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new thread to keep from straying too far in an old thread

Ventura

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reaponse to Thomas N from "best" accordion discussion

tbh i have found myself doing more and more Acoustic than Digital the last few years

my 960 was my primary gigging box for almost 2 decades, midi'd to a
rolling rack of assorted Synth modules including a Drawbar unit from Orla...
it was great for Big Band and Jazz, Latin and Rock n Roll as it has a tweaked
incredibly fast short throw key action and my Synths gave me everything
from Chad Baker leads to Carlos Santana's Black Magic Woman

i shifted away from it after my Gig style moved to MIDI arrangements,
which allowed me to do more legit Ethnic orchestrations and for
which my Gola was better suited as an all around versatile choice
(Korg devices designed and built in Italy for MIDI playback)

then one year Roland hired me to help them re-boot the FR7 in the USA
and i swapped it into my setup for the Gola pretty seamlessly
(after i spent an intense month re-programming it) that was the year
the Coupe Mondiale was in the USA and i got Roland a booth there
at the last minute thanks to Faithe Deffner's influence
(where i met Sam Falcetti and C. Pez among others who would become
big stars for Roland in sales and shows)

a bit later i re-created the "Cordovox" using an FR3 with CME wireless MIDI
and Line 6 Wireless Audio controlling a new Rack built with Roland modules
( Drawbars.. digital mixer... etc) focused on Jazz and Rock sounds and some
support for French (as Maugein was particularly well programmed into
the genes of the FR3) and i used that in shows for Roland for awhile
(which was how i met Rose at Roxy's Music, and signed her up as a Roland Dealer)

nowadays my FR3 and white FR7x are kind of lonely as i am trying to wear out
some of my Accordions before my time is up !

on German gigs an Atlantic IV and an antique grey small Hohner (and the Gola)
on Italian gigs a Scandalli (that came via the Soviet Block) with Stainless Steel reeds
for French my re-configured Giulietti and if MIDI is required, an Excelsior 910 LMMM tuned strongly Meusette
for Jazz the 960 and a Victoria Built quint bass bootleg (also tuned MM unison)
and strolling ethnic and when showing off, the FisItalia Woodie
for outdoor inclement weather gigs... an Excelsior from the 1960's (the box i used at the Pentagon after 9/11)
for Wine festivals a brilliant red Serenelli (built by SettimoS in the Scandalli factory)
for wedding chapel use, a cream color beauty PanCordion/Crucianelli in faux Oak
when strolling Nursing Homes my 3/4 size blue aluminum era 4/4 Scandalli
and i am still gradually refurbing a classic post war Dallape and pre-war Galanti and Excelsior
and play(ed) them at Maryland Accordion Club meetings as i whip them into better condition

that is my hands on go-to list nowadays.. i should also mention i have the luxury of having
an actual huge old Barn behind the house and it is mostly filled with Music stuff

ciao

Ventura

(others may feel free to use this thread for stuff like this or other chats that stray from some specific thread)
 

Tom

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Wow, great story and lineup, you the man!
 

Ventura

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response regarding old technology "... running windows XP"

Band in a Box (form Peter Gannon) has been running since 8086 series
IBM Compatibile PC's.. each iteration has improved, and often taken
advantage of, improvements in computer architechture. Nevertheless
the core capability of the Program can still be enjoyed and used on
any old compuer you cared to keep running and using

I personally got so used to a specific control mechanism built into
the original CAKEWALK sequencing program, that i was devastated
when Version 8 was seriously re-coded to add all kinds of bells
and whistles i personally did not need, and which also disabled
the specific feature i needed !

so

i still have and maintain (and have a spare) PC running Windows for Workgroups ,
Cakewalk 6, a version of Band in a Box, and the old DOS suite of
Word Perfect Office (which their database is where i kept my Setlists etc. for ages and ages)
and with my entire collected archive of Lyric sheets...
when my last Dot Matrix Printer died, i subbed in a XEROX all in one that
had a simulation for "epson" so i could continue to print the Dot Matrix
prepared output via a Dos Prompt batch file

my Sheet Music was never virtualized... it is still in dozens of Fake Books
that line a nearby wall of the Studio

for decades i used this computer to prepare MIDI files and show sets
which i then transferred to Floppy Disk and used in live performance
on a series of i5M Korg MIDI modules/arrangers (which i eventually
wore 3 of them out... these were designed in Italy at Korgs facility and were
also one of the first Modules to accomodate MIDI Accordion as a live controller)
they eventually begat the i40, which i also have but preferred the original i5m
and so the newer tech i40 sat on a shelf most of it's life.

