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Discussions => Instrument Makes and Models => Topic started by: mselic on January 13, 2018, 04:45:16 AM

Title: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 13, 2018, 04:45:16 AM
I recently had the great fortune to come across a Clement Breton box in D, took the plunge and bought it!  It is truly a fine box, and an absolutely gorgeous piece of work.  The builder, Clement Breton from Quebec, fabricated everything himself (with the exception of the Binci reeds), including leather straps, bellows and all metal hardware.  It has a sweet sound, wet-tuned, can play at a whisper but also has plenty of bite.  Quite possibly my favourite one-row that I've every played.  Feeling lucky indeed!

For the past year+ I have owned and played a Beltuna 4-stop, but I can honestly say that with the Breton box I won't be going back.  The Beltuna may be the stronger box, but I much prefer the Breton; it just feels right in my hands! The Beltuna will be up for sale soon...
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Edward Jennings on January 13, 2018, 07:54:48 AM
It's certainly a thing of beauty, but I'd be worried by those very tall stop knobs. Clumsy beggars like me could cause a lot of damage with all that leverage!
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: RogerT on January 13, 2018, 09:20:30 AM
I agree about those stops. They are are....quite prominent.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Mike-T on January 13, 2018, 10:21:01 AM
Ideal if you get an itchy nose mid set  >:E
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 13, 2018, 01:29:17 PM
I agree that the stops look rather industrial in the photos, but in reality they are no bigger than the stops found on the average cajun box.  And actually, they're my favourite part of the box...
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Stiamh on January 13, 2018, 01:39:37 PM
In Québec they call the stops sapins - and these ones do look like inverted stylized Christmas trees! As ma blonde would say, ils ont de la gueule...  :D
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: syale on January 13, 2018, 02:55:35 PM
Envious  :'(

I think it looks great! You will have to treat us to some sounds from it.

Stephen
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 13, 2018, 02:57:59 PM
I ordered a box from Clement Breton many years ago... #31 of his very limited production.
True he makes everything but the reeds. Stops, corner brackets, leather straps, bellows etc

Mine was an orange sunburst over highly flamed maple, and  tuned -5   +5.   Excellent for Quebecois style which I was playing at the time.

I bought mine on the suggestion of phone  calls to Gaston Nolet and Denis Pepin.. both said independently.... The Melodie for general use and beautifully constructed in a modern style and tone. Messervier for dance music and great punch, power and volume, . But, the Clement Breton for character and "soul".... if you can get one as they are scarce.

I called Clement. Between his limited English and my limited French we made a deal.

Sadly in a fit of poverty as I was moving from Calif to Oregon ... I sold mine to Paul Groff who retuned it to remove the -5 tuning as he was using it for Irish Trad. I believe he sold it to a player in the North East. I have a video of it being played compliments of Paul.

I enjoy unusual, high quality accordeons .. Castagnaris are my default box,  but Clement Breton would be my first choice for a Quebec accordion  without question..In my opinion far superior to a Melodie.. and a joy to do business with M. Breton.

It is the only butt jointed box I would care to own.   Perhaps I should buy another : ).

Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: triskel on January 13, 2018, 05:03:42 PM
It is the only butt jointed box I would care to own.   Perhaps I should buy another : ).

 :o

Now that's saying something - my eyes can't believe what they're hearing!  ???

Wish I could take it for a "test drive"...
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 13, 2018, 07:52:40 PM
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that this is the ultimate one-row melodeon.  I can imagine that this particular box may not be to everyone's tastes.  For one thing, I would not describe it as a loud and powerful box, but rather one with a more dynamic sound and tone.  It is more nuanced than the average box of this nature.  I have often found myself in situations playing with others and wishing that my box could be a little more subtle (possibly not the typical mindset of most accordion players.. ::) ) Having said that, I don't think it would struggle to be heard over other instruments.  As far as the wet sound goes (when playing with all four stops open), even musicians that typically wouldn't like that sound have remarked at how much they like it.

If my Beltuna were a brand new, fully-loaded pickup truck with a strong engine and smooth ride, then the Breton would be an '85 Ford pickup in good cosmetic and working order with stick shift and bench seats; opinions may vary but I know I'd have much more fun driving the older one with character, and that's my experience here ;)

Jeff - it does have butted joints, but in this case I would suggest that the maker certainly didn't choose that route for the sake of expediency, given his attention to detail in every other aspect in the construction of the box.  I'm not sure why he made them like that.  Oh, well...Btw, this box was the one I sent you a link about a little while back.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 13, 2018, 11:36:15 PM
Day late, butt a dollar short : ).

Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: boxcall on January 14, 2018, 12:35:16 AM
I don't mean to butt in -- butt it's looks nice!
Congrats on your purchase.

You might want to hang on to the Beltuna? just in case your going for a long ride or the old ford has a break down, hopefully not "butt" you never know.

Really good luck with it!!!   I'd love to hear it sometime.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 14, 2018, 01:53:18 AM
The term BUTTon box comes to mind.

FYI Clement Breton worked for the railroad in Canada.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: triskel on January 14, 2018, 07:21:16 PM
Butted from old BOXcars then?  ???
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Psuggmog Volbenz on January 15, 2018, 05:16:34 AM
Aren't the butted frame joints preferred if one wishes to stand on their melodeon? Since most modern fabricators cut the wooden pieces on power saws using rigid fences to index the wood relative to the saw blade, rather than free hand cutting the pieces using hand saws, butt joints vs miter joints require the same skill to create.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 15, 2018, 02:13:04 PM
For a skilled amateur and or professional, caring, woodworker, cutting a miter is easy... cutting a butt joint.?.. it really isn't a "joint".
It requires no additional effort to the previously cut board. No secondary step..
no precise fitting. You don't "cut" a butt joint.
For a butt joint, you glue the four case pieces together then belt sand the protruding boards.
It is an expedient "production" method. Professionals do not use butt joints.
Miters can be cut by hand with a  simple miter box, a dedicated powered miter saw such as my compound sliding machine, or a table saw.

In case of Clement Breton, he is not a "production shop" such as Miller, Savoy and Martin.
His work I would classify as (the much over-used word) "artisan", nay .. folk artisan with great skill.
To include straps, bellows and corner pieces etc which are a one off fabrication.

I "stand" firm that perching one's self on top of a production built accordeon (more specifically a butt jointed accordeon)  is no testament to its quality. It's an excuse.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Edward Jennings on January 15, 2018, 04:42:46 PM
How many times are we going to have to suffer this bogus argument?

A mitred joint is almost as easy as a butted joint, but not so difficult as a dovetail, which is immeasurably stronger than both. I cannot understand why a real craftsman would settle for anything less! IMHO, this is similar to the wax verses gasket debate, a real craftsman would make the joints between plate and block, and block and fondo, good enough to be just screwed face to face.

All the different production techniques are developed for expedience, to work to a budget. Why can't we just leave it at that and allow everyone to make their own choices?
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 15, 2018, 04:55:21 PM

"How many times are we going to have to suffer this bogus argument?

A mitred joint is almost as easy as a butted joint, but not so difficult as a dovetail, which is immeasurably stronger than both. I cannot understand why a real craftsman would settle for anything less! IMHO, this is similar to the wax verses gasket debate, a real craftsman would make the joints between plate and block, and block and fondo, good enough to be just screwed face to face.

All the different production techniques are developed for expedience, to work to a budget. Why can't we just leave it at that and allow everyone to make their own choices?"



Not an "argument" and not "bogus".
And there are other joints that would be even better than the miter or dovetail or ( as with Hohner Ericas) finger/box joints.
I agree with the wax vs screwed on leather or other gasket.

I am all for anyone choosing any box they wish.
I wish that all makers would make just that one slight improvement from expeditious butt joints to a miter or even better.
Anyone can butt a joint.

By the way..it is obvious  MELODIE's joint is not a mitre.. it would be great if there was a spline in there but the cutesy wood corners that are glued on are similar to "end to long grain" just as is a butt joint.  Certainly more work and a step up from a butt.
However, strength will still need to come from an interior corner block.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 15, 2018, 05:34:45 PM
Quote
By the way..it is obvious  MELODIE's joint is not a mitre.. it would be great if there was a spline in there but the cutesy wood corners that are glued on are similar to "end to long grain" just as is a butt joint.  Certainly more work and a step up from a butt.
However, strength will still need to come from an interior corner block.

