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Anyone here familiar with the Russian bayan?

bik512

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Hey folks, thanks kindly for having me on your forum. Novice accordion player here. I have a 120 bass accordion - though badly beat up to the point of having tape hold some part together - still plays :) My nicer accordion is back at home. Was thinking recently to sit down and formally study how to play it, as I've only ever just tinkered around and played by ear. I have enjoyed the accordion so much since I was a little kid.

About this thread - I was wondering if anyone here has much familiarity with the Russian bayan? I really like this instrument and am curious to learn more about it. I read that the bass tones are much richer than the european accordions. Sometimes I feel I hear that in the music, but I have an untrained ear, so don't know if I'm imagining it. Would love to hear opinions on this. Also, I really love a lot of Russian music, and really enjoy the bayan element. Does anyone here own one/play one? Can you share any interesting information? Sheet music? In general, I'd just love to learn more about the bayan, anything really. Interesting facts? How it's constructed that makes it different? Personal stories of how different it is to play it? I once looked in to getting a bayan, but they are really expensive to get in the USA. In general I believe they are very expensive in Russia, too. If you even have any sources about the bayan that you'd like to share, please feel free to share with me, if it's in Russian that's fine too! Thanks in advance!!
 

Dingo40

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Bik,
If you search this forum for past posts, you should find a lot of references to bayans as many on the forum find them interesting.
Also, several members own one.
I'm sure they'll chime in soon!🙂👍
Meanwhile, enjoy:
 
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bik512

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Thank you!! I will search for other posts!! Glad to hear there's some fellow bayan enthusiasts :)
 

Dingo40

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This instrument is a Bayan by Jupiter.
Russian made Jupiter bayans are supposedly the top make🙂:
There's also this old post:
(Put your ear buds in and turn up the volume!😀)
 
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Ventura

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well here on the East Coast old 3 row Bayans are readily available and inexpensive

they do sound different and feel different too... the left hand is Stradella
but they invented their own mechanism rather than copy Italian design

some even have Heilikon style bassreeds with the raised reedblocks

anyhow, if you are ever around DC you can stop by and play the heck out
of an old MECHTA i have for fun and to find out the difference for yourself
 

Sebastian Bravo

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i played 2 bayans in my life, because i work repairing accordions and there are 2 bayan players in my city. They are both 3 row B griff with convertor on the left hand. Very nice sound, two voices tuned dry in both hands, and they are inexpensive most of the time. Try buying one of these!

Technical advices:

The reeds are all mounted in a single plate, so a broken reed will be more difficult to replace, compared to italian/german accordions wich use multiple reed plates for each note.

The bass reeds are bigger, longer and heavier. That's why the growl of the bass sounds louder and has more presence. A C2 bayan reed is 10cm and the italian is 7cm (both aprox) so that's what makes the lowest bass reeds sound louder.

The mechanism on the left hand feels heavier, compared to the italians, the buttons doesn't feel light. That causes fatigue, and adding the weight factor of the bigger reeds makes that worse.

If you buy a new one from Jupiter (the original factory that makes button accordions, not the other that makes piano accordions wich works with less quality reeds) you should expect a better mechanics in the left hand. But they are expensive, so, trying the old bayans would be the best option IMO.

I wish you luck!

P. s. : i have a russian friend who repair and sell bayans. He's @antonverevkin22 on instagram. He always offer me this kind of old bayans in low prices!
 

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bik512

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Thank you guys for all this excellent advice, info, and videos! I will slowly work my way through all of this info! Very nice to come across other accordion enthusiasts, too! Wishing you all an excellent day.
 

debra

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My main regular instrument is a Russian bayan, made by AKKO, which I find to have the nicest bayan sound. (But of course opinions vary on this subject.) I say "regular" instrument because what I play most, in orchestras and ensembles, is the bass accordion.
There are three things that set a bayan apart in terms of sound: 1) the large plates with multiple reeds and 2) the material and shape used for the reeds and 3) the bass configuration which has all the reeds for base notes on one reed block (so higher voices playing with base notes are not taken from the reeds used for chords or higher octave free bass notes).
In terms of playing, compared to Italian accordions, the buttons on the keyboard require a bit more force, but the bass buttons are surprisingly light (thanks to that bass configuration requiring only one pallet to be opened to play a 4-voice base note).
The main reason I have a Russian bayan is not really the sound, but the fact that it cost only about 2/3 of what a mostly identical Italian button accordion would have cost...
 

bik512

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Thanks for the info debra, and your perspective on playing the bayan! Ok, I am actually shocked to learn that the cost is cheaper, interesting. Where have you purchased a bayan from in the past? I'm assuming directly from an instrument shop? Do you play any russian tunes?
 

debra

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Thanks for the info debra, and your perspective on playing the bayan! Ok, I am actually shocked to learn that the cost is cheaper, interesting. Where have you purchased a bayan from in the past? I'm assuming directly from an instrument shop? Do you play any russian tunes?
I bought my bayan through Oleg Lysenko who got it directly from the factory for me. I got mine (AKKO Super de luxe) 4 or 5 years ago when the exchange rate was really good. But even now a new Italian full-size "bayan" is a lot more expensive than a Russian bayan. I chose the AKKO bayan not only for the price but also for the sound (which I prefer over Jupiter). But I did not choose it to play mostly Russian music. In fact I play mostly classical music. And... my AKKO is a C system bayan (both left and right).
 

Tom

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Interesting instruments, indeed. Cool painting.
 

Dingo40

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Interesting: what's with the first, second and fourth players' instruments? Very unusual
( around 10 minutes +, when they change instruments)?🤔
Does anyone know?
Paul?🤔
 
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debra

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The player on the right (viewed from the audience) is playing a Jupiter bayan. The other instruments are AKKO. The one on the left in the "startup picture" is an AKKO bayan. Besides these two types they are playing a number of special orchestra instruments with special sound. Such instruments were first made (I don't know by whom) as a one off, for the "Russian Timbre" ensemble (which also has a number of videos on YouTube). The second from the right is the AKKO bass accordion (which interestingly does not go down to low C but stops at C# which is very unusual for a bass accordion). The others are made to "sound like" oboe, clarinet, bassoon...
The AKKO Quartet has over the years extended their range of instruments, probably because they didn't have enough money to all ditch their Jupiters and replace them by AKKO...
 

oldbayan

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I do own and play a few of them! Currently I have a massive Saturn box with cassotto, and a smaller Lira which is easier to play. They both needed some tuning when I got them, and I replaced most of the treble reeds in the Saturn to get more response with less air. They are both 40+ years old and date from the Soviet era. Both have 100 basses with Stradella configuration.
 
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AccordionUprising

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I bought a cheap russian 3-row bayan that was held together with tape. The bellows stuck together but the bass was rib-shaking. Three-row student models in varying states of repair are probably pretty affordable, but somebody who knows accordions should check them before you pay a lot.
 

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