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Mid-Level Small Piano Accordions: Best bang for your buck?

RenoFour

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Hi all! My playing is starting to outgrow my great first accordion and now I am looking for something in a smaller size, 30+ keys and ideally 72 bass, 60 could work too. I've been looking at some of the more entry-level Weltmeisters like the Rubin, but I'm sure there are myriad other options and it's hard to tell differences from pictures online. I'm looking for lightness, ease of play, and portability. I mostly play klezmer and traditional country, if that helps. I would guess my price range caps out around $1,500.

Edit:
Sorry y'all, this question has been asked several times already. referring back!
 
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cat

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I got a little 48 bass Delicia for busking. It has a nice smooth and good sounding nice bass. Got it in May but haven't used it due to covid.
 

debra

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Well below your budget, but a "smallish" accordion that is the best workhorse I know of is the German made Hohner Verdi II (N I believe), the one with the white register tops, and before the production move to China. These accordions are very robust, never let you down, and are 37/96 so they offer everything you can possibly need in terms of bass, and most of what you need on the treble side (F to F in 37 keys). These accordions go for around 600 to 700 (US$ or Euro). When you go smaller than this you are starting to hit limits on both the treble and bass side.
 

RenoFour

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Thank you all! @debra I'm aware of the limitations and comfortable with them. I am hoping to get the smaller instrument to haul around to jams and gigs with my country band in crowded bars (if that's something that will ever happen again.) Thank you so much for the recommendation about the Hohner! I'm checking it out now.
-G
 

wirralaccordion

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@debra - you said "before the production move to China".

Just wondered if you know when that was? ( Apologies if it's been covered already on the forum )
 

debra

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@debra - you said "before the production move to China".

Just wondered if you know when that was? ( Apologies if it's been covered already on the forum )
I don't know when that was but I do know that when you get a Verdi II N with a whole row of "gold" pieces of trim on the curved part of the grille, and some more "gold" straight stripes on the flat part of the grille you have a German one. If it has less gold trim I wouldn't trust it, but I don't know for sure whether all the ones with less gold trim are Chinese or not.
 

dunlustin

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I believe the bulk of production was moved around 2000 - I'm not sure that will be a lot of help though.
Weltmeister are said to be an OK mid-range maker now but were less so before German unification.
 

cat

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I agree with debra and all - that German bass works well for klezmer, Gypsy, east European sound ...the sound of Hohner, Welty, delicia, others.. Consider:

Be it the more forceful, hypnotic and almost unsettling droning eastern-influenced melodies or the lush and calming Slavic tunes with their melancholy happines - either way a strange, archaic feel emanates from the music

*attr: Eastern European Folk Tunes for Accordion
 
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cat

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Oops where's the edit button!

(<embarrassed face> ah, there it is :^l )
 

JeffJetton

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For a brand-new accordion, the Hohner Bravo 72 bass and Weltmeister Achat (also 72 bass) are reasonable choices. Both are LMM and about 16 lbs. The musette on the Weltie is generally a bit wetter than the Bravo.

I'm thinking you're going to want access to that LM register setting from time-to-time, so I wouldn't recommend an MM accordion like the Rubin.
Not sure if they even still make the Rubin anymore, actually. (Weltmeister went through a change of hands and restructuring a couple years back, and they've slimmed down their product line.)
 

Scuromondo

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For a brand-new accordion, the Hohner Bravo 72 bass and Weltmeister Achat (also 72 bass) are reasonable choices. Both are LMM and about 16 lbs. The musette on the Weltie is generally a bit wetter than the Bravo.

I'm thinking you're going to want access to that LM register setting from time-to-time, so I wouldn't recommend an MM accordion like the Rubin.
Not sure if they even still make the Rubin anymore, actually. (Weltmeister went through a change of hands and restructuring a couple years back, and they've slimmed down their product line.)
I tried a Hohner Amica (which I think is virtually the same, in terms of build-quality) to the Bravo for a week and I was impressed by its feel but very disappointed with its sound quality. It seemed to have very poor low frequency response—both the bassoon reeds on the right hand, as well as the left hand (bass) side were very “thin” sounding to me. I agree that the price is very attractive for a new instrument, but for the same price, or less, I think an older used instrument in good condition is a much better value.
 
