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Thoughts on new Petosa?

D

DigitalSteve

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I am thinking about taking the plunge on a new Petosa accordion. It is quite expensive. I have read various reviews of the company and there are many people with opinions on the quality. Of most concern is the fact that they contract out a lot of the building of their accordions. Certain models have reeds from Italy and others are hand-made in their shop. I've read that they are overpriced and not to the quality of the large Italian manufacturers. I have no idea if these are valid concerns as they are only things I have read online. I have interest in hearing from those that actually own a Petosa or have played one. Recent purchases are very informative as I have seen conflicting opinions about how they have changed over the years.
 

debra

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DigitalSteve post_id=63648 time=1540349483 user_id=992 said:
I am thinking about taking the plunge on a new Petosa accordion.
...
Certain models have reeds from Italy and others are hand-made in their shop. Ive read that they are overpriced and not to the quality of the large Italian manufacturers.
...

I have zero experience with Petosa, but I seriously doubt the quoted part of your message if I understand it correctly. Nobody makes their own reeds. There are only a dozen or so reed manufacturers in the western world. They all make machine reeds, hand finished and hand made reeds, and supply them to all accordion manufacturers. Petosa will not be making their own reeds. I even doubt whether they really make any accordions in their shop except from already largely assembled subunits.
In Italy there are large and smaller manufacturers, all of which can produce really good accordions (and all of them using standard parts and subassemblies for maybe 90% of what is in the accordion). Some smaller ones may be even better than the large manufacturers. There are more brand names than actual builders, and a company like Petosa will be unlikely to tell you who makes the accordions for them. I never quite understood why accordion vendors want their own name on the accordions instead of piggybacking on the good reputation of the real accordion manufacturer.
 

Eddy Yates

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Hey Steve,
Can’t tell where you’re from, but if you’re from the U.S., give Diane Hagen a call at the Portland Accordion Center in Oregon. There’s a picture in the store of Diane winning her first competition at age 6 playing a Petosa, and she’s played them ever since. She’s really not a salesperson, having taken over the store for her mom, who has dementia. I think Diane could give you a pretty honest view and she could also put you in touch with Lance, her repairman.
All the best!
Eddy Yates
http://www.portlandaccordioncenter.com
 

Tom

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Hi Steve,

My friend has a Petosa and I have played it. It's super nice and sounds great. I don't have enough experience with them in general to know if you are paying a lot of money for the name, and because they are "from America." As Paul says, it's not clear how much of the building of the accordions is actually done in the US. It's possible that they are assembled, finished and tuned there. Their website is not clear on this point. It's clear that you would have a top of the line, fine quality accordion, but are they worth twice what an artigianale "Italian" accordion costs? Only your wallet and your playing goals know for sure. At those prices, I would recommend trying them out if you can. Good luck!
 

OuijaBoard

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My understanding was that accordions with the "Petosa" marque were essentially re-badged special editions largely produced by Italian makers to custom specs of Petosa's, usually premium high-end editions at premium high-end prices. I just saw one in for some sort of tuning change at a shop in another state and it was a wonder to behold. Gorgeous custom decorations and a marvelous sound.

That said, I'm not sure I would be enthused about paying higher for one of these instruments than you'd pay for an equivalent-quality fine Italian instrument.
 

Zevy

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Hey Steve,
I'm a proud owner of a Petosa AM-1100. I would assume that's the model you are interested in. I think they are essentially made by Zero Sette in Italy but "brought up to standard" by Petosa. I am sure that different years of manufacture may have different results, but I can only tell you about my experience. I absolutely love my AM-1100. The response, the sound and the overall quality are way up there. The company (in Seattle or nearby) knows who owns their instruments and they are available for any questions. It just feels great. I was asked to trade my instrument for a top-shape vintage Settimio Soprani Artist VI and I declined.
Feel free to ask me (on the forum or by PM) any specific questions you may have.
The only thing that may be of help to you might be to look for a used model. That way you save a lot of $, and you have an instrument that is in top shape because it's already "broken in". I may be able to help you with that.
Just my two cents...
 
T

trek4fr

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I'll chime in with Zevy and say that, yes, according to a "Petosa artist" I know, many of the Petosas come from the Zero Sette factory in Italy. That factory makes (or used to make) many different accordions that would then be "branded" for a particular market, distributor, or accordion school. I have an accordion that, so it is said, was made in the Zero Sette factory (though not branded "Petosa") and it is of very high quality.

That being said, many accordion manufacturers (or distributors) have many different models in their lineup and you shouldn't compare an entry level or student level model with their top-of-the-line professional, artist level. I once had a Petosa SM-something, a Student Model. It was a very good accordion. Great quality. But it wasn't comparable to Zevy's AM-1100 model (which I've seen, played, and can't afford). But, as Zevy says, look for a "preowned" model, which has almost always been well taken care of. Rather than suffering the immediate depreciation of a new model (unless you want it built to your specs), you will have a great bang-for-the-buck accordion.

One last comment: Though I can't currently afford a Petosa (I would love a LMM setup), I've met Joe and his family. They stand behind what they sell 100% and take their relationships with their customers seriously. Very friendly and very helpful and if you call their business, they will take the time to help you find the accordion that meets both your needs and your budget.
 

