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Popularising the accordion!

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Ok, lets forget about used accordions for a minute. Its true that you can find a good one now and then but it implies a certain knowledge...and a lot of luck. And generally, repairs are very expensive. I know you are correct but I was talking about brand new, very basic accordion prices.

The fundamental issue is that an accordion is a complex mechanical device with hundreds of moving parts, unlike, say, a guitar, which is essentially a wooden box and six strings. You can buy a new £50 guitar. You'll never be able to buy a new £50 accordion.

Chris
 

JerryPH

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Dingo40 mentioned a 2 months of wages rule. Two months of wages in the past was a huge sum back in the 50's. That monthly income was enough to pay for a comfortable home, a new car and feed one's family. Today it takes a little more than triple that and a double income situation to roughly achieve those same goals... but that rule *could* easily work today.

Now, different people make different amounts, but using just an average number... let's randomly choose a salary of $2000US/month.

So... if we take that "2 months of wages pre-taxes" rule, that makes the budget $4000US. Even today, you're in to some very nice quality accordions, even being able to touch new V-accordion or mid-range acoustic accordion ranges... no, not top of the line, but easily new FR-4X or 3/4 reed, 96 bass accordion ranges with money to spare. Now, if one was really interested, spread that out over a year and it is easy to go a little higher, perhaps as high as the $6000 range. Save in advance a bit? Makes it more affordable. For these amounts, one is suddenly shot in to some very good quality accordions. Consider getting a used accordion, suddenly we are in to the high end or professional class for that $4000-$6000 range!

People say deals are hard to find... and I am sure if one is in a rush and looking in the wrong places, this is quite true. I've now three times found some basically incredible deals for some WONDERFUL accordions (and never come close to the "2-months of wages pre-tax" rule!), and skipped over a dozen or more for one reason or another... but the deals are out there.

Prepare in advance, save as you are preparing, research and learn what defines good vs not so good vs unacceptable based on YOUR NEEDS... never be in a rush, but when the moment arrives, don't hesitate. :)

Jerry
 

ArtMustel

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We are going to extremes...i didn't say an accordion should cost $50.00 like some guitars might, what i brought as an example was a junk accordion from China, 12 bass! that sells new for $800.00. That is outrageous in my book. And that is the kind of things that can discourage a young interested person.
 
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We are going to extremes...i didn't say an accordion should cost $50.00 like some guitars might, what i brought as an example was a junk accordion from China, 12 bass! that sells new for $800.00. That is outrageous in my book. And that is the kind of things that can discourage a young interested person.

I agree. For $800 you have the right to expect a reasonable beginner's instrument.

Although a slightly different instrument, the lowest-cost entry route into the accordion world is perhaps the melodeon, or diatonic button accordion. You can buy a reasonable new instrument for £350-400 ($450-500) and they're easy to learn and fun to play.

Chris
 

Tom

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Around here you can still get a playable, entry level used accordion for that $450 - 500 but you need someone to help you if you are new, because you could just as easily end up with one that is not....
 
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Around here you can still get a playable, entry level used accordion for that $450 - 500 but you need someone to help you if you are new, because you could just as easily end up with one that is not....

Very true, Tom, but Art did specifically say that he was referring to the price of new instruments. You'll always get a lot more for your money if you buy secondhand.

Chris
 
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Ventura

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there were a lot fewer things competing for our interest back then as well

Humans have seemed to always value Music and exposing their children
to opportunities, but this has migrated through many changes
(player pianos as an example)

in the late 50's my friend was growing up in Poland behind the Iron Curtain,
then began unniversity in Moscow. There was a rare (for the USSR) Scandalli imported and
in a music shop, so my friend made application with the Politbureau to be allowed
to purchase this accordion, and use it to help him earn his way through school...

the MInistry eventually allowed this (in great part because his Aunt worked for an
American company in Poland and had DOLLARS to spend)

he also had to play gigs for the Music Ministry for free whenever they called him

years later he escaped to the west, and the accordion was smuggled out to
meet him (as was his Fiance) and they lived relatively happily in new Jersey
(though his degree was not honored in the USA and he had to start over
academically)

many years ago he lost the ability to handle a full size accordion, and so i
came to own that well traveled Scandalli (stainless steel reeds) tuned,
as he often jokingly described it, to Warsaw meusette !
 

donn

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An accordion is a complicated instrument that takes hours and hours of patience to even play a song. Compare that to strumming a guitar, stealing some loops or hitting a beat box...

Really, the accordion is a hard instrument to start on? I'm sure it's far easier than band instruments like trumpet, but public school programs help there. It would be interesting to try a kid on accordion and guitar and see which shapes up faster.

