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I am trying to purchase a new Delicia, but it is not going well

Anadi

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I am having difficulty in my attempt to purchase a new Delicia Carmen 26 (cossotto) with A Mano reeds.  I tried to buy the accordion through their website but it does not allow for a shipping address out side of Slovakia or Czech.  So I sent an email explaining that I wanted to purchase the above listed accordion. I never heard anything back from them. So, I started phoning them during their business hours (my night time); the phone would ring but no one would ever pick up.  One day after about 25 or 30 rings a woman answers, I tell her that I want to buy the above accordion and she tells me that she is on her cell phone and that she will be at the office in the late afternoon, and that I should send her an email telling her what I want to buy. I sent another email. I have never heard anything back from Delicia.  I have googled to see if there is currently a week or two of holidays in Czech, but I don't see anything listed. 

I have now begun to wonder if Delicia has actually gone out of business (I know that the accordion business is very difficult). Does anyone know if they are currently in business or not. And if they are in business, does anyone have advice on how to convince them to take my money?
 

Dingo40

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Anadi said:
I have now begun to wonder if Delicia has actually gone out of business (I know that the accordion business is very difficult). Does anyone know if they are currently in business or not. And if they are in business, does anyone have advice on how to convince them to take my money?

Well, it’s your money, but after so many red lights I wouldn’t touch them with the proverbial barge pole!

You could be unlucky enough to convince someone there to take your money only to find your troubles have  just begun!
The omens are dire: take heed! :-/
 

Anadi

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Hmm, I am beginning to wonder the same thing.

One of the reasons (not the only reason) that I am trying to buy from Delicia is because they actually list the price of every accordion on their website. Not only that but they list the price of every option, such as the price for each reed option. There are very very few shops that list the price of new accordions and even fewer factories that will list their prices. I am always very uncomfortable with shops that refuse to list a price for the accordions they are selling. What are such shops hiding? Do different people get different prices? The whole concept of "my only business is selling accordions but I don't know what the price of the accordion I am holding/showing on my website and I can't tell you that price up front" has always seemed more than a little dodgy to me.
 

Glenn

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Shops will normally send you a price list if you make direct contact with them.
If they think you are a serious client they will open up to your questions.
 

OuijaBoard

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When you talk about "shops" listing or not listing prices---Are you talking makers, or dealers? Agreed, that it is extremely annoying when dealers do not list. The inference is that they don't want you to know their markup, and want to deprive you of the shopper's right in a fair market economy---that is, to price-compare. As for makers, they don't list, because they sell largely (though not exclusively) through dealers. And unfortunately, they give the dealers leeway to set the markup.

There has been a lot of discussion on this site about the pros and cons of trying to order directly from makers far from where one lives. While some have had positive experiences doing so, I believe much of the input here on this site (particularly in recent months/years) has been, do not attempt direct dealing unless you can do it in person, as in, those who can visit Castelfidardo and buy from what is available to hand. The rationale for recent yellow caution lights seems to be, the accordion market is in flux of late, and it is too hard to know the health or stability of the maker you are dealing with, whether and to what degree they are outsourcing to places raising quality concerns, etc. There are some real horror stories out there involving direct orders and payment to what would seem to be high-quality Italian makers, after which no delivery occurred. Also, some makers simply will not sell long-distance direct; they will insist that you go through one of their approved dealers.

I doubt that Delicia is going out of business full stop. However, the degree to which all those customizable options showing on their site---ascending grades of reeds, etc.--are currently available is anyone's guess. Delicia is kind of part of a complex of accordion makers clustered around the East German/Czech borders---Harmona, Weltmeister, Delicia, and a host of lesser-known but essentially equivalent labels come out of there. I suspect that as discussed here on this site concerning the current state of affairs in Castelfidardo, there is a lot of contraction and production-sharing between what appears to be separate makes, but is de facto more and more an overlapping operation under a big "Harmona" umbrella.

If it has to be Delicia, try to find a reputable dealer who can order for you. Or better yet, try to chat up a reputable dealer who is in a position to have the good intel on what's going on with the Delicia/Harmona concern.


