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Advice needed for a total novice...

Sefwaters

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Hi guys,

Thanks in advance for your replies on this and also apologies as to the potential vagueness of what I am asking of you all.

So for years I have had the urge to want to play accordion, and as a lifelong musician (most notably 25 years on both Guitar and Piano) and investing a lot of time and money in those other instruments over the years, I have finally decided to take the plunge and buy an accordion.

I am not flush with cash and also not going to spend a great deal before I have an idea of how quickly I will pick it up and get a feel for it.

Long story short - next month I will have between £350-400 to spend on an accordion and I'm looking for some advice on what to get. I know absolutely nothing in regards to styles, brands etc. and totally realise that this isn't a great deal to spend in the world of accordions, hence wanting to get the best I can as it is still quite a fair amount for me to fork out.

So broadly speaking, am I best getting something new for that price knowing it will at least work fine (but potentially not be great quality), or am I best getting a used accordion?

Any help on brands for either new or used would be amazing and any links to accordions you would recommend for that price would be great too.

Also anything else I should be thinking of as a complete novice and deciding before I buy would be great too, I literally know nothing and whilst I appreciate that may be frustrating again any advice would be greatly received. I do have a musical knowledge generally of course, just not specific to this instrument.

Again apologies as to how open these questions are and thanks to anyone who would offer to help such a novice with any kind of idiot's guide, it really would be much appreciated.

Thanks again,

Rob (based in Liverpool, UK)
 

Ventura

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you must befriend one of us old, pretty much retired, accordion players
with lots of extra accordions in our collection'

since you are in England, i suggest bringing them Fish and Chips often
or some nice Indian curry... commit to doing this frequently

also be prepared to sit patiently listening to old stories
and old records

we will likely loan you accordions to try, and eventually help you
purchase something decent once your abilities and preferences
come to light

i can certify this works in some parts of the USA, but use Pizza instead of Fish and Chips
 

saundersbp

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Hi Rob,

I'm not far away in Leeds and only began learning a year and a half ago.

I'd say it depends what sort of accordion you want to learn:

Classical accordion is where right and left hand play individual notes like on the piano or
Traditional accordion is where right hand can play individual notes but left hand is stuck with playing just 11 bass notes and preset chords. (bit like a bontempi keyboard from the 1980's)
I started on the traditional accordion but ditched it after a few months for classical because like you I play other instruments and didn't want to be limited with my left hand.

I'd say it depends what sort of music you'd like to play ultimately - both are fun and both have their advocates. I was lucky that people were kind enough to lend me some accordions before I spent a lot of money on a decent one. Both those accordions in the videos are jaw droppingly expensive btw so just there to illustrate musical possibilities after a lot of practice!

Hope that helps.

Ben
 
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JeffJetton

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I'm not sure you could get a decent new piano accordion for £400. It might work fine when you buy it, but I'd expect it to start falling apart pretty soon afterward.

So yeah, I'd recommend finding a decent used one.
 

Tom

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I agree with Jeff on the advice to get a used one. I suggest asking for advice on the best accordion store in your area. Once you determine the most honest one, go, ask advice and play your prospective instrument. When you find one you like, ask for reassurance on this forum.

Or you could bring me beer as brats as I live in Wisconsin. Btw, have you heard the Beer Barrel Polka from 1973?
 

Dingo40

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Sefwaters,
As you live in/near a large conurbation, if I were you, I'd search out any convenient accordion shops in your locality and spend time browsing through their used instrument collection while picking their brains.
With your budget, I'd be looking for a 1950s to 1970s, Italian manufactured, three reed ( treble) , 41 treble key, 120 bass button model with only two treble and zero bass couplers, in good working and acceptable cosmetic order, complete with reasonable bass and shoulder straps AND a carry/ storage case in good working order.
Many traditional dealers will either let you take the instrument home for a week's trial, or rent it to you at so much per week, with the rent fully credited to the purchase price, should a sale eventuate,🙂
 
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debra

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Hi guys,

...
Long story short - next month I will have between £350-400 to spend on an accordion and I'm looking for some advice on what to get. I know absolutely nothing in regards to styles, brands etc. and totally realise that this isn't a great deal to spend in the world of accordions, hence wanting to get the best I can as it is still quite a fair amount for me to fork out.