a few years ago i switched to a newer device from KORG (MP-10 Pro) which i
immediately upgraded with a solid state hard drive, and which now contains
my entire collected MIDI and MP3 collection and reconstituted Playlists and which
works really well, but i still miss my i5m's (the floppy drives are no longer repairable)
but i gave them away as MIDI modules and pre-set Drum machines to other
accordion friends in the club, so they are still useful many decades after their origin

i guess my point is, a tech difference must also be useful, and have substance,
AND apply to your needs and desires, to actually be an improvement.
Tech just presents us with possible tools. we still have to find ways to make them useful.

ciao

Ventura
 

Alan Sharkis

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response regarding old technology "... running windows XP"

Band in a Box (form Peter Gannon) has been running since 8086 series
IBM Compatibile PC's.. each iteration has improved, and often taken
advantage of, improvements in computer architechture. Nevertheless
the core capability of the Program can still be enjoyed and used on
any old compuer you cared to keep running and using

I personally got so used to a specific control mechanism built into
the original CAKEWALK sequencing program, that i was devastated
when Version 8 was seriously re-coded to add all kinds of bells
and whistles i personally did not need, and which also disabled
the specific feature i needed !

so

i still have and maintain (and have a spare) PC running Windows for Workgroups ,
Cakewalk 6, a version of Band in a Box, and the old DOS suite of
Word Perfect Office (which their database is where i kept my Setlists etc. for ages and ages)
and with my entire collected archive of Lyric sheets...
when my last Dot Matrix Printer died, i subbed in a XEROX all in one that
had a simulation for "epson" so i could continue to print the Dot Matrix
prepared output via a Dos Prompt batch file

my Sheet Music was never virtualized... it is still in dozens of Fake Books
that line a nearby wall of the Studio

for decades i used this computer to prepare MIDI files and show sets
which i then transferred to Floppy Disk and used in live performance
on a series of i5M Korg MIDI modules/arrangers (which i eventually
wore 3 of them out... these were designed in Italy at Korgs facility and were
also one of the first Modules to accomodate MIDI Accordion as a live controller)
they eventually begat the i40, which i also have but preferred the original i5m
and so the newer tech i40 sat on a shelf most of it's life.

a few years ago i switched to a newer device from KORG (MP-10 Pro) which i
immediately upgraded with a solid state hard drive, and which now contains
my entire collected MIDI and MP3 collection and reconstituted Playlists and which
works really well, but i still miss my i5m's (the floppy drives are no longer repairable)
but i gave them away as MIDI modules and pre-set Drum machines to other
accordion friends in the club, so they are still useful many decades after their origin

i guess my point is, a tech difference must also be useful, and have substance,
AND apply to your needs and desires, to actually be an improvement.
Tech just presents us with possible tools. we still have to find ways to make them useful.

ciao

Ventura
OK, have you ever done MIDI in an Atari 8-bit computer using a non-GM portable keyboard as a player? Things have certainly progressed since those days. I also did what you did and created tons of .KAR files as well. I just bought a used BK-7m and one of my goals is to hook it up to an old analog TV and display lyrics on it using the BK as a player. Should be fun ...
 

