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Hi to all.

embers

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I look forward to joining your conversation, and to sharing some of my experiences over the years. About five years ago I bought a Beltuna Tyrolean III 37/96 accordion. Much has changed since I started playing acoustic accordion when in grade school. But I’ll always remember the first accordion I ever heard, and the many years of enjoyment I’ve experienced when playing my own.
 

embers

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Welcome.
What happened to your first accordion?

Appreciate each of the welcome greetings!

My first accordion was a Sano 120-bass Zon-Rio. (Yes, @Stephen) This was the start of my accordion journey in the summer of 1953. I began taking lessons the summer between kindergarten and first grade. Even though I was a big kid, the Zon-Rio was too large. But it was what I wanted. It had a very nice sound, so it suited me just fine. I learned over the years that my Mom loved all music genres, but my Dad was not that interested. I'm glad Mom's support prevailed.

I took accordion lessons for 12 years until my h.s. sophomore year. That all-around training included private lessons, accordion band competitions, and solo competitions. I stayed with one music studio for all my learning years, Monti's Music Center in suburban Chicago. Early on I had one or two music teachers, but cannot remember who they were. But my last teacher was the most-demanding, and the best for what I wanted to do. I continued studying and playing classical music, but as he was an excellent jazz accordionist, I got onto the track I had dreamed about. Great training into the world of improvisation, and astoundingly mellow chord builds!

I'm certain you remember that in the 1960s, electronic accordion systems were becoming popular. My Zon-Rio joined the used accordion display shelves at Monti's, and I went home with my second accordion. It was a Cordovox, accordion/organ system, one of the early standard 1960s models. It had the 860 Leslie Combo Pre-Amp II, which was also a controller. Never thought I would handle volume with a split foot pedal, or drop the tones 1/2 step with the same tool. Sure got in the way of keeping a beat with my foot!

My formal music training (never my learning) ended in early h.s., and for about six years I played semi-professionally with my 3-piece combo, Embers. My brother played a Gibson six-string electric guitar, and also a 12-string folk guitar. We had a great jazz drummer to "keep us going and on beat." We gigged all over metro Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. What an enjoyable "job," which also supplied good funding as I started my college years. Yes, gig-playing continued during college, and there were some cool jam sessions in my dorm, too, as I met other musicians. Music everywhere.

I think this was a lengthy-enough intro to my first (and second) accordions, the start of my music journey, and to my music passion. As you might notice, there are a lot of years to go.....so hopefully, journey to be continued. Thanks for reading, and again for the welcome to the conversation.


P.S. I didn't mention how I heard an accordion for the first time. The boy living next door when I was kindergarten had an accordion, and during the cooler evenings in the summer, he would practice on his screened-in front porch. I'd sit outside on their front steps and listen in wonder. I was hooked, and never looked back.
 

Tom

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Great story, thanks! I look forward to hearing more about your current journey. I came across one if those zon rios a while back, restored it and passed it along to my friend's son. It had good sound but was huge! Maybe it was yours.
 

embers

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Great story, thanks! I look forward to hearing more about your current journey. I came across one if those zon rios a while back, restored it and passed it along to my friend's son. It had good sound but was huge! Maybe it was yours.

Thanks. And appreciate the confirm that a Zon-Rio is huge. How true.

Who knows, Tom? It is possible it was mine. I see your location is the GR8 ST8 of Wisconsin. I left my Zon-Rio in northern Illinois. It was solid black with silver trim (plastic I'm pretty sure). I know someone here in Missouri who made a specialized tool 27 years ago, put a personalized mark on it as the maker, and sold it. He was shocked when he saw it last year at a Nebraska auction. What else could he do but buy it back?

Your story is very cool as well, that your friend's son has received such a nice gift from you.
 

Tom

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Thanks Embers! Yup, lots of older accordions are available here in Wisconsin, probably a lot from the Chicago area too. For a while I was restoring and selling, trading or giving them away. Many Scandallis and Sonolas, just the one Zon Rio that I saw. My friend's son is one of those musical prodigies who can play any instrument he touches. It's pretty cool; I am merely a hobbyist, volunteering pretty often before covid. Anyway, I ended up buying 2 brand new instruments from Italy and sold all my old accordions, although I do have one lightweight Sonola waiting for my help ....
 
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