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KILLER ACCORDION

debra

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Yeah, I get the 10,000 parts thing and I do expect some "defects". I can tolerate bent register switches and improper bass switches, misaligned reeds, gobbled up valves and pretty much all of such listed above, but really, 1 functional bracket screw on the fully loaded strap bracket? That's 18+ pounds hanging off a 1/8" x 1/2" wood screw! With a guillotine (albeit a dull one) attached between the straps (see pic 6 above). I would challenge any defenders out there to give the scenario a test run.
Also Dingo, the screw holes were not drilled completely thru the case. This, of course, would be the proper way to mount the upper, load carrying, bracket. It is a moot point regarding the lower bracket as there is little load.
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The screw "mishap" is indeed the one truly unforgivable defect. In such an expensive instrument you may expect such important structural elements to be installed correctly. The only other thing I have seen (not in one of my own repairs) that is similarly serious is where the top shoulder strap bracket breaks off in a Pigini Peter Pan: the whole case is made out of plastic and while the screws are holding the plastic case just breaks off around the bracket... It reminds me of how the plastic case of an Olympus E-M5 III camera breaks around the tripod mount...
Fortunately not all designs are as flawed as they appear. I never thought that the "Gardinenstange" (curtain rod) used on the hohner Morino would hold up but it is amazingly strong (and held in place with no less than 4 screws).
 

Waldo

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Paul;
I'm just happy I didn't discover the defect the hard way. Any known decapitations associated with the Peter Pan???
BTW, I'm keeping the Fly...Just never buying another.

JerryPH;
Please, what ad blocker do you use?
Tx
Waldo
 
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Brian K W Lightowler

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Waldo's Caveat Emptor is always good advice for everything. Though for ordinary customers (and even dealers in the business) lacking insider information, it may not be possible to obtain the facts underlying the case which may or may not be relevant to the poor product. It is sad to say that in Waldo's situation is was in my view best option to address the faults locally rather than ship the wreck half way across the world with the uncertain expectation that throwing good money after bad money will create enlightenment.

Without intending to cap this Beltuna rubbish, I cite my experience with the ill fated Borsini a few years ago. Having purchased a half decent accordion from what was (in UK) considered a reputable manufacturer of the olden days, the model turned out to have a fatal flaw in the free bass mechanism. My local technician and I decided by arrangement with the manufacturer to ship it back to Borsini. Not a lot happened after that and the company not before time, declared bankruptcy. Legal recourse, though attempted, was futile and presumably my instrument in their workshop was parcelled up by the accountants for the receivers. To add insult to injury a couple of years I had correspondence from a solicitor in Ancona suggesting that I was on the list of debtors; this was cleared up and it emerged that there was long standing dishonesty in the Borsini dynasty. Needless to say I lost my money but as you see form this post I remain in dismay and news of continuing deterioration of behaviour in the accordion industry comes a no surprise . That is not to say that I've written off the dream of finding a perfect accordion and have made several nail biting new purchases since from the minefield. It's fine to say 'never buy without try', but at the higher end, it's an international marketplace and ordering an instrument, although it may not be admitted by a dealer often means the one you want has yet to be assembled and doesn't actually exist.

Amend the purchasers' motto....Caveat Emptor Si Possis
 

saundersbp

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I'm very sorry to hear about your experience with this manufacturer, it all sounds like a great shame and their response seems like they don't care a great deal about quality control or reputation. I'd have expected at the very least an apologetic call from a company director and a courier to be sent at their expense to collect the instrument with an assurance to put right or to refund. I agree that the defects in the strap fastening constitute a basic safety issue which would surely mortify the maker of any goods.

I bought an accordion myself this year and most of my research was into the companies themselves rather than the instrument and finding out which companies were likely to be still trading in five years time. I also looked at what make of new instruments professionals were buying themselves rather than promoting, and how companies behaved in the case of a problem. After this research I felt confident buying from two Italian companies.

It turned out that the accordion I bought was great except the hard case it was supplied with was too generous a size for the instrument. When I contacted them, the MD responded immediately apologising and assuring me that they would have one made specially, to give them a few weeks, and that it would be sent to me at their expense and free of charge. This to me seems like an excellent customer based approach: you have a point of contact at the top of the organisation, nothing is too much trouble, and they care about keeping customers happy. This is what one would expect, but it seems outside these bigger companies it can be the wild west in accordion land, particularly with new instruments!

I should add that I buy significant numbers of other musical instruments for my day job and knowing exactly who and what you are dealing with is crucial when spending your money and other people's.

I hope the defects you have are easily corrected and can be done so without fuss and you can enjoy making music, after all, that's what it's all about!
 
