Best New Mid-price Piano Accordion (opinions)
#1
I imagine some opinions can be excavated from earlier posts, but if we can keep on track here, maybe it will be helpful to some who would like a new accordion but don’t have $11,000 to spend. 
So, any experiences to share? Any brand to avoid? Any new bargains?
I assume that for around $5000-7000 there won’t be handmade reeds, but are there some 120 bass piano accordions that sound good, play well, and are sturdy?
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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#2
In new "midrange" (which to many would be, top priced aspirational dreams of limited affordability--it's all relative), I am most taken just now with Beltuna, Ottavianelli, and Brandoni. Some of the Scandallis are very nice and playable as well.

There is lovely stuff to be had out there in your price range---This link is to the US Liberty Bellows page for PAs at 41/120---Note the beautiful new Beltunas and Ottavianellis---

https://www.libertybellows.com/shop/Pian...l-Size.htm


If you're willing to consider 37/96, there are some luscious choices on that page as well, including a double tone chamber Serenellini Regina with handmade reeds:

https://www.libertybellows.com/shop/Pian...6-Bass.htm

I have no connection with LB, just passing on some very alluring possibilities.

We've been over this ground before, but in your case I would strongly advise budgeting for a research trip--Another reason why LB might be a good prospect, due to their big selection and their location in a city with other visitable things to do while you're at it.

The same might be true of Petosa in Seattle, but that's an unknown, as they do not list their new stock individually. And I've noticed that many accordion dealers say on their site they have a "huge" selection, but this is er, an exaggeration. The other thing about Petosa is their new stuff tends to be quite high-end and pricey. If it were me I'd do a weekend in Philly and try everything at LB.

Personally, my aspirational drool would be one of the lovely 30/72s on offer by some of the Italian makers like Beltuna or Ottavianelli, and I probably WOULD buy sight unseen provided the instrument was new and came from a known, reputable dealer with a fair return policy.

But I think you, OP, are not going to be happy until you've checked out a wide spectrum of 41/120s and gotten an idea in person of what is out there. Once things warm up a little in Philly I would start checking out air/hotel deals. Smile
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#3
You could get handmade reeds for $5 - 7,000 if you put your mind to it, no problem. You mention Ottavianelli, Beltuna. Give them a call.
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#4
This question is actually more complicated than it sounds at first. The words "new" and the budget $5000-$7000 (US$ I assume) are very clear, but "120 bass piano accordions that sound good, play well, and are sturdy?", that's a bit ambiguous.
Two major factors in the price of an accordion are 1) cassotto and 2) convertor. Given the budget I think we can safely assume that a convertor is not required (otherwise the result set will be empty). But "that sound good" can be interpreted as "that have cassotto" and in that case the budget is unlikely to suffice for a good instrument from a known Italian maker (especially when bought through a dealer who needs to make money too). The budget should stretch to a 41/120 without cassotto and what you should know is that even a model that does not specify hand-made reeds can be bought with hand-made reeds as an option (at a price).
There are many things that can go wrong when designing and building an accordion so unless you know what you are doing going with one of the bigger brands is the safest option. (Just witnessed a horror story with an accordion that didn't have enough clearance between the first block in cassotto and the first bellow fold and this is not something you can easily solve.) I have good experience with Bugari, and I love the design and quality of Beltuna but they are more expensive. Pigini is tricky because they tune to 442 by default (instead of the ISO standard of 440) and if you order a new accordion the wait is closer to 2 than to 1 year...
People on a budget are often better of with a young used instrument than with brand new. You can get a good instrument with cassotto and hand made reeds when you are willing to consider one that is between 5 and 10 years of age.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#5
Well, the OP stated they were talking about new accordions, and requested to stay on message. I would have assumed from stated parameters of $5K to $7K and a willingness to proceed without handmade reeds, that cassotto was not part of the parameters. Perplexed at the implication that to be an accordion "that sounds good" the instrument must have cassotto. While non-cassotto basses can differ and one would certainly wish to avoid the more strident iterations, many sound great. Personally, I don't see the point of the added expense and weight of tone chambers unless one is playing freebass for classical or the dry, refined freebass jazz styles.
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#6
(22-02-2019, 09:27 AM)OuijaBoard Wrote: ...  Perplexed at the implication that to be an accordion "that sounds good" the instrument must have cassotto.   While non-cassotto basses can differ and one would certainly wish to avoid the more strident iterations, many sound great. ...

