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The price of accordions.

Dingo40

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Now and again the price of accordions is mentioned in this forum as being a possible disincentive to newbies taking it up as an instrument.
I've probably been lucky, and my purchases have been modest, middle of the road only but, by my calculation, my seven accordions ( all of which I still own, and in good order) have cost me, over thirty years , an all inclusive average of about 60 cents (Australian) per day, including professional repairs over that time.
That's not bad for an engrossing hobby, in my opinion!😄
 
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saundersbp

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I think of good acoustic accordions as in the same order as the price of acoustic pianos. This can sometimes be a shock to people not into accordions as pianos are physically bigger and obviously all the mechanical complexity is hidden in the smaller box of the accordion.

Where the divergence in price is really stark is in electronics. You can get a really good new weighted electronic piano with all gadgets and gimmicks for not much over £1000, a similar electronic accordion with comparable novelties (and on a far from state of the art sound engine) is going to cost you a lot more new. I guess this is divergence is that they are a really niche product so there isn't the same economy of scale.

The one free reed instrument I think is great value are melodicas. Basic Chinese ones (more in the toy market) start at £10, but you can get a really good Japanese one for £100 with a top of the range instrument around £500. This is a top Japanese melodica and player
 
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debra

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Accordion prices vary widely between shops (for exactly the same new instrument), at least for acoustic accordions. (A Roland is just electronics and Roland seems to keep its dealers much more in line with each other than accordion manufacturers do.)
That said, when you find a new accordion at a "fair" price, it is still very expensive, but if you calculate what an accordion costs you over time (as Dingo40 did) you quickly find it's not so bad at all. We play mostly in accordion ensembles and orchestras. We roughly estimated what being a member of an orchestra costs, in 1) membership fee, 2) travel to and from rehearsals and concerts and 3) drinks and other treats at rehearsals... then for an orchestra with weekly rehearsals it costs each member always quite a bit more than the accordion will cost over a period of 30 years.
My wife and I have a few expensive accordions between us, but we also play in two orchestras, one smaller ensemble and one or two quintets. Playing in 5 groups still costs more than the total cost of ownership of 5 accordions over time...
But what people disregard when talking about price is that normally you buy the expensive accordion just once and you need to amortize the cost over 30 years in order to know what it really costs.
 

TomBR

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Hurrah for dealers who sell decent used instruments at sensible prices.
Without that stepping stone to get people started it would be much harder to sell new instruments.
 

Scuromondo

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I think this is where some beginners can get led astray if they do not have more experienced guidance, or if they do not have the inclination and patience to more thoroughly study the market before making a purchase.

With marching band instruments and electronic instruments, it seems that a new playable beginner instrument of good quality can generally be acquired for less than $USD1000. But if a novice buyer approaches an accordion purchase with that same budget in mind, he will almost certainly end up buying a problem that could impede progress. While good, playable used beginner (and perhaps a bit better) instruments can generally be found at this price, I have never seen any new accordion worth buying at even double this range.
 

Valski

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Accordion prices vary widely between shops (for exactly the same new instrument), at least for acoustic accordions. (A Roland is just electronics and Roland seems to keep its dealers much more in line with each other than accordion manufacturers do.)
That said, when you find a new accordion at a "fair" price, it is still very expensive, but if you calculate what an accordion costs you over time (as Dingo40 did) you quickly find it's not so bad at all. We play mostly in accordion ensembles and orchestras. We roughly estimated what being a member of an orchestra costs, in 1) membership fee, 2) travel to and from rehearsals and concerts and 3) drinks and other treats at rehearsals... then for an orchestra with weekly rehearsals it costs each member always quite a bit more than the accordion will cost over a period of 30 years.
My wife and I have a few expensive accordions between us, but we also play in two orchestras, one smaller ensemble and one or two quintets. Playing in 5 groups still costs more than the total cost of ownership of 5 accordions over time...
But what people disregard when talking about price is that normally you buy the expensive accordion just once and you need to amortize the cost over 30 years in order to know what it really costs.
Exactly! Buy quality instruments and you buy once, when you buy lower quality you end up buying over and over again which is usually the less satisfying and at the same time more expensive route to take.
 

saundersbp

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It would be nice for the accordion to gain an instrument of the people status in the West. Its strange it only seems to have achieved that in more totalitarian societies. Nice clip 40 secs in here no doubt Stalin's toe was tapping!
 