It looks like it might be, at least according to this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2kqMvqwXdg

I should have said "accordion to this video"....
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: folkloristmark on January 15, 2018, 05:51:40 PM
edward I have a gd homewood concertina that is so well made that the plates are just screwed flat on the wood with no issues it can be done and seems in this case very stable.I would note it is a loud concertina. Makes reed reversals a doodle. E.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Edward Jennings on January 15, 2018, 05:58:42 PM
I expect it would be loud, Mark. I'm certain that the more solidly the reed is anchored, then the louder and clearer it will sound.
(We're well off-topic here!)
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: boxcall on January 15, 2018, 07:25:11 PM
Quote
By the way..it is obvious  MELODIE's joint is not a mitre.. it would be great if there was a spline in there but the cutesy wood corners that are glued on are similar to "end to long grain" just as is a butt joint.  Certainly more work and a step up from a butt.
However, strength will still need to come from an interior corner block.

It looks like it might be, at least according to this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2kqMvqwXdg

I should have said "accordion to this video"....
Looks like it, with corners knock off then added corner piece. This is how the beltuna is done as you know and makes sense because mitre joint are prone to chipping at the outer edge depending on wood type. Mitres are good but can be difficult to assemble. Box joints and dovetail are great but time consuming. A joint used in drawer construction ( usually at the back edge sometimes at the front)would be good , make saw cut (dado) in the short sides and rabbet the long side of casework of box. It would give the look of a butt joint from side but it would be way stronger as it has more glue area and makes assembling easy and you wouldn't need a corner block. You could buy router bits that do both profiles for this but woulnd't need too, it could be done with straight and or rabbeting bits.

I'm thinking of
Bits like this http://www.rockler.com/drawer-lock-router-bit

Even better than a mitre
http://www.rockler.com/rockler-45-deg-lock-miter-router-bits-1-2-in-shank
These can be use on 3/8" stock and bits profile boths sides with the same bit. After getting things setup it's pretty easy to do.

I think as far as "production shops" goes,  any maker is going to want to do as many pieces and parts as possible because it takes time to set things up and this only makes sense. I would think even small shops would do as much of this as possible.  Bottom line is how it plays and sounds in the end.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: playandteach on January 15, 2018, 11:11:03 PM
I hope you will excuse this interruption. I'm not playing at the moment, and that may cause a certain lack of sympathetic tone. I have many old fashioned watches which I love for their soul and craftsmanship in a bygone era. But that time has passed (no pun intended). Surely what we care about is the response of the reeds in their setting, with the physics working well enough for the sound to resonate with an even sound on push and pull and a sound that grabs us.
Agreed that all of that being equal we would also like certain aesthetics to also be in place, such as a wrap around grain. There are many examples of professional instruments where the prototype no frills instrument is better than the final production line product. Close your eyes and take in the sound, then pick it up and feel the mechanics and response, then pick the aesthetics.
I have seen many beautiful toys, and a few ugly wonders.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 16, 2018, 12:36:01 AM
Box call..   that joint jig/tool is the setup I have.
That is a much better corner joint than a butt or a simple miter.

However, I have another idea which I will try out once I get to a stopping place.

Wrap around grain.. and same board for both sides of the instrument.    someone might pass on Castagnari's every day workmanship and wood choice to Saltarelle.  : )

" I have seen many beautiful toys, and a few ugly wonders."  "Yuppie junk": looks good and doesn't work.

Best accordeon (2 row 3 reed)  I ever played was a plain Jane birch and beech and cheap pine wonder... . Mitered corners, light as a feather. No frills. Thumb groove was a fancy as it got. Italian made, pre "merchandizing era".
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: -Y- on January 16, 2018, 05:05:49 PM
How many times are we going to have to suffer this bogus argument?

I'm discovering there is actually an argument about joints in accordion.  (:)

It is an expedient "production" method. Professionals do not use butt joints.

Looks like you're omitting the history behind the use of such joints in one-row melodeons. It was (and for many builder still is) involving a lot of makeshift work and tinkering, in imitating the early german models. Some may even consider that it's now part of the tradition and that a "proper" Cajun box would have to be built that way. Of course it doesn't matter much beyond aesthetics (no influence over the sound quality, and the load applied to our instrument isn't a matter of concern). But I remember having read in another forum that the relatively poor build quality (all things considered) of some Louisiana-made boxes were one of the reasons leading R. Ouellet and S. Vézina to launch their own production. I don't know much more than that but most of the Québec makers do not use butt joints anymore.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Theo on January 16, 2018, 05:14:55 PM
And even the cheaper mass produced boxes from Saxony all have mitred corners, at least all the ones I've sen are like that.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 16, 2018, 07:14:45 PM
Yes, cheap Saxon boxes had mitered corners. And some culture of makers in the US say they copied Monarchs, Globe etc. Not so.

