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Buying an accordion from a Castelfidardo factory/outlet

lispinini

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Hi everyone,
I am so glad that I will be able to take a long break from my PhD project and attend the ACA accordion repair course (Tier1+2) in Castelfidardo. I am currently trying to sell both of my Piano accordions (an FR-3X and a double cassotto monster)for a light swing tuned CBA and a converter CBA. Does anyone know if it is easy to find good bargains for converter instruments around Castelfidardo? As a non-EU citizen, I will not have to pay for the VAT so it will make the price of a new instrument even more attractive.
Many thanks,
Jon
 

debra

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There may be some deals to be done on instruments that happen to be in stock, probably showroom or demo models. With most factories it is best to make an appointment before visiting them. There are a few storefronts in the center of Castelfidardo. Some smaller factories are also close to the center, but some well-known brands (Bugari, Pigini, Beltuna...) are quite far from the center (as is Carini, the store you will be wanting to visit a few times). In most cases you can only order an instrument and then you have to wait for a few months, sometimes half a year, sometimes up to two years, until your instrument is ready.
Regarding VAT: it only matters that you are a non-EU resident. Citizenship does not matter.
 

lispinini

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debra said:
There may be some deals to be done on instruments that happen to be in stock, probably showroom or demo models. With most factories it is best to make an appointment before visiting them. There are a few storefronts in the center of Castelfidardo. Some smaller factories are also close to the center, but some well-known brands (Bugari, Pigini, Beltuna...) are quite far from the center (as is Carini, the store you will be wanting to visit a few times). In most cases you can only order an instrument and then you have to wait for a few months, sometimes half a year, sometimes up to two years, until your instrument is ready.
Regarding VAT: it only matters that you are a non-EU resident. Citizenship does not matter.


Thanks a lot for your reply, Paul. I remember from previous posts that you have completed the repair course over there. How did you manage your free time during the repair course? Would it be possible to quickly visit some of the factories during the lunch breaks (i.e. 12:30-14:30)? I do aware that it will take time to build an accordion and the queue for Pigini is about a year. However, it is really a luxury to be able to try an accordion before buying. I have a rental car so it shouldn't be too difficult to get around. If you don't mind, I would love to hear about how you found the accordion repair course too.
 

jozz

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debra post_id=65559 time=1547057665 user_id=605 said:
(as is Carini, the store you will be wanting to visit a few times)

I still cant order with them because they havent given me an account. Even after a couple of emails (one in Italian). I ended up going through my service guy again.

They did sent me their Happy Newyear email, so that is nice.
 

debra

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lispinini post_id=65570 time=1547090691 user_id=3180 said:
...
How did you manage your free time during the repair course? Would it be possible to quickly visit some of the factories during the lunch breaks (i.e. 12:30-14:30)? I do aware that it will take time to build an accordion and the queue for Pigini is about a year. However, it is really a luxury to be able to try an accordion before buying. I have a rental car so it shouldnt be too difficult to get around. If you dont mind, I would love to hear about how you found the accordion repair course too.

Using the lunch break to visit a shop or factory or Carini is quite common during the course. But you should be aware that this is Italy and many places close for lunch. And dont count on a store (like Carini) to be open on weekends or holidays either. You can also try to pop into a store, outlet or factory early in the morning, and arrive a bit late for class.
What I have done is travel such that I have the afternoon before the course off and most courses finish by lunchtime on the last days so you can use the afternoon (if it isnt on the weekend).

As for the queue for Pigini, it is now closer to two years... And after working on Pigini accordions I am not overly impressed it is worth the effort to try to get one. Pigini is one of the few companies that glues buttons (in a CBA) instead of screwing them in. That makes taking a button keyboard apart for repair close to impossible. During the course you will probably learn about more odd things used at some point by some factories and will see how the same repair can be very easy in one type of accordion and a lot of work in another type...
 

debra

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jozz post_id=65572 time=1547107833 user_id=2600 said:
debra post_id=65559 time=1547057665 user_id=605 said:
(as is Carini, the store you will be wanting to visit a few times)

I still cant order with them because they havent given me an account. Even after a couple of emails (one in Italian). I ended up going through my service guy again.

