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Zero Sette Convertor

Vegard Doszko

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Why do some convertor instruments have the button layout seen in the picture here? Where there are extra rows of free bass above the stradella basses. Im interested in the mechanical reasons and pros/cons of having a instrument built like this, i have seen mostly older accordions with this arrangement but also a few newly built ones. Does anyone know?

Convertor.jpeg
 

petch

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I'd like to know too, saw a few accordions like this on my hunt for a free bass. I chalked it up to somehow being easier to implement the converter mechanism this way, but that's a complete guess
 

Walker

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Great question @Vegard Doszko I am not an expert in mechanics so can't help here.

But it is very interesting to hear that you have seen some new bassetti instruments recently. I find that heart warming! What make were they? I love diversity in accordion design. But I think there are strong efforts of influential teachers and manufacturers to reduce the options, presumably down to the last one - I can't see that happening any time soon (even Roland digitals have 5 free bass systems as standard). It is human nature to invent, study and develop different systems. I think the number of systems will increase rather than decrease in time. Bassetti is cool, I like them, they are part of the free bass family. When I think about it - what a large family: C griff, B griff, Russian griff, Finnish griff, Grøthe stepped bass, Moschino system, Bercandeon (piano bass), Kravtsov converter, quint converter and 8 row quint converter. I am quite sure I have missed a few systems (and that's not even including the stradella bass systems) - never mind.🤓
 

Vegard Doszko

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Great question @Vegard Doszko I am not an expert in mechanics so can't help here.

But it is very interesting to hear that you have seen some new bassetti instruments recently. I find that heart warming! What make were they? I love diversity in accordion design. But I think there are strong efforts of influential teachers and manufacturers to reduce the options, presumably down to the last one - I can't see that happening any time soon (even Roland digitals have 5 free bass systems as standard). It is human nature to invent, study and develop different systems. I think the number of systems will increase rather than decrease in time. Bassetti is cool, I like them, they are part of the free bass family. When I think about it - what a large family: C griff, B griff, Russian griff, Finnish griff, Grøthe stepped bass, Moschino system, Bercandeon (piano bass), Kravtsov converter, quint converter and 8 row quint converter. I am quite sure I have missed a few systems (and that's not even including the stradella bass systems) - never mind.🤓
The last one i saw is also a Zero Sette, but these are not bassetti instruments, the one in the picture is a convertor, presumably a b - system or Norwegian system as they are called here in Norway. The most recent one i saw is the one Jovan Pavlovic is playing which is also a convertor instrument with these extra buttons on top. His is a b - system with stepped bass.



I agree i don`t think there will ever be a convergence in the bass department. My favourite system is the one most people seem to play around here which is the B - system with the steps. The stepped left hand seems like such a no brainer that i don`t understand why it`s not seen more often. I currently have a regular flat instrument with 3 rows which is very difficult to play so i mostly work on stradella, another awesome invention.
 

debra

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The way the bass layout looks isn't the definitive answer as to where the "free bass" is on this accordion: near the register switches or near the bass strap. Both variations are possible, although this one suggests the free bass is near the bass strap, like most convertor accordions. (The ones with 3 rows of melody bass near the register switches do not use a convertor but have the melody bass always available.)
This accordion appears to have register switches for the convertor instead of one large convertor switch. It is possible that for some notes the reed block has room for two register slices for the same notes, so the registers enable or disable the same reed. That has a slight disadvantage that the tuning of this note is slightly different when used in the melody bass versus in the Stradella bass. But in practice it's not a problem.
 

Walker

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Hi @Vegard Doszko, I have no doubt used the word 'bassetti' a bit clumsily. For me this term 'bassetti' was Giulietti's name for the free bass accordions that he developed - which may or may not have had a transformer. However, I see what you mean, if 'bassetti' is only to be used for non converter free bass systems - like MIII or other bass systems without stradella present, I will remember that for next time. 👍 Incidentally, I also associate Zero Sette and Giulietti closely, so whenever I see the extra protruding rows of basses on either brand I think 'bassetti'. However, if it's a Hohner with a separate free bass, I never think 'bassetti', I think 'MIII' (3 manuals). I expect that illogical system of mine will be fairly unique in the accordion world. 😀

While we are talking free bass terminology maybe I could check the term B griff, in relation to the bass of an accordion. Please correct me if I was wrong. In my understanding there is a B-griff bass which is a mirror of the treble B griff. However, there is also a Russian bass or Bayan system, which is an inverted B griff, with low notes near the floor, and so does not mirror the treble side. It is this inverted B griff that I believed was very common in Eastern Europe and particularly Russia. Is that right? If I have hammed that one up too, please break it to me gently guys🤣.

Regarding system popularity, I think the most universal system (relatively speaking) is stradella. For me it is the foundation for most accordionists. Each freebass system has it's own strongholds. As there is no single generic chromatic bass system it is difficult to know which version is the most popular. I am guessing worldwide the inverted B griff (Russian) is the most common. Thoughts anyone?

I personally tend to take my inspiration from the main bass systems of Italy, and for me the important bass systems there are: stradella bass, Quint converter, and C-griff converter. I like the Italian accordion tradition so that's why I would seek these systems over others. - nothing to do with technical factors.