...
The budget is very small... so at best you'd be looking at an 80 or 96 bass LMM accordion (keyboard with 37 notes). But maybe it won't stretch that far and a 72 bass LMM with 34 notes may be all you can find.
Considering "older" used accordions of good quality you have to go for good old brands. I'm thinking of Hohner, Crucianelli, Galanti, and others. If the budget affords it and you can find one I find that the Hohner Verdi II N is the best and most sturdy 96 bass accordion I have seen. That said, I started on a Crucianelli 80 bass around 1970 and that was very good too.
 

wirralaccordion

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Paul ( above ) said
If the budget affords it and you can find one I find that the Hohner Verdi II N is the best and most sturdy 96 bass accordion I have seen.

I would sell you my Hohner Verdi II 96 bass for £250. I live in the Wirral and so you could collect it or come and try it out - no committment to buy.
It was serviced by Accordions South West ( www.squeezydoesit.com ) a few years ago and you can hear me playing it ( with my limited ability ) on the forum section "I did that" at https://www.accordionists.info/threads/from-the-snowman.7113/

The registrations used on this clip are all "dry". I can do something using musette if you are interested. It is approx 10 cents, checked using Dirk's tuner.
 

hais1273

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If you are looking for something economical it may well be worth phoning Emilio Allodi at Allodi accordions in London. He sometimes has stock that doesn't make it onto the website. The Allodi website is very informative and Emilio is very helpful as well.
 

TomBR

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Lots of good and helpful advice and suggestions. Given that we're talking about the UK and what's around on the second hand market I'd admit to a strong bias in favour of Hohner.
"No one ever got fired for buying IBM Hohner" ;)
(I'm showing my age!)
 

Sefwaters

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Thanks so much for your help on this guys. It's been very illuminating and although admittedly it has in many ways indicated the depths to which my knowledge is clearly lacking on the terminology around accordions - I do definitely feel your advice has really helped and definitely changed my mind from buying a cheap new accordion and going for something used instead. I very much appreciate you taking the time out of your day to contribute to what is the start of my journey.

Given the broader advice around Hohner and that @wirralaccordion is a stone's throw away from me (I'm based around Anfield/Tuebrook) I am most definitely interested in your accordion. The video of you playing is very helpful, especially considering that other than some piano chords I wouldn't be able to properly test it myself lacking any ability at the moment.

Just some questions if you don't mind - as like I said I am very interested and it would make a lot of sense from a convenience point of view (no shipping/delivery for a start) to keep the accordion on Merseyside:

Out of interest how old is the accordion?

I know you said about servicing and tuning (admittedly I'm going to have to look into what 10 cents means in regards to this, again just a lack of knowledge as a mainly classical guitarist over the years) - how would you generally describe the condition, both cosmetically and from a functional point of view - mainly are there any issues with keys buttons that affect how it is played? Do all keys and buttons work as they should?

If you don't mind me asking a very clichéd question, but why you are selling it?

And finally, £250 especially given comments on this thread around budget does seem quite cheap, is there a reason for this? I definitely would like to buy an instrument that won't take a lot of expertise (which I clearly don't have, yet) to maintain, and mainly just allow me a few years of practicing and learning. Whilst I am definitely not encouraging you to up the price (haha) I am just wondering about this, again as someone who potentially doesn't know what I'm getting myself into with buying an accordion. Does it come with a case? Absolutely fine if not of course but just so I know to buy one myself.

I hope you don't mind answering those questions, I am asking them in good faith and out of a clear place of naivety more than anything - and like I said I am very interested in buying as this would make a lot of sense. From the video it looks great and sounds great too, really nice playing, so thanks for sharing that with me too.

If anyone else on here, all of whom will have infinitely more knowledge than me can advise on anything else I should be asking or advising on the sale generally I would be most thankful. On the face of things to a complete novice it looks like a great opportunity for me to get started and being from Merseyside I would like to automatically trust @wirralaccordion too. 😉

Thanks again guys and particularly you mate, hopefully we can sort something out.
 
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Tom

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Or better, "Hit 'em up with some fish and fries."

Good luck, Sef! I think if Wirral's accordion is well maintained and everything works as indicated, you can't go wrong. I didn't notice any massively out of tuneness, however, there are people on here with a better ear than me like Paul Debra or JerryPH.

I would recommend meeting Wirral and seeing if you like the accordion. If nothing else, you will have a pleasant experience and have tried one prospective purchase which will go a long way if you do check out any of the other kind suggestions....
 

wirralaccordion

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Thanks so much for your help on this guys. It's been very illuminating and although admittedly it has in many ways indicated the depths to which my knowledge is clearly lacking on the terminology around accordions - I do definitely feel your advice has really helped and definitely changed my mind from buying a cheap new accordion and going for something used instead. I very much appreciate you taking the time out of your day to contribute to what is the start of my journey.

