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Non-converter free bass, and compact with cassotto?

Hey there... the 1950s just called... They said they want their "ladies accordion" back. :ROFLMAO:

Yup “ladies” isn’t my favourite term re accordions! And this lady absolutely doesn’t want one :) Well designed compact CBA yes. Teeny keyed “ladies” PA no.
 
I can’t quite tell from the photos… are the LH buttons as large as the right, or are they traditional tiny LH buttons?
They look like a similar type to on my Maugein. So smaller on the left, bigger on the right. I just checked mine (Dauphin) and each LH button is just under 1cm across and 7 of them fit across a 10cm or so space.
 
Yup “ladies” isn’t my favourite term re accordions! And this lady absolutely doesn’t want one :) Well designed compact CBA yes. Teeny keyed “ladies” PA no.
Totally agree Viv, smart design matters.

Also, 20mm keys are only "standard" on traditional stradella PAs nowadays. On big converter PAs with 45/47/49 keys 19mm or even 18mm keys are more normal for anyone able to play them.
 
You guys are all just great in my book regardless of whether you want to keep or drop Stradella. Indeed, the accordion is many things to many people. Now, I am fully aware that I am in the company of very gifted individuals here, who are much smarter than me, but for what it's worth (and I'm certainly not Nostradellus:ROFLMAO:), here's what I think...

Having spent time playing two types of converter accordion; a Quint converter and a Chromatic converter, I think it is only Quint converter that is truly at home in a converter instrument because it is a by-product of Stradella bass. We must realise Quint was not 'designed', it just occurred when the inventor of this converter mechanism released the notes from the prefixed chords.

I will explain briefly:

Take one section of Stradella bass buttons along the C rows:

Row 1: E (Counter bass)
Row 2: C (Fundamental bass)
Row 3: C major
Row 4: C minor
Row 5: C 7th
Row 6: C dim.

When this was converted by pressing the switch to Quint free bass, air was simply routed to certain notes that exist in the chords already:

Row 1: E (counter bass) unchanged from BASS octave
Row 2: C (fundamental bass) unchanged from BASS octave
Row 3: E (taken from C major chord) unchanged from TENOR octave
Row 4: C (taken from C minor chord) unchanged from TENOR octave
Row 5: E (taken from C 7th chord) unchanged from ALTO octave
Row 6: C (taken from C dim chord) unchanged from ALTO octave.

Good, bad or indifferent this is the only "natural" converter bass system ever created and that is how the basic 3 octaves of Quint emerge, when the converter is applied across the range of a 120 bass accordion.

By contrast the chromatic converter design was based on the right hand keyboard layout of the button accordion. The chromatic sequences would never occur in the stradella chords layout naturally. The converter adds 'new notes'. It took A LOT of engineering to make the mechanism work well in a converter system and I understand they are still at times prone to jamming.

The chromatic free bass is not at it's best constrained within a converter mechanism. It had to be reduced to 4 rows as the Stradella single notes own rows 1 and 2. Also, the thumb which is extensively used on the RH of the button accordion is only awkwardly but frequently used on row 1 on a chromatic converter (unless there are steps added).

I think chromatic free bass would be much better employed on a free bass only accordion and would more truly mirror the RH that way. The LH is a shadow of the RH within the constraints of a chromatic converter. Converter systems are not perfect and never were, that's why Mr Moschino and many others tried to create better free bass only alternatives over the years...

For me, I'll stick to the converter accordion and am perfectly happy with both Quint and Chromatic versions. Stradella and many converter systems will certainly continue as they are overwhelmingly popular, but on balance the chromatic version should be properly freed from a converter in the long term.
I’v always thought that the complex mechanics need for a converter seemed a bit ‘Rube Goldberg-ish’, and prone to failure. Your reasoning in favor of quint (at least mechanically) makes a lot of sense.
Fistalia’s Ergo model has a lovely, stepped, large button LH, but is also a converter. They had made noises about a lower end (smaller, less expensive, student) version, but upon reaching out, found they’ve dropped that idea. If they offered a smaller, single-reed, Free reed-only, ‘student’ model for under 5k I would have snapped one up in a heartbeat.
 
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Re Maugein above:

  • 96 basses in 5 voices and 5 registers so not freebass
Has anyone found the Maugein Freebass models?
 
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Also, 20mm keys are only "standard" on traditional stradella PAs nowadays. On big converter PAs with 45/47/49 keys 19mm or even 18mm keys are more normal for anyone able to play them.
Interesting to know, thanks! I definitely don’t want a big converter :) If I remember correctly the smaller keys PA model I considered but ruled out had 17.5mm keys. Which I absolutely wouldn’t have been comfortable with. I have significant right hand problems from a neuro disease, and was sure I wanted the same size I was already used to from my bigger box.
 
