In the market for something else
#1
Right – well I have decided that I am in the market for another accordion sooner rather than later, and hoping to visit a couple of places before the end of January: The Accordion Centre and Fairdeal Accordions, both in the Birmingham (UK) area. If I can get away with spending £500 that would be great, but am willing to spend up to £2000 on the right thing.

I have been doing a goodly bit of reading on here;  in particular I’ve been through the entire Accordion Makes & Models looking at any threads where people wanted advice on buying an accordion.

I currently use a 72 bass Galotta piano accordion, with full size keys. In terms of size and weight it is fine and I certainly don’t want anything smaller. As I sit to play, the overall height of the instrument will be important, as I am 5’ 3” and a taller instrument may just be too big – that fact may rule out the 120 bass instruments (but I’ll try some anyway, just to see). So probably considering either 72 or 96 bass.

I am a beginner, only a couple of months in, but currently my music preferences are to play anything that sounds Cajun, traditional British folk and I love Blues.

The instruments currently available on both shops’ websites (just 72 and 96 bass) and in my price range are:
Barcarole Magister 96, Bugari 96, Galanti 72, Galliani, Hohner Amica III 72, Hohner Bravo 72 and 96, Parrot 96, Scarlatti 72, Sonola 96, Trevani 96, Royal Standard 72, Delicia 96, Weltmeister 96, Galanti lightweight 72, Brandoni musette 72.
I wouldn’t dream of asking for a run down on all these models – they are just to give you an idea of what is available to me. What I would appreciate though, is if some of you might make some comments such as Avoid those, bad value for money, or This make is usually reliable and pretty bombproof, or maybe Don’t even think of spending less than ….

I've done enough reading through this forum to appreciate that it's complicated, but hoping you can help point me in the right direction.
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#2
Hiya, I'm going to suggest you try the Scandalli LMM 120 bass at Fairdeal:

https://www.fairdealaccordions.com/pa-24.html

I know it's a 120, but it's a good make and is 'only' 9.5kg with full size keys I think.
It may be too big, but it may not be, and if you're in the shop anyway .....
(and it's £499)

Here's another one advertised with more info:
https://www.theaccordionshop.co.uk/accor...accordion/
That site is quite useful because it gives weights.
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#3
Go chat direct with Rob at Birmingham Accordion Centre.... He won't let you down if you tell him what you want.. Real nice guy I've dealt with for years
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...
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#4
Bella,
Having had good service from three Sonolas of my own (All 120/41, one full size LMMH, two "ladies" size, LMM and LMH), I feel it's a reliable marque. Of course, it really depends who actually made it, when, and where  Huh
I believe that the majority  of "Italian made" ( look for label) are probably OK! Smile

I also have a 1950s 120/41 LMMM Scandalli, which has performed well: the only thing I have doubts about concerning them is they use metal pallets attached by rubber saddles, which are bound to suffer from ageing (my opinion) Smile

Some say, beware of the ( earlier editions of) Chinese made accordions ( eg Parrot and Baile)
However, here are a couple of Parrots which sound great:

(This one is available in Birmingham)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO__9MnfBFo
And:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xgm4enVTaY
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#5
What exactly is the problem with the Galotta? is it beat up / end of life?

It's personal, but I would consider some of the list (e-german / czech / bravo) a direct replacement, disregarding current condition or special options. Hard to say, there are many variables. The Parrot is probably beneath you.

Personally, I would check out the Amica first in this stage of your 'career'. Then the Italian stuff if that suits you and the music.
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#6
(13-01-2020, 05:19 PM)Bella Wrote: ...

