surrogate Accordion Tester?
#1
All of the accordion stores with instruments I’m considering are a plane ride and rental car away. For me to go there would cost a minimum of $700 US. I would never buy a grand piano without playing it, and nearly everyone on this forum says they wouldn’t buy an accordion without playing it. Is it crazy to think of paying someone to check out an accordion for me in their hometown? (if I could even find someone)
It’s pretty crucial that the instrument be relatively new and with no obvious defects, because I’m so far away from any dealer or technician, but I also don’t know if I can trust any dealer I haven’t worked with, even if they seem great and knowledgeable. Then, of course, there’s the question of simply liking the sound of the instrument. See, I’ve almost talked myself out of the idea already, but I’d appreciate any input.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed)
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#2
yeah why not, if this person is experienced enough to test it properly

one pro I can come up with is that this surrogate probably is less biased than yourself

if you could manage to supply a list of specific requirements and have them all checked methodically for each instrument, it might work, at least make your shortlist shorter...
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#3
And if you can Skype with your surrogate while they are testing the accordion, even better! For not much more than $700 you could make a real vacation of it and have the time of your life. Fly to Rome (I just bought a $467 ticket, round trip to Milan from Boston), rent a car, drive to Castelfidardo (2.5 hours) check out the accordions, get a couple $50 AirBnBs, some great Italian food, and you're good to go! (Or fly to Milan and drive to Stradella.) Buying from the maker instead of retail will save you more than the price of the trip! Plus, with a free bag included with an international trip, you will save $200 in shipping....
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#4
(06-02-2019, 03:46 PM)Tom Wrote: And if you can Skype with your surrogate while they are testing the accordion, even better!  For not much more than $700 you could make a real vacation of it and have the time of your life.  Fly to Rome (I just bought a $467 ticket, round trip to Milan from Boston), rent a car, drive to Castelfidardo (2.5 hours) check out the accordions, get a couple $100 AirBnBs, some great Italian food, and you're good to go!  (Or fly to Milan and drive to Stradella.) Buying from the maker instead of retail will save you more than the price of the trip!  Plus, with a free bag included with an international trip, you will save $200 in shipping....

Tom,

Where I'm from you find the accordion you like, ask them to put it on display in the window for a few days so you can admire it every time you walk past the store. Wait until 2 or 3 in the morning, and find a brick. Throw the brick through the window, grab the accordion, and you're good to go (quickly mind!). That way you get a free accordion, and as long as you can put on a broad Ulster or Scottish accent they'll be looking in the wrong place for both you and the instrument. I'd be happy to come with you to assist with the genuine accent, but please remember I'm not made of bricks!  

Despicable thieves cleaned out the whole of the Saltarelle stock in Dijon, France, recently. I mean the way we do it we're only taking one at a time!  Wink
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#5
Hmmm, sounds like a plan, I'll be by tonight at 2:00. You bring the bricks!
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#6
(06-02-2019, 04:48 PM)Tom Wrote: Hmmm, sounds like a plan, I'll be by tonight at 2:00.  You bring the bricks!

Sorry Tom,

Turns out they were watching me, and I've just been busted for smuggling bricks out of the UK! Those lightweight Italian bricks weren't up to the job. 

The part of Scotland I come from is well off the tourist trails. A cousin of mine stole a car when he was 8 years old and the cops asked him where he had abandoned it. He couldn't tell them, as he was so drunk at the time he couldn't remember anything at all. He could only remember stealing it to ram raid a grocery store as he had run out of cigarettes and booze, but everything got a bit hazy after that when the weed started to take effect on him. The real culprits were the gang of 6 year olds who plied him with booze and weed and put him up to it. 