Ventura

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hi Alan,

back then i was working at Valley Music in the Hagerstown Mall,
and talked Mr. Knepper into ordering one for the sales floor,as well as
something from BareFot Software to run on it

it sold before i could really understand it, plus back then i could never
have afforded to buy one

my true tech level at that time was CG-V Cordovox

ciao

Ventura
 

Ventura

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" to this day the ideal accordion for ME would be an acoustic, with MIDI, with
a velocity sensitive keyboard for additional Orchestral sounds "


when i went to Italy the first time, my primary goals were to find Scandalli and
see the factories (camerano and farfisa) then to visit SOLTON and get my hands on
their Midi ACcordion, (which was reputed to have Velocity)
and to visit Excelsior and Castlefidardo in the same
way i had once pilgrimaged to Haight Asbury

unfortunately , Scandalli/Farfisa was nothing but abandoned rusting bones and the
SOlton, well the velocity approach smply turned out to be impossible to
maintain with Spring contacts (solid state contacts having not yet made their
way into the Accordion or Digital Keyboard industries)

but i did find Master Sound and Excelsior and profited greatly and for decades to come
from their products and friendship, as well as a tremendous respect for the
Programmers and ears at Ketron/Solton

at this time, Musictech was still a gleam in someones eye, working out of their
garage under a condo, and Paolo Soprani was an empty shell, though their
Palm Trees and Goldfish Pond on the hill had survived

ciao

Ventura
 

Giovanni

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Hello Ventura . An Acoustic accordion with midi and first class touch sensitivity response to really use the Orchestral sounds to their full potential and after-touch , light in weight and of course midi wireless, compatible for use with any arranger module / keyboard on the market .
It's the holy Grail !!!! if you find / know of such an accordion ......let me know !!! ........regards ..Giovanni
 

Ventura

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regarding generally repeated stuff about Scandalli and Soprani

the most famous and successful name in Accordion was without doubt
SOPRANI... and PAOLO was also the most arrogant and powerful man
in Castlefidardo. He built a huge Factory at the very top of the HIll
that leads up to the old walled "Castle" heart of the town.. you simply
could not miss it, but he still had the entire area in front of the Factory
sculpted with a fountain and Palm Trees (in defiance of Nature)

SETTIMO, his brother, couldn't take it any more and built his OWN factory
in defiance of his Brother, and located it JUST BELOW the Paolo factory,
off to the side hanging off the cliff, so that Paolo could not look out his
WIndows without seeing his Brothers name

Paolo Soprani accordions became beloved to a huge number of
musicians because the average Paolo accordion, models we would call
student or beginner, were crafted extrremely well and had
great reeds and sound. Other brands captured Famous Artists, but
the world of Folk and everyday musicians came to love and revere the
little red Paolo Soprani's they played every day and everywhere from
campfires to mad Festivals, and to this day that little red accordion
is STILL regarded by many as the holy grail box to get your hands on
if you are really lucky !

Settimo went in a different direction, largely due to his early friendship
with Charles Nunzio (a great American importer, promoter and empiric)
Settimo became the maker for countless Accordion Teaching studio
private label brands as well as larger importers and distributors like
Serenelli, and they had the Lion's share of that American Market at the time.
Charles Nunzio was a frequent visitor to Italy and the Settimo factory, often
bringing R&D ideas and talking them in to trying new things... the modern
system of Shifts with preset combinations that brought us past the Rocker
shift and limited Palm Shift era was due to his influence with Settimo... and
the first accordions to sport the design came out of the Settimo factory
(then quickly became copied as the new Standard by pretty much everyone)

Accordion Factories were dangerous places because of the method of
covering bodies with Celluloid or Cellulose film, which required
copious amounts of flammable liquids and the resultant fumes

because of this, we can never say for certain whether the many factories that
burned to the ground during the heyday of Accordion were accidental
or
ARSON
but it is still generally believed in the streets of CastleFi someone from Paolo Soprani
torched the Settimo factory in the middle of one fine and very starless night...

at this time there were few people in CastleFi who could stand up to the
Paolo Soprani juggernaut, but one man who was NOT based in Castlefi
who was also huge in the Accordion industry did have the nerve
(and distance) to do so... this is where the history of SCANDALLI
and SETTIMO SOPRANI begin to merge

