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Popularising the accordion!

Alan Sharkis

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It's just my humble opinion but the bellow is the accordion's hearth (it's an air instrument). Digital accordion is, a very good, simulator. I have a fantastic Roland E series keyboard (with dynamic key and dynamic pedal) and I can play hundreds of instruments including accordion
I agree, but there are a couple of other things to consider. Some Roland models can detect bellows direction as well as pressure. That adds to a more acoustic-like feel. All Roland models have electronically-configured bellows response curves and some also have air regulators, both can be adjusted to make the digital accordion be more “acoustic-like.” The Bugari EVO has key rods and pallets in the right hand to further that quest for acoustic-like feel. While it’s possible to get close, keep in mind that digitals are different instruments and will never have a bellows feel exactly like that of an acoustic accordion.
 

Dingo40

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So, Alan,
"If you’re used to bottoming the keys, as an extreme case, you’ll find that you have further to go on a digital. That’s because digitals have something called aftertouch, which is triggered by that extra key depth and can be used to control a variety of effects..."
If you do bottom out your keys while playing, do you still get your expected note or something else instead!🤔
 

Ric46

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I agree, but there are a couple of other things to consider. Some Roland models can detect bellows direction as well as pressure. That adds to a more acoustic-like feel. All Roland models have electronically-configured bellows response curves and some also have air regulators, both can be adjusted to make the digital accordion be more “acoustic-like.” The Bugari EVO has key rods and pallets in the right hand to further that quest for acoustic-like feel. While it’s possible to get close, keep in mind that digitals are different instruments and will never have a bellows feel exactly like that of an acoustic accordion.
I totally agree ;) I am a drummer. Roland (and Yamaha) e-drums are absolutely fantastic instruments. I also play piano/keyboard and Yamaha (and also other brands) digital pianos are amazing. There are other e-instruments (violin, sax, etc). For me e-instruments never replace acoustic instruments. They are different, for different use. No better o worst...
 
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The Roland FR4x does not have after touch so the key bed thickness is more like a regular accordion in that sense.
I did find the 'feel of the keys, and to a lesser extent the buttons of the left hand, to be more like a typical synth keyboard at first, and very sensitive to being accidentally touched (which can cause extraneous notes) on the way to the target key but it did not take long to get used to the feel and I have adjusted my playing to avoid sliding over notes on my way to a target note to avoid those bum notes.
It took a while for me to adjust the bellows feel to my liking but now I just have a small air bleed so the bellows move but not by much so it feels very much like my Borsini in that respect now. Plus I think the bellows moving just adds to the visuals for the audience when playing.
 

Ventura

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hey Dingo

the aftertouch is another "trigger" from a key contact
so it can call up anything from a (different) sound to a sound effect

on the Roland, you feel a resistance at the normal keydepth for just playing
notes, but pressing a tiny bit harder you feel the bottom "Slip out" and the
key depresses a bit lower THEN hits a firm bottom stop position

examples could be you play a few notes from "Quiet Nights" then
press one key down that extra bit to trigger the sound of Waves on the Beach
or
playing an Organ sound, that extra press can turn the Leslie Speaker to Fast
then a few notes later another deep press turns the speaker back to Slow
(emulation of course)

the problem with Aftertouch (for some of us) is that from an accordion keyboard
point of view, it is a VERY unnatural thing to feel...
akin to walking down the cellar steps and suddenly one step gives way another few inches...
personally that feeling gives me the willies

on the Roland, it can be a bit tricky to get used to only pressing down
so hard...
just enough to pay normally...
and avoid pressing through the normal "bottom" to the aftertouch bottom
so for some, this can be a bit unnerving and inhibiting

for myself, i am better able to handle aftertouch on a Synth because it does
not seem unexpected there, though personally i much prefer other methods of
"triggering" such as the Pressure Strips behind an Organ Keyboard we used
to have on Hammonds and other brands and on some Synths too or the
hidden switch when you press sideways with your foot on the volume pedal

obviously many people (Corey Pez) have zero difficulty hitting just the normal
keyboard depth even in a flurry of notes, though on the Roland the keys most
often used to trigger aftertouch can also lose some of their resistance and you
fall through to the lower position more easily

if you ever do decide to try a Digital accordion, many models do NOT have aftertouch
(if you think it would drive you nuts) MY fr3 does not have aftertouch, the 7x does

personally, i MUCH prefer to use my FR3 for Organ sounds and trigger
my Leslie effect with a footswitch, the same way i did playing Chordovox
(actually i still have my old CVox leslie... it still spins)
and i prefer the FR3 triggering Guitar sounds from a Synth/Sound module which i run
through a pedal or three just like a guitar player does for FX

playing my FR7x i never use the aftertouch and have thought about ways to remove it and
firm up the "normal" keybottom position

i hope that explains it for ya !

ciao

Ventura
 

Ventura

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i certify the previous post was re-read before i hit "send"

also, regarding the air bleed and "feel" of the bellows,
i glued the air bleeder shut on the FR3 because i kept bumping it
open and again
(for me)
that sudden feeling of bottomless depth/no resistance gives me the willies
 

Alan Sharkis

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So, Alan,
"If you’re used to bottoming the keys, as an extreme case, you’ll find that you have further to go on a digital. That’s because digitals have something called aftertouch, which is triggered by that extra key depth and can be used to control a variety of effects..."
If you do bottom out your keys while playing, do you still get your expected note or something else instead!🤔
Short answer —it depends.

The reference manual for the FR-4x (and I suspect the 8x) has a list of all the possible instrumental sounds available and how they are modified by either bellows, keyboard or both. Accordion sounds generally are not affected by aftertouch.
 

Dingo40

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Alan,
Thanks for responding 🙂
Ventura,
Thanks for the excellent clarification
regarding "aftertouch,"
Simply amazing!😲
There's much more than meets the eye to these digital accordions!🙂
 
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Valski

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This thread has developed a number of different thoughts along the way and I'll contribute my modest thoughts on a few topics.

In it's heyday the accordion was popular because a lot of music was suitable to be played on that instrument and you could play both the melody and the accompaniment which made it popular because it was portable. It was a portable home entertainment system. There were also fewer options available so that helped make the instrument more common.

I remember that my first professional quality accordion cost $1700 Canadian in 1972 and that was a lot of money because it was about half of the price of a decent car.

The most interesting thing is that today my biggest reaction seems to be from younger people, in the teen to thirties age range. They are fascinated by the instrument's versatility and because today I play a Roland Fr8x, they react positively to the sounds which it can generate.

I have heard that the accordion is enjoying something of a comeback. If you factor in the increased affordability relative to purchasing power plus the increased versatility of the electronic models it's not surprising. Guitar bands are falling out of favor and there seems to be more variety in the instuments that you hear.
 

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