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Roland FR- line bellows emulation

VicAccoFun

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First of al - I posted before on this forum but for some reason I couldn't login this time (maybe due to long inactivity period?). I "re-activated" my older login name... no problems, just saying.

Down to the subject...
I recently tried out the introductory model of the Roland line up, Roland FR-1xb (the button version) but otherwise identical to the PA-version.

My only question that I'm puzzled about goes for the bellows action. Was I expecting too much? For some reason I had a strong pre-conception that Roland V-accordions had to have a feedback on the bellows action, that is, I expected that bellows would not operate in a manner independent of the key presses.
Am I being clear on that?

What I actually see how the thing is designed: Bellows discharge/intake air regardless of anything else being done, that is an instrument in the OFF mode releases air from the bellows (or sucks it in, depending on direction).
Once again, I had a pre-conception that Roland would design these boxes in such a way that while no buttons (keys) are pressed that bellows are "air-tight" but once a key (button) is pressed it would activate a valve that would open the air path in/out of the bellows.

The only thing that I can see can affect the speed of air release/intake is a special control knob coupled with the traditional air release button. Thia only provides a permanent speed of bellows action and is a simple mechanical device.
Of course there is also an adjustable PARAM for the sensor sensitivity but it only indirectly affects the bellows feel/action.

So, once again, did I expect too much from the Roland FR-line?
Secondly, do advance models up the line (FR-4, 8) have the feature I'm talking about? If not, why not? I see it as a simple design implementation.

Lastly, what is your experience in setting up the mechanical air-release control knob that works best for you?
Any ideas and considerations are welcome.
 
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Chrisrayner

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I have a FR4X. It is exactly the same. Dunno about the FR8X. I think that you need to accept the Rolands Are similar to a proper accordion, but different. I’m still experimenting with the physical and electronic settings for the bellows.
 

pentaprism

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Are you guys telling me you can sit there all day pumping air without making any music or, conversely, playing music without pumping any air through the bellows?🤔
Yes.

Those are some features (not necessarily drawbacks) of Roland V-Accordions, FR-1xb in particular.
 

pentaprism

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while no buttons (keys) are pressed that bellows are "air-tight" but once a key (button) is pressed it would activate a valve that would open the air path in/out of the bellows.
...
I see it as a simple design implementation.

Yes. It's a simple design implementation. But Roland chose even a simpler implementation: the accordion has no such valves.
 

Dingo40

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"Curiouser and curiouser" (Cried Alice).
Well, why have bellows at all in that case ?😐
(No bellows on the Axé-Cordion 🙂)
 
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OldSqueezer

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"Curiouser and curiouser" (Cried Alice).
Well, why have bellows at all in that case ?😐
(No bellows on the axaccordion 🙂)
The bellows does add a means of expression, familiar to those used to playing acoustic accordions, even if it feels somewhat different. Otherwise, pursuing the @Pipemajor analogy, you would need to use an expression pedal, not the same thing at all, and definitely awkward if you are strolling!
 

OldSqueezer

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Lastly, what is your experience in setting up the mechanical air-release control knob that works best for you?
Any ideas and considerations are welcome.
The air purge valve on my FR-1x has about nine clicks of adjustment. I use mine two clicks off fully open, which seems to approximate to the ease of movement of my Hohner Student 96. Downside is that it wheezes like an old man climbing stairs, but you can’t hear that once you are playing. I use a bellows curve of 7 with it, which, for me, offers the right amount of sound sensitivity to changing the pressure put on the bellows. But it is very much a matter of personal taste.

What I do like is that you can adjust these parameters, and that you can get a consistent result, no matter how many (pseudo-)reeds you are using. I know some (maybe most?) acoustic accordionists hate this about digital instruments because they find it so unreal, but to the less accomplished (who am I kidding? - the unaccomplished), like me, it removes a further obstacle to smooth playing. And other parameters allow consistent control of the loudness of the treble and bass sides, which I also find a boon, having played the acoustic the other day and found the single violin reed I was using on the treble side totally eclipsed by the volume of the chords on the bass side. I am sure there are ways of playing the acoustic which would avoid/minimise this, but it is nice not to have to bother. I’ve got enough challenges trying to get the bunch of bananas on the end of my arm to function like fingers!

