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"Best" Piano Accordion 41/120

danp76

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If you had to name the ultimate/best piano accordion 41/120 what would it be? Is there one that stand out above all others? And why? My guess is it's personal preference and all of the top names are about equal? By "best" I mean of highest build quality, playability and sound quality.
 

JIM D.

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Hi Dan;
Your asking a very broad question here and not easily answered. There are many quality accordions made in Russia & Italy including
the Roland FR-8x. The answers you receive will be opinion's by musicians with different size bodies & height and weight of the instrument. The answers
will also differ with their ability and types of music they play. A model & make will be useful to some & useless to others. And of course
there are musicians that have played the best of acoustic accordions and now own a "V" accordion with all the bells & whistles that
they can ever use.
I'm curious to see answers from members that own and members that wish to own a make & model that has become or wish to
become their "MAIN SQUEEZE".
 

JerryPH

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If dollar amount and waiting time count as paraeters as well as one of the best known... Hohner Gola... starting price, $50,000US for the base model and it's pretty easy to double that price with options. Waiting time, depending on options... 1-2 years and its 100% payment in advance.
 

danp76

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Hohner Gola's are very expensive, I've heard this from many people. When I say "best" I'm referring to build quality and best materials and reeds. I'm also referring to a full size 41/120 piano accordion that are acoustic. Is there a major difference in construction between top brands from the vintage and and from top brands today? Old classics vs. today's best piano accordions. Maybe there isn't a definitive "best."
 

Tom

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Personal choice and price range mean a lot. My guess is that not many people here have played that $50,000 accordion, so can't really say. I imagine Jim D would probably have some opinions about build quality by brand if you can get him to say....
 

Dingo40

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"Best", like "beauty" are in the eye of the beholder 🙂
" Best" meaning what exactly?🤔

Best at driving nails? Best looking? Best finished?
Longest lasting? Sweetest sounding? Most insect resistant? Lightest? Most buttons/ couplers/reed sets? The most prestigious? The list goes on.

Often, best at something means not so good at something else😐

What you personally can do with it counts more than any other consideration.

No use bankrupting yourself over a hypothetical "best" If you'll never play with the symphony orchestra or get past grade five.

Check out the guys /gals on the web achieving marvels with the most unpromising and least featured instruments imaginable, some practically made out of scrap in the basement, but can they play them!!🙂

My personal "best" all-rounder is an ancient (late 1940s?) 41/120 three voice "I. Busillacio, Challenge" that was fit for the scrap heap (now restored) when I found it (out in the rain) at a shed sale for $A20-00 30 or 40 years ago!
 
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danp76

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"Best", like "beauty" are in the eye of the beholder 🙂
" Best" meaning what exactly?🤔

Best at driving nails? Best looking? Best finished?
Longest lasting? Sweetest sounding? Most insect resistant? Lightest? Most buttons/ couplers/reed sets? The most prestigious? The list goes on.

Often, best at something means not so good at something else😐

What you personally can do with it counts more than any other consideration.

No use bankrupting yourself over a hypothetical "best" If you'll never play with the symphony orchestra or get past grade five.

Check out the guys /gals on the web achieving marvels with the most unpromising and least featured instruments imaginable, some practically made out of scrap in the basement, but can they play them!!🙂

My personal "best" all-rounder is an ancient (late 1940s?) 41/120 three voice "I. Busillacio, Challenge" that was fit for the scrap heap (now restored) when I found it (out in the rain) at a shed sale for $A20-00 30 or 40 years ago!
I have defined the parameters of "best" in the first post. By "best," I'm referring to build quality, tone/reed quality and playability of a 41/120 piano accordion. Obviously best can have several parameters and why they need to be defined to answer this question.
 