The accordion equivalent of strumming a guitar chord, is pressing one button while squeezing, right? I remember talking to a fellow high school student who'd about finished with a little school program on the acoustic guitar, who demonstrating playing a tune - on one string. I put in a little time trying to learn to play it as a serious instrument, but gave it up as hopeless. It isn't even physically easy - left hand makes physical demands that are tough if you have small fingers, bony fingers, weak fingers, etc.
 

Tom

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Unfortunately it's more complicated than that. It's psychology. A kid turns the fuzzy amp to 10, hits a 2 string power chord and feels like a rock star. He is playing guitar. He squeezes the accordion and feels nothing. Another kid understands the accordion because he lives in the land of zydeco. He has to do a lot more than squeeze a few chords. It's wierd.
 

donn

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That's for sure - an accordion sure isn't an electric guitar. I guess that's psychology, to the extent that music is psychology. If you want to place the blame for amplification, I'd put it on drums.
 
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I'd say the accordion is indeed a difficult instrument to learn to play, in terms of its demands of hand independence. Certainly there are other instruments with similar demands, such as the piano, but when you learn to play the piano you can start off by looking to see if you're doing it correctly, although any teacher will soon wean a student away from looking at the keyboard. With an accordion you have to play the basses purely by touch, because you physically can't see them. I play a number of different instruments, and the accordion is the only one on which you can't see what you're doing.
 

losthobos

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Simplest way to make the accordion popular again is to play "cool" shizz... Rehashing Lady of Spain, La Cumprasita, Beer Barrel Polka, Danny Boy etc..the list is endless only serves to pigeon hole the box deeper into our grandparents lockers...
I think the old school tradition of accordion festivals / competitions probably does more damage than good.. You don't see guitar, or trumpet or piano festivals etc but you do see festivals of say gypsy jazz, blues, bal, folk etc... Would serve better to get out there and make our meagre efforts seen in these places..
Also the youth these days are more interested in new/novel sounds wether that be a huge bass drop or a sparkle on top of a synth pad... My boy told me even the sax is looked down upon these days as a dud dated dull sound...
I'm not waiting or desiring an accordion revolution....
Honest evolution will do me just dandy..
 
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I think the old school tradition of accordion festivals / competitions probably does more damage than good.. You don't see guitar, or trumpet or piano festivals etc but you do see festivals of say gypsy jazz, blues, bal, folk etc...

Sorry to disagree with you, but there are lots and lots of piano festivals, at least here in the UK! Do a Google search for "piano festival 2021" and see how many results you get. It's perhaps simply that accordionists are aware of accordion festivals and pianists of piano festivals.

Best wishes,

Chris
 
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jozz

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Zydeco and balfolk = harmonika/melodeon

There was a short pop revival because of Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons) but those are already "old" now as well. We saw a lot of key players incorporate some accordion nevertheless over the last 10 years.

Chromatic accordion in Holland needs to come from the gypsies for the most part. It's still a huge scene and sub-culture.

Unsure where the Italian lady fits in though.
 

losthobos

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Sorry if beem misconstrued... I attend accordion festivals here in the uk and have met some mighty fine people and been given technical and theoretical gifts from masters...
However I've also had to endure some truly horrendous renditions of 'classics' and some pretty dreadful orchestras too... Festivals have there place.. Originally to sell instruments and teaching slots.. But I've found very little there to 'popularise the accordion'
That job needs to be attempted at street level not consevatory status
 
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Sorry if beem misconstrued... I attend accordion festivals here in the uk and have met some mighty fine people and been given technical and theoretical gifts from masters...
However I've also had to endure some truly horrendous renditions of 'classics' and some pretty dreadful orchestras too... Festivals have there place.. Originally to sell instruments and teaching slots.. But I've found very little there to 'popularise the accordion'
That job needs to be attempted at street level not consevatory status

I agree. Festivals are run by and for people who are already accordionists, just as beer festivals are run for people who are already beer drinkers. They aren't aiming to popularise the instrument.
Interestingly, I hear the same lament on a piano forum that I'm also a member of. People reminisce about the "glory days" when every middle class home had a piano, and a very large proportion of children were taught to play. I don't think the days of mass music-making at home are ever likely to return; people no longer need to make their own entertainment with modern mass media.

Chris
 

Corinto

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Germany around 1939-1940
Skilled worker at Krupp factory = 180 RM month
Volkswagen = 900 RM
Mercedes 540K = 40.000 RM

HOHNER PIROL, 2 voice, 34 treble, 24 bass = 93,75 RM (january 1937)
HOHNER LUCIA, 2 voice, 37 treble, 48 bass = 112,50 RM (may 1936)
HOHNER LUCIA, 2 voice, 37 treble, 48 bass = 162,00 RM (december 1938)
HOHNER LUCIA, 2 voice, 37 treble, 48 bass = 162,00 RM (september 1939)
HOHNER LUCIA, 3 voice, 37 treble, 48 bass = 137,50 RM (december 1936)
 

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