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debra

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Paul;
I'm just happy I didn't discover the defect the hard way. Any known decapitations associated with the Peter Pan???
BTW, I'm keeping the Fly...Just never buying another.
...
With the Peter Pan I believe the issue was discovered when the owner wanted to pick up the instrument by the shoulder straps and the case just cracked all the way around the strap bracket. It was another repairer who got to fix it. In some sense this is a much more serious problem because it is a problem with the design of the Peter Pan, whereas your problem was an assembly mistake. It is a serious problem with your instrument but most likely not a problem with the design of your accordion. I have seen quite a few problems in new accordions, and they are divided more or less fifty-fifty between a problem in the design (for instance the lowest L reed hitting the first bellows fold, or the large bass block being too close to the bellows) and accidental mistakes in manufacturing (like reed plates mounted at an angle, inner valves too long, etc.)
 

Waldo

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Thank you all. For some reason your commiseration makes me feel better (maybe it's because 2022 starts, for me, in 2 1/2 hours...may it be a better year for all of us). At least I didn't lose any hard won money on the deal. The fix was .89 cents (US) plus tax for a total of $1.75 (ha, ha). There is much I like about the 'tuna, but Saundersbp's post has set a new standard for me. His description of "customer service" was all I was really seeking with the original letter to them. (Sbp, why not ID those two firms, save us lots of research). You can't really tell what an accordion sounds like over computer speakers anyway. Fortunately, I'm done buying new accordions (Disclaimer: DBA half paid for). I will remain open to the occasional oddball, however.

PS; Any Beltuna owners out there, CHECK YOUR SCREWS!!!
 

saundersbp

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Thank you all. For some reason your commiseration makes me feel better (maybe it's because 2022 starts, for me, in 2 1/2 hours...may it be a better year for all of us). At least I didn't lose any hard won money on the deal. The fix was .89 cents (US) plus tax for a total of $1.75 (ha, ha). There is much I like about the 'tuna, but Saundersbp's post has set a new standard for me. His description of "customer service" was all I was really seeking with the original letter to them. (Sbp, why not ID those two firms, save us lots of research). You can't really tell what an accordion sounds like over computer speakers anyway. Fortunately, I'm done buying new accordions (Disclaimer: DBA half paid for). I will remain open to the occasional oddball, however.

PS; Any Beltuna owners out there, C

Thank you all. For some reason your commiseration makes me feel better (maybe it's because 2022 starts, for me, in 2 1/2 hours...may it be a better year for all of us). At least I didn't lose any hard won money on the deal. The fix was .89 cents (US) plus tax for a total of $1.75 (ha, ha). There is much I like about the 'tuna, but Saundersbp's post has set a new standard for me. His description of "customer service" was all I was really seeking with the original letter to them. (Sbp, why not ID those two firms, save us lots of research). You can't really tell what an accordion sounds like over computer speakers anyway. Fortunately, I'm done buying new accordions (Disclaimer: DBA half paid for). I will remain open to the occasional oddball, however.

PS; Any Beltuna owners out there, CHECK YOUR SCREWS!!!

The two companies I was most impressed with were Pigini and Bugari. This is my own personal reflection based on the people that were leading these organisations in 2021 and I'm sure there are other great firms. I didn't rely on a company's reputation a decade ago (since workers and leaders move on or retire and product lines can change or modify), nor the quality of their current PR. I found both completely professional, pleasant to engage with and of a standard commensurate with similar sized organisations in other fields. The question of what particular accordion I wanted to order was secondary.

For what it's worth, I'm not always completely convinced about lightweight musical instruments as I think too much can be sacrificed in tone. The quality and mass of wood in many musical instruments is crucial in providing that round depth of tone that fills a room with warmth of sound. If it were a toss up I'd always go for less reeds and more wood mass; finding a sweet spot between the two in terms of weight seems to me to be an important judgement when designing accordions. I know people will have different views on this but it's what influenced my decision.
 

Tom

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Waldo,.

I am curious about your interest in Tex Mex. Are you somewhere where you can hear the music? What songs/genre do you want to play, and will you sing? Are you in the classic Ayala/Jimenez camp or ????? What key are you getting? For me it's interesting, and I've tried it, but it's another case of "so many styles, so little time." But the reeds on my Corona need some exercise and the bars and restaurants are kind of out right now.
 

debra

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The two companies I was most impressed with were Pigini and Bugari. This is my own personal reflection based on the people that were leading these organisations in 2021 and I'm sure there are other great firms. I didn't rely on a company's reputation a decade ago (since workers and leaders move on or retire and product lines can change or modify), nor the quality of their current PR. I found both completely professional, pleasant to engage with and of a standard commensurate with similar sized organisations in other fields. The question of what particular accordion I wanted to order was secondary.
...
These are indeed two companies to be impressed with. But sadly in my experience the accordions being produced by Pigini impress me less than those made by Bugari. I have done repairs/tuning on both, different models from both, and based on that I rate Bugari above Pigini. Maybe the absolute top models rank differently, that I don't know. The people I know and love and for whom I handle their accordions do not have the absolute top models but the ones (just) below that. I'm also quite happy with Excelsior (including the Hohner Morino N and S series they made), but alas Excelsior is no more (now just a part of Pigini).
 
