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A dealer in France

godgi

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Recently I had an experience of buying an accordion from a dealer in France who also has a significant internet presence.
Suffice to say it has been an eye opening experience and not in a positive way. Allegations of damage in transport, voiding of warranties etc etc.
Every trick in the book appeared to be known and at times I felt quiet vunerable as I had the potential to loose a significant amount of cash.
In the end it was resolved to some degree of satisfaction but it has left me wondering about the nature of this business.
Godgi.
 

debra

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Glad to see the issue was "resolved to some degree of satisfaction". Your report (without specifics of this sale/purchase) is testimony to the fact that to buy a (used) accordion and be happy with it there is only one recipe, consisting of three elements: 1) go in person so you can try the instrument before you buy, 2) bring an experienced friend or teacher with you and 3) get the seller to open up the instrument so you can inspect things like leathers, potential rust on the reeds, dirt and smells, woodworm, pallets that are disintegrating, etc.
I have seen quite a few unhappy people who did do 1) (go in person) but did not have sufficient expertise to detect major flaws and who did not do 2) and 3). An accordion dealer by definition has first and foremost his own interest in mind (to sell an old clunker for as much money as he can get for it) and is not the right person to give advice! Fortunately there are also reputable dealers who simply only sell good instruments, but it's hard to know who they are without being able to get advice from other accordion players.
 

Ventura

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3) get the seller to open up the instrument so you can inspect things like leathers, potential rust on the reeds, dirt and smells, woodworm, pallets that are disintegrating, etc.
an excellent listing !

it has been a habit of my entire life to try and be in touch with what we
refer to as "the industry" the Music industry

everywhere i have traveled, i visit the local Music stores

i had my own personal subscription to "the Music Trades" since i was in my 20's

so it is natural that i keep tabs on things... such as i have since the beginning monitored
the accordion listings on eBay, and Craigslist, and such platforms

if you do this consistently, you see trends emerge, like when the same accordions are re-listed
over and over for YEARS and if you watch the sellers with their descriptions and how they use
the same language and hype regardless of the actual instrument

Bills Music, in Catonsville, couldn't put a new bellows gasket in if their life
depended on it (they are actually an awesome and very legit mainstream Music store)
but they know nothing about accordions, except they have a few for sale
that they have had for sale for 4 or 5 years sitting there...
and it is totally up to YOU to vett them before you buy

it really is an eye opener to monitor the market offerings and i totally
recommend ANYONE looking to BUY an accordion to spend at least
3 months watching the Market before they begin to attempt selecting
an instrument (or take someone like Jim or Debra with you)

then there are the Websites of the Boutique accordions and flavors of the month
amazing stories told ... the lies told so often that eventually become
accepted truths on the Internet and referred to by the innocent flock
and perpetuated as accepted fact

as if farfisa, after being bested in the modern Accordion races by an upstart company
from Chicago USA... who took Lowrey Organs and stuffed them into boxes then
connected them to generic Accordions they purchased quietly in Italy from
an all-acoustic factory...

as if suddenly, while they scrambled to get Something ANYthing to Market
to compete in this new and lucrative category

as if suddenly they would embrace Chordovox as their Brother... give them
their special Reeds to use just like the ones the use in the Super Six... even offer
to build their accordions for them

oh yeah.. as if

20 years ago there was a mountain of bloated, dead Organ Accordion bodies
of all brands on the market that you could not give away
(until the new legend grew into Internet reality)

the one that always kills me, when you go into an accordion showroom
and they tell you about "our factory in Italy" over and over
as if they actually had ANYTHING to do with ANY factory in Italy outside
of being a customer (like everyone else, including YOU)

the famous overpriced North-Western USA accordions have the
Greatest institutionalized Hype built up over Decades
to get Steinway Prices out of Wurlitzer level instruments
(Wurlitzer level is still damn good !!! just not worth an extra ZER-0 on the
end of the price tag)

"Rare"
"I have never seen an accordion like this"
(a person who has never really looked at an Accordion until they had one to sell)

"Hardly used... like new"

oh, Sir how long have you owned this obviously 1960's era accordion...
"i got it at a local auction last week"

how do you know it was hardly used ???

* sigh *

ok, rant over... see you all next week...
 

Scuromondo

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Reading this is a reminder of how much I miss Castiglione’s. I bought two used accordions from him, sight unseen except for photos, and they were both exactly as described and priced quite low as well. Both times I barraged Mr. Castiglione with questions, and he answered all of then, and he clearly knew what he was talking about. (Though I must admit that he got a bit indignant when I said I was concerned about buying any used accordion due to my experience with impossible-to-remove mildew odors from others I had tried. He responded in no uncertain terms that he would never sell an accordion in that condition!)

I still have one of those accordions and only recently sold the other as I needed some extra cash (and my wife would not tolerate a net increase in our accordion population!) as I prepare to buy my first-ever new accordion.
 

Tom

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....and it makes me realize how lucky I was to have an Italian friend recommend an Italian boutique builder who would answer my questions, not rip me off, and deliver the instruments as stated within 2 weeks, at a fair price. I wish I had had the same luck when I was relying on used instruments and trying to get them tuned or otherwise repaired.
 

debra

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Only once have I bought a used accordion unseen. But as most of you know I repair accordions for fun. I bought a Bugari 540/ARS/C in an online auction when that model did not yet exist for more than 2 years. So it was quite a safe bet that it would be something that could be salvaged if repairs were needed. There were quite a few uncertainties: was it C system or B system (no that was not specified)? Would it be tuned 440 or 442? Would it have black and white buttons or all the same color? Would it have C and F marked or something else or nothing at all... You get the idea... only the model number was given (and maybe also the color black, I do not recall).
In the end it worked out perfectly. The accordion was C system (what I play), it was tuned 440, it had black and white buttons with C and F marked... I had to do very little work (adding bellow straps, adding an extra chin switch, you know, "minor things").
Had it not been what I wanted (for instance, B system), I could have sold it locally for a handsome profit. A lot of people end up getting accordions they are forever unhappy with, just because they are not sufficiently knowledgeable and do not seek expert help...
So it is *always* caveat emptor!
 

Valski

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Reading this is a reminder of how much I miss Castiglione’s. I bought two used accordions from him, sight unseen except for photos, and they were both exactly as described and priced quite low as well. Both times I barraged Mr. Castiglione with questions, and he answered all of then, and he clearly knew what he was talking about. (Though I must admit that he got a bit indignant when I said I was concerned about buying any used accordion due to my experience with impossible-to-remove mildew odors from others I had tried. He responded in no uncertain terms that he would never sell an accordion in that condition!)

I still have one of those accordions and only recently sold the other as I needed some extra cash (and my wife would not tolerate a net increase in our accordion population!) as I prepare to buy my first-ever new accordion.
John Castiglione was a real gentleman and he always clearly explained the positive and negative aspects of any purchase. That's why his customers returned over and over. He would spend time with you if you were making a large or small purchase. Accordions were his life and he valued his reputation. Yes we miss him.
 

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