Given the broader advice around Hohner and that @wirralaccordion is a stone's throw away from me (I'm based around Anfield/Tuebrook) I am most definitely interested in your accordion. The video of you playing is very helpful, especially considering that other than some piano chords I wouldn't be able to properly test it myself lacking any ability at the moment.

Just some questions if you don't mind - as like I said I am very interested and it would make a lot of sense from a convenience point of view (no shipping/delivery for a start) to keep the accordion on Merseyside:

Out of interest how old is the accordion?

I know you said about servicing and tuning (admittedly I'm going to have to look into what 10 cents means in regards to this, again just a lack of knowledge as a mainly classical guitarist over the years) - how would you generally describe the condition, both cosmetically and from a functional point of view - mainly are there any issues with keys buttons that affect how it is played? Do all keys and buttons work as they should?

If you don't mind me asking a very clichéd question, but why you are selling it?

And finally, £250 especially given comments on this thread around budget does seem quite cheap, is there a reason for this? I definitely would like to buy an instrument that won't take a lot of expertise (which I clearly don't have, yet) to maintain, and mainly just allow me a few years of practicing and learning. Whilst I am definitely not encouraging you to up the price (haha) I am just wondering about this, again as someone who potentially doesn't know what I'm getting myself into with buying an accordion. Does it come with a case? Absolutely fine if not of course but just so I know to buy one myself.

I hope you don't mind answering those questions, I am asking them in good faith and out of a clear place of naivety more than anything - and like I said I am very interested in buying as this would make a lot of sense. From the video it looks great and sounds great too, really nice playing, so thanks for sharing that with me too.

If anyone else on here, all of whom will have infinitely more knowledge than me can advise on anything else I should be asking or advising on the sale generally I would be most thankful. On the face of things to a complete novice it looks like a great opportunity for me to get started and being from Merseyside I would like to automatically trust @wirralaccordion too. 😉

Thanks again guys and particularly you mate, hopefully we can sort something out.
Hi Rob,

Please note: I've answered as best as I can.

According to the Hohner list that you will find on this forum the date of manufacture is between 1953 – 1961.

All the keys and buttons work fine but there is some clatter on some keys as you will hear on the recording if you listen carefully. However, this is not uncommon on all these older accordions.

I am selling it because I have 4 accordions and want to get a smaller one and I already have my eye on a couple of possibilities.

I said £250 because I don’t want to haggle and I think it is a fair no-nonsense price.

There is a case but the catches are broken. I use a belt to hold the case together when carrying it.

If you have any more questions and / or want to have a look at the accordion send me a pm and I will give you my address and phone number.

Phil
 

Chickers

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HELLO SEFWATERS:
I can appreciate your questions, and your intent to make a good decision, but as noted by soo many of the accomplished accordion players--
there is no single answer, and not an easily defined solution to your quest.
A few years back, I went through the same hunt as you, so I think I can feel your frustration, and your enthusiasm to get the best, and the most for your money. Here in the states, we would say a "great bang-for-the-buck"
My first purchase was a attractive 41 key / 120 bass used Farrari. Nice accordion, easy to play, and fun. I found after a short time that the Farrari had a very "shallow" sound by comparison with others I heard being played by real accordionists. But please understand that a real accordionist can make even the most simple accordion sound entertaining, and very musical.
As a newbie, I assumed the better, and more featured accordion would provide more musical sound, and would be more readily be able to produce the sounds quality I was looking for. So, my next acquisition was a beautiful Guerrini accordion. This was specified as a 3/4 reed configuration.
The Guerrini certainly has great musical sounds, with 11 complex treble registers, and 6 bass registers. After practicing on the Guerrini for a period, I THEN realized that along with features, and quality reeds come added weight, and bulk. I'm a senior of fairly slight stature, so the Guerrini became a physical challenge.
Hence, a couple more trials, and errors (in my judgement) I realized that for "me", the physical size is as important as the features, in order to be comfortable, and enjoy the practice, practice, practice, that it takes to be accomplished with the accordion. ( as it does with any musical instrument).
Try before you buy is definitely the best advice. Try at "your" leisure, not only a tryout in the shop.
If your ear defines what is pleasing to you, and the accordion is comfortable---to you---you are on the right track.
There is much more to the story, and I could go rambling on and on, but I hope this affords some useful insights, and also give you some direction
for your search.
Talk to as many accordion people as you can, and I wish you the best, and much success.
CHICKERS
 

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