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classic and new professional piano accordions

danp76

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Just curious do you guys prefer the professional accordions of today, or would you rather play a 50's-70's classic professional accordion?
 

debra

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You have to distinguish between accordions with and without melody bass.
There are some fabulous 1960's accordions without melody bass like the Scandalli Super VI (or equivalent Bell or Hohner Gola). The mechanics are already good and the sound cannot be reproduced by anything made today.
But then there are accordions with melody bass... They started out with MIII as a separate 3 bass row system, and that is in a bit of an odd position (for the hand) and lacks the convenience of a 4rd row. Professional players did manage to get used to it, but nowadays we have convertor systems that are generally more pleasant to use. With convertor accordions there are significant differences in the amount of pressure/force you need to put on the bass buttons so it helps to find one you like. It's not just a "brand" thing, but the exact bass mechanism that makes the difference. In any case it is clear enough that convertor is prefered over the old MIII because used accordions with MIII are hard to sell and go for small amounts of money.
 

wirralaccordion

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You have to distinguish between accordions with and without melody bass.
There are some fabulous 1960's accordions without melody bass like the Scandalli Super VI (or equivalent Bell or Hohner Gola). The mechanics are already good and the sound cannot be reproduced by anything made today.
But then there are accordions with melody bass... They started out with MIII as a separate 3 bass row system, and that is in a bit of an odd position (for the hand) and lacks the convenience of a 4rd row. Professional players did manage to get used to it, but nowadays we have convertor systems that are generally more pleasant to use. With convertor accordions there are significant differences in the amount of pressure/force you need to put on the bass buttons so it helps to find one you like. It's not just a "brand" thing, but the exact bass mechanism that makes the difference. In any case it is clear enough that convertor is prefered over the old MIII because used accordions with MIII are hard to sell and go for small amounts of money.
I haven't come across the term "melody bass" . Are we talking button accordions here as my knowledge of these is minimal?
 

Tom

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Hey Dan,

I prefer a new accordion. Problem is, the classic accordions need work, and I'm not into restoring them. I'd rather play. If they don't they've been professionally restored and cost more than a functioning new one. So, unless you get very lucky, your options are limited. Just my humble opinion

Good luck!
 

Scuromondo

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Just curious do you guys prefer the professional accordions of today, or would you rather play a 50's-70's classic professional accordion?
From the affordability standpoint, if you have less than about $2-3k to spend, I think you will get greater value from a vintage Italian accordion in top condition…assuming you have the patience to find one.

But, from my limited experience as an amateur enthusiast, the smoother, quieter mechanics of a new accordion is quite seductive. So if cost is not a factor my preference would definitely be for a new one.
 

JerryPH

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I haven't come across the term "melody bass" . Are we talking button accordions here as my knowledge of these is minimal?
No more along the lines of an accordion that is of a design called Free Bass, an accordion that has the ability to play pretty much full out piano music notation on the left and right hands. Distinguished with either 3-rows (58 notes) extra or a converter design that changes the bottom 4 rows of the Stradella bass layout to individual notes.

My personal take is just because they don't make MIII anymore, that this is my preferred way, so... vintage for me please. :)
 
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wirralaccordion

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No more along the lines of an accordion that is of a design called Free Bass, an accordion that has the ability to play pretty much full out piano music notation on the left and right hands. Distinguished with either 3-rows (58 notes) extra or a converter design that changes the bottom 4 rows of the Stradella bass layout to individual notes.
So a 120 bass piano accordion without a converter becomes a 178 bass accordion? I suppose that makes it pretty heavy?
But is such an accordion played either as a piano accordion with stradella bass or with free bass? I ask this because for the converter design alternative when the converter is "ON" the Stradella bass is "OFF" and vice versa and so it is definitely an either/or.
 

JerryPH

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So a 120 bass piano accordion without a converter becomes a 178 bass accordion? I suppose that makes it pretty heavy?
But is such an accordion played either as a piano accordion with stradella bass or with free bass? I ask this because for the converter design alternative when the converter is "ON" the Stradella bass is "OFF" and vice versa and so it is definitely an either/or.
More like 185 bass left hand and an extended 45 key right hand. :)
It's played as either Stradella or FB, on some songs, both The slightly more difficult hand position is offset by the ability to play both Free Bass and Stradella at the same time or switch without need to hit a register. It helps to have the arms of an orangutan LOL.

185bass.jpg

And yes they start to get fairly heavy, mine has to be near 40lbs with the 4" straps, maybe that's why this design is less desirable.
It's kind of why I chuckle inside when someone says that a 27 lbs FR-8X is too heavy compared to other accordions!
 