They did sent me their Happy Newyear email, so that is nice.

That is very strange. I have ordered from Carini before my first visit to Castelfidardo. Some people at the course just went to Carini and then an account is created on the spot (but that takes a long time to do for reasons that completely escape me). I have also ordered from them later. They ship quickly and so far also reliably.
 

lispinini

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debra post_id=65575 time=1547111457 user_id=605 said:
lispinini post_id=65570 time=1547090691 user_id=3180 said:
...
How did you manage your free time during the repair course? Would it be possible to quickly visit some of the factories during the lunch breaks (i.e. 12:30-14:30)? I do aware that it will take time to build an accordion and the queue for Pigini is about a year. However, it is really a luxury to be able to try an accordion before buying. I have a rental car so it shouldnt be too difficult to get around. If you dont mind, I would love to hear about how you found the accordion repair course too.

Using the lunch break to visit a shop or factory or Carini is quite common during the course. But you should be aware that this is Italy and many places close for lunch. And dont count on a store (like Carini) to be open on weekends or holidays either. You can also try to pop into a store, outlet or factory early in the morning, and arrive a bit late for class.
What I have done is travel such that I have the afternoon before the course off and most courses finish by lunchtime on the last days so you can use the afternoon (if it isnt on the weekend).

As for the queue for Pigini, it is now closer to two years... And after working on Pigini accordions I am not overly impressed it is worth the effort to try to get one. Pigini is one of the few companies that glues buttons (in a CBA) instead of screwing them in. That makes taking a button keyboard apart for repair close to impossible. During the course you will probably learn about more odd things used at some point by some factories and will see how the same repair can be very easy in one type of accordion and a lot of work in another type...
Thank you, Paul. I thought Pigini accordions would be easier to repair as the brand is popular enough. Do you know of any other companies which glue buttons?
 

debra

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lispinini post_id=65595 time=1547135363 user_id=3180 said:
...
Thank you, Paul. I thought Pigini accordions would be easier to repair as the brand is popular enough. Do you know of any other companies which glue buttons?

They do not publish this info so you have to come across one to know. My Hohner Artiste XS (made by Excelsior) has glued buttons. But it is a flat C-griff meaning that its not a problem because the buttons go through the base plate completely. I know about Pigini not only because I own one but also because in one of their own videos on YouTube they show the buttons being glued on.
 

lispinini

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debra post_id=65600 time=1547140059 user_id=605 said:
lispinini post_id=65595 time=1547135363 user_id=3180 said:
...
Thank you, Paul. I thought Pigini accordions would be easier to repair as the brand is popular enough. Do you know of any other companies which glue buttons?

They do not publish this info so you have to come across one to know. My Hohner Artiste XS (made by Excelsior) has glued buttons. But it is a flat C-griff meaning that its not a problem because the buttons go through the base plate completely. I know about Pigini not only because I own one but also because in one of their own videos on YouTube they show the buttons being glued on.
I believe they have their own secret way to remove the buttons. Maybe I will also need to avoid the French Hohners then.
 
M

maugein96

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lispinini post_id=65607 time=1547144425 user_id=3180 said:
debra post_id=65600 time=1547140059 user_id=605 said:
lispinini post_id=65595 time=1547135363 user_id=3180 said:
...
Thank you, Paul. I thought Pigini accordions would be easier to repair as the brand is popular enough. Do you know of any other companies which glue buttons?

They do not publish this info so you have to come across one to know. My Hohner Artiste XS (made by Excelsior) has glued buttons. But it is a flat C-griff meaning that its not a problem because the buttons go through the base plate completely. I know about Pigini not only because I own one but also because in one of their own videos on YouTube they show the buttons being glued on.
I believe they have their own secret way to remove the buttons. Maybe I will also need to avoid the French Hohners then.

