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Into Every Life, A little Rain Must Fall.

Stephen Hawkins

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Some of you may recall that I was recently offered a 120 Bass instrument, currently the property of a friend of a friend's elderly parent. I was also informed that the instrument was "huge", and that it was probably Italian.

I knew that the informant was not an accordionist, but thought her initial description of the instrument could be relied upon. How wrong could I be?

Further investigation has now revealed that this accordion is a 64 year old Hohner VM 48 Bass, and not the Italian 120 Bass I was expecting to see. It is my own fault for assuming knowledge where none exists ..... I should have known better.

The current owner now holds a deep sentimental attachment to this instrument, which suits me down to the ground. It saves me the embarrassment of having to significantly deflate the value which sentimentality alone places on a prized possession.

Anyway, nothing lost.
 

JerryPH

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A little stroke of luck for you. :)

I personally know first hand how deep sentimentality can overinflate the value of an instrument, but that would only ever come in to play if the instrument ever was to be sold. Up to and until that day, if it ever comes (which I doubt), my own accordion is simply priceless as well... lol.
 

Soulsaver

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Hohner Student VM 48 bass? Great little accordion - in good condition far, far better at 60 years old than a new Chinese one IMO.

Hear here:
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Jerry,

As you know from a previous thread, I feel the same about shirts. My own dear Missus sees things rather differently, and I am often shocked when I discover yet another of my shirts has been rent asunder to satisfy the need for dusters.

Soulsaver,

I have no doubt that the little Hohner is a fine instrument, but it is not the one for me. The lady who offered me the instrument led me to believe that it was a 120 Bass, and that it was Italian. Her description of it was from memory, but she was adamant that it was a "huge" accordion.

I currently use a 72 Bass, which is all I need for the moment. My only interest in the instrument I was offered was that it may fulfil a future need. I have no use for a 48 Bass instrument, and am pleased that it is not available.

As for a 64 year old Hohner being better than a new Chinese made one, that would depend on the make of Chinese accordion selected. You cannot continue to lump all Chinese instruments together, as some are actually very well made. Knowing the difference between a lemon and a decent quality instrument is key, and my research has been very thorough. There is some rubbish out there, but there are also some genuinely well made Chinese instruments. (including Hohner, these days)
 

Soulsaver

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Ok maybe I learn from your research. Which Chinese 48 bass did you decide was better than a good condition mid 50's Hohner Student VM 48?
 

JIM D.

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I'm also very curious, what well made, make, or model China 48 bass do you speak of ??? :roll:
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Soulsaver,

I haven't really looked at 48 Bass Chinese instruments, though I have looked at and listened to quite a few 96 & 120 Bass accordions. I have also spoken to people I know and trust, and have visited numerous websites which feature Chinese instruments.

I have had good reports about Black Diamond Accordions, though my knowledge of them is limited. My personal choice of a 72 Bass Chanson has left me with no regrets. It is an instrument I use every day, and it works perfectly well.

The pros and cons of buying new Chinese or second hand European creates a dilemma, though I am quite happy to consider a new Pearl River. The Pearl River company is (I understand) the biggest piano manufacturer in the World, with Steinway & Son trusting them to build three of their piano models. In fact, Pearl River manufacture huge numbers of instruments for leading brands, so they must be getting something right.

In the early 60's, I owned a few motorbikes. These included Ariel and Norton which, at the time, seemed peerless. My friends & I laughed at people who bought Japanese bikes, thinking ourselves much smarter than anyone who rode a Suzuki or Honda. We all know what happened over the next few years, so I am reluctant to tar all Chinese instruments with the same brush for fear of looking stupid.

The laptop I am using to type this comment was made in China, as is the TV, DVD player, Set Top Box and pretty well every other electrical product we own. We had all better get used to the fact that the Chinese are capable of making good quality products at very reasonable prices, and that European manufacturers are right up to their necks in farming out manufacturing in order to maximise profits.

At no time have I ever criticised European Accordions, and I can only conclude that criticism of Chinese Accordions is just a rather lazy generalisation. Sure there are rubbish Chinese boxes out there ..... I know of a few that I wouldn't touch with a barge pole, but I also know that there are some very decently made ones available for those who take the trouble to look.
 

Stephen Hawkins

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

My accordion tutor is a professional musician. He actually makes his living by performing live and selling CD's. He heads up a band, and owns his own recording studio. Jon is also a good friend of mine, and we have played together many times.

Jon is a multi-instrumentalist, playing practically anything he can pick up. He is a brilliant accordionist, as was his Dad before him, and can make his Bugari talk when he is performing live.

The Chanson that I currently own was one of his stage instruments before he bought the Bugari. He played it all over the country, and used it on a few recordings. Though he recognises that his Bugari and Hohner are better instruments, he still maintains that the Chanson is a decent instrument.

If Jon thinks it is a good instrument, that is good enough for me.
 

artelagro

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Is there a REWIND and/or ERASE button on this forum?
 

