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Excelsior Continental Grand

ATB88

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I am beginning preliminary research pertaining to the Excelsior Continental Grand model as I will hopefully soon be in a position to track down and acquire this model for myself. I have long been interested in and curious about this model and several years ago I played and was quite impressed with one such instrument (I believe from the 1960s) and would like to further investigate this model (older pre 1980s models, not current production. I understand that Excelsior produced these instruments through the 1970s until being acquired by Pigini?).

I would appreciate any insight that those who have spent significant time on and/or own this model of Excelsior might have to offer on the various pros and cons of the model. Is there a particular era or set of years in which this model is thought to have peaked in quality? Keyboard action? etc.

Of course this is largely opinion based and there is obviously no true substitute for physically playing the actual instrument for oneself, but again I would be most appreciative for input. Thank you.
 
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nagant27

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I would totally check it out. In my experience high end , older excelsiors are hard to beat. Great sound, playability, and very durable. I have several accordions and find myself playing excelsiors the most.
 

Scuromondo

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It appears that Liberty Bellows has one of these for sale now:
 

JIM D.

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The Liberty Bellows video you suggest here is of the last model change from the original Excelsior firm and is a
"AC Continental " series of accordions. They describe the model improperly ( as they often do ) This started production
in the early 60's and superseded the older Continental Grand (a fine model) but not the original Continental Grand's
of the 50's thru the late 60's.
 

ATB88

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The Liberty Bellows video you suggest here is of the last model change from the original Excelsior firm and is a
"AC Continental " series of accordions. They describe the model improperly ( as they often do ) This started production
in the early 60's and superseded the older Continental Grand (a fine model) but not the original Continental Grand's
of the 50's thru the late 60's.
Good to know, Jim. I believe the Liberty Bellows model for sale also has 6 sets of bass reeds of which I believe was/is common with Excelsior and not 5 as listed? It does seem to look and sound like a nice instrument though.

What all did Excelsior change when they altered the model from the Continental Grand to the AC Continental as you mention? Any tell tale or distinguishing exterior features aside from perhaps serial numbers that give it away and is one generally thought to be of better quality than the other? As an aside, I've seen many if not most with a long black master bar that runs along the chromed 7 bass register switches, though I believe the instrument Art Van Damme played did not have this particular bass master switch bar (along with having the extended keyboard as well - obviously a custom instrument). The only other obvious difference in features I've picked up on thus far is a few models that only had 3 bass register switches. Thanks in advance for the additional clarification and info on the topic!
 

JIM D.

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What Did Excelsior Change With The AC Models ?? Well Here Goes -------------------------------

First, All the Continental AC models were in development for some 5 years before being fully introduced in 1962.
All of the AC models had Sordina's (Tone Modulator's) and electronic pick-ups as standard equipment
They all came in Jet Black or White Pearl with straps and a luggage case.
The silhouette lines of the AC body were more square and crisp compared to previous Excelsior Models.
This new body design was lighter in weight compared to earlier Excelsiors.
All the AC models could be ordered with a "Quint Convertor" Bass Machine as an option.
All the AC models could be (Special Factory Ordered) with an extended keyboard.
All of the (4) AC models listed below could be ordered with a "Tone Chamber" with the STROLLER model
(only) coming with a "Tone Chamber" as standard.

(1) GRAND 10 treble shifts - 7 bass shifts-- 4/6 reeds
(2) ARTIST !0 treble shifts - 3 bass shifts-- 4/5 reeds
(3) BABY GRAND 6 treble shifts - 3 bass shifts -- 3/5 reeds
(4) STROLLER -- 3 treble shifts - 2 bass shifts -- 2/4 reeds (again only made with Tone Chamber)

And just a note; The STROLLER model was Excelsior's answer to the Sonola's "Ernie Felice" model very
popular at the time.

Now I've worked on all the AC models with the exception of the STROLLER model. I've long been looking
just such a model and if I'm able to procure one, the only way you will get it from me is with a mask & gun !!
 

Chickers

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HELLO:
I just thought I would share my good fortune.
I'm a lucky guy.
I own a beautiful Excelsior AC--(Grand, I think) The back is marked as AC- Professional.
It's everything you all say about it, and then some.
CHICKERS
 

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JIM D.

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Chickers, Please note that your AC is a post 70's made by the now Excelsior subsidiary of Pigini . A fine instrument with subtle
differences. The most notable changes are the placement of the pick-up controls & the more curvaceous body edges.
 
