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Lightweight C-sytem with free bass

Jim2010

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I am looking for a lightweight c-system accordion, ideally with free bass. I don't have the best back for playing accordion. The Pigini Studio B is the lightest I have found that offers LM in the right hand. Are their others? Would stradella systems be lighter in weight? I have found lightweight free base instruments with only one voice in the right hand, including Pigini Peter Pan and Ellegaard Special, which may also have been built by Pigini.  Are those suitable for an adult (sizewise)? Any suggestions appreciated.
 

Corinto

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The HOHNER CORNELIA I and the HOHNER LUCIA, from the 1930s, are amongst the smallest and lightest button accordions Ive seen. 37 notes on the treble, 48 stradella bass (4x12) ... not easy to find, but sometimes they are for sale on the german ebay site, mostly B system and some C system ... easy to modify ... and yes, suitable for an adult, or at least I feel so. LUCIA is MM and CORNELIA I is LMM.

Photos see here = https://www.accordionists.info/showthread.php?tid=6170&pid=64918&highlight=cornelia#pid64918
 

dunlustin

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I started with a Weltmeister FB26 and have since bought a Bugari Conservatory.
Both are single voice both hands which I chose as an affordable way to see how I liked FB. Now I often prefer the single reed sound.
The Weltmeister is fine 34RH 26LH ( see here: https://www.thomann.de/gb/weltmeister_fbk_26.htm )
The Bugari would be better with a slightly longer bass strap but I can live with it - bigger range.
Maybe Ill move on to a Convertor box. For now Im enjoying the choices you get with FB - (as with the RH) from one to four notes.
Both are very light - a big plus - at approx. 4.5Kg/10lb
Several Italian/French makers offer similar instruments both as pure FB or with 60-72 Stradella too. Not cheap. They sometimes seem to aim at very young serious learners (as young as 4!) being described as 1st or 2nd cycle. I think the Peter Pan may be one of those?
Good luck with the search.
 

saundersbp

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Jim2010

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As the OP, I want to thank everyone for the suggestions, which open up some good new lines of enquiry for me. I had no idea there were so many small cba accordions. If there are additional ones, I'd appreciate hearing about them, as well as pros and cons on any and all of them.
Jim
 
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maugein96

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Jim2010 pid=71312 dateline=1587063307 said:
As the OP, I want to thank everyone for the suggestions, which open up some good new lines of enquiry for me. I had no idea there were so many small cba accordions. If there are additional ones, Id appreciate hearing about them, as well as pros and cons on any and all of them.
Jim

Jim,

If you check out this link it will give you some idea of what is generally available in France in the free bass line, both new and used. Not much use to you at the moment, but you might get some ideas. 

All of the small CBAs are suitable for adults. There is no real difference with regard to button spacing, although be aware that accordions made in France or in Italy to French spec will usually have smaller, more closely spaced buttons than their Italian counterparts. 

I know nothing at all about free bass, and couldnt recommend one model over another. Bonifassi brand accordions are made in Italy and are top quality instruments. They just arent all that common, even in France. They tend to be a bit pricey, depending on the spec. 

The store/shop generally has the biggest selection of accordions anywhere in France.

http://accordeon-bonifassi.fr/index...éon acoustiques-Accordon-basses-chromatiques/
 

Jim2010

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maugein96 pid=71334 dateline=1587136935 said:
Jim2010 pid=71312 dateline=1587063307 said:
As the OP, I want to thank everyone for the suggestions, which open up some good new lines of enquiry for me. I had no idea there were so many small cba accordions. If there are additional ones, Id appreciate hearing about them, as well as pros and cons on any and all of them.
Jim

Jim,

If you check out this link it will give you some idea of what is generally available in France in the free bass line, both new and used. Not much use to you at the moment, but you might get some ideas. 

All of the small CBAs are suitable for adults. There is no real difference with regard to button spacing, although be aware that accordions made in France or in Italy to French spec will usually have smaller, more closely spaced buttons than their Italian counterparts. 

I know nothing at all about free bass, and couldnt recommend one model over another. Bonifassi brand accordions are made in Italy and are top quality instruments. They just arent all that common, even in France. They tend to be a bit pricey, depending on the spec. 

The store/shop generally has the biggest selection of accordions anywhere in France.

http://accordeon-bonifassi.fr/index...éon acoustiques-Accordon-basses-chromatiques/
Thank you so much. There is a lot to look at there, and I havent finished, but I found at least one that is very lightweight. Not all the instruments have the weight listed, but I can contact them and ask.
 