Many of the Chinese made boxes have mitered corners.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: boxcall on January 16, 2018, 07:52:50 PM
My cheap Silvetta one row has mitered corners, it probably wouldn't be a half bad box if it had better reeds and or if it was set up better. The action is not bad at all and bellows aren't bad other than cheap bellow tape.
So mitres don't make the box better by looks or time attention to detail alone.
Speaking as a home builder,
Good materials with poor quality builders or good builders with poor quality materials can't make a good quality home, although a lot of homeowners think putting in good material makes for a good product, not always. Especially this day and age where there are a lot of specialized trades that don't see the complete picture of how all the components work together, my findings.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Edward Jennings on January 17, 2018, 10:08:13 AM
pre "merchandizing era"

Or, in other words, "When products from the best available manufacturers weren't all priced well beyond the reach of ordinary everyday folk" (?)
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 17, 2018, 02:27:00 PM
That's it.

When quality and customer service were paramount and profit was a given if the quality and customer service was there. Quality product and service first, profit secondary. 

Now it's all about "features" such as the number of cup holders, and "name branding", and customer service is  "your call will be answered by the next available agent, your wait time is 28 minutes", then obnoxious music, then someone garbles off something and hangs up on you. Or makes promises, takes your money, lies about the delivery date several times,  sends you something you didn't order, argues that they do not make what you ordered, then when you return the product they cheat you out of $500.

Look at Martin guitar or Levis for examples of new age nonsense.. it's all about production and capitalizing off of a former reputation for excellence.

No, I don't want a crustacean on the bellows, I want mitered corners, thank you.

I like folks who do what they say they will do when they say they will do it. Clement Breton is such a person.

Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: -Y- on January 17, 2018, 03:08:53 PM
I don't know when is the period you refer to as the time when quality and customer service were paramount, but on the whole, if we compare the production quality of melodeons between now and, say, 20 to 30 years back, I'd have to say it's generally increasing.
I may be biased by being French and by the local history of folk music there, but I've the feeling we've made giant steps towards better and better accordions. True, there are still mishaps here and there (from what I can gather, you paid the costs of such mishaps yourself), some brands are not that honest about who makes their models, and there are far too many professionals selling overpriced crappy Chinese accordions. But on the other hand, a melodeon player never had more choice now than ever before. You can go for a small craftsman that makes personalized models to family-owned factories or huge production factories that make every standard variation available in a short time. You basically can go for the look you want, the feel you want, and the options you want. Which wasn't the case for the generation before mine.
If you look at the situation in France (sorry, I don't think we're the centre of the world, I only prefer to speak about things I know), we have more and more quality craftsmen entering the market (to name a few : Clément Guais, Antoine Errotaberea or Tania Rutkowski), that provide a choice for all tastes. And these people do not make melodeons for a profit. In fact they barely make a living out of it. Most of these makers have made extreme choices in terms of what they are selling. Be it only two voices, only a wood sound board, or radical look, and so on. While they are happy to respond to customer demands, they will not change what gives their accordion their personality. Even if it means not having mitre joints  (:). (and I'm not saying butt joints are a quality feature there).

TL;DR : I don't buy the alarmist talk, I would say that even now, quality and customer service are the norm.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 17, 2018, 03:13:46 PM
Does anyone know how long a period of time Clement Breton made accordions for? According to his Facebook page, he has retired from box making some years ago and his hobby is now airplanes (flying I'm assuming, not making). Does anyone know how many accordions he actually made? I think the number is fairly low, somewhere in the range of 50 maybe. I could be wrong - that's just the number that I've heard thrown around by people.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: tirpous on January 17, 2018, 03:51:20 PM
In the book 'Opus - the making of musical instruments in Canada', published in 1992, they said he had been building for 10 years and had made 20 boxes in his spare time.   
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: triskel on January 17, 2018, 04:13:30 PM
My cheap Silvetta one row has mitered corners, it probably wouldn't be a half bad box if it had better reeds and or if it was set up better. The action is not bad at all and bellows aren't bad other than cheap bellow tape.

I used to deal with the (BGK) factory that made Silvetta, and visited them in Brunndöbra (Klingenthal) several times, but it was a frustrating experience. There was an old, retired, man (Mr. Glass) who made good prototypes for them that worked, but then (I later learned) the place was run on subsidies as a training course and "Schaumanufaktur" (Show Factory) visitor attraction, and the standard of "workmanship" from the trainees just wasn't up to the mark at all.

