Accordion MIDI conversion
#1
Hi all,

As I need a silent accordion for practice, I plan to convert one of mine to a reedless MIDI accordion. I prefer to convert one of mine because so I keep the same button size and layout and distance as I now have on my acoustic accordions.

However, my understanding of this MIDI environment is mostly nil. So after doing a lot of window shopping on the internet, I see there are several systems and providers, but as I don't understand most of their technical jargon, I wonder if some of you has experience with such a conversion, or have some experience with these systems and/or with these providers. Costs of these providers are very similar so this is not the main selection point.

As far as now my selected providers are:

- SCOTLAND ACCORDIONS (http://scotlandaccordions.co.uk/) DigiRig system

- ACCORDION MAGIC (http://www.accordionmagic.com/)

- ROY HENDRIE MUSIC (https://www.royhendriemusic.co.uk/) BlueLine MIDI system

Other options may be considered also.
All opinions are welcome.
Thanks in advance.
Carpe diem, C.
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#2
I would speak to Accordion Magic everything is custom made. He doesn’t use one size fits all kits.
If you get midi fitted you would need to play the accordion without moving the bellows. (Or there might be a way of blanking off your reads so none sound when playing through midi) or the reeds will sound. You also need a midi expander and speaker.
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#3
My suggestion would be to ask Roy Hendrie.
 
I have dealt with him on MIDI matters over several years and his experience is invaluable..
I think the silence can be achieved using one of the existing couplers of the accordion - however Roy would explain your options.
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#4
(17-05-2019, 11:36 AM)Corinto Wrote: I plan to convert one of mine to a reedless MIDI accordion.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

What I plan is to convert to a REEDLESS MIDI accordion, with sensors for bellows control. This is important to maintain the accordion as if an acoustic accordion, and yes, all providers I mentioned have this option.
Carpe diem, C.
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#5
(18-05-2019, 11:58 AM)Corinto Wrote:
(17-05-2019, 11:36 AM)Corinto Wrote: I plan to convert one of mine to a reedless MIDI accordion.


What I plan is to convert to a REEDLESS MIDI accordion, with sensors for bellows control. This is important to maintain the accordion as if an acoustic accordion, and yes, all providers I mentioned have this option.

So you are getting another accordion or using one of your acoustic ones and converting that to MIDI?  Also, do you ever forsee the need for the accordion part?  One consideration is that if this is a 100% practice only, and no need for the acoustic, you will likely need to remove all reeds as the bellows control would "trigger" the air to go through the reeds.  Another option would be to cerate a custom register button on each side that mutes all the reeds of each hand.

IMHO the 2nd option is the better one as it is non-destructive and leaves you free to have a digital + acoustic accordion option, but its not an easy thing to set up.
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#6
(18-05-2019, 01:08 PM)JerryPH Wrote: So you are getting another accordion or using one of your acoustic ones and converting that to MIDI?  Also, do you ever forsee the need for the accordion part?  One consideration is that if this is a 100% practice only, and no need for the acoustic, you will likely need to remove all reeds as the bellows control would "trigger" the air to go through the reeds.  Another option would be to cerate a custom register button on each side that mutes all the reeds of each hand.

IMHO the 2nd option is the better one as it is non-destructive and leaves you free to have a digital + acoustic accordion option, but its not an easy thing to set up.

Hi Jerry, thanks for your comments,

Yes, I understand what you're saying, and I could agree with you. However, I prefer the reedless option because I own several small Hohner CBA accordions from the 1930 decade, CORNELIA I, LUCIA and PIROL. All have the same treble button size and button distance, so I can switch them with no problem. It took me some time before I got the first one, now I have several, and three of these have been overhauled by fettlers known to all here on this site, with fair to very good results. One more is being overhauled now and I will receive it in June, I guess, and it looks like it will be a very good one.

It took me years to get the first one, and then again another year for the second one. Now I have found the pathway, or I'm just being lucky, and I have another one, found recently, that would be perfect for a conversion to a reedless midi accordion, as some of the reeds seem to be broken or unresponsive for reasons I don't know at this moment. Bellows are almost perfect, at first look it seems to have been used mildly ... so that's it.