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maugein96

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Jim2010 pid=71335 dateline=1587138997 said:
maugein96 pid=71334 dateline=1587136935 said:
Jim2010 pid=71312 dateline=1587063307 said:
As the OP, I want to thank everyone for the suggestions, which open up some good new lines of enquiry for me. I had no idea there were so many small cba accordions. If there are additional ones, Id appreciate hearing about them, as well as pros and cons on any and all of them.
Jim

Jim,

If you check out this link it will give you some idea of what is generally available in France in the free bass line, both new and used. Not much use to you at the moment, but you might get some ideas. 

All of the small CBAs are suitable for adults. There is no real difference with regard to button spacing, although be aware that accordions made in France or in Italy to French spec will usually have smaller, more closely spaced buttons than their Italian counterparts. 

I know nothing at all about free bass, and couldnt recommend one model over another. Bonifassi brand accordions are made in Italy and are top quality instruments. They just arent all that common, even in France. They tend to be a bit pricey, depending on the spec. 

The store/shop generally has the biggest selection of accordions anywhere in France.

http://accordeon-bonifassi.fr/index...éon acoustiques-Accordon-basses-chromatiques/
Thank you so much. There is a lot to look at there, and I havent finished, but I found at least one that is very lightweight. Not all the instruments have the weight listed, but I can contact them and ask.

The listings are a bit short on info, as you say, and I think they expect interested parties to contact them to discuss the instruments. Ive never dealt with them, but love to browse through their website. They were formerly known as Accordeons Sud Est, and Im not sure when they changed to Bonifassi with their own brand. They never were the cheapest outlet in France under any name, but the stock has always been very comprehensive. 

I had a look at their smaller CBAs without free bass, but I dont think there was much there that would be of interest to you. Portugal is probably the cheapest place in Western Europe for buying C system CBAs, as they are the most common type of accordion there. However, I have rarely seen a Portuguese player with a small CBA. Most of them tend to play big 4 and 5 voice boxes with Stradella bass arranged 3/3, like the French players use. 

Good luck in your quest.
 

AccordionUprising

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Free-bass-only accordions I've seen are significantly lighter weight than stradella models, and (obviously?) much lighter than a converter that combines both.

Less reeds to do a single note per button than multi-reed chords.

I too, have long been interested in a full-sounding, free-bass only cba.
 

oldbayan

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Roland FR-1xb

You can switch from Stradella to Free Bass any time! Several configurations too.
 

oldbayan

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JerryPH said:
Its not a chromatic, but it is tiny and it *is* a Free Bass.  :)

I have seen Soviet accordions that came with two interchangeable bass sides, a 100-button stradella and a 48-button free bass!
 

stickista

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Another option is French Harmoneons, which are free bass instruments. At least it seems like there are a lot of them in France.
https://www.leboncoin.fr/recherche/?text=harmoneon
The deal with Harmoneons is that the left hand, while C system, is set up like B converters, with the low bass towards the floor.
That layout actually makes a lot of sense because if you were to break the instrument in half and lay out the sides in front of you, you’d see that it is exactly how a piano is set up... continuously ascending in pitch from left pinky to right pinky,
Also, the weakest finger (left pinky) has the less dexterous role of just hitting roots while the more nimble 1-4 fingers can better handle more complicated melodies and chords.
Of course all systems have strengths and weaknesses, so it comes down to what fits your style of playing.
 

Jim2010

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stickista pid=71378 dateline=1587261407 said:
Another option is French Harmoneons, which are free bass instruments. At least it seems  like there are a lot of them in France.
https://www.leboncoin.fr/recherche/?text=harmoneon
The deal with Harmoneons is that the left hand, while C system, is set up like B converters, with the low bass towards the floor.
That layout actually makes a lot of sense because if you were to break the instrument in half and lay out the sides in front of you, you’d see that it is exactly how a piano is set up... continuously ascending in pitch from left pinky to right pinky,
Also, the weakest finger (left pinky) has the less dexterous role of just hitting roots while the more nimble 1-4 fingers can better handle more complicated melodies and chords.
Of course all systems have strengths and weaknesses, so it comes down to what fits your style of playing.
Thank you. I like the large left hand buttons. Are they always set up like B converters? It may not be a problem for me. Right now I only play c-sytem accordina, so I dont have any left hand habits to maintain or break.
 

dunlustin

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Ads from leboncoin were a real surprise to me.
I thought the harmoneon was a short-lived experiment that didn't get off the ground.
If I'd known I would have popped across the Channel for a few days.
The LH mirror image layout has always seemed a weakness.
As Stickista notes you have the least agile finger doing a lot of the work - and a scale feels unnatural.
The Bayan seems more sensible. I wonder if the mirror image was change for change's sake - maybe a Patent question?
 