Corsaire

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Not really connected to the original posting, but pertinent to the subsequent discussion .....

Articles made in China, whether of Chinese design or from elsewhere, have the reputation of being shoddily made. But this is surely down to bad quality control rather than Chinese goods being universally badly made ! Many well-known companies outside China have their goods manufactured in China (probably due to production costs) and their reputation does not appear to have been tarnished by this fact.

Was it not a similar situation many years ago when musical instruments were being made in Japan ? The Japanese would take the best European-made instruments like guitars or pianos, and copy them. As a result, Yamaha pianos are widely used for concerts and hold their own perfectly well against makes like Steinway. At first, Japanese goods were also treated with suspicion, but they advanced in leaps and bounds and became well known for the quality of their work at more interesting prices.

Choosing the right instrument is something that one can be advised on, but the final choice comes down to the individual. If it feels comfortable to play and you like the sound it produces, it doesn't matter how old it is, who made it or what the price tag is. There are so many factors to take into account in choosing an accordion that I'm not sure that there is one that can necessarily fill all these desires/needs !

I have long been a fan of Czech-made Delicia accordions (I've gone from 120 bass to 96 and now 72 compact for practical and physical reasons). There is little mention of them on this forum but they are cracking instruments !
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Corsaire,

A breath of fresh air.
Your post demonstrates an understanding of individual needs and preferences, together with a rational and refined attitude toward instruments from non-traditional manufacturing nations.

I have listened to a few Delicia's on YouTube, and found them to be very pleasant. I also know that you have recently listened to a 120 Bass Musette tuned Chanson, and that you found it to be a very nice instrument.

Please give my best to Mike.

Kindest Regards,

Stephen.
 

Corsaire

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Stephen - I think it's often the case of how the instrument is played and by whom. It's worth listening to what a really good player can get out of an instrument before jumping to conclusions, particularly when starting out.
Of course it depends entirely on what you want out of an instrument as it's not possible to put all accordions in the same boat.

On a personal level, my one try of a friend's Roland frightened the life out of me - but then so does a Smartphone !!!
 

JerryPH

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Corsaire said:
On a personal level, my one try of a friends Roland frightened the life out of me - but then so does a Smartphone !!!
For a short period of time, I too was thinking what the heck did I get in to... with my 8x... but a little grim determination, time and practice, and things get better quite fast. :)
 

Stephen Hawkins

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Jerry,

I have never tried a Roland, but applaud anyone who gives it a go. It is highly doubtful that I will ever want to own or play a Roland, as they just don't seem to fit my character.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 

Glenn

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Hi Jerry. Was your determination so "grim"? :)
I saw it more as a determination to learn a new "technique".
It's quite exciting discovering new things and making connections between sounds and actions. Even the new mechanical skill of a different bellows action was good for my acoustic playing as it gave me a different way to measure the pressure I had to apply which fed back into my acoustic bellows action being much more positive than previously. Don't know if you had any teachings from digital to acoustic?


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JerryPH

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Stephen Hawkins said:
Jerry,
I have never tried a Roland, but applaud anyone who gives it a go. It is highly doubtful that I will ever want to own or play a Roland, as they just dont seem to fit my character.
Its definitely not for everyone, that I can accede... but you will never be sure until you see one face to face played by someone with experience and, more importantly, right after that, give it a shot yourself. :)

Glenn said:
Hi Jerry. Was your determination so grim? :)
I saw it more as a determination to learn a new technique.
Its quite exciting discovering new things and making connections between sounds and actions. Even the new mechanical skill of a different bellows action was good for my acoustic playing as it gave me a different way to measure the pressure I had to apply which fed back into my acoustic bellows action being much more positive than previously. Dont know if you had any teachings from digital to acoustic?
Whenever I want to learn something, and it doesnt come easy, yeah, I fall in to that grim determination mode. The technical challenges it presented early on to me drove me a bit bonkers-nuts, and I had to figure out a lot on my own, and ask for help on a few others (I am not good at asking questions of others, so you know it was making me think!), Its like I cannot let it beat me, I wont have any of that... lol

It *is* exciting, I am amazed each time I put the accordion on. The versatility and possibilities are endless, and thats what makes it so good. I had zero experience with a V- accordion before I bought it. Though I had read through the manual several times before I made the purchase, I actually learned how to turn it on the day I bought it! For me, this is the first accordion that makes every song a piece of a puzzle. Before, I would have different registrations for a piece. Now, I have to find that combination of perfect fit of sounds on the left and right hands, and then when layering sounds to expand on the experience for any given song... it just blows my mind at all that it can do!

Before, every song on the accordion was a pleasure, the V-accordion takes that experience to levels I could not experience anywhere else in any other way... even my Elkavox pales in comparison... yes, it does some things not all that great, but it does so many things SO amazingly well. The first time I performed with it this Christmas, I know the crowd was blown away, but I think that I was more impressed with the accordion than the crowd was! :D
 

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