Dingo40

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Thanks danp76!🙂👍

BTW, you're not the owner of a Leyland P76 by any chance?🤔(I had one of those once)
 
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Eddy Yates

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I once knew a photographer who said he wanted to learn to fly fish. He asked me to set him up with gear. I suggested a mid-price rod and reel after asking him where he’d fish. He had no idea, but said he really wanted the best gear. I said, “Okay. You mean the most expensive? Then get a custom bamboo rod from this guy, and get this hand-made reel.”
“But are they the best?”
“Probably not if you’ve never cast bamboo before.”
“I just want the best.”
“Okay, this is an all-around graphite rod for $2400. That’s a lot of money for a piece of plastic. This reel is ultra-light, large arbor, you can use it with lines from 4 to 6 weight. Are you going to fish with tiny dry flies or big streamers?”
“I just want the best”
He never did learn to fly fish.
 

Dingo40

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Eddy ,
"He never did learn to fly fish."
It figures: he was a "gadgeteer ", not a practitioner!🙂
 

debra

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There is a Scandalli Super VI from the M series for sale on Facebook now (for $9.000 US from Carnegie Accordion Company). It is from around 1960 but that just means it is better than any new accordion you can buy today. I would rank this at least as good as a Hohner Gola from the same era.
I would stay away from a new Gola. A lot of hype, and a lot of smoke and mirrors to hide where most of it is being made today. Still good, but really not the same as the "original" quality from around 1960.
If I had to name one piano accordion that you can buy new that I would go for it is the Beltuna Leader, either IV or V (4 voice versus 5 voice), which has exceptional sound possibilities with its Amplisound extra tone chamber (that you can turn on or off). There are many very good Italian accordions, but this one is outstanding. (It really stands out because of Amplisound.)
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Hi Dan,

You pose an interesting but difficult to answer question. Eddy has provided you with a really good example of the dangers associated with someone attempting to be the best by buying the best, and the same is as true with accordions as it is with fishing tackle.

To expand slightly on Eddy's fine example, I will provide another example. Every Monday night, I would shoot at the Police Range. One of the pistols I owned was a model 28 Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, with which I consistently ripped the middle out of targets. One of my contemporaries owned a handmade French pistol of the same calibre, but costing over four times as much as my pistol. He imagined that buying the best would make him the best, but there was one serious flaw in his logic ................ he couldn't hit a cow's a**e with a banjo.

Having put that picture in your head, I will now turn to accordions. A friend of mine plays a Bugari on stage, and I love the sound it makes. Whether or not it would make the same sweet music in my hands is debatable, but I think I know the answer. I have played the Bugari on a few occasions, and it certainly is a lovely instrument. Would I want to buy one? Certainly not !

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 

Eddy Yates

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Dan,
I think what Stephen and all of us are trying to say is that “the best” is in the eye and the intent of the beholder. Paul has talked about Beltunas before and I’d surely listen to him. I know immeasurably more about pianos than accordions, so I apply my experience there to this world of the forum. If someone asked me to select a piano by its build quality I’d say a Mason and Hamlin is built like a tank. If they asked me about playability, I’d say a Fazioli has the fastest action, but I wouldn’t play Rachmaninoff on it...too light. If they asked me about tone I’d say a new Yamaha CX7 running around $200,000 is beautiful for any kind of music, but the new Bösendorfer concert grand for around the same price will make you cry it’s so beautiful. I’d avoid a new Steinway because they’re living off their golden era reputation and new Steinways are clunky and overpriced, but there IS an old Steinway in Palma de Majorca I’d sell my house for.
Hawkins’ story about his Smith and Wesson also illustrates the truth that if you find a well-made tool, live with it, use it a lot, learn as much as you can, you’ll be better at it than you can imagine.
 

danp76

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Hi Dan,

You pose an interesting but difficult to answer question. Eddy has provided you with a really good example of the dangers associated with someone attempting to be the best by buying the best, and the same is as true with accordions as it is with fishing tackle.

To expand slightly on Eddy's fine example, I will provide another example. Every Monday night, I would shoot at the Police Range. One of the pistols I owned was a model 28 Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, with which I consistently ripped the middle out of targets. One of my contemporaries owned a handmade French pistol of the same calibre, but costing over four times as much as my pistol. He imagined that buying the best would make him the best, but there was one serious flaw in his logic ................ he couldn't hit a cow's a**e with a banjo.