Scandalli offered his friend to bring everything they could salvage,
and his employees, and let them have THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT at the
Scandalli factory in Camerano

for many years Setimo Soprani stayed a separate entity, and continued
their relationships with their private brands, as well as through Charles Nunzio,
continued on with their own branding and collaborations (with Dick Contino
and the famous line of Student accordions which bear his name for example)

meanwhile Scandalli set out to build the grandest factory of them all on the road
from Ancona to CastleFi... the FARFISA plant was built and the modernization
and marriage of Accordion and Electronics was begun... This is where the new
methods of building... the bass mechanism that was an independant sub-assembly
which could be dropped out of a box for repair with 2 clips, and the
individually mounted Treble Key system, as well as the huge increase in
Aluminum content vs Wood. This is where the Transavox and eventual SynthAccordion
were invented and built. It is also important to note that traditional production
of Accordion bodies was NEVER moved to the Farfisa facility... so all models
that still were built with pivot rod treble key actions came out of the
original Scandalli factory, and eventually the individual key-mounting body
assemblies were sent up the the old accordion factory, and so you can occasionally
find a model with individual trebles married to traditional Stradella mechanicals
on the same accordion

at some point in time, it became obvious that Settimo would never re-establish
an independant factory, and also due to age and death among the families, the
Settimo ownership was "merged" into Scandalli, and from then on managed
as a house brand. You can now understand the humorous and ironic new brand name
that began to appear on small to medium Black Student accordions at this period
"Silvio Soprani"
Silvio was Scandalli's first name... oh snap !
and if you don't think this sent the Paolo Soprani people ballistic, well...

other aging and deaths eventually resulted in LEAR SIEGLER purchasing
Scandalli in it's entirety, and managing them successfully for a very long time,
but eventually the Beatles and other things did them in.. Elka, Crumar, and ORLA
being far more successful on the electronics side in Italy added pressure.
the Scandalli Factories were closed, then abandoned. the intillectual assets were bought
by BONTEMPI and moved to the Pesaro offices for management... bontempi had both
an accordion factory and an electronics house, as well as lucrative contracts with SEARS
in the USA. Del Turco was the man placed in charge of the operation and sucessfully
managed to bring the FARFISA electronics to bontempi, but the accordion manufacturing
tooling and designs were already lost to history. This is obviously when the line became
drawn between "legendary" super 6 manufacturing and "loooks like and is still pretty darn good"
(scandalli branded models now being built upon bontempi accordion body works)
Castiglione remained the biggest importer and marketer of their output here in the USA

of course by this time PAOLO SOPRANI also succumbed to the Beatles, and the once grand
shining Factory on the Hill became a derelict that sat untouched for many many decades
until eventually being taken over by the Govt and repurposed/rebuilt as a Pensioneer home.

the name PAOLO SOPRANI was the only thing that survived, and the strength
of that name keeps it in play even to this day... it has been rented, leased, purchased
and passed around, and all manner of Accordion Shaped Objects from around the
world have been emblazoned with his name over the last 60 years or so...

some would call it rape

the other great "fire" was of course at the Crucinelli/Crumar factory on the main road,
where everything burnt to the ground except the Offices, which were built a bit higher
on the main road and which survived to become the Hotel Parco (which was run by
the Crucianelli family for many many decades)

this is my interpretation from vocal histories and research and observation and memory,
and may or may not be entirely accurate, but i hope will be helpful to some of you...

ciao

Ventura

a final note: the Settimo brand name recently became available as an
independant entity, i believe due to the influence of the late Marcosignori
and Maxmilliano's love of History and the Accordion... i think they are sourced
out of the Polverini factory, and are very nice accordions indeed
 
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Giovanni

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Thank you so much for all the wonderful information you have shared with us so very interesting ...................Giovanni
 

Tom

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Thanks Ventura, very interesting. I never experienced a real Paolo Soprani but once restored a smalll format Camerano which I found fascinating, unfortunately I sold it.
 

Ventura

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it may interest some of you, now that Luigi Bruti has again come on your radar from
recent threads regaqrding V-Accordions, to see what he is playing...

his old, beloved, Excelsior

Mr. Bruti is currently heading a department at Dexibell for the PROEL co.
 