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OuijaBoard post_id=63664 time=1540386378 user_id=1746 said:
My understanding was that accordions with the Petosa marque were essentially re-badged special editions largely produced by Italian makers to custom specs of Petosas, usually premium high-end editions at premium high-end prices. I just saw one in for some sort of tuning change at a shop in another state and it was a wonder to behold. Gorgeous custom decorations and a marvelous sound.

That said, Im not sure I would be enthused about paying higher for one of these instruments than youd pay for an equivalent-quality fine Italian instrument.

I’d love to know the names of those Accordions of equivalent quality since I’m still trying to decide between used classic and new dependable. Thanks!
 

debra

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trek4fr post_id=63774 time=1540732582 user_id=797 said:
Ill chime in with Zevy and say that, yes, according to a Petosa artist I know, many of the Petosas come from the Zero Sette factory in Italy. That factory makes (or used to make) many different accordions that would then be branded for a particular market, distributor, or accordion school. I have an accordion that, so it is said, was made in the Zero Sette factory (though not branded Petosa) and it is of very high quality.
...

Interesting and good news. Zero Sette is part of Bugari (made in the same factory) so it is then essentially Bugari who makes Petosa, which means they are good instruments indeed. It also means you should not be paying more for a Petosa than for an equivalent Bugari or Zero Sette...
 

Dingo40

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Nice sound!🙂
See here:
And here:
OK, one more!😀
Just couldn't omit this one :
 
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donn

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The story I've read from "stencil" vendors, who put their name on instruments made by an unrelated manufacturer, is that theirs are better because they open up the cartons and do a second quality control. This is mostly about Chinese manufacturing, but I believe I've read stories here of dissatisfaction even from Italian manufacturers, so there might be something to it. In the interest of full disclosure, Petosa used to be in my neighborhood here (now in a nearby suburb), but I've never bought a thing from them or been tempted, and in the unlikely event I were to buy a new accordion I'd rather it say Zero Sette on it myself. Not that it's relevant, but that brand seems to be extremely popular with Basque squeezebox players, judging from online videos.

As more of a tuba player, I do have a nice Italian tuba, and there again the common view of models of that make is that when they're good they're great, but they're inconsistent - and to some extent, consistency is 90% of quality with tubas. Serious players (which I certainly am not) will play several tubas of a particular model, and routinely find a significant range of variation. Accordions have so many more moving parts and working surfaces that I imagine quality distinctions may be more reliably associated with a model, as opposed to an individual accordion, but of course that's more things to go wrong as well, so there's still plenty of room for variation from one to the next.
 

Dingo40

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Donn,
As a tuba player, did you notice the Petosa " Tuba Accordion " model (third YouTube video, above)?🤔😄
 

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They're high-quality instruments. But they're re-badges that carry a hefty price premium over equivalent Italian accordions that IMHO owes a lot to marketing fairy dust and just isn't warranted . . . Like, a good 25%, 30% or even more of a premium slapped on there . . .They got a rep during the Dick Contino era and they're playing that hard . . .
 

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The story I've read from "stencil" vendors, who put their name on instruments made by an unrelated manufacturer, is that theirs are better because they open up the cartons and do a second quality control. This is mostly about Chinese manufacturing, but I believe I've read stories here of dissatisfaction even from Italian manufacturers, so there might be something to it. In the interest of full disclosure, Petosa used to be in my neighborhood here (now in a nearby suburb), but I've never bought a thing from them or been tempted, and in the unlikely event I were to buy a new accordion I'd rather it say Zero Sette on it myself. Not that it's relevant, but that brand seems to be extremely popular with Basque squeezebox players, judging from online videos.
...
A good dealer always does a thorough inspection of every instrument that comes from the factory, and fixed the problems encountered. Even accordions from a very reputable brand may have over 50 minor or major defects when they arrive (I heard this directly from someone who used to work at a large dealer). So this negates the supposed advantages of "stencil" vendors over regular brand vendors. There will be vendors who do not inspect instruments, but you should learn to avoid them... (word of mouth is a great way to find out who is reliable and who isn't)
 

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I've come to view Petosa as somewhat of a marketing company over the years. Maybe 20-25 years ago I was very interested in their AM-1100 at the time. I requested information and the packet they sent me was unreal. 8x11 photos of Dick Contino with his Petosa, half a dozen letters of recommendations from Doctors that bought the accordions, pictures in movies that had a Petosa, you name it. It was an inch thick. It was very alluring.

I managed to run into an old accordion instructor a few years later and he told me that Petosa accordions in the 1950s used to be reasonably decent. They would source their own reeds and build everything in their shop. He said that all stopped years ago and they basically just rebrand other accordions. He told me every time he sees somebody with one he asks to try it out and he said he's never found a single one to be even acceptable by his standard. Mind you, he's an Excelsior guy through and through. And a brilliant accordionist.