Alan Sharkis

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Accordion prices vary widely between shops (for exactly the same new instrument), at least for acoustic accordions. (A Roland is just electronics and Roland seems to keep its dealers much more in line with each other than accordion manufacturers do.)
That said, when you find a new accordion at a "fair" price, it is still very expensive, but if you calculate what an accordion costs you over time (as Dingo40 did) you quickly find it's not so bad at all. We play mostly in accordion ensembles and orchestras. We roughly estimated what being a member of an orchestra costs, in 1) membership fee, 2) travel to and from rehearsals and concerts and 3) drinks and other treats at rehearsals... then for an orchestra with weekly rehearsals it costs each member always quite a bit more than the accordion will cost over a period of 30 years.
My wife and I have a few expensive accordions between us, but we also play in two orchestras, one smaller ensemble and one or two quintets. Playing in 5 groups still costs more than the total cost of ownership of 5 accordions over time...
But what people disregard when talking about price is that normally you buy the expensive accordion just once and you need to amortize the cost over 30 years in order to know what it really costs.
I have to agree, but also point out that while pianos get tuned a minimum of twice a year, accordions get tuned a lot less often. The same goes for minor repairs and maintenance. In general (there are exceptions, I’m sure) the more expensive the accordion, the less frequently it will need service.
 

Alan Sharkis

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Many dealers take used accordions from former customers who want to trade up to higher-quality accordions. Most often, they will do minor maintenance on those instruments to get them ready for resale. The dealer, then, must consider whether he will add the cost of that maintenance to the price of selling that used accordion and, perhaps, guarantee it for some period of time. That’s why even used accordions sometimes cost more than they seem to be worth. Like everything else, it pays to shop around and ask about the service history of a used accordion.
 
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Dingo40

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SaundersBP ,
"no doubt Stalin's toe was tapping!"
Thanks for sharing the interesting clip, a reminder of "the worker's paradise " ( c. 1930's ?🤔)
Yes, genial "uncle" Joe Stalin!
Kill one, and you're a murderer. Kill 20, and you're a mass murderer. But kill millions and you're a statesman, a National Hero and a valued ally!
Time mellows the memory of all atrocities!🤔
 
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Tom

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Two interesting experiences in 2 days regarding price of accordions.

Went to check out a local music store in my new city. There's just a used 12 bass, probably Chinese. Me: "Can I check it out?" Owner (not simply salesman) "Sure!" Me: "Well, it's totally unplayable." Owner: "Oh, the girl who brought it in said it played fine." Me: "You can see some bass notes don't work, and there's something rattling around inside, probably a reed." "Hmmm...." "How much does she want for it?" "$65, but she'll probably take $50." "......Thanks, but I don't think I need a project right now."

So, buyer beware.... Don't think I'll be returning.

Meanwhile yesterday I was in Milwaukee for some other business. Noticed on facebook one guy was selling his Chemnitzer concertina collection. "My friend got ripped off. Someone sold him a concertina with the reeds replaced by some junk that didn't even fit. I had to help him get his money back. I'm so disgusted I'm never playing concertina again." Sat with him for an hour or so talking accordions and other things generally, very knowledgeable guy and great accordion player. "Right when you called I took down the ads, my friend talked sense into me but I guess I could sell this one." Me: "Ok, are you pretty firm on that $500?" "Hmm....well, I guess I could go $350 but that's it."

Ok, but I want to look inside, check out the leathers. Yes, he said, you should always look at the reeds, getting out a screwdriver and opening it up. I even put in a microphone.

So yeah, in good vintage shape (1950s), reeds and leathers good (reeds pinned on leather, no wax), good brand, good sound, decent compression, few rhinestones missing, some corners need replacing, a missing washer on the air release.

All in all a pleasant experience, met a new player, and ended up with a concertina that I need like a hole in the head. Never stopped me before!
 

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