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Sebastian Bravo

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i read somewhere that the amica forte has italian durall reeds, but the amica model is exactly a Hohner Bravo made to other country market.
 

debra

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I tried a Hohner Amica (which I think is virtually the same, in terms of build-quality) to the Bravo for a week and I was impressed by its feel but very disappointed with its sound quality. It seemed to have very poor low frequency response—both the bassoon reeds on the right hand, as well as the left hand (bass) side were very “thin” sounding to me. I agree that the price is very attractive for a new instrument, but for the same price, or less, I think an older used instrument in good condition is a much better value.
These lower end Hohner accordions have been made in China for quite a long time now. The mechanics are "fine" but use Chinese steel which causes for instance springs to break much much faster than the German-made ones from decades ago. The ones with Chinese reeds clearly have poor sound as well. I heard an old Verdi II made in Germany and a similar Hohner made in China side by side. Especially the bass was weak and did not sound "deep" enough on the Chinese one. I'd shy away from anything made in China even when it has a Hohner badge.
 

Tom

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I would venture to guess that even the "made in Germany, Italy, Spain, etc." lower cost accordions are sourcing parts from China, Korea, etc. in an attempt to meet price thresholds.

You're going to have to search hard to find a used instrument in good shape from back in the day, or pay more to a reputable maker, and, in either case, yous throws your dice and yous takes your chances.....
 

OuijaBoard

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I think you're on the right track aiming for 60 or 72 basses. You don't need more to play folk and country. You also don't need more than 30 treble keys and I find the width starts to get annoying over 34 keys. That is, for this type of music, which is what I myself play.

In your price range, I think the Weltmeister Rubin (2-voice, 60 bass) and Juwel (3-voice, 72 bass) are wonderful. Factory-new they sometimes need a little setup tweaking for the tremolo or to ease air passage, I've found. But well cared-for, they're hardy and fun folk boxes. There is also the Kristall, which has full-width keys and is 30 treble/60 bass. New some of these may be a bit over your price, but used are out there--you do want Excellent condition.

I also like new Delicias for folk playing--I see Smythes Accordion in Oakland has a brand-new pink MM on their site which looks pretty nifty. They also seem to have a Rubin or Juwel or two.

I'd also highly recommend the Hohner Concerto models prior to the move to China, which was some point late '90s/early 2000's. An excellent-condition Concerto III, a 3-voice LMM 34/72, is one of the great folk boxes of all time. I'd try to get one of the later editions--I believe the last was the Concerto III T, and before that there was the Concerto III S, preceded by the Concerto III N. That Concerto III 34/72 is truly a classic for world folk genres. There was also a Concerto II, MM 34/72.
 

RenoFour

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Thanks, Folks!

I ended up going with the Rubin and I'm VERY pleased. Perfect size and weight, and the limitations haven't been an issue. Like @OuijaBoard said, I only use the extreme edges of my keyboard sparingly and so far it's been very simple to re-arrange and compensate on the smaller keyboard. If there are numbers that I simply can't play on it, I still have my trusty old 120 bass Majoret. Really appreciate all of your help! Happy squeezing-
-Grace
 

OuijaBoard

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Congratulations, and hope you have a wonderful time with the Rubin! I lucked into a mint-condition Rubin a couple years ago and love it. The b-flat and "a" below middle c will be very welcome for klez! I have started to use 26-keys (I do like them with 60 or 72 bass) for Irish and other Celtic genres because the small percentage of those tunes that go below middle "C" are easily rearrangeable. But 30 treble remains my fave due to klez and other Eastern European genres where plenty of tunes in d-minor and g-minor need that b-flat and a.
 

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