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Newbie looking for good "walking around" Piano Accordion (ideas: Hohner Concerto vs. Weltmeister Juwel)

RHOU

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Hi everyone, this is my first post after having already read through tons of different articles on here.

I was recently gifted a 25 key / 24 bass Reno Bros (apparently manufactured by Gabbanelli in the 60ies) that weighs only 9.5 lbs with straps. As a Piano player, I just gave it a try without any lessons and had some fun. I like playing some Austrian Polkas on it, walking around the house while my 3 year old jumps and dances around me. We have some good times together :)
I brought it to Gabbanelli in Houston to get their opinion on servicing it since it is old and leaky, needs new bellows, the keys are noisy, out of tune, etc. and they said I would probably have to put $800 into between the bellows (custom order from Italy for this small size) + tuning, small fixes etc. and they said it might not be worth putting that much money into the instrument.

Since I already noticed some of the limitation of the 24 bass - 25 key (C-C) I thought it would be nice to upgrade to at least a 30 key.
I tried Gabbanelli's new expensive (3-5k) models just for fun, but playing their 34 key model (17 or 19 lb, I don't remember exactly which one it was) while standing felt so strange having this massive box on me to push and pull compared to the 9.5 lb one I currently have that I didn't think I would have much fun playing it. Even their 26/48 box was over 15 lbs.

So I started the internet search for something lightweight (my gut feeling is under 15lb is a requirement) and without a massive box, yet still with enough keys/basses and around $1,000 to $2,000 max. either used in decent condition or new.

So far what I found:
- Hohner Concerto II and III appear to get good reviews on here and they pop up frequently used at various accordion shops. I'm a bit nervous about the size of the box and the upper limit of my weight range. Price for used ones sold by the accordion shops is typically $800-$1,200
- Weltmeister Juwel appear great on spec with the smaller box and the really light weight, but some people on this forum caution about the small keys (17.5mm vs 20mm). Price appears to be closer to $2,000 new and used around $1,500 but not as frequently available as used.
- any other ideas?

I wish I could play both these instruments (or similar ones like the Weltmeister Rubin) in person before deciding, but it appears that in all of Houston Gabanelli is the only store and they only carry their own brand besides some very few used accordions. If anybody in the Houston area happens to read this and owns one of these or something similar, I would love to stop by your house with some treats in return for letting me try them :)

Type of music I would play. (No gigs, performances, etc. this is purely for me to have fun at home playing for my kids, walking around them as they dance)
- mostly Austrian/Bavarian/Oberkrainer, etc. but by myself, not in a band.
- I also like French Musette waltzes and Italian folk songs, so I might venture into that too

Hope this wasn't too long for a first post. I'm curious to hear your opinions!
 
RHOU,
Welcome!🙂👍
I'm sure you'll find a few suggestions here!
🙂
Players of Bavarian music have also a particular type of instrument called a Steirische Harmonika (accordion) : look up on google!
 
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RHOU,
Welcome!🙂👍
I'm sure you'll find a few suggestions here!
🙂
Players of Austrian music have also a particular type of instrument called a Steirische Harmonika (accordion) : look up on google!

I'm originally from Austria, I love listening to these guys on their steirische. Especially the tuba like helicon bass.

The main reason I decided against one is because I already play the piano and don't think I would have the patience to learn a new treble system. Plus the whole idea of different notes pushing vs pulling is overwhelming. Plus with a PA I am more flexible to also play musette and other genres if I want.
 
Welcome, RHOU!

Sounds like you and your family are having a blast with accordion music! :D🪗

I think others folks here could have ideas about specific accordions that fit your criteria (I'm a newbie, so can't add much there).

But as far as connecting with nearby accordion players and instruments, you might try a local club or association. Here in Austin the Central Texas Accordion Association meets up monthly. Take a look online or maybe ask the Gabenelli folks but looks like there are similar clubs in/around Houston:

Fort Bend County Accordion Club
Houston Accordion Retreat
 
I'm originally from Austria, I love listening to these guys on their steirische. Especially the tuba like helicon bass.

The main reason I decided against one is because I already play the piano and don't think I would have the patience to learn a new treble system. Plus the whole idea of different notes pushing vs pulling is overwhelming. Plus with a PA I am more flexible to also play musette and other genres if I want.

You can get a PA that's designed to mimic the sound and look of a Steirische Harmonika, complete with helikon-style basses and those little chrome circle doo-dads (übrigens... wie heißen die???)

I actually have one of them that Weltmeister used to make before their most-recent reorganization. It's a 72-bass MMM, not too heavy, and a lot of fun to play. Other manufacturers like Betuna make similar accordions, I believe.

But even then, I guess you are sort of locked into a genre due to the basses. And I'm not sure you'd be able to find one quite as light as a Concerto II or Juwell. Still, something to ponder!
 
But as far as connecting with nearby accordion players and instruments, you might try a local club or association. Here in Austin the Central Texas Accordion Association meets up monthly. Take a look online or maybe ask the Gabenelli folks but looks like there are similar clubs in/around Houston:

Fort Bend County Accordion Club
Houston Accordion Retreat

I'll give that a try thanks!
You can get a PA that's designed to mimic the sound and look of a Steirische Harmonika, complete with helikon-style basses and those little chrome circle doo-dads (übrigens... wie heißen die???)

I think they are called Basstrichter (bass funnel) or Lufttrichter (air funnel).

But even then, I guess you are sort of locked into a genre due to the basses. And I'm not sure you'd be able to find one quite as light as a Concerto II or Juwell. Still, something to ponder!
yeah I think I don't want to lock myself in. As mentioned, I also like Italian and French accordion music as well, so being able to play multiple genres is important. And the rooms in my home are a bit echoey so I actually get some decent bass sound even with the small 24 bass accordion I currently have.

I have tried looking around Houston for accordion stores to be able to play different size instruments, maybe find something with 18mm keys to get a feel for that, but except for Gabbanelli it appears nobody has inventory to just come in an try out. I'm a bit surprised about that in a big city like Houston where there is so much Norteno music.
 
for nice, light, walkin' around accordions you can't hardly beat Christine McVie's
little red 40 bass Hohner or her 36 bass Paolo

they put in a lot of miles with Fleetwood Mac and beyond

featured in the "Tusk" video's among others
 

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for nice, light, walkin' around accordions you can't hardly beat Christine McVie's
little red 40 bass Hohner or her 36 bass Paolo

they put in a lot of miles with Fleetwood Mac and beyond

featured in the "Tusk" video's among others
the small 25key / 24 bass Reno Bros accordion I have is probably around the same weight and I love it for that. But I do want something with a at least 30 treble keys because I run out already a lot, going down to at least the g would be very helpful. And also on the bass side I want to be able to play bass walks and need the upper bass row for that.

It just blows that buying accordions has apparently become such an online affair. Buying a musical instrument online without ever trying it first seems like such a big risk.
 
well, you can set a craigslist search for a 200 mile circle, refresh it once a week and
who knows, you may get lucky locally.. can set eBay for distance too and only
consider driveable auctions who will agree to in person pickup
 
Sandy Brechin is an extraordinary Scottish accordionist who gets a lot of mileage out of a vintage Hohner 48-bass student model. Very similar to what Christine McVie is holding in the "christine hohner" photo. Check out Sandy's many YouTube videos.

See this discussion thread:

I presume these vintage Hohners will be of much better quality (if in good repair) than the current Chinese made ones. You can often find used ones for sale on Ebay. Here is a current example:
 
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