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jozz

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Just curious do you guys prefer the professional accordions of today, or would you rather play a 50's-70's classic professional accordion?
definitely a new model

There is always some issue with an instrument that old, or it will develop very soon. Yes, you can always do up a classic to pristine condition, but that is not very practical. After all it is a tool, and ease of maintenance becomes a thing for a professional instrument.

(i have typed this and stand by it, but my main 'tool' is a done up crap bucket of the early 80's)
 

wirralaccordion

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More like 185 bass left hand and an extended 45 key right hand. :)
It's played as either Stradella or FB, on some songs, both The slightly more difficult hand position is offset by the ability to play both Free Bass and Stradella at the same time or switch without need to hit a register. It helps to have the arms of an orangutan LOL.

185bass.jpg

And yes they start to get fairly heavy, mine has to be near 40lbs with the 4" straps, maybe that's why this design is less desirable.
It's kind of why I chuckle inside when someone says that a 27 lbs FR-8X is too heavy compared to other accordions!
Paul's post above says that these accordions are cheap ( in spite of their great versatility ). Is this true and if so I guess that it's the weight that deters people and perhaps that with 185 bass buttons they need high maintenance?
 

debra

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Paul's post above says that these accordions are cheap ( in spite of their great versatility ). Is this true and if so I guess that it's the weight that deters people and perhaps that with 185 bass buttons they need high maintenance?
It is purely the size and weight that deters people. The Hohner Morino VI N was by far the most popular accordion with melody bass (also called free bass, baritone bass, etc.) in the 1960s and 70s. (Some people still prefer the German/Hohner made Morino VI M over the Italian/Excelsior made Morino VI N.) Hohner made sure to price the "equivalent" Gola model so most people could not afford it, hence the popularity of the lesser Morino VI for "mere mortals" with finite budget.
The maintenance is not the issue. Unless you happen to get one of the defective "Klebemorino" accordions (bad self-adhesive pallet felt was used that sticks to the soundboard, never fixed under warranty even though it should have been) there is no more maintenance than on any other Italian accordion.
 

NickC

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I don't know if I have enough experience to have a definitive preference. But, I have been gravitating towards newer instruments. I haven't been able to test many older instruments that have the features that I want. Around me, it seems that newer CBAs are more common than older CBAs.
 

JerryPH

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Paul's post above says that these accordions are cheap ( in spite of their great versatility ). Is this true and if so I guess that it's the weight that deters people and perhaps that with 185 bass buttons they need high maintenance?
It's not a $500 accordion if that is what you are thinking...lol
At the time that this accordion was bought the Gola 454 was a only 500 marks more expensive than this accordion and was advertised as the one just below the top of the line.

Today, I'd wildly approximate somewhere between $4000 and $8000 US depending on condition.
 

debra

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It's not a $500 accordion if that is what you are thinking...lol
At the time that this accordion was bought the Gola 454 was a only 500 marks more expensive than this accordion and was advertised as the one just below the top of the line.

Today, I'd wildly approximate somewhere between $4000 and $8000 US depending on condition.
The Morino VI N as you know is a 5 voice 45-key instrument. The Gola 454 is a 4 voice 45-key instrument. So to see how much more an "equivalent" Gola would cost it is model 455 (5 voice 45 key) or 459 (5 voice, 45 key, sordino).
I know friends who bought Hohners about 6 decades ago in the Netherlands and then the Morino VI N was about 2.000 guilders and the Gola 459 was about 3.000 guilders, so it was 50% more. Strangely enough you can now buy a Morino VI N for roughly about 2.000 euro and a Gola 459 from the same are goes for over 10.000 euro...
 

wirralaccordion

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Yes, it's a flip of a bass register away. :)
Can you have a piano accordioqin with free bass only, i.e. 3 rows of buttons each playing a single note only and 58 buttons in total? Such an accordion would be quite lightweight I would imagine, similar to a 60 bass stradella bass PA.
Would it sound exactly like a piano accordion with a converter set to free bass mode?
 

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While I love the sound of an older professional accordion I suspect that there are many potential pitfalls with these instruments. An accordion built between 1950 and 1979 is between 51 and 71 years old. With a very healthy budget for maintenance these "antique " models might be the way to go but you would need more than one because the chances of them being repaired is likely higher than a newer model.

You probably won't drive a vehicle this age on a daily basis because some of the components are likely frail and require frequent maintenance.
 

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