French Hohners have screw in buttons, as they arent Hohners at all. The expensive Fun range is made in Castelfidardo and the cheaper Nova range is made in China. The Nova range has been pruned back to a handful of models and they arent very cheap at around 2300 Euros for a basic 4 row MM with 5 row 80 bass (you cant get them in 5 row in that French range).

I cannot remember which Italian maker does the Fun range. Could be one maker on Mondays and Fridays, and somebody else on other days. They are most likely assembled from parts by various makers. Also the company Hohner (France), has had so many changes of ownership and mergers in relatively recent years, that I wouldnt have a clue who currently owns it. I believe the Hohner brand name was also sold to somebody, but I dont know who that is.

They have approved dealers in France. but I dont think there is an official outlet, as none of the instruments are made there.

If you have the time and are in the south of France it might be worth arranging a visit to Bonifassi in Nice. They have their own French range made for them in Italy, but also usually carry a significant range of used accordions that have been refurbished by them. Check out the Verde, Piermaria, and Fratelli Crosio accordions on this page of their catalogue:-

http://accordeon-bonifassi.fr/index.php/catalogue/produits/6

The Crosio company is no longer extant, but you just cant buy new accordions of that quality these days.

I would have to say they are not the cheapest retail outlet in France, but they used to have a huge selection of boxes in stock when they were known as accordeons sud-est, and it would appear that they still carry significant stocks of used models. Not all of their stock will be listed on their web pages.

They have an excellent reputation in France, although their Bonifassi brand name isnt all that common. If I was going there Id be looking for a bargain used model. Again, Ive forgotten who makes their own brand accordions. Theyll retune anything you buy from them to your requirements (at cost).

This is not a recommend, as Ive never dealt with them personally, but know of them because they had one of the largest selections of accordions in France.

EDIT:- Just realised youll be in a hire car and be based in Castelfidardo. Bonifassi is actually closer to you than Cavagnolo. Unless you are particularly keen on going to France I would tend to just look around Italy. If by any rare chance you cannot find anything suitable in Castelfidardo, look for any Italian make with a model referred to as sistema francese, and youll probably get what you are looking for. Italians have been making instruments with French swing type tuning for the French market for generations. The chances are it will also be better screwed together than any accordion made in France. Stocco and ByMarco both have factories in Stradella and their instruments are superb. Cavagnolo rest on their laurels a bit, and I can assure you they make the odd bad one regardless of how expensive they are. Yes they have that sound, but they also occasionally have that problem. They went through a bad patch in the mid to late 80s, although I have no idea what they are like these days.

Good luck.
 

lispinini

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maugein96 post_id=65624 time=1547190380 user_id=607 said:
lispinini post_id=65607 time=1547144425 user_id=3180 said:
debra post_id=65600 time=1547140059 user_id=605 said:
They do not publish this info so you have to come across one to know. My Hohner Artiste XS (made by Excelsior) has glued buttons. But it is a flat C-griff meaning that its not a problem because the buttons go through the base plate completely. I know about Pigini not only because I own one but also because in one of their own videos on YouTube they show the buttons being glued on.
I believe they have their own secret way to remove the buttons. Maybe I will also need to avoid the French Hohners then.

French Hohners have screw in buttons, as they arent Hohners at all. The expensive Fun range is made in Castelfidardo and the cheaper Nova range is made in China. The Nova range has been pruned back to a handful of models and they arent very cheap at around 2300 Euros for a basic 4 row MM with 5 row 80 bass (you cant get them in 5 row in that French range).

I cannot remember which Italian maker does the Fun range. Could be one maker on Mondays and Fridays, and somebody else on other days. They are most likely assembled from parts by various makers. Also the company Hohner (France), has had so many changes of ownership and mergers in relatively recent years, that I wouldnt have a clue who currently owns it. I believe the Hohner brand name was also sold to somebody, but I dont know who that is.