The U.S. dealer I know of who historically had a relationship with Delicia (and many other makes) is the Castiglione Accordion shop near Detroit, Michigan.   Don't know what the current state of affairs is, but they long offered Delicias and orderable Delicia options, and also offered re-badged Delicias under their own "Castiglione" mark.    They are another dealer who does not list new prices.  The degree to which the gent who heads that place would give you frank intel on Delicia's current status I don't know, but you could attempt a call.  He's not wildly informative by email     I believe Mr. Emilio Allodi of Allodi Accordions in London might also be knowledgeable RE what is up with Delicia/Harmona.
 

debra

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Just a dumb question here... if it appears to be difficult to order that Delicia Carmen, what is so special about this particular instrument that you would go through great lengths to get that specific accordion rather than one of the many other accordions that are easy to get? I do not have much experience with Delicia (only saw and heard some of their older stuff that still suffered from quality issues from the Soviet ear) so if they now have something really special that would be interesting to know.
 

Anadi

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You are all right! Thank you for the advice, as obvious as it is, it helped to hear it from a third party. I have given up the idea of buying a Delicia.

I used to be a professional string player (violist) in the USA. I have never had a single good experience with a violin DEALER, no matter how reputable or famous. And honestly, I don't know of any colleague who had a good experience. The only good experiences I have ever had, have been through buying directly from a maker... which, is what I thought I was doing.

The Delicia looked good on paper, and they actually listed their prices and I thought that it would be a simple straightforward experience.

I live in New Zealand and it is about a 24 hour flight to Europe or the east coast of the USA. I was hoping to avoid as the flights and accommodation for such a trip as the expense is about half my budget for an accordion.
 

debra

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Anadi said:
You are all right!  Thank you for the advice, as obvious as it is, it helped to hear it from a third party. I have given up the idea of buying a  Delicia.

I used to be a professional string player (violist) in the USA.  I have never had a single good experience with a violin DEALER, no matter how reputable or famous. And honestly, I don't know of any colleague who had a good experience.  The only good experiences I have ever had,  have been through buying directly from a maker... which, is what I thought I was doing.  
...

I can understand the preference of dealing directly with a violin maker. The maker can alter things to a violin (or viola for a violist) that have significant influence on the sound.
With accordions it is somewhat different. Any accordion maker spends some research on the design and manufacturing process for a number of accordion models, and there is little room for modifications to alter the sound to the taste of the customer. Chin switches can be added or changed, the tuning and tremolo can be changed, decorations can be changed, the brand and type of reeds can be changed (and this does change the sound significantly). But in the end there remain small differences between different accordions of the same make and model because of the properties of individual pieces of wood, and once the instrument is built these cannot be altered. The best bet to get an instrument that is what you want is to find one in stock at a dealer (or at the factory) and make sure you get that instrument, not another new one made to the same specification.
Most of what determines the difference in satisfaction or liking between two seemingly identical instruments lies in the tuning. I have known people to be unhappy with their accordion after it went in for cleaning and tuning because they did not like the tuning. (I have helped some of them by retuning the accordion to their liking.) As far as I know it is different with a violin or viola because tuning is something the player does on a daily basis (sometimes even more often). So the differences between string elements lie in almost everything except the tuning whereas in an accordion (of a given model) it's all in the tuning.
 

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Well, and I reckon a professional wouldnt be buying a factory viola. Theres nothing equivalent in the accordion world, is there?

As for not listing the price - in some cases, this happens because theyve agreed not to publicize the fact that they can sell well below list price and still make a profit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_price If you find a retailer who publishes a price and its the same as the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, then you have a situation where its up to you to get a better price than theyre asking.
 

StargazerTony

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This idea of dealers publishing/not publishing prices is fascinating to me. I've looked at the way I actually buy things and have come to the conclusion that, for me at least, perception is reality. I cannot recall any instance where I've made an actual purchase from a dealer where said dealer does not post some sort of price on their website. My immediate perception is that things are hidden and a shadow of dishonesty arises in my mind about this dealer. True or not, it's my perception of the situation. Of course I could call or email this dealer, but I to not, even though he has a piece I might be interested in.
 

