What kind of melodeon to pick?
#1
I've decided to buy a Castagnari melodeon. I would like to have a Castagnari Giordy just because it's small and fun, but it also require more air I would guess which will affect the sound. So maybe I will go for a Lilly instead.
But my problem is which type to pick. First I was considering G/C, but now I feel D/G sound better, but some people say that the accordions are for different kind of music. But I don't really get it. Does it really matter if it's a CF och GC och DG och AD? I mean, can't I use exactly the same fingering on all of them, but it will just play in different scales? Or do people mean the most of the songs are written in specific keys, and that's why I need a specific accordion for specific style?
I mean - it's just to transpose the music like moving up one step on the chromatic button accordion etc? Or are the bass buttons different on all the melodeons so that I can not use the exact same fingering on all of them, but in different keys?
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#2
I think you might usefully spend an hour or two at melodion.net
Good luck!
Richard
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#3
(17-10-2019, 09:26 PM)dunlustin Wrote: I think you might usefully spend an hour or two at melodion.net
Good luck!

Will check it out! I know my question was a bit stupid. I'm a harmonica player as well and I know what happens if I put a C and G harmonica next to each other and if I put a D/G harmonica next to each other. I will still blow the exact same holes, but transposed.
But I was still confused about stuff I was reading about different melodeons. Like "My teacher told me no one playes D/G melodeons anymore" and similar comments. I just can't understand what all the fuss is about. If the bass buttons are like the melody buttons (just transposed), then all melodeons that are "next to each other" in the circle of fifths should be just the same.
I totally understand that a B/C melodeon is very different.
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#4
If you are playing alone with no other musicians then pick whatever suits you. If you wish to play with others then it would be wise to get the same key as they play in. It would be fairly easy to find out.
Elderly teenager still experimenting with music of all descriptions.  I may not please anyone else, but I’m long past caring about that.
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#5
if you're going to sing along, pick a key that suits your voice

also, some music just sounds better in certain keys
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#6
The majority of melodions in England are probably in D/G.
Arguably this is an accident of history - in the late 50's the man from the Folk Song and Dance Society, given that most of the collected music was written in D and G, chose to order a batch so tuned from Hohner.
After that it became a self fulfilling decision - if you wanted to play with a fiddler or other boxes, you bought a D/G.
Semitone boxes in Ireland apparently were handy for the 'flourishes' favoured by the music - and fit with the (some of the) fiddlers.
The Wyper Bros in Scotland played, from memory, semitone boxes for similar reasons.
In France the G/C box is the basis of the music. It fits with C tuned instruments. The range is less squeally (is that a word) than D/G
Also Aminor Waltzes and similar fit well on these boxes.
A 2 row diatonic (not semitone) is not just two mouthorgans stuck together - although many players approach them as if they were.
If you look at the button layout, you will see that longish runs/decoration are available without changing bellows direction - important in French Aminor dance music.
(Look for FR18 players TexMex - on you tube. You will see playing 'on the pull.' This is because such a heavy beast is almost impossible to play push/pull up and down the rows. TexMex players play 3 row in GCF but across the rows and with basses taken out.T French players in the 50s favoured big Club boxes. Lots of power but unwieldy.)
Finally, diatonic box playing has changed a lot in the last 40 years. Players/builders have added more and more - eg up to 18 bass - to get round 'limitations.'
Some might say the point has been reached where the lightweight simplicity of the 2 row is being lost - both in cost and playability.
Builders are now designing stripped back CBA's with the sound/portability of the diatonic.
PS: re diatonic bass. On semitone boxes they were almost unused in Irish music. In quint boxes they are almost always the same (relative to the RH) basses. Some players obscure the 'thirds' reed to give a neutral chord - like power chords on the guitar.
And
Castagnari are expensive - sometimes called 'Costalotti' - have you looks at other makes?
Hope this helps!
Richard
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#7
Personal Opinion - I would say don't buy a Giordy, I think it's either a secondary box, for use when you can't take your main box for some reason, or it's for a very restricted purpose, such as a morris dancer who might carry it around "just in case" there's no other source of music. They look cute but they're not much fun to play.

Melodeon.net is the place to go, but it'll probably take more than an hour!
The crucial thing is, what music do you want to play - each genre has its favoured layout.
Good luck!
Tom
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#8
dunlustin: Thanks a lot for your thorough information! I agree that they should not over-do the melodeons. I'm a CBA player myself and I want a melodeon just because I can not replicate that sound on my CBA and it is much more rythmical on a melodeon which I prefer. I have a small Hohner Nova 2 48 accordion for trying to reproduce the melodeon sound, it's the same size, but I will never get there with a CBA so I just need to start playing the melodeon if I want to get that sound. I understand that the Castagnaris are expensive, but I totally love the sound they produce and I would never ever buy a Hohner melodeon with "musette" sound. I really dislike that sound. Those wooden boxes (also of other brands) gives me much more joy for my ears (sorry if I step on someones' toe now).