Doug
 

Chrisrayner

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The air purge valve on my FR-1x has about nine clicks of adjustment. I use mine two clicks off fully open, which seems to approximate to the ease of movement of my Hohner Student 96. Downside is that it wheezes like an old man climbing stairs, but you can’t hear that once you are playing. I use a bellows curve of 7 with it, which, for me, offers the right amount of sound sensitivity to changing the pressure put on the bellows. But it is very much a matter of personal taste.

What I do like is that you can adjust these parameters, and that you can get a consistent result, no matter how many (pseudo-)reeds you are using. I know some (maybe most?) acoustic accordionists hate this about digital instruments because they find it so unreal, but to the less accomplished (who am I kidding? - the unaccomplished), like me, it removes a further obstacle to smooth playing. And other parameters allow consistent control of the loudness of the treble and bass sides, which I also find a boon, having played the acoustic the other day and found the single violin reed I was using on the treble side totally eclipsed by the volume of the chords on the bass side. I am sure there are ways of playing the acoustic which would avoid/minimise this, but it is nice not to have to bother. I’ve got enough challenges trying to get the bunch of bananas on the end of my arm to function like fingers!

Doug
It’s a different instrument. But very similar. If your proper free reed accordion has more than three voices on the treble then it should have a variety of registers on the bass. I have a four voice Paolo Soprani which has six registers as well as the all together now full works on the bass. Some of the very high ones are very soft and quiet, with the single upper reed on the right and the highest bass it sounds a bit like a teeny tiny concertina. If only it weighed as little.
 

Alan Sharkis

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"Curiouser and curiouser" (Cried Alice).
Well, why have bellows at all in that case ?😐
(No bellows on the axaccordion 🙂)
So, what do you use bellows for on an acoustic accordion? Dynamics (expression) is the word I'm looking for. Try this:

1. Set the air wheel to its most closed position.
2. Set the bellows curve toward the heavy end.
3. Play a single note but vary the bellows pressure.

Get it?

By the way, AxE-Cords are shipped with a volume pedal. So, what's more natural for you -- controlling volume with your foot, or with the bellows?
 

VicAccoFun

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Thank you for your useful replies, my friends!
It looks like one really needs to experiment with the electronic PARAM settings and air control mechanical valve position to find a combo that would suite the personal style.
 

dan

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I made a few adjustments following the videos from Roxys Music and am fine with the dynamics and bellows response. But what about bellows shake? So far have not managed anything like a ricochet
 

lmschgo

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I made a few adjustments following the videos from Roxys Music and am fine with the dynamics and bellows response. But what about bellows shake? So far have not managed anything like a ricochet
When I first started playing my FR 1X, I kept the air purge valve open to 4 clicks, bellows sensitivity set to 'standard'. I am now playing with the valve only open one click and find bellows shakes easier with less bellows movement.
 

debra

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Not owning any of these accordions, here is what I read about them. The way these V-accordions work is that you can adjust the air consumption, but the air consumption / pressure is independent of how many keys/buttons are pressed. The FR8x changed that and has air consumption that follows the number of keys/buttons pressed (but not the registers used). The air still goes through a single hole though. I'm not sure about the FR4x... Supposedly the Bugari Evo is different and has a "real" keyboard mechanism which I suspect is also linked to how much air is used.
So in the case of the FR1x indeed the air consumption is just one overall setting (with the knob that has 9 positions) and is independent of the keypresses. I'm somewhat hopeful that maybe at some point something better will come onto the market without at the same time being ridiculously overpriced like the Evo.
 

Ventura

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the way i do a bellows shake on V-Accordion for Volksmuzik is to
simply set the echo FX to the timing of the song and the repeat to almost 100%
volume but really fast decay
so when you hit the key you hear it and when you lift the key you hear the echo

the next note you play more or less cancels or overshadows any residual echo

from the next room you really can't tell it's just a trick
 

debra

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the way i do a bellows shake on V-Accordion for Volksmuzik is to
simply set the echo FX to the timing of the song and the repeat to almost 100%
volume but really fast decay
so when you hit the key you hear it and when you lift the key you hear the echo

the next note you play more or less cancels or overshadows any residual echo

from the next room you really can't tell it's just a trick
Sounds like "cheating" to me...
But it is a neat trick!
 

OldSqueezer

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Sounds like "cheating" to me...
But it is a neat trick!
Interesting notion what we view as 'cheating' (and why) and what is seen as taking advantage of later technology to achieve one's aims. A whole philosophical debate there, I think! Shall I take out my manual gearbox car today, or 'cheat' and take the automatic...? There's some sort of threshold of perception involved, I suspect, and it may change over time.
Doug
 

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