Maybe best doing it your way after all!
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#7
Wow! Sounds like a pretty fun place! My next vacation should be there! Since you're already in Europe, your trip to Italy will be even cheaper!
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#8
(06-02-2019, 02:06 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: All of the accordion stores with instruments I’m considering are a plane ride and rental car away. For me to go there would cost a minimum of $700 US. I would never buy a grand piano without playing it, and nearly everyone on this forum says they wouldn’t buy an accordion without playing it. Is it crazy to think of paying someone to check out an accordion for me in their hometown? (if I could even find someone)
It’s pretty crucial that the instrument be relatively new and with no obvious defects, because I’m so far away from any dealer or technician, but I also don’t know if I can trust any dealer I haven’t worked with, even if they seem great and knowledgeable. Then, of course, there’s the question of simply liking the sound of the instrument. See, I’ve almost talked myself out of the idea already, but I’d appreciate any input.

Testing for defects is one thing (but a reliable dealer can ensure there are none) but whether you like the sound of the instrument is a matter of personal taste. The way a recording sounds on YouTube can differ from what the real thing sounds like. However, if you listen to enough different recordings of the same type of instrument you should get a pretty good idea of the way an instrument sounds.
If for instance you like the sound of a Bugari Artist Cassotto you can find many recordings. These instruments all sound alike (whether 96 or 120 bass, even whether PA or CBA). The main difference between individual instruments will be the tuning of the MM register. I have tried one such instrument and later bought several of them unseen (first PA without convertor, then with, then CBA without convertor, then with... they are all so similar you either like all of them or none of them). For my bayan I have gone to a concert to listen to it, then ordered one so again the actual instrument was bought unseen (and I did have tuning issues, but that was mostly because I ordered in a way they were not familiar with). So it can all be done, starting with YouTube but only relying on the combined experienced with many videos.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#9
Read this without logging in, then decided to reply. Logged in, and a message said”You are logged in, and now you’ll be taken back to where you came from.” Must have worked, because here I am in Montana, which is why a little vacation in Italy will cost a bit more than $700! Good advice, all...except for the brick part. Again, a little far for that to work!
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed)
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#10
Hmmmm, can you get to Whitefish? Amtrak to Seattle $125 round trip, Uber to Petosa, a couple $50 Airbnbs?
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#11
It'll be cheaper to fly me to Italy to try some accordions out for you than it would for you to fly there, and my services are always available Smile

On a more serious note though, I've had this dilemma many times and the way I always got around it was stumping up for one flight to the Musik Messe in Frankfurt where most of the main manufacturers take their accordions.  You can then spend a crazy day walking round all of them, in a huge warehouse full of thousands of musicians all trying instruments at once.  Madness, but it works, somehow.

I went round all of them ticking off the ones I didn't like until there were two or three left, then went back and forth between them a few times trying their boxes out until it was very clear which one I preferred.

I would never ever ever buy a box having not played it myself!!
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#12
All great advice. Italy. Hmmmmm......How much do you normally save by buying from the maker?
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed)
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#13
(08-02-2019, 04:13 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: All great advice. Italy. Hmmmmm......How much do you normally save by buying from the maker?

Hard to say because most of the makers will direct you to the registered dealer in your home country
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#14
(08-02-2019, 06:23 PM)craptiger Wrote:
(08-02-2019, 04:13 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: All great advice. Italy. Hmmmmm......How much do you normally save by buying from the maker?

Hard to say because most of the makers will direct you to the registered dealer in your home country

I don't know who these "most of the makers" are. They are Italians. Italians like to do business and don't care too much about the contracts they may or may not have with dealers in your country. You buy from them in Italy and they don't care where you come from. (If you want the accordion to be shipped it may become a different matter.)
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#15
(08-02-2019, 06:44 PM)debra Wrote:
(08-02-2019, 06:23 PM)craptiger Wrote:
(08-02-2019, 04:13 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: All great advice. Italy. Hmmmmm......How much do you normally save by buying from the maker?