TomBR: Yeah, while looking at all the Giordy videos, I'm not that impressed of the sound. It's just that it's very cheap compared to a Lilly, and seems to be a good learning instrument, except that it will require more air. And I'm so fed up carrying around my 10kg CBA everywhere. I want something really light weight. Lilly is a good choice and it sounds awesome.

I want to play English, Scottish, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and French music. I'm actually not that eager to play Irish music.
So will G/C be my choice if those styles are my preferences?
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#9
Good luck to you Yffish!  I've got nothing new to add but that to second what I would say is the best advice given: 1. If you are going to sing, match your range. And 2: Match what your friends play so you can play with them.  

Personally, my taste generally goes to Italian music (which is not in your nations list) so I have a Della Noce organetto in G to get that authentic sound you speak of.  Seems here in the us the biggest draw is the tex/mex guys playing Gabbanelli  in g/c/f or if they can't afford it, Hohner.  I don't know what the cajun/zydecos prefer.
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#10
Yffish - Castagnari, Salterelle and Beltuna are all good makes and can be obtained in most tunings, and as dry as you like.
Castas seem to be the most popular because they have a good range, sound great and they're well made.  They are more pricey than some makes, but hold their value well.  The Lilly is a good choice, popular here because it's light and sounds good.  I'm picking up a Dony shortly, which is a little bit heavier, but a friend is selling it ...... 

If you want to play French music, particularly Breton, then a C/G is the one to go for.  They are by far the most popular in Brittany where I live.  I play French, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Scottish with my C/G !

Just a comment on CBAs :  a friend has a Salterelle CBA, natural wooden box, and swing or demi-swing tuned and it sounds remarkably like a melodeon.  (you can google Florence Glorion)  And it weight about 6kg ...
But I agree, the melodeon has a much more rhythmic sound if you play push-pull rather than across the rows as in a CBA.  I play some tunes using both methods and generally prefer the push-pull sound.
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#11
I listened to those now, but I saw that they are very expensive. $6000++ for all of them kind of. But they sound awesome so it's good once in a lifetime investment!
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#12
How about a good secondhand one ?  There are often bargains to be had when someone buys something that isn't quite right, is too heavy, only 2 rows when they want 3 etc.
This company in the Uk haas a good reputation and they ship abroad :
https://www.acorninstruments.co.uk
That said, I don't know which country you live in ...
The Lilly is only around 1600 € new in France ....
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#13
You sound good.
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#14
Whilst there is no doubt about the quality of a castagnari    there is also no doubt that they are very expensive to buy both new and used.   I would not advise anybody who is new to melodeon playing to spend that sort of  money on a 'first box'.  Far better to go for  a refurbished hohner pokerwork or Erica   which  are used by some professional players and can be had for around £500  /£600  in better than new condition.  I have a castagnari but in many ways prefer my hohners!  Details of fettlers including theo gibb, Lester, martin white and others together with there for sale lists are on melodeon.net forum.

As to which key to go for on 4th apart boxes DG,  CF etc it is ,as others have said, important to think about who you are likely to be playing with and for 'English sessions'  ( not necessarily English tunes!) the DG is by far  the most useful box.   CF and GC tend to be more popular amongst   enthusiasts of French/ german etc music.   

On a dg box it is possible to play using both rows to reduce the amount of belloes in an outing  but this is not essential.  It is also possible to play in A  by faking the G# or of course playing tunes eg many Scottish pipe tunes that don't have a G#

The 8 push/pull bass  are  only realy sutable for the home keys  

The semitone boxes eg BC  are  chromatic  but some keys are quite difficult  . The bass are used (it atall) as a bit of ornamentation rether than to dirve a rhtynm.   A bc box is fine ,treble only. for B C G D A E F and a bit more tricky for the flat keys.  Fine for most Scottish music and much more.

the small  3 row BCC#  ag hohner trichord  is easily chromatic  and just 5 scales are required for 12 keys.   the  trichord with 12 stradella bass is very light and easily portable  and has bass for CGDA with a bit of something for F and E.  The larger BCC# as played by Sir Jimmy Shand   has between 48 and 120 bass according to make and model. The famous Shand MOrino BCC# boxes have either 105 or 117 bass!

If you decide o a DG box you may find my tutor book DG melodeon, a crash course for beginners useful. Its always available on ebay just put in melodeon tutor book for full info and feedback

george
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#15
Thanks guys for that info! Sounds like DG could be a good option then. And I was a bit lucky who found a guy selling a DG in used condition for $1300 yesterday and he had not sold it yet. I'm awaiting some shipping details from him at the moment so I hope he will return with them soon. I know it may be expensive, but it's just so small and good sounding. I really enjoy small instruments and I tried some melodeons including Lilly in an accordion shop a month ago, even though I can't really play it. But I really enjoyed it and I think $1300-1600 is actuallt quite fine for a good instrument, even if the Hohner one you mention is a lot cheaper. I just don't like the "musette" sound that much though!
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