When I was conductor of an accordion orchestra, that later became a smaller ensemble with 6 players, we had 4 Bugari Artist Cassotto accordions, 1 Artist without cassotto (but with hand-made reeds) and 1 Bugari bass accordion (which has umleit-stimmstock, acting a bit like cassotto). It always took careful consideration what to give to the 1 non-cassotto accordion so it would still blend in reasonably well with the others. But it is partly a matter of taste.
The one thing a non-cassotto instrument does best (compared to cassotto) is to have a well-balanced MM (or MMM) register. Getting a cassotto M to blend well with a non-cassotto M (with tremolo) is a very difficult job for an accordion tuner.
The main reason why I kind-of equate "sound good" with "cassotto" has to do with the overall construction of the treble side of an accordion. A non-cassotto instrument has 4 (or sometimes 5 or 6) reed blocks parallel to each other. One or two reed blocks have their sound somewhat obstructed by the keyboard and register mechanism while the others can sound freely through the grille. The clearest (worst) difference I have encountered was with a non-cassotto Giulietti PA. The specific shape of the grille (with oval cutout) causes the sound of the white keys (except highest E) to be more mellow (hidden behind keyboard and registers) than that of the black keys (right behind the open part of the grille). This does not sound good in my book. A cassotto instrument does not suffer from this problem: apart from the effect the cassotto itself has all notes are in cassotto which has its "exit" behind keyboard and registers (except Hohner Morino D and M) and all notes not in cassotto are behind the open part of the grille so all notes have the same timbre. (This is less true for CBA accordions with many notes that have 3 reed blocks in cassotto which do not all sound the same.) Some older accordions had a special construction where all the L reeds were on a block behind the keyboard and all other reeds were on the other blocks. The L reeds benefitted from where the block was to sound more mellow and the other reeds benefitted from being behind the open grille part to all have the same timbre.
So hopefully this explains why I say that "sounds good" means "has cassotto". This is more because of the reed block placement than the effect of the cassotto itself.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#7
Good start. Bugari, Beltuna, Ottavianelli, Brandoni, maybe Scandalli?
Sounds like we’re avoiding Hohner and Weltmeister? (I know this has all been covered at some point, but trying to get one thread to make it easier for the new forum member who has that $5-7K U.S. to spend. And I don’t mean to limit it to U.S. stores or currency.)
Thanks.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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#8
(22-02-2019, 01:52 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: Good start. Bugari, Beltuna, Ottavianelli, Brandoni, maybe Scandalli?
Sounds like we’re avoiding Hohner and Weltmeister? (I know this has all been covered at some point, but trying to get one thread to make it easier for the new forum member who has that $5-7K U.S. to spend. And I don’t mean to limit it to U.S. stores or currency.)
Thanks.

In my book Weltmeister has one really good accordion: the Supita. It has great sound, with a very mellow cassotto.
Hohner indeed seems to be missing from the list. The lower range are made in China or other low-wage countries. The high-end is made (at least in part) by Pigini, which is another brand left out from the list. Pigini may be a good choice for people willing to wait for 2 years for their new instrument to be delivered, but not for people who want it "soon". Victoria is not in the list, but perhaps should be in. Victoria accordions are really nice. They have a bit of a particular sound, for which Richard Galliano and the late Frank Marocco are/were known. Victoria is best known in the jazz scene. There are of course many more smaller outfits like Cooperfisa, Fisitalia, and there was Ballone Burini which at some point seemed to cease to exist but may be about to be resurrected (if it isn't already).
Given the goal of the OP from all these names Weltmeister is definitely one to consider as they may have a good instrument that fits the budget.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#9
Always great information, Paul.
I know how complicated this is, and appreciate everybody’s input, as I think other shoppers will.
People are always asking me to recommend pianos, and I think the minefield there is not quite as wide. Some of the advise is similar: stick to the major manufacturers, play them all. The one thing that has changed drastically in the last decade is that you can’t just buy a Steinway and be done with it. First, you’ll always pay too much, and Yamaha, Bösendorfer, and even Mason and Hamlin have caught up and surpassed them.
But back to the OP, does anyone know the “build” reputation of Serenellini?
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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#10
I think serenellini or saltarelle 120's with cassotto and TAM will be over your budget. But I guess could be classified as "mid-range".
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#11
Here’s a post from Jim D.:
“You may like the models of Serenellini because of their lower price, sharp tone and light weight, and might just be your "cup of tea" but, Serenellini Pro models although of fine quality, are not in the same class of sturdy and quality Pro models of (Victoria made) Titano's , Excelsior's , Giulietti's , Petosa's , 60's era Super VI's and Sano's for example.
Another factor to consider is resale value. The other makes I mention here will in most cases retain a good resale value and in some cases appreciate in value. Whereas a Serenelli's in most cases depreciate in value with time.”
I know Jim specializes in classic rebuilt accordions, so maybe this doesn’t apply to new ones, but I don’t know. He did use the word “sturdy”, which is important to me in a new instrument.
I was looking at a Serenellini Imperator IV at a good price, but is it sturdy?
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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#12
Was the OP saying they had to have a "pro" level accordion with cassotto for $5K to $7K? Because I didn't see that in the original post. You can get a wonderful Serenellini in your cited price range, just like you can get a wonderful Beltuna, Ottavianelli, or Brandoni in your price range. These wonderful instruments would not be the haut-de-gamme so-called "pro" stuff of the Petosa, et. al. ilk, which would be much higher than your price range, not that I would waste a second fretting over that. Your price range should afford you a wondrous new accordion.
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#13
Right, Ouijaboard. I’m not even sure what “pro” means, since “Pros” play all kinds of instruments, ranging from pretty rough-sounding to  very smooth. I posted this not totally for my own use, but because I imagine others could use it as a resource to find a solid PA that won’t fall apart, is responsive, and is very playable (quiet smooth action, responsive reeds)
Personally, I’d be happy with a 120 Bass, 3-voice PA that plays and sounds as good as my reduced key size 72 bass 34 key Bugari.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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#14
(24-02-2019, 11:47 PM)Eddy Yates Wrote: ...
Personally, I’d be happy with a 120 Bass, 3-voice PA that plays and sounds as good as my reduced key size 72 bass 34 key Bugari.