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Chickers

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JIM D.
Are you saying you feel my AC was made in the 70's or later by Pagini ?
I purchased my Excelsior AC from the original owner (I believe) so I'm not sure what year it was made. I actually bought it through
a "broker" who obtained it from the original owner in Florida---so I'm told.
I have had a local accordion repair guy look at it and he says everything was in excellent condition, and showed no signs of
neglect, or repair, and very little usage. almost "like new" condition inside and out.
Pagini was not helpful in providing a date of manufacture. They said something about a fire that destroyed old records.
The serial number on the back is--either 907 or 90 7.
I has the bass master bar, and is a double tone chamber.
What do you make of it ? Any educated guess ?
I would appreciate any comments.
Thank you,
CHICKERS
 

JIM D.

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You simply have a post 70's Excelsior (Pigini) made accordion in excellent shape. An excellent professional
Tone Chamber Accordion with Sordina Replacing it with new today will take $15000.00 to replace it.
 
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ATB88

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What Did Excelsior Change With The AC Models ?? Well Here Goes -------------------------------

First, All the Continental AC models were in development for some 5 years before being fully introduced in 1962.
All of the AC models had Sordina's (Tone Modulator's) and electronic pick-ups as standard equipment
They all came in Jet Black or White Pearl with straps and a luggage case.
The silhouette lines of the AC body were more square and crisp compared to previous Excelsior Models.
This new body design was lighter in weight compared to earlier Excelsiors.
All the AC models could be ordered with a "Quint Convertor" Bass Machine as an option.
All the AC models could be (Special Factory Ordered) with an extended keyboard.
All of the (4) AC models listed below could be ordered with a "Tone Chamber" with the STROLLER model
(only) coming with a "Tone Chamber" as standard.

(1) GRAND 10 treble shifts - 7 bass shifts-- 4/6 reeds
(2) ARTIST !0 treble shifts - 3 bass shifts-- 4/5 reeds
(3) BABY GRAND 6 treble shifts - 3 bass shifts -- 3/5 reeds
(4) STROLLER -- 3 treble shifts - 2 bass shifts -- 2/4 reeds (again only made with Tone Chamber)

And just a note; The STROLLER model was Excelsior's answer to the Sonola's "Ernie Felice" model very
popular at the time.

Now I've worked on all the AC models with the exception of the STROLLER model. I've long been looking
just such a model and if I'm able to procure one, the only way you will get it from me is with a mask & gun !!
Wow, thank you for all of the great info!
 

nagant27

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I notice on chickers ac it has 11 treble registers switches. Is this because it’s pigini made?
 

Chickers

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You simply have a post 70's Excelsior (Pigini) made accordion in excellent shape. An excellent professional
Tone Chamber Accordion with Tone Chamber. Replacing it with new today will take $15000.00 to replace it.
JIM:
Got it, thank you. I appreciate your response.
CHICKER
 

Walker

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@Chickers - What a lovely accordion, well done. Enjoy it in good health.

Excelsior's are great. After the brand was acquired by the Pigini family in 2003 we just don't seem to hear about them quite as much. Rarely do they release new models, as far as I am aware.
 
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JIM D.

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There is still a (Excelsior subsidiary factory) now owned by Pigini. It was established in 1948 and still continues
from the 70's with ownership banded about by many interest's including Pigini

Pigini made models of "Titano" & Excelsior from the late 70's but did not own the trademarks.

From the turn of the century Pigini now owns full ownership of the copyrighted trademarks "Titano"
& "Excelsior".


 
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Walker

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@JIM D. Thanks for explaining that. Seemingly, the company was renamed, initially to Excelsior spa, then CEMEX srl, and then to Excelsior srl. Then since 2003 Pigini became the owner.

However, I did not know Pigini made some Excelsiors since the 1970s Wow. I had been aware that from 1965 to 1998 Excelsior aparently made instruments for Hohner, particularly certain Morino models.

It would be a lot simpler if everyone just made their own instruments instead of making accordions for each other :ROFLMAO:
 
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TonyChicago

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Here is my Excelsior AC-3 (actually named AVD 3) fitted with a Midi. 2 low reeds, double chamber, extended keyboard.
 

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Edward

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Love the my old Continental (Grand Sound Chamber) as it was called in the catalog. Most just call it an AC. Most have mic's so they would be EAC ( E for electronic, A for professional grade instrument, C for cassotto).

My only complaint is the master switch on the treble side. The keyboard edge is angled and cut away and it makes the shift harder to hit.
 

Edward

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Hey here is a good question... Why does Pigini add the low E to the Symphony Gold model???
 
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