The instruments currently available on both shops’ websites (just 72 and 96 bass) and in my price range are:
Barcarole Magister 96, Bugari 96, Galanti 72, Galliani, Hohner Amica III 72, Hohner Bravo 72 and 96, Parrot 96, Scarlatti 72, Sonola 96, Trevani 96, Royal Standard 72, Delicia 96, Weltmeister 96, Galanti lightweight 72, Brandoni musette 72.
I wouldn’t dream of asking for a run down on all these models – they are just to give you an idea of what is available to me. What I would appreciate though, is if some of you might make some comments such as Avoid those, bad value for money, or This make is usually reliable and pretty bombproof, or maybe Don’t even think of spending less than ….
...

I may be "old school" but I would recommend going for an Italian accordion.
This means doing your research because if a name sounds Italian but you cannot easily find exactly what it is it probably means it's chinese.
Bugari, Galanti, Sonola, Brandoni... can't go wrong there when buying from a reputable place that does good repairs.
I would recommend 96 over 72. Extra flexibility on the bass side (2 rows at the top and bottom give you overlap that helps play in any key).
A 96 typically also has 37 notes on the keyboard versus 34 on a 72, but ymmv so check it out.
Also, you must always go try out instruments, if only to find out whether you like the tremolo they have on the MM register or not.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#7
Sorry to be so tardy coming back here - my man had hospital admission this morning so I've been a bit preoccupied.

Thank you all for your input. All information is useful to me, and I'm noticing a recurring Italian theme.

Paul - I will be trying them out. Had I had that opportunity in the first place, I wouldn't have ended up with the Galotta. Useful info on Chinese with Italian sounding names.

Jozz - the Galotta was a gift from my man, who knows nothing about accordions and bought through EBay. I find it unsatisfactory to play - uses a lot of air, notes not sounding together, bass extinguishing treble by robbing the air, a couple of sticking bass notes. It's been ok to make a start on, but I don't care for the sound and would rather get something else than spend money on this one.

Really, really looking forward to actually getting to try some - soon I hope!
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#8
(14-01-2020, 03:22 PM)Bella Wrote: Sorry to be so tardy coming back here - my man had hospital admission this morning so I've been a bit preoccupied.

Thank you all for your input. All information is useful to me, and I'm noticing a recurring Italian theme.

Paul - I will be trying them out. Had I had that opportunity in the first place, I wouldn't have ended up with the Galotta. Useful info on Chinese with Italian sounding names.

Jozz - the Galotta was a gift from my man, who knows nothing about accordions and bought through EBay. I find it unsatisfactory to play - uses a lot of air, notes not sounding together, bass extinguishing treble by robbing the air, a couple of sticking bass notes. It's been ok to make a start on, but I don't care for the sound and would rather get something else than spend money on this one.

Really, really looking forward to actually getting to try some - soon I hope!

Sorry to hear of the medical mishap, Bella.  I do hope that it’s minor and temporary.  I suspect that the Hohner Nova 72 bass advertised on Fairdeal Accordions is the one I part-exchanged for my current Paolo Soprani.  It’s not bad, but it is one of the range now manufactured in China.  I didn’t get on with it, I found the sound a bit raucous and I couldn’t get on with the keyboard.  I’d agree with the points made by Paul, Italian and French instruments seem to be just that little bit more finely finished and playable.  Of course, the final test of any musical instrument is to play it, preferably alongside the competing items.
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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#9
Raucous sound - yes, that's exactly how I would describe mine too!
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#10
I'd always recommend a chat with Emilio Allodi at Allodi Accordions. I note he has a couple of used Fantini LMM 34/72 on his website at the moment, he also sells new Moreschi 34/72 instruments for around £1400 or so. These are obviously made in the far east, Korea maybe? But I understand they pass through the Italian factory for checking and tweaking before being distributed to the retail trade. They sound pretty good and they play well enough too. A big step up from other far eastern manufacturers. He often has instruments that aren't listed on his website.

It's probably best to buy the best you can afford and justify to yourself and the bank manager.

Hope your partner is OK.
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#11
The man is fine, thank you for asking. Precautionary monitoring following a nasty scare late last year.