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Tom

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Pretty darn happy with my (mid range) Della Noce and Piatanesi. Not perfect, but not killer either, emotion over perfection and all.
 

Walker

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Pretty darn happy with my (mid range) Della Noce and Piatanesi. Not perfect, but not killer either, emotion over perfection and all.

Della Noce organetti are beautiful! Also, of the few Piatanesi accordions I have played, I would say they have a very rich and impressive tone.

But I also think there is some merit in buying the heavy-hitters (sorry - to soon) like Bugari and Pigini. All joking aside, I do actually have one of each, albeit modest versions. They are well designed and built.

However, to be perfectly honest, of the top Pigini & Bugari standard bass accordions I have played - the Pigini Caruso (at Musikmesse a few years ago) & the Bugari G1 by Gianluca Gobetti (at their factory in 2019) - I would say they are very, very good indeed. And for what it's worth the Beltuna Spirit is as good as either of them. It is magnificent. The version with real mother-of-pearl inlay is devastating - but in a good way.

I really hope, in the fullness of time, it turns out to be a 'one-off' bad experience, which is remedied and you have many years of enjoyment from the accordion.
 
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donn

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The box I ordered was configured in the French 3/3 system, and as such, didn't include bellows closure straps (sometimes I don't get French logic, (or lack thereof). I knew this beforehand, so had a set of bellows straps included with my order.

I hope you didn't do like whoever installed bellow straps on my Campagnolo. There are normally two "male" snap fasteners for the free end of each strap - one for when the strap is in use holding the bellows shut, and a side snap to secure the strap when it isn't in use. The side snap had been screwed into the case through the bellows tenon, so you'd have to remove that snap on both ends to open up the accordion. I removed them, and let the straps dangle when not in use.
 

debra

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I hope you didn't do like whoever installed bellow straps on my Campagnolo. There are normally two "male" snap fasteners for the free end of each strap - one for when the strap is in use holding the bellows shut, and a side snap to secure the strap when it isn't in use. The side snap had been screwed into the case through the bellows tenon, so you'd have to remove that snap on both ends to open up the accordion. I removed them, and let the straps dangle when not in use.
That is just stupid! There are two common errors in bellow strap placement:
1) Where the screws go is often not thought through and screws end up in bad places, like in your case. Enclosed a picture of another error: putting the screws in wood that is too thin (and another picture shows the solution).
2) Not thinking where the second male snap fastener should go. I have one accordion where there is no male snap fastener for the open position at the top (low notes) because where it normally goes are chin switches, and diagonally the other way the end of the strap is beyond the edge of the accordion. Placing the strap off-center (closer to the player's body) would have solved this as the strap would then not reach beyond the edge...
In the picture you see there are 3 screws. Two out of the three have been ground off because that's where the bellows frame goes, and the third is 2/3 through the wood so not enough of the thread is really held in place. How hard is it really to add small piece of extra wood so the screw is more secure?
 

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Waldo

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In posting order:
Saundersbp; These names were both contenders. I'd have gone with the Bugari except for the weight.

Tom; I grew up in SoCal and believe I am a misplaced Mexican. My favorite food is Mexican, I love tequila, I (we) won the Mexican 1000 in 1968, I've raced sailboats into Mexico, been in all the Mexican states except two, cruised the Sea of Cortez in a 14 ft sailboat and owned a house there for 12 years (Nayarit). I also LOVE the beautiful women. Musically, I have always liked the border genres, (TexMex, Norteno, Conjunto). Flaco Jimenez is my accordion hero (Ayala is pretty good, too). When selecting my 1st box (a PA), I figured a chromatic ought to be able to do anything a DBA could do (although I have discovered that not to be the case) and be more versatile (I moved to CBA early on, once I woke up). I have seen Mexican accordionists play the border styles on both PA and CBA, so I know it is possible. I harbor no illusions that buying a DBA will turn me into Flaco Delgado, but the only i-net instructional vids I've found feature the DBA. Plus, I sold some junk I've collected over the years and could afford it (you can never have too many accordions). GCF, as I'm told this tuning works best with string instruments and is the most common for border music. I'll post some pics once it arrives. BTW, what part of the USA do you call home?

96Bass; Yes, that is the offender. I have also gold leafed the grille for a little more pizzazz (see pic). Note the French system xtra bass row. Still getting used to it but so far I like it. I don't use diminished chords very much and can make them when necessary using treble buttons. It should be noted here that I like the accordion, just not the QC (or lack thereof).

Press on,
Waldo
 

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