Of course I don't need all of these, and "she who must be obeyed" agrees with that statement. But the're so cheap and small and light and easy to play, compared to what the market offers today, that it seems a sin to let these get lost ... maybe my grandchildren may continue to play them ... who knows ...

About the MIDI conversion, at first I was only looking for a silent practice accordion, but now I've seen/heard the sounds available and that's a really new world for me ... both KETRON and V3SOUND have very nice and interesting accordion sound ... so we'll see what happens ...
Carpe diem, C.
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#7
Would it not just be easier and cheaper to pick up a second hand Roland.
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#8
(18-05-2019, 09:24 PM)the boxman Wrote: Would it not just be easier and cheaper to pick up a second hand Roland.

I must Echo boxman's comment !!
The most reasonable solution is a new or second hand Roland.
Owner & Operator "THE FISARMONICA SHOP" Chicopee, MA USA
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#9
Thank you the boxman,
Thank you JIM D.,

Easier? Maybe easier to find one and buy, not easier to learn. Why? All my accordions are small and light with 10.5 mm treble buttons and 6 mm between buttons, or 16.5 mm from center to center. Roland is quite different, so new learning curve and eternal mental adaptation when switching from the Roland to my Hohner boxes.

Cheaper? Not so sure, seriously.

Reasonable? No comment, this is so subjective a definition that we never may agree.

Of course, ymmv.
Carpe diem, C.
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#10
(18-05-2019, 02:11 PM)Corinto Wrote: ...I prefer the reedless option because I own several small Hohner CBA accordions from the 1930 decade, CORNELIA I, LUCIA and PIROL. All have the same treble button size and button distance, so I can switch them with no problem.

About the MIDI conversion, at first I was only looking for a silent practice accordion, but now I've seen/heard the sounds available and that's a really new world for me ... both KETRON and V3SOUND have very nice and interesting accordion sound ... so we'll see what happens ...

Well, the one big advantage to a midi conversion is that you are going to have one VERY light accordion!  Oh... welcome to the world of the digital accordion too!   Cool

The suggestions of going to a small Roland are something to consider, especially if it is something that will be cheaper for you compared to a MIDI conversion.  The feel of those accordions, however, might not match your older accordions, that is something that you would have to see for yourself.  That said, this is no big thing.  I have both a solid acoustic accordion and a Roland and can move back and forth easily enough... a little practice solves that.   Big Grin
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#11
Looks like you e already made up your mind although I don’t see why you feel the need to take out all the reeds I have done some research and there are ways of doing midi and silencing the reeds so that you are only playing electronically.
As you will have a big empty box you could have everything built in . Could possible even have a small speaker.
For what your looking to do I would go to Roy at Accordion Magic he’s the man for this type of stuff, it will be interesting to know what the options are and how the price of making it reedless compares to a Roland.
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#12
Whoever does your conversion and whatever way you go (remove reeds or silence them), take lots of pics, it sounds like a great project. Smile
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#13
Thanks JerryPH
Thanks the boxman

Very busy this week, family matters, so next week I'll have a better look at my options.
Have seen it's not only about MIDI, also the sound module quality is very important, some modules offer very interesting accordion sounds.
Will update as we proceed.

Edit: it will definitely be reedless.
Carpe diem, C.
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#14
Interesting project. I am looking forward to reading your updates. With all the technology available the possibilities are endless.
How about having sound modules contained within the accordion. Could you have a completely wireless set up so you've not got cables trailing to and external speaker. A wireless external expander? Battery powered with a rechargeable battery.
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#15
Internal sound module = yes
Internal headphone amp = yes
Completely wireless = no
Battery powered with rechargeable battery = yes

Now a question: what's the difference between a 1. sound module, 2. sound generator, and 3. expander?
Carpe diem, C.
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#16
Different names for the same thing. You could add tone generator to the list. The important factor is the quality of the sound.
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