I have looked at the Allodi website. A bit frustrating that they are London based, as I only moved from London 6 months ago. I'm now over 200 miles away. I could travel but the more I spend on travelling, the less I have to spend on an accordion - hence plenty of research first. Thank you though for the recommendation - all going in the melting pot.
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#12
Hais ,
"It's probably best to buy the best you can afford and justify to yourself and the bank manager"

The most I ever spent on a new instrument was $A3000-00, thirty years ago. That's $100/year, or $2/week.

What other pass time is so cheap? Smile

Bella,
It's probably best to stay with genuine Italian-made used instruments: well made and  infinitely repairable if necessary. Smile
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#13
(14-01-2020, 11:53 PM)Dingo40 Wrote: ...
The most I ever spent on a new instrument was $A3000-00, thirty years ago. That's $100/year, or $2/week.

What other pass time is so cheap? Smile

...
That's also an argument I used to convince people to spend enough on an accordion to be happy with for decades to come!
If you buy a quality accordion (not chinese or north korean, not even when then checked out in Italy, and not even when labeled Hohner) it should give you 30 years of pleasure at least. You did the math already. Compare that amount a week to other spending on an accordion hobby, like going to rehearsals (and concerts) with an ensemble or orchestra, having a drink  there with friends... it seems that everybody I know spends way more on their accordion hobby than on the purchase of the instrument.
And because accordions last for so long you shouldn't be afraid of buying an instrument that's 10 or 20 years young, provided you have access to a good repair/maintenance outfit.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#14
I'm with you, Paul! Smile
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#15
I am hoping it will be my 'forever' accordion, which is why I am prepared to spend money on it. Good musical instruments don't generally come cheap.

The most important thing for me is that I love playing it. That alone will make the difference between persevering or giving up when the learning isn't going so well.
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#16
Thanks Bella,
"The most important thing for me is that I love playing it. That alone will make the difference between persevering or giving up when the learning isn't going so well."

Very true! Smile

Reminds me of a discussion I once heard between my wife who was in the market for a new sewing machine and the ( mature age) saleswoman.
My wife was looking for a simple machine that simply had the very basic features (there being many super dooper models available which were capable of producing the most exquisite embroidery, while the operator simply sat back and gossiped with their friends and sipped coffee)! Tongue A bit like player pianos.
The salesperson explained how, after much scrimping and saving, she herself had purchased such a machine to replace her own existing, modest but practical, model.
Unfortunately, she then found the new machine so heavy, complicated and demanding to set up and to transport  that she hardly, if ever, used it, preferring to rely on her old machine instead! Confused
I guess, one should be careful of what of one wishes for Smile
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#17
hold on, let me fetch my reading glasses
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#18
Why not a new Italian 72 bass?  Should be able to get one for less than £2000.  Find a friend who speaks Italian.  Contact the builder directly.  You may find 50% - 60% of retail.  It's the 21st century, we have the internet and translation tools.  They want to sell accordions!
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#19
Interesting idea Tom.
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#20
(15-01-2020, 06:45 PM)Bella Wrote: Interesting idea Tom.

Bella,

Here is the sort of instrument you can pick up in the Castelfidardo outlet, and ask Tom what he thinks of Pietanesi accordions.

Drawback is you don't get to try it before you buy, and that puts it in the no-no class for many.

However, you're getting a very well respected make of Italian accordion for not a lot of dosh, although if you bought it after we're out of the EU you'd be liable for import duty and VAT. 

There are quite a lot of decent PAs in the UK, but nearly new ex-demos like that one are hard to come by. 

The guy in the demo is using a Paolo Soprani, which I believe is to a similar configuration as the Pietanesi on sale. 

Several forum members have used the Castelfidardo outlet without any issues. 

Just another option based on Tom's suggestion, and it comes with a 5 year guarantee. 

https://www.castelfidardomusica.it/en/ne...-anni.html

Appreciate you might not like the colour! 

(I have no connection with the retail outlet in Castelfidardo)
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