Re Maugein above:

  • 96 basses in 5 voices and 5 registers so not freebass
Has anyone found the Maugein Freebass models?
This is the free bass Maugein I was discussing with them at one point…
Looking back now, I’m kinda sorry I didn’t pull the trigger. 🤨
 

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Wow, that's a lovely timbre! Is that the instrument itself, or recording/post processing magic?
Thanks!
Maybe a bit of reverb, but that’s all.
Its in the shop for tuning at the moment, and I’m hoping being in tune doesn’t alter its character. 😉
 
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This is the free bass Maugein I was discussing with them at one point…
Looking back now, I’m kinda sorry I didn’t pull the trigger.

Have you checked with Harry Geuns? I thought he's still offering the hybrid-bando model.
 
Have you checked with Harry Geuns? I thought he's still offering the hybrid-bando model.
This is certainly not an instrument to buy without trying. I tried a small one once and found the position of the keyboards to be quite uncomfortable. But others may disagree.
 
I tried a small one once
Harmoneon, Hybrid bando or bisonoric or unisonoric bando?

I'm pretty much 99.9% sold on the idea of a moschino free bass accordion by now, but I entertain the idea of having a chromatic/unisonoric bando as a second instrument, just for fun & for the sake of having something different. YOLO and what not.

By the way, can somebody please educate me in regard to harmoneons - is the right hand strapped in, or is it free, like you're playing an accordion?
 
Based on the musical evidence and direction I see things taking in my own sphere and experience of the instrument, I don't agree.

This is very good to hear -at the end of the day, the more people are interested in fb, the easier it will be to get one, and the more people will get involved, etc, etc.

Please forgive my confusion, but what part do you not agree with? General lack of interest towards the accordion and high acquisition costs are pretty obvious when you compare to other instruments, check local shops offerings or try to find a local teacher. Are you seeing many accordionists ditching converter mechanisms and going pure fb? Or people hoping to learn playing fb while having limited interest in stradella?
I sure am hoping to be one of them, but I thought I was an outlier.
 
This is very good to hear -at the end of the day, the more people are interested in fb, the easier it will be to get one, and the more people will get involved, etc, etc.

Please forgive my confusion, but what part do you not agree with? General lack of interest towards the accordion and high acquisition costs are pretty obvious when you compare to other instruments, check local shops offerings or try to find a local teacher. Are you seeing many accordionists ditching converter mechanisms and going pure fb? Or people hoping to learn playing fb while having limited interest in stradella?
I sure am hoping to be one of them, but I thought I was an outlier.
Stradella is no more ‘better or worse’ than free base any more than traditional guitar tuning is better or worse than “drop D” or open guitar tunings. Each provide access to a different style and color pallette.
I discussed Stradella vs FB with Ludovic Beier a while back, and his view is that he can do anything he needs on Stradella with polychords, and that CBA free bass has the disadvantage of constant large jumps in the bass for simple trips around the circle of 4ths, the most common move in western music.
I prefer CBA because I enjoy the ability to arpeggiate and interleave the right and left.
But there”s no arguing with his results. 😁
 
The way I see it, fb and stradella are two different instruments - there's no better or worse as there's simply no comparison. Can't play arpeggios or melody or even chord inversions on chord bass; Can't play fast oom-pah chords on fb. Different purpose, different repertoire.

Saundersbp is saying that from his experience, the accordion is moving towards purely FB (if I understood it correctly), which is great news in my books.

btw, simple trips around the circle of fifths/fourths are as easy on moschino, as they are on stradella, as you have it along one of the main diagonals ;)
 
The way I see it, fb and stradella are two different instruments - there's no better or worse as there's simply no comparison. Can't play arpeggios or melody or even chord inversions on chord bass; Can't play fast oom-pah chords on fb. Different purpose, different repertoire.

Saundersbp is saying that from his experience, the accordion is moving towards purely FB (if I understood it correctly), which is great news in my books.

btw, simple trips around the circle of fifths/fourths are as easy on moschino, as they are on stradella, as you have it along one of the main diagonals ;)
To throw yet another spanner into the works, there’s the Chiovarelli system, a Stradella variant that simplifies the chord voicings to provide 6ths and diminished voicings, making it much more compatible with players like myself who are aficionados of Barry Harris’s 6thDim theories.
Its a big world. 😂
 
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I am wondering if what you want can be custom made? If you contacted Bugari, for example, I wonder if they would make an existing converter model with just free bass. Of course, I may be saying this because of my lack of knowledge on accordion design, but I would think it would be possible???
 
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