Anadi

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Thanks for everyone's advice. I spent the day looking through Accordion Shop website in the UK as well as the Allodi accordins website the UK. I phoned them, conversed and listened to some accordions over the phone!

I bought a used Scandalli. The whole thing feels very good.
 

cali

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Hello all,
let me share my experience with this company.

I live in Prague so it is about a hour by car for me to get there. Ive been there few times for the service of my two boxes. To my experience the company is in business and doing OK (Jan 2019).

My few thoughts based on both what I have seen and also heard from people collecting, repairing and selling new and used boxes:

- Delicia is by far the best place (also the most expensive) to have your box repaired in Czech Republic, they do all brands and having all the equipment for making new boxes makes them able to handle even heavily damaged stuff. The servicing is (my guess) more than 70% of their business. They did really excellent work on both my boxes and I also have never heard anything bad about their service(except some complains about prices).

- They sell new boxes too, but their strong point lies (my opinion) rather in lower&mid class. I personally have not seen any Czech concert player using Delicia, but on the other side Delicia an absolute standard at Czech schools of music, conservatories and also stage performers. Their boxes are known for holding decent degree of playability even with rough handling and poor or no service.

- There seems to be a solid demand for their products which is in my opinion big enough to keep them continuously overloaded (I had to wait nearly a half of year for both my repairs to be even accepted) but low enough not to force them to expand their capacity. There is not such a thing as PR department in Delicia everything is handled by a single person and I can easily believe that she may struggle to communicate in English. I could probably help with that if somebody asks for it. I may  visit them personally again soon to repair one vintage Hohner Ive possessed recently.

- Delicia does not make any own voices, they use all ranges of Titlbach from Louny https://www.harmonikas.cz/en Or they can mount Italian a-mano on request. According to what Ive heard top class Titlbach manual voices are comparable to top Italians but be aware that the installation of manual voices (Czech or Italian) can nearly double the final price of box.

- If thinking about getting used one it is generally a good idea to void communist era Delicias (1970-2000). Even a top models (Choral V) can no way compete with GDR models of that time (Weltmeister S4, S5, Supita or RoyalStandard Selecta) mostly due poor voices Delicia used during that time. Sadly Germans did the same for their Supita successor the Cantus IV and V which is mechanically an excellent box equipped usually with kind of dull-sound voices (in compare to Italians). Early Lignatone-Delicia higher models from 60 and maybe early 70 (Aida VII, Maestro II) etc may be equipped with top a-mano Italian voices. So You can sometimes find top class voices in cassotto vintage models for nice prices mostly in Poland and Russia where these were usually exported. Sometimes You may find communist era Choral cassotto models  with voices swapped for italian a-mano, Ive heard rumors that some shops in Balkan and Russia did this.
 

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Thanks for that interesting post, Cali.  I'm a fan of Delicias having had a 96 and 72 bass, both bought second hand.  I agree with you that they are aimed at the lower end of the market, but are very good value for money.  I have no idea of the year of my 72 bass compact, but it held its tuning very well and worked hard during the 3 years I had it.
 

cali

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To that question what is so special about Delicia,... I would not say there is anything special, what Italians or Germans could not do. IMO the price is the main thing here (as always).

For example Choral 24 starts at 2k4$ (incl Czech VAT) and comparable Weltmeister Saphir (both 41/120) is sold here for about 3k8$ ... but for that price the same Delicia can be equipped with true a-mano voices. Or with Arlando 07 You can get a mature, stage ready, 34/96 box for less than 2k$ not many non-Chinese boxes can do that.