I also became acutely aware in researching brands of statements from what I assume are paid sponsors like Frank Marocco and Dick Contino. There are quotes from Frank Marocco about the Petosa being "the best accordion I've ever played" but then you can watch a video in which he's playing Victoria accordions now where he says, yep, it's the "best accordion I've ever played". Not placing any judgement or blame on them, because if I were as gifted an accordionist as either of them and if somebody gave me a $11,000 accordion and asked me my thoughts you better believe it would be the BEST ACCORDION I EVER PLAYED.

Even now, there is no website like Petosa's in our little accordion world. Beautiful pictures, great videos of every accordion played by excellent accordionists in every style to cater to any type of listener, a monthly newsletter that I still receive, etc.

Compare that to Victoria's website where getting any kind of detailed information about an accordion was always a chore. Maybe that's changed as I don't visit them often anymore.

I think the Petosa guys are competent and passionate about the accordion. They've been in the business for generations now. I just think it's a little overpriced and overhyped for what you get in this day and age.

Just my opinion and could be 100% factually incorrect.
 

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I have an sm-150 esm. A 3 reed model that petosa sells used for about $3000, sometimes more for an excellent specimen. I did not buy it from them. The instrument I have was made in 1991. The reed blocks are beautiful, the reeds seem to be of good quality. The keyboard build and action are nice, though the keytops are soft, easily marred. The accordion is supposed to be light for full sized, about 25 pounds, but it feels surprisingly big and boxy to me. There is more plastic used in its construction than any other accordion I've owned, including student models. The panel over the bass mechanism is plastic and cracked. The bass button panel is also molded plastic. I haven't used it much yet, preferring the Excelsior, Titano and Guerrini accordions I have. I am not a good player, just an aficionado, so my opinion is not to be held up against Contino's or Marocco's. It may grow on me if I give it more of a chance. I have sort of bought in to the Petosa mystique though; when I get new straps, they're going to have the Petosa emblem stamped on them. And of course I'll use their pitch if I ever go to sell it.
 

Zevy

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I've come to view Petosa as somewhat of a marketing company over the years. Maybe 20-25 years ago I was very interested in their AM-1100 at the time. I requested information and the packet they sent me was unreal. 8x11 photos of Dick Contino with his Petosa, half a dozen letters of recommendations from Doctors that bought the accordions, pictures in movies that had a Petosa, you name it. It was an inch thick. It was very alluring.

I managed to run into an old accordion instructor a few years later and he told me that Petosa accordions in the 1950s used to be reasonably decent. They would source their own reeds and build everything in their shop. He said that all stopped years ago and they basically just rebrand other accordions. He told me every time he sees somebody with one he asks to try it out and he said he's never found a single one to be even acceptable by his standard. Mind you, he's an Excelsior guy through and through. And a brilliant accordionist.

I also became acutely aware in researching brands of statements from what I assume are paid sponsors like Frank Marocco and Dick Contino. There are quotes from Frank Marocco about the Petosa being "the best accordion I've ever played" but then you can watch a video in which he's playing Victoria accordions now where he says, yep, it's the "best accordion I've ever played". Not placing any judgement or blame on them, because if I were as gifted an accordionist as either of them and if somebody gave me a $11,000 accordion and asked me my thoughts you better believe it would be the BEST ACCORDION I EVER PLAYED.

Even now, there is no website like Petosa's in our little accordion world. Beautiful pictures, great videos of every accordion played by excellent accordionists in every style to cater to any type of listener, a monthly newsletter that I still receive, etc.

Compare that to Victoria's website where getting any kind of detailed information about an accordion was always a chore. Maybe that's changed as I don't visit them often anymore.

I think the Petosa guys are competent and passionate about the accordion. They've been in the business for generations now. I just think it's a little overpriced and overhyped for what you get in this day and age.

Just my opinion and could be 100% factually incorrect.
My AM-1100 is the best accordion I ever tried. I have tried many (vintage) Scandalli Super VI, Victorias, Hohner Golas, as well as other AM-1100s. Someone wanted to trade his vintage Setimmio Soprani Artist VI and I said "no way". I would never impose my opinion on anyone else, but I will tell you that it is a great product. The Petosa people are very friendly and helpful despite the fact that I didn't even buy my accordion from them (it was used). Yes, they are expensive, but IMHO it's well worth it.
 

Thomas N

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My AM-1100 is the best accordion I ever tried. I have tried many (vintage) Scandalli Super VI, Victorias, Hohner Golas, as well as other AM-1100s. Someone wanted to trade his vintage Setimmio Soprani Artist VI and I said "no way". I would never impose my opinion on anyone else, but I will tell you that it is a great product. The Petosa people are very friendly and helpful despite the fact that I didn't even buy my accordion from them (it was used). Yes, they are expensive, but IMHO it's well worth it.
This is great to hear Zevy! You are quite an accomplished player and it's good to know.

I bought a Petosa Millennium Reedless from Joe Petosa, oh, probably 15 years ago now. Maybe longer. That accordion worked well and was one of the first true reedless accordions. I can't attest to the build quality of their accordions from that purchase since it's a reedless and was all plastic with an external module.

But it did work well and customer service was top notch. Never could bring myself to pull the trigger on an AM-1100.

Yet. :)
 

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