Stepping the bass seems like a good idea, or at least having a slightly greater gradient in the bass board angle to allow the thumb to be used more freely. The thumb is used quite a lot on quint converter, but only on the outermost row.
 
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debra

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Hi @Vegard Doszko, I have no doubt used the word 'bassetti' a bit clumsily. For me this term 'bassetti' was Giulietti's name for the free bass accordions that he developed - which may or may not have had a transformer. However, I see what you mean, if 'bassetti' is only to be used for non converter free bass systems - like MIII or other bass systems without stradella present, I will remember that for next time. 👍 Incidentally, I also associate Zero Sette and Giulietti closely, so whenever I see the extra protruding rows of basses on either brand I think 'bassetti'. However, if it's a Hohner with a separate free bass, I never think 'bassetti', I think 'MIII' (3 manuals). I expect that illogical system of mine will be fairly unique in the accordion world. 😀
I believe (but could be wrong) that Bassetti is just a generic term for melody bass, used mostly by Giulietti indeed (or Zero Sette who made the Giulietti accordions), whereas Hohner used the term MIII. I consider them equivalent.
While we are talking free bass terminology maybe I could check the term B griff, in relation to the bass of an accordion. Please correct me if I was wrong. In my understanding there is a B-griff bass which is a mirror of the treble B griff. However, there is also a Russian bass or Bayan system, which is an inverted B griff, with low notes near the floor, and so does not mirror the treble side. It is this inverted B griff that I believed was very common in Eastern Europe and particularly Russia. Is that right? If I have hammed that one up too, please break it to me gently guys🤣.
The "inverted B griff" as you call it is indeed the Russian layout, whereas the "mirrored B griff" is the European layout. More and more people who play B griff are switching to the Russian system, but technically I consider both systems to be at least equally good. The Russian system makes it harder to play the low notes on the convertor (because they are way down, making bellows control harder) and you see Russians mostly using the Stradella base notes when they need the lowest octave, to avoid those buttons that are way down. With the mirrored system the low notes are placed more conveniently at the top.
Regarding system popularity, I think the most universal system (relatively speaking) is stradella. For me it is the foundation for most accordionists. Each freebass system has it's own strongholds. As there is no single generic chromatic bass system it is difficult to know which version is the most popular. I am guessing worldwide the inverted B griff (Russian) is the most common. Thoughts anyone?
For piano accordions the mirrored C system is most popular. In Russia piano accordion players of course use the inverted B system. I believe I have seen just one accordion with an inverted C system bass layout instead of mirrored, so that is definitely rare.
I personally tend to take my inspiration from the main bass systems of Italy, and for me the important bass systems there are: stradella bass, Quint converter, and C-griff converter. I like the Italian accordion tradition so that's why I would seek these systems of overs. - nothing to do with technical factors.

Stepping the bass seems like a good idea, or at least having a slightly greater gradient in the bass board angle to allow the thumb to be used more freely. The thumb is used quite a lot on quint converter, but only on the outermost row.
A stepped bass system is still rare, but I have seen a few, and they make the free bass a bit easier to play, and it also makes it possible to use the thumb on another row than just the first one, but even then it's still hard, mainly because of the orientation of the hand.
I stand with you in thinking that technically there is no big advantage of one system over the other. Some things are easier on C and other things easier on B system, for both treble and bass. It really is mostly a geographic preference from what I can tell. And all manufacturers can in theory make all different systems (not counting odd systems like Kravtsov or Reuters). I happen to play a C system Russian bayan (with mirrored C system convertor).
 

saundersbp

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Why do some convertor instruments have the button layout seen in the picture here?

I owned an accordion exactly like the one in the picture. My understanding is that is was an earlier form of freebass mechanism and that they have not been made like this for a few decades.

The freebass notes played exactly as one would on a modern instrument over 4 outer rows with the 4th row repeating the bottom row. There was no converter bar, just a register switch that gave free bass. From a playing point of view the action was a little bit heavier than a modern accordion and there was only one freebass sound - L+M reeds always together. This sounds odd but because the reeds were voiced quite gently it worked pretty well, and was light weight and gentle tone without the weight of cassotto etc. I'd say a good buy if you can find a used one as I've seen them go pretty cheap in UK £1000-£1500, as having L+M coupled permanently seems to make them less desirable. Two of my friends have the exact same instrument purchased used in UK and they really like them.
 

Vegard Doszko

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I owned an accordion exactly like the one in the picture. My understanding is that is was an earlier form of freebass mechanism and that they have not been made like this for a few decades.

The freebass notes played exactly as one would on a modern instrument over 4 outer rows with the 4th row repeating the bottom row. There was no converter bar, just a register switch that gave free bass. From a playing point of view the action was a little bit heavier than a modern accordion and there was only one freebass sound - L+M reeds always together. This sounds odd but because the reeds were voiced quite gently it worked pretty well, and was light weight and gentle tone without the weight of cassotto etc. I'd say a good buy if you can find a used one as I've seen them go pretty cheap in UK £1000-£1500, as having L+M coupled permanently seems to make them less desirable. Two of my friends have the exact same instrument purchased used in UK and they really like them.
Interesting, learned something new today as well, it could look like this one has L+M and L and M separately on account of the grouping of the registers. I won`t be getting this accordion i`m saving up for a stepped instrument, so it will be a while yet as they are still pretty expensive second hand.
 

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