Giovanni

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Thanks so much for sharing ....just Brilliant ...........Giovanni
 

Ventura

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.....................so he whipped out his phone, listened to the tune, learned it quickly, and played it.
awesome !

that is so old school... we all used to be taught to learn by ear
( as well as read lead charts) where i came from !
it was part and parcel of everyday life and gigs to take requests and always give it a shot
(even if it wasn't in Fake Book #1)
and for so many songs where all we could AFFORD was to listen to them, maybe
record them off a transistor radio onto a 3 1/2 reel to reel tape recorder, or listen
to a 45 rpm record from Italy a fan would loan us, learning by ear was just default normal

i still have so many by ear transcriptions that i did painstakingly by hand on paper
i lined with a ruler (when i was a teenager) Bob Homovich, my teacher, would
occasionally invite me over and play new LP's for me to introduce me to possibilities...
i remember recording almost every song from a Walter Wanderly album on my
little tape recorder, then figuring out the songs all week then playing them for him
at my next lesson

Summer Samba... i can still (almost) play it note for note
though of course the Chordovox ran out of keys during the improv part

ciao

Ventura

the other huge thing Bob taught me was always use the chords i could HEAR in my head,
not the ones on the paper... he literally never handed me a piece
of sheet music (for a weekly lesson) where he didn't pencil in improved chord changes
 

Ventura

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i just want to add a caution here, for your consideration
when you are re-tuning/re-building a vintage accordion...

please understand these old classic accordions you are talking about were
tuned to their respective Provino which was set up by the Master Tuner at whatever
relevant Factory

these were not tuned to Tuning machines with perfect mathematical contol !

the Master Tuners used their ears and natural preferences and Tuning forks
and other accordions and perhaps cows and the pitch that echoed off the old cobblestones they walked
on their way to the Factory for reference, and the resulting Master Scales were usually, therefore, leaning
towards what we might now call slight imperfections in relative Cents, but which
actually were more an honest interpretation of the VARIANCE and shading in frequences
between the (for example) G# and Ab (which if you look on the Organ in the
old Lutheran Cathedral in Heidleberg, there are 2 black keys for most accidentals, not one.)

and basically THIS subtle difference applied through the ears of our
Master Accordion tuners of the olden times is why SOME ACCORDIONS
happen to sound better on certain keys
(like F/Bb/C for one factory, and A/E/F# from another)

so before you strip your Polifonico of it's nuances in original tuning,
maybe try just TUNING it IN to itself... just fix the notes that are really off...
then play it for awhile and try to see if it has a personality that, perhaps,
owes it's charm in part to the perfectly imperfect Provino from whence it came

modern tuning has been defined to make for the most EQUAL compromise
so as to allow every accordion to sound good in ALL keys

this was not the case generations years ago, and the flavoring set by the
Provino (and the relative skill of the tuning guild grown in each factory)
then applied most certainly had something to do with why
SOME PEOPLE will swear by their Excelsiors to the death while
others would praise their Scandalli above all others

so please listen to your old accordion... take your time before you
make a huge change in it's original tuning and be certain you are
making the best choice under the current circumstances of
age and repair and other problems you are fixing

ciao

Ventura
 

Ventura

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it strikes me as very interesting that the Russian Virus vaccine project
was named "Sputnik"

during the early Space Race, the Sputnik launch and success of the sattelite
was simply an incredible boost to the ego and pride of a truly poor nation
still recovering from WW2 and limited by their form of Government

for the memory of that hope to be echoed today is amazing and wonderful !

during the decades after Sputnik (in Russia, the term used colloqially
to refer to this was "MECHTA") you would find everything from Toasters
to Televisions re-name models, and references to "the Dream" attached
to many initiatives and popular social institutions

and yes, Virginia, that included Bayan's from the famous TULA region

i bet Debra has seen one in his time !

they are black 3 row boxy things proudly and hopefully labeled MECHTA
and sound and play rather well actually, nice reeds,
though the Stradella
mechanism they re-invented is fragile and can literally collapse into
a pile of rubble if jolted the wrong way
(talk about a jig-saw puzzle par excellance)
1612114728253.png
 

craigd

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i just want to add a caution here, for your consideration
when you are re-tuning/re-building a vintage accordion...