Hard to say because most of the makers will direct you to the registered dealer in your home country

I don't know who these "most of the makers" are. They are Italians. Italians like to do business and don't care too much about the contracts they may or may not have with dealers in your country. You buy from them in Italy and they don't care where you come from. (If you want the accordion to be shipped it may become a different matter.)
Paul,

I appreciate things may have changed, but about 25 years ago a Scottish dealer tried to order a Piermaria accordion for me and it was to be made in Italy. The only way Piermaria would have supplied the instrument was if the dealer undertook to be one of their official distributors. As the dealer had never dealt with Piermaria before she declined to accept the franchise, and I had to go elsewhere. She did write to Piermaria on my behalf asking them if I could place a direct order with them as a private customer. She got a polite letter back about a month later saying they don't deal directly with private individuals, and made reference to the fact that they had a franchised dealer in the north of England. I sent a deposit to the English dealer, who made a mess of the order, and I still never had the accordion a full year later. The dealer subsequently took ill and died and I never got the accordion, or my 15% deposit back. Needless to say I have never ordered any subsequent accordion by such means. 

At my level of (in)competence if I cannot find it in a UK shop, then I'm not interested. 

I'm sure that a year or so back a member on here tried to place a direct order with Gwerder in Switzerland, and the only way they would accept the order was through their UK franchised dealer. OK, they're not Italian, but Piermaria are. 

I believe that buying a ready made accordion from the online Castelfidardo outlet is safe enough, but their stock seems to be depleted of late, and a fair proportion of their new off the shelf stock is Elena Soprani, Moreschi, and Castellani, which as far as I'm aware aren't really "Italian" accordions at all.
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#16
(08-02-2019, 08:57 PM)maugein96 Wrote:
(08-02-2019, 06:44 PM)debra Wrote:
(08-02-2019, 06:23 PM)craptiger Wrote:
(08-02-2019, 04:13 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: All great advice. Italy. Hmmmmm......How much do you normally save by buying from the maker?

Hard to say because most of the makers will direct you to the registered dealer in your home country

I don't know who these "most of the makers" are. They are Italians. Italians like to do business and don't care too much about the contracts they may or may not have with dealers in your country. You buy from them in Italy and they don't care where you come from. (If you want the accordion to be shipped it may become a different matter.)
Paul,

I appreciate things may have changed, but about 25 years ago a Scottish dealer tried to order a Piermaria accordion for me and it was to be made in Italy. The only way Piermaria would have supplied the instrument was if the dealer undertook to be one of their official distributors. As the dealer had never dealt with Piermaria before she declined to accept the franchise, and I had to go elsewhere. She did write to Piermaria on my behalf asking them if I could place a direct order with them as a private customer. She got a polite letter back about a month later saying they don't deal directly with private individuals, 
...
The situation may not have changed. If you want an accordion directly from an Italian manufacturer, you go to Italy, to the factory (or showroom), order the accordion right there, and then months later when it is ready you go to Italy again, to pick it up. That is the way to buy direct. I can certainly believe that if you try to order from your country, by phone, email or letter, and if you want them to ship the accordion to you, they will refuse. I do understand that for most people my suggested path that requires two trips to Italy won't be feasible, but this is the way to get an instrument directly from the manufacturer. (Of course it can be done in one trip for an instrument they have available in their showroom.)
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#17
Hmmmm....anyone planning a trip to New Jersey? Accordion Gallery has some beauties.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed)
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#18
I am learning on a nice box I saw online and had a twitter friend in Birmingham, UK go check out. Online is the real world!
So it worked ok for me. Almost a bigger worry was whether the seller knew how to ship properly. They did and all was well.

A few pictures of parts of my 72 bass Giuliette cba appear in this "How do I safely ship my accordion?" post:
https://accordionuprising.wordpress.com/...-your-box/

That's it in various proper/improper travel positions, and towards the end demonstrating the clever use of cable-ties the dealer used to keep the bass buttons secure.
Bruce Triggs
Accordion Noir Radio
Vancouver, BC, Canada
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#19
In my experience about 40% which includes shipping. The first two I bought were in stock and shipped as soon as I paid for them. I was told the third would take about 3 weeks. With Christmas it took about 5. It shipped in 3 days to the US, well packed with no problem.
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#20
Tom,
Did you travel to Italy or order over the phone?
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordeon, Iorio Concert Accorgan G Series (electronics removed)
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