Having put that picture in your head, I will now turn to accordions. A friend of mine plays a Bugari on stage, and I love the sound it makes. Whether or not it would make the same sweet music in my hands is debatable, but I think I know the answer. I have played the Bugari on a few occasions, and it certainly is a lovely instrument. Would I want to buy one? Certainly not !

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
Hi Stephen, why wouldn't you want a Bugari?
 

danp76

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I see the examples of guns and fishing rods, which raise interesting points. However, both the gun and fishing rod quality is independent of the skill set of the owner(s) which we must keep in mind. I'm not asking about matching skill set to accordion selection, but rather which are of the highest build quality, craftsmanship and finest reeds/tonal quality.
 

Eddy Yates

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Hey Dan,
We can go over to the pub and talk about guns and fishing rods 🙊🙉🙈
I think people are honestly trying to get to the core of your question.
1. What is “build quality.”
2. What is “craftsmanship?”
3. What tonal quality do you need? This is certainly the most personal of all your parameters.
I think if you read my piano comparison you might understand the difficulty in defining “best.” Are you going to play the instrument or just collect it for resale and prestige?
 

danp76

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Hey Dan,
We can go over to the pub and talk about guns and fishing rods 🙊🙉🙈
I think people are honestly trying to get to the core of your question.
1. What is “build quality.”
2. What is “craftsmanship?”
3. What tonal quality do you need? This is certainly the most personal of all your parameters.
I think if you read my piano comparison you might understand the difficulty in defining “best.” Are you going to play the instrument or just collect it for resale and prestige?
Hi Eddy, I understand "best" is a relative term. When I talk build quality, I'm talking if we pull the pins and inspect the interior and joinery and quality of woods used in the construction process. Are all hand made reeds created equally? I would imagine there are some that are considered the best because of their precision and quality of craftmanship. How good is the fit and finish of materials and workmanship? These are the terms I'm defining as "best."
 

debra

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People here seem to associate "best" purely with quality of materials and craftsmanship or build. But there is also "design" and "usability" to consider. Accordions are now (a bit) lighter and some a bit smaller than older ones, to improve the usability of the accordion. New accordions are also lighter to the touch. These are all properties I would also weigh in, and I did in recommending the Beltuna Leader, especially the Leader V is a marvel in terms of compact design and sound capabilities. I cannot relate entirely to the "gun" arguments, but can follow the "piano" argumentation. The Fazioli is indeed fabulous in terms of usability and has great sound, but the Bösendorfer is an incredible workhorse. In the end preferences are important because what you want is to select what is "best for you" (even disregarding price). When you do consider price choices become again different. I really like my AKKO bayan (I know, not a 41/120 piano accordion) but I do realize I might well prefer to play a Bugari Spectrum if money was of no concern...
 

Dingo40

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Paul,
For those of us not familiar with the Beltuna Leader v 🙂


Another example:


OK, one more (this could be you!) 🙂:

 
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Stephen Hawkins

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Hello Dan,

You ask why I wouldn't want a Bugari, and the answer is simple. The accordions I already own suit my purpose. I am under no illusion about the quality of my instruments when compared to a Bugari or Excelsior, but I play purely for fun.

The venues I frequent do not require me to rock up with a top of the heap accordion. Everyone at my folk club is perfectly happy when I take my 60 odd year old Arietta 120/41 out of its box, and not one of my friends has ever complained when I have played my Chinese made Chanson.

You see, Dan, it is about the person behind the box, not the box itself. What really matters is that everyone, irrespective of their instrument or ability, feels that their contribution is appreciated. We have people of very mixed ability at our folk club, but everyone who contributes to the evening's entertainment receives enthusiastic applause. (however awful they are.)

There is more to life than conspicuous acquisition.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 

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