Ive also hear a lot, that if You are a player good enough to really enjoy the difference between mid and high class accordion (ie standard vs a-mano voices) than You probably can afford a Scandalli, Soprani, Beltuna, Pigini etc box anyway. If not, than Delicia is more than OK for You. Personally I find that true,....I dont play accordion for living and being just a hobby player I will never ever reach the level when a properly maintained Delicia would limit my play. (The best accordion I own is a 2008 Guerrini Superior2 which is pro Italian double cassotto 41/120 box so hopefully thats not just about not having anything better to compare with :) )

There is also one thing Ive forgotten to mention and some may find interesting,... in all Delicias, including the cheapest, to this days the voices are 100% mounted on wood (unlike some modern German boxes using plastic making the box sound louder but a bit synthetic).
 

Corinto

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cali said:
... if You are a player good enough to really enjoy the difference between mid and high class accordion (ie standard vs a-mano voices) than You probably can afford a Scandalli, Soprani, Beltuna, Pigini etc box anyway. If not, than Delicia is more than OK for You. Personally I find that true, ...

Agree 100 % with this opinion. ymmv.
 

Anadi

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cali said:
H
- If thinking about getting used one it is generally a good idea to void communist era Delicias (1970-2000). Even a top models (Choral V) can no way compete with GDR models of that time (Weltmeister S4, S5, Supita or RoyalStandard Selecta) mostly due poor voices Delicia used during that time.
I am the original poster who failed in his attempt to purchase a new Delicia.  As I mentioned, I eventually bought a  Scandali which I am very happy with. It is as old as I am, but is still totally wonderful to play with. (I hope that applies to me as a metaphore as well ;-)   Unlike me, it has new valves, new pallets, has been re-waxed, new bellows etc.  It has a two year guarantee from The Accordion Shop UK and it was very reasonably priced- in fact. after purchasing it, I had enough money left over to search for my other interest: a small free bass Piano Accordion.  I was seriously considering a new Weltmeister Free Bass 26. 
And this ties into the quote from Cali above, which is very interesting to me, because instead of buying the Weltmeister, I recently purchased a used  Delicia Choral VII with free bass! It was only slightly more expensive than the new Weltmeister, but has nearly twice the range, as well as four voices  in the right hand instead of just one. I bought it from Musik-Center.de . I hope they are OK. They say that they are making it very nice for me. Anyway, it has not arrived yet, it is still in transit.


Although it was not my intention to do so, I feel as though I have inadvertently and unfairly singled Delicia out for their inability or refusal to take my money; they are not alone.

I was also very interested in an accordion by Zero Sette. I could not find anyone who sells or is a distributor for Zero Sette accordions (nor do they list distributors on their website), so I contacted them directly. They responded right away, and were very friendly, but after I answered their question as to whether I was a private individual or a business (I am a private individual) I never heard from them again.

Soon after this I learned via this forum that it is very difficult if not unwise to try to buy from the maker. Now I know this, but I am a slow learner. I was very very interested in Fisitalia's ergonomically designed free bass bayan. They say right on their website that they sell directly to the public, as well as via distributors/shops. (There is no distributor of Fisitalia on my Pacific Island) So I filled out their form requesting a quote. In order to receive a quote, one must supply their full address and phone number. They promise on their website that they always respond within 48 hours.

I never heard from them. And yes, I check my spam filter regularly. When I have written to European accordion shops or a bellows maker stating that I want to spend money, they always get my email, respond right away, and are happy to take my money.

I understand the reasons that the maker might not want to sell directly to the public.
 

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Anadi said:
cali said:
H
- If thinking about getting used one it is generally a good idea to void communist era Delicias (1970-2000). Even a top models (Choral V) can no way compete with GDR models of that time (Weltmeister S4, S5, Supita or RoyalStandard Selecta) mostly due poor voices Delicia used during that time.
I am the original poster who failed in his attempt to purchase a new Delicia.  As I mentioned, I eventually bought a  Scandali which I am very happy with. It is as old as I am, but is still totally wonderful to play with. (I hope that applies to me as a metaphore as well ;-)   Unlike me, it has new valves, new pallets, has been re-waxed, new bellows etc.  It has a two year guarantee from The Accordion Shop UK and it was very reasonably priced- in fact. after purchasing it, I had enough money left over to search for my other interest: a small free bass Piano Accordion.  I was seriously considering a new Weltmeister Free Bass 26. 
And this ties into the quote from Cali above, which is very interesting to me, because instead of buying the Weltmeister, I recently purchased a used  Delicia Choral VII with free bass! It was only slightly more expensive than the new Weltmeister, but has nearly twice the range, as well as four voices  in the right hand instead of just one. I bought it from Musik-Center.de . I hope they are OK. They say that they are making it very nice for me. Anyway, it has not arrived yet, it is still in transit.