please understand these old classic accordions you are talking about were
tuned to their respective Provino which was set up by the Master Tuner at whatever
relevant Factory

these were not tuned to Tuning machines with perfect mathematical contol !

the Master Tuners used their ears and natural preferences and Tuning forks
and other accordions and perhaps cows and the pitch that echoed off the old cobblestones they walked
on their way to the Factory for reference, and the resulting Master Scales were usually, therefore, leaning
towards what we might now call slight imperfections in relative Cents, but which
actually were more an honest interpretation of the VARIANCE and shading in frequences
between the (for example) G# and Ab (which if you look on the Organ in the
old Lutheran Cathedral in Heidleberg, there are 2 black keys for most accidentals, not one.)

and basically THIS subtle difference applied through the ears of our
Master Accordion tuners of the olden times is why SOME ACCORDIONS
happen to sound better on certain keys
(like F/Bb/C for one factory, and A/E/F# from another)

so before you strip your Polifonico of it's nuances in original tuning,
maybe try just TUNING it IN to itself... just fix the notes that are really off...
then play it for awhile and try to see if it has a personality that, perhaps,
owes it's charm in part to the perfectly imperfect Provino from whence it came

modern tuning has been defined to make for the most EQUAL compromise
so as to allow every accordion to sound good in ALL keys

this was not the case generations years ago, and the flavoring set by the
Provino (and the relative skill of the tuning guild grown in each factory)
then applied most certainly had something to do with why
SOME PEOPLE will swear by their Excelsiors to the death while
others would praise their Scandalli above all others

so please listen to your old accordion... take your time before you
make a huge change in it's original tuning and be certain you are
making the best choice under the current circumstances of
age and repair and other problems you are fixing
 
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craigd

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i just want to add a caution here, for your consideration
when you are re-tuning/re-building a vintage accordion...

please understand these old classic accordions you are talking about were
tuned to their respective Provino which was set up by the Master Tuner at whatever
relevant Factory

these were not tuned to Tuning machines with perfect mathematical contol !

the Master Tuners used their ears and natural preferences and Tuning forks
and other accordions and perhaps cows and the pitch that echoed off the old cobblestones they walked
on their way to the Factory for reference, and the resulting Master Scales were usually, therefore, leaning
towards what we might now call slight imperfections in relative Cents, but which
actually were more an honest interpretation of the VARIANCE and shading in frequences
between the (for example) G# and Ab (which if you look on the Organ in the
old Lutheran Cathedral in Heidleberg, there are 2 black keys for most accidentals, not one.)

and basically THIS subtle difference applied through the ears of our
Master Accordion tuners of the olden times is why SOME ACCORDIONS
happen to sound better on certain keys
(like F/Bb/C for one factory, and A/E/F# from another)

so before you strip your Polifonico of it's nuances in original tuning,
maybe try just TUNING it IN to itself... just fix the notes that are really off...
then play it for awhile and try to see if it has a personality that, perhaps,
owes it's charm in part to the perfectly imperfect Provino from whence it came

modern tuning has been defined to make for the most EQUAL compromise
so as to allow every accordion to sound good in ALL keys

this was not the case generations years ago, and the flavoring set by the
Provino (and the relative skill of the tuning guild grown in each factory)
then applied most certainly had something to do with why
SOME PEOPLE will swear by their Excelsiors to the death while
others would praise their Scandalli above all others

so please listen to your old accordion... take your time before you
make a huge change in it's original tuning and be certain you are
making the best choice under the current circumstances of
age and repair and other problems you are fixing

ciao

Ventura
Ventura, how would you approach changing the musette (m2?) tuning on an old box? I have an excelsior 940, from around 1960 with too much vibrato for my liking. Any considerations before going to a drier tuning?
 

Ventura

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if it is an accordion you love, putting in the time to chart the
full range of notes on a spreadsheet (as Debra has explained in another thread)
is definitely the way to start

then minimally spot tune your M set based on your chart and ears until it
sounds pleasing and works well in a variety of songs you quickly try

THEN chart the meusette reedset by ear for the beats/pulse marking
the ones that need to be adjusted back into compliance

it is a labor of love
 

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