Now it is becoming clearer what the budget needs to cover. Within a $7000 max budget it should be easy enough to find a reputable Italian accordion that is 41/120 3 voice, no cassotto, and have it fitted with a mano reeds. I believe that any dealer who cannot get you say a Bugari Championfisa with a mano reeds as an option for that budget is simply overcharging you. (But even the Championfisa with its standard tipo a mano reeds should be fine too.)
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#15
[[[Personally, I’d be happy with a 120 Bass, 3-voice PA that plays and sounds as good as my reduced key size 72 bass 34 key Bugari.]]] I recently acquired a 26/48 Bugari two-voice in what I believe is the same model line as the 34/72, and am delighted with it. The keyboard is a tad clackety-clack. But the playing ergonomics are very smooth and fast, and the reeds, which I'm pretty sure are best-quality durall, have a big, full, round voice.
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#16
(25-02-2019, 03:55 PM)OuijaBoard Wrote: [[[Personally, I’d be happy with a 120 Bass, 3-voice PA that plays and sounds as good as my reduced key size 72 bass 34 key Bugari.]]]  I recently acquired a 26/48 Bugari two-voice in what I believe is the same model line as the 34/72, and am delighted with it.  The keyboard is a tad clackety-clack.  But the playing ergonomics are very smooth and fast, and the reeds, which I'm pretty sure are best-quality durall, have a big, full, round voice.
Paul and Ouijaboard,
Thanks for the info. Helpful to me, and I hope it is for others looking for a new accordion in that range.
My 34/72 is a custom Silver with a Mano reeds that Boaz Rubin designed with Bugari and if I can find a new 41/120 that plays like that, I’ll be very happy.
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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#17
It'd be a cinch to sub out the reeds for an upgrade, but I play folk genres and don't experience any need at this point. I always want a mano or at least TAM in a bisonoric, but in a unisonoric don't always miss them. And some a mano reeds have a muted voice personality I downright dislike, or are bright and squeaky in the high registers.
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#18
(25-02-2019, 06:26 PM)OuijaBoard Wrote: It'd be a cinch to sub out the reeds for an upgrade, but I play folk genres and don't experience any need at this point.    I always want a mano or at least TAM in a bisonoric, but in a unisonoric don't always miss them.   And some a mano reeds have a muted voice personality I downright dislike, or are bright and squeaky in the high registers.
Just read a few articles about differences between reeds. Kimric Smythe said basically the same thing to me that you just stated. I think that those of us with a limited budget (all relative, of course) aren't looking for the Holy Grail of accordions, but something we like to play that will not require a lot of work immediately. My own playing is a bit like my piano playing....roots-oriented, but informed by classical, jazz, and "new music", particularly phase music. I can make music with my Tiger Combo Cordion, most definitely a rough beast, but with a very distinct sound that leads in interesting directions. It is completely different from my Bugari, and I am loath to jettison either one.
Again, it's pretty obvious from all the input that I just need to get to a big store with a lot of accordions!
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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#19
how about a list then?

- piano
- non-cassotto
- 41/120
- tam or higher

and the budget is $7000 (€6200)
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#20
Thanks, Jazz. I added a bit....

- piano
- non-cassotto (If cassotto is available in this price, then, of course.)
- 41/120
- tam or higher
- new or almost new
-$7000 maximum
-3 voice acceptable, 4 preferred
Bugari “Blue 72”, Tiger Combo ‘Cordion
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