Although it was not my intention to do so, I feel as though I have inadvertently and unfairly singled Delicia out for their inability or refusal to take my money; they are not alone.

I was also very interested in an accordion by Zero Sette. I could not find anyone who sells  or is a distributor for Zero Sette accordions (nor do they list distributors on their website), so I contacted them directly. They responded right away, and were very friendly, but after I answered their question as to whether I was a private individual or a business (I am a private individual) I never heard from them again.

Soon after this I learned via this forum that it is very difficult if not unwise to try to buy from the maker.   Now I know this, but I am a slow learner.  I was very very interested in Fisitalia's ergonomically designed free bass bayan. They say right on their website that they sell directly to the public, as well as via distributors/shops. (There is no distributor of Fisitalia on my Pacific Island) So I filled out their form requesting a quote. In order to receive a quote, one must supply their full address and phone number. They promise on their website that they always respond within 48 hours.  

I never heard from them.  And yes, I check my spam filter regularly.  When I have written to European accordion shops or a bellows maker stating that I want to spend money, they always get my email, respond right away, and are happy to take my money.  

I understand the reasons that the maker might not want to sell directly to the public.




I know how it feels when you live in Aotearoa. It can be hard to ask the accordion makers to sell accordions to individual buyers. Some makers like Scandalli will not allow individuals to buy accordions from them. But the good side of being in NZ is that you get second-hand accordions for very good prices (esp on Trade Me). I was lucky to know some Asian distributors ( for Italian accordions) who would send accordions to NZ and usually, they offer lower prices than the makers. If you are buying a relatively more expensive accordion, it may even be worthwhile to fly to a tax-free country like Hong Kong so you can save 15% GST and do some sightseeing.
 

cali

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Delicia Choral VII,...
- be prepared for a super-heavy box nearly three times heavier than Wm26
- musik-center.de they are totally OK, but Youve probably overpaid the thing a bit, this can be found used here in Czech for less than 500USD in solid condition and being generally not too saught after model even much lower if its not 100%, since for a hobby/stage player its too heavy and for a conservatory student it lacks chin registers and most importantly 45 keys so these guys usually go rather for Dineta models (also the "not too great communist voices" statement from the above may apply )
- Also be aware of three possible freebas configurations c/b/bayan
More about Delicia company:
There is a super-strong tradition of accordion making in that place (something like Czech Castelfidardo :) ) some of Kebrdle/Hlavacek models will probably soon reach 100years and many still may be seen in service. After communists took over in 50 the local workshops have been communized/closed/joined together and the Delicia factory was established. For some time they have held that flag of creating top instruments too, mostly by importing Italian top quality voices for top models but later the quantity started to dominate the quality hard. In its "greatest" times that factory could have had probably about 1k employees making thousands of boxes per year and manufacturing everything (voices, bellows, straps, keys etc....). The quality was exceptionally poor for the domestic market, thats why communist era Delicia boxes have better name outside CZ than in their home. The export models were usually made a lot better to be at least a bit competitive. So nice working boxes from the communist era may be found in Poland, Russia, Balkan,....etc. rather than in CZ. The former Czechoslovakia region in fact is full of Delicia boxes not even worth to be taken to a pawn-shop.

All this pre-2000 era has little in common with nowdays boxes. Now the company is a small family business with just a few people (cca 20 my guess) they buy a lot of components and they make mostly individualized boxes together with a few "standard" if there is nothing better to do (mostly for schools of music in CZ). To my knowledge, they have no problem selling to individuals directly, but the best way is to go there personally. Ive just checked their web and the "We ship to EU" definitely was not there when I was checking a year ago.
 

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