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Bass volume level

Brian

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I would like to reduce the bass volume level on an Arietta 1m- is this possible and if so; how is it done?
 

debra

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The first thing to ask yourself is whether the bass volume is too high for the audience or just for yourself when you play. Seriously the balance can be very different for the audience than for the player.
If indeed the volume is too high then you can check whether you can put some tape or even felt on the inside, over the holes that let air and sound through. (Check there is enough clearance for all of the bass mechanism to continue to move freely.) You do not have to worry that even with tape you are blocking the air flow. Enough air can get through the clearance between the buttons and the plate (otherwise the buttons would get stuck). Closing up the holes not only changes the sound volume but also the timbre and you should check whether you still like the sound.
 

george garside

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before trying any mechanical means of reducing the bass volume make sure that you are tapping the bass buttons lightly as if red hot. ( exept of course where you fully intend to play a long bass note or chord)

The chunk of air in the bellows will try to get out both ends and so will increase or decrease the volume of both bass & treble but not enable any differentiation bwtween the two. Tapping the bass buttons lightly (staccato) can create an aural illusion that the bass is quieter simply because the bass notes are not around for very long!

george
 

JIM D.

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Hi Brian;
George is quite correct here and would echo my response to you.
 

Brian

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Thanks for the advice and guidance, much appreciated. I'll try these out !
 
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maugein96

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It's funny how bass volume seems to be more pronounced on certain accordions. I have a little Hohner Fun Light which only has two treble voices, but a fairly powerful 4 voice bass. Similarly I have a Cavagnolo Bal Musette with three treble voices and 5 bass voices. Most people who have tried it out comment that the bass is too strong for the treble, and I can assure you the treble is very loud on that instrument when the three voice musette is selected. There are couplers which can switch some of the bass voices off, but the accordion was built for delivering full on musette and grunting basses for the benefit of dancers.

On the other hand I know that my Maugein Mini Sonora and believe that my Marinucci CBA (both three voice LMM) only have 4 bass voices each (would need to open up the Marinucci to double check). These latter two instruments definitely sound more balanced than the Cavagnolo, as does the little Hohner, despite the fact that it has double the bass voices that it has treble.

The upshot of all this is that the Cavagnolo can be uncomfortably loud when being played at home, with the bass definitely getting the blame for disturbing the household. The "red hot" button technique described by George does work to a degree, and all I have to learn now is how to apply that same trick to the treble side! Funny thing was when I bought it I had a choice of three "identical" instruments. They may have looked identical but each one had its own distinct sound. The salesman invited me to play each one while he was in an adjacent room, and he could identify all three "blind", due to the slightly different musette tunings of each. He could also tell them apart by their bass volume relative to each other. I was impressed by that but still ended up buying the wrong one (for me) with the strongest musette and loudest bass. Had I known more about accordions at the time, I would have gone for one of the other two with a more mellow musette tone and quieter bass. Maybe there were different types of reeds in each of them, but I'll never know now. It served to illustrate to me that you cannot try out an accordion in a shop, then place an order for an identical instrument, expecting it to be exactly the same. Chances are you'll get something approaching what you tried out, but perhaps not identical in every respect.
 

george garside

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have a look at some of the youtubes of Brandon Mcphee to see how his fingers literally dance on the bass. Better still buy his DVD Brandon Mcphee and his band to see his great bass playing in more detail/

http://www.panrecords.co.uk

george
 
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maugein96

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Nice to see the Jimmy Shand tradition being kept alive by somebody so young. I see what you mean by dancing fingers. I regret to say I had never heard of him, but he sure can play that British Chromatic. I didn't think that there were all that many players left who used these, but I've never really followed the Scottish scene at all.

Heard a guy playing one in Pitlochry over 20 years ago, and that was the last time I saw one. Only CBA player I know local to here is Bob Liddle from Kelso, who has made a few recordings from a studio at his house. He plays all the instruments in the backing music, and performs as a vocalist with electric guitar. He is fairly popular here, but music is only a hobby for him.
 

george garside

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Brandon is (at the age of 19) senior Scottish Accordion Champion . A most sought after award he won competing against mainly piano boxes. He was senior Scottish button box champion at the age of , I think, 15!. He is also the winner of the coveted Jimmy Shand award. And he doesn't read music at all!

george
 

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