They have approved dealers in France. but I dont think there is an official outlet, as none of the instruments are made there.

If you have the time and are in the south of France it might be worth arranging a visit to Bonifassi in Nice. They have their own French range made for them in Italy, but also usually carry a significant range of used accordions that have been refurbished by them. Check out the Verde, Piermaria, and Fratelli Crosio accordions on this page of their catalogue:-

http://accordeon-bonifassi.fr/index.php/catalogue/produits/6

The Crosio company is no longer extant, but you just cant buy new accordions of that quality these days.

I would have to say they are not the cheapest retail outlet in France, but they used to have a huge selection of boxes in stock when they were known as accordeons sud-est, and it would appear that they still carry significant stocks of used models. Not all of their stock will be listed on their web pages.

They have an excellent reputation in France, although their Bonifassi brand name isnt all that common. If I was going there Id be looking for a bargain used model. Again, Ive forgotten who makes their own brand accordions. Theyll retune anything you buy from them to your requirements (at cost).

This is not a recommend, as Ive never dealt with them personally, but know of them because they had one of the largest selections of accordions in France.

EDIT:- Just realised youll be in a hire car and be based in Castelfidardo. Bonifassi is actually closer to you than Cavagnolo. Unless you are particularly keen on going to France I would tend to just look around Italy. If by any rare chance you cannot find anything suitable in Castelfidardo, look for any Italian make with a model referred to as sistema francese, and youll probably get what you are looking for. Italians have been making instruments with French swing type tuning for the French market for generations. The chances are it will also be better screwed together than any accordion made in France. Stocco and ByMarco both have factories in Stradella and their instruments are superb. Cavagnolo rest on their laurels a bit, and I can assure you they make the odd bad one regardless of how expensive they are. Yes they have that sound, but they also occasionally have that problem. They went through a bad patch in the mid to late 80s, although I have no idea what they are like these days.

Good luck.
Thank you so much for your advice, Maugein. I will definitely visit Bonifassi as I will spend some time in Nice. It is going to be quite a long holiday. I am going to fly to Milan, travel around north Italy and ski in Switzerland. Then I will spend a week in France before going back to Italy for the accordion repair course. I wont have the luck to see what is in Castelfidardo before going to France but I have been checking the second-hand accordion markets and shops in both countries. I really like the accordions made by Crosio as some of them do have the characteristic Cava sound. I will write a report about my visit to the new Cavagnolo Factory and Castelfidardo after the trip.
 
M

maugein96

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I cannot remember the dates exactly, but Fratelli Crosio and Piermaria actually assembled accordions in Paris for some years, and they sounded as French as Cavagnolo or Maugein. They used French construction methods with the reeds pinned on cork (formerly calf leather), and if you hear players like Loulou Legrand playing his swing and americain (7 cents wide) tuned Crosios the difference between his sound and a Cavagnolo was negligible. You might also encounter Accordiola, Perle d'Or, and Savoia (writing looks like "favola") accordions. They were all popular quality makes, although I appreciate that your location means that spares could be a consideration.

The decline in the French market caused Crosio and Piermaria to pull out of France, and Crosio, who had been one of the major retails in France, went bust. Again, I'm unsure of the actual date, and I do believe that another (unknown to me) Italian maker was actually making them on their behalf towards the end.

Be careful if you're tempted in Switzerland. Standard tuning in the French speaking cantons is 441Hz and not the 440Hz in Italy. Standard tuning in France is 442Hz, and from what I've read can often be as high as 446Hz (definitely not jazz combo friendly). Best check any instrument before you buy it, as they do travel across the borders. Swing tuned Cavagnolos are popular in south west Switzerland and could be 442 or 441Hz. Never saw any of them skiing though!

I'm sure you'll work it all out when you get there.
 

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