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Hello from West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

SamIII

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I came across this Ballarini accordion in a secondhand store. I knew nothing about it except that it looked like it needed a home, so I bought it. Based on documents in the case it appears to have been made in the late 50s or early 60s. It needs a little work as some of the keys and buttons don't play correctly. Other than that it appears to be in good shape. There are no obvious chips/cracks/damage, etc. I'll be taking it apart soon to see what it needs. I'm looking forward to restoring this instrument, learning to play it, and playing it in a Bluegrass band.

Owning an accordion was not on my list of things to own, but I've always like their sound. Accordions have a unique image. They are right there with banjos and harmonicas of which I play both. I think it and I will get along well.

I found this forum while searching for information on Ballarini accordions. I'm hoping that someone here can tell me a little bit about Ballarini accordions in general and this instrument specifically. A Google search of Ballarini doesn't lead to much. I'm also looking for some thoughts, hints, suggestions, and comments on playing an accordion.

Thanks for any help, advice, and comments.

Sam

Screenshot 2021-11-03 203216.jpg
 

JeffJetton

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I'm looking forward to restoring this instrument, learning to play it, and playing it in a Bluegrass band.

From a former Hoosier (grew up in Jeffersonville), welcome!

And nice to see someone out there reinforcing the idea that the accordion has every right to be a "legitimate" bluegrass instrument, having appeared on early Bill Monroe records. It's a shame more bluegrass bands don't feature one.
 

SamIII

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Thank you.

I go past Jeffersonville on 65 regularly on my way to visit family in Tennessee.

In our Bluegrass band one of the players also has an accordion. He's like me and knows nothing about it. When I repair mine, and we both learn some basics, we're going to incorporate two accordions into a couple of songs. It should be fun.

I like your website!
 

Tom

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Thank you.

I go past Jeffersonville on 65 regularly on my way to visit family in Tennessee.

In our Bluegrass band one of the players also has an accordion. He's like me and knows nothing about it. When I repair mine, and we both learn some basics, we're going to incorporate two accordions into a couple of songs. It should be fun.

I like your website!
Hi Sam,

Welcome and good luck with your project! It looks like an Italian made "student" accordion with 12 basses and "waterfall" keys which the experts here can date. These accordions were made by the thousands back in the "glory days" and were importrd and sold as an introductory accordion to young students. The minimalist design might limit you in the long run if you really get into playing it, but the heritage means the construction quality is worth restoring.

Nothing wrong with accordion in bluegrass! Plus bluegrassers (and jams) are easier to find than accordionists.

Good luck! Tom
 

SamIII

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Thank you, Tom.

I guessed it might be a student model given its simplicity. That's OK with me. Less buttons to learn for now:)

What is the definition of 'waterfall keys,' and where might I find what tone/chord each of the bass buttons produces? Is the bass button layout standard regardless of the accordion make?

Sam
 

JeffJetton

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Thank you, Tom.

I guessed it might be a student model given its simplicity. That's OK with me. Less buttons to learn for now:)

What is the definition of 'waterfall keys,' and where might I find what tone/chord each of the bass buttons produces? Is the bass button layout standard regardless of the accordion make?

Sam

Waterfall just means that the keys curve over and have a "front" to them that goes all the way down, like a Hammond organ keyboard, rather than the more "diving board" style you might see on most other accordions (and synths), or lip/edge thingy you find on pianos. They're not necessarily better or worse that other styles, but they do help pinpoint when the accordion was made.

And yes, the bass layout is standard. The inner six buttons are single bass notes arranged in fifths (the button with an indentation is C). The outer six are the matching major chords. Larger accordions with more buttons just progressively add to that basic "core" set of 12 buttons--adding minor chords, going up/down in fifths more, etc.

Eq3bBT8W8AECOk7.png
 
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