Jim2010

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dunlustin said:
Ads from leboncoin were a real surprise to me.
I thought the harmoneon was a short-lived experiment that didn't get off the ground.
If I'd known I would have popped across the Channel for a few days.
The LH mirror image layout has always seemed a weakness.
As Stickista notes you have the least agile finger doing a lot of the work - and a scale feels unnatural.
The Bayan seems more sensible. I wonder if the mirror image was change for change's sake - maybe a Patent question?

The question of mirror image layout comes up in Hayden duet concertina discussions. I am looking around there, too, because that is a *very* light (2-3 lbs) "freebass" system. The vast majority (of the small number of players) use non-mirrored, in part because until recently that was the only option. Based on their comments, they feel comfortable visualizing the keyboard as a folded piano keyboard, as Stickista mentioned. Some players new to the system opt for the mirrored system and say that they consider it easier to have the hands doing the same things in the same direction, more like playing the harp than the piano. I don't have or play either one, so I have no opinion. In addition to the accordina, I play guitar, and while the hands do different things, they do it in the same direction. If I was a pianist or organist, I'd probably prefer a non-mirrored accordion. As a guitarist, I suppose I could go either way.
 

dunlustin

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I think the original Wiki keyboard was mirror-image (19thC?) but when the layout was rediscovered it was set up as a 'folded piano.'
Also I think the big plus was a Duet keyboard with one fingering for multiple keys.
Downside- the number of buttons you can fit into the case. (On a cba 3 octaves on each side are available and even a little Welty gives you 2 on the LH and almost 3 on the RH.)
Not cheap.
An alternative would be a Crane Duet - vintage instruments are not that hard to find. Repairs/maintenance - maybe a handful of good technicians in the whole of the UK.
To 'dip your toe' - the Elise Duet - used for a few 100£: see Concertina Connection.
 

stickista

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Jim2010 said:
The question of mirror image layout comes up in Hayden duet concertina discussions. I am looking around there, too, because that is a *very* light (2-3 lbs) "freebass" system. The vast majority (of the small number of players) use non-mirrored, in part because until recently that was the only option. Based on their comments, they feel comfortable visualizing the keyboard as a folded piano keyboard, as Stickista mentioned. Some players new to the system opt for the mirrored system and say that they consider it easier to have the hands doing the same things in the same direction, more like playing the harp than the piano. I don't have or play either one, so I have no opinion. In addition to the accordina, I play guitar, and while the hands do different things, they do it in the same direction. If I was a pianist or organist, I'd probably prefer a non-mirrored accordion. As a guitarist, I suppose I could go either way.

I had to decide between the 2 LH layouts when I had my Geuns Hybrid Bandoneon built. Harry advised against the ‘Bass on bottom’ and I probably let that influence me too much. I came from Accordina, and my thought was that mirrored hands would let the RH teach the LH, as happens on piano. What I found was that what you do on the left is mostly very different from the right (unless you’re doing strictly Bach 2 parts.) Even the piano trick of learning a chord voicing on the right and then teaching that to the left really doesn’t apply because chords that lie nicely at the top of the RH don’t play well at the bottom of the LH.

What I’ve found is that what does work well is bass notes with ‘shell voicings’ above them (3rd/7th, 7th/9th, etc). And then completing the chord with appropriate chord tones and extensions on the right under the melody.
I have yet to find a good way to voice simple triads that doesn’t sound hokey, and I’m still trying to find good voicings for inversions on the left. For those I tend to just play the bass note and go for dense chords on the right.

I’m always curious as to what I’d have come up with if I’d gone with the ‘bass towards the floor’ layout and if that would have allowed easier melodic playing on the left.
But I’ve set my path and happy with it.

(Side note... my handle ‘stickista’ is from my long time as a Chapman Stick player, which essentially uses a layout mirrored along the middle of the fretboard.)
(Another side note... Emmett Chapman who invented the Stick started as an accordion player as a kid. All things are connected.)
 

Dingo40

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Stickista,

The things ones  never heard of! :)
If it can be done, someone will do it!
Amazing  :)

 

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