For example you could slide a feeler gauge under their glued-down laid-flat reedblocks (which should have been impossible), and if I specified those blocks should be 5mm deep (for tone and response) they'd actually be 7, 8 or 9mm deep - which ruined the sound/response and the whole concept! :(

And when I asked them to put larger buttons on their Deutsche Harmonikas (10-key melodeons) for me, which should have been a very simple matter, even Mr. Glass said it would not be possible - which was utterly ridiculous! >:(

The awful thing is that the best of melodeons had been made in that very factory, until the 1930s... ::)
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: boxcall on January 17, 2018, 04:48:23 PM
My cheap Silvetta one row has mitered corners, it probably wouldn't be a half bad box if it had better reeds and or if it was set up better. The action is not bad at all and bellows aren't bad other than cheap bellow tape.
For example you could slide a feeler gauge under their glued-down laid-flat reedblocks (which should have been impossible)


The awful thing is that the best of melodeons had been made in that very factory, until the 1930s... ::)
Mine has two stand up reed blocks.
Like I said the action is pretty good, internal springs and yes small buttons, they almost got this part right ;) Cheap fondo some composite with picture of wood and I'm not sure what kind of reeds, maybe they make those?


So is this where the Globe and Monarch's were made then?

Sorry for drift
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 17, 2018, 06:50:18 PM
If anyone is curious to hear the Breton boxes in action, there's a few links of them being played by Denis Pepin, Philippe Bruneau, Suzie Lemay and Mario Veillette, respectively:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR-eViH5hyc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPaJRWVR1AE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKzqCQuJdEE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh9UQdWh3PE

I know Gaston Nolet has a few of his boxes, but I've yet to find a video of him playing one.

Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Pearse Rossa on January 17, 2018, 07:44:10 PM
Some great melodeon playing displayed there!
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: -Y- on January 17, 2018, 07:52:08 PM
Great music, thanks mselic. :||:
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: triskel on January 17, 2018, 07:54:21 PM
I'm not sure what kind of reeds, maybe they make those?

Sadly that factory became insolvent at the end of 2009, but they certainly did have the capacity to make reeds because I was shown the grinding machine in action, and reeds being assembled.

The awful thing is that the best of melodeons had been made in that very factory, until the 1930s... ::)
So is this where the Globe and Monarch's were made then?

It was the old Royal Standard factory, and made very high quality melodeons that were played by champion players, but I have my suspicions about another brand being produced there too...  ;) (There are certainly pointers that suggest a close relationship, and both firms were owned by Leipzig merchants, but proving anything is another story.)
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Pearse Rossa on January 17, 2018, 08:10:26 PM
... The Beltuna may be the stronger box, but I much prefer the Breton...

Can you clarify what you mean please?
Do you mean 'stronger' in terms of construction or volume?
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 17, 2018, 08:55:14 PM
... The Beltuna may be the stronger box, but I much prefer the Breton...

Can you clarify what you mean please?
Do you mean 'stronger' in terms of construction or volume?

Sure.  I do mean 'stronger' in terms of volume and overall presence. It takes less effort to produce volume with the Beltuna than the Breton.  The Beltuna sounds very full-bodied with only a small amount of effort, whereas the Breton would take more work to produce the same volume.  I wouldn't describe the Breton as weak, just different; the Breton can do subtle and mellow better than the Beltuna, IMHO.  The Beltuna is air-tight and feels like a powerful engine.  The Breton flows a little more easily and has charm.

In regards to construction, they are both very well built, although I consider the Breton to be a much nicer looking box, with a tremendous amount of care and attention put into it by the maker.  The Beltuna, as fine as the casework is, is a factory-built box with much less regard for details.  I've seen a few other Beltunas where virtually no effort was made in matching wood grain, etc and it really stood out.

A big thing for me are the springs for the pallet levers; the Beltuna has scissor-type springs that rest under the keys, and the Breton has coil-springs that are attached to a little screw at the base of the pallet, and I MUCH prefer the feel of the latter.  I never knew until recently what the difference was, but every box that I tried that had coil-springs always felt better to me.  It gives the keys a more "snappy" feel which I find very satisfying and easier to play with.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 17, 2018, 11:57:15 PM
I do not know how many boxes M. Breton made, but mine was numbered #31.

As to the Beltuna box..
I admittedly have not played one.

They look production designed and made. Wood is average and often mismatched, some other details which I shared with Matt when he sent me a picture of his Beltuna.  ( sorry for slagging your box ! )
Some have Binci reeds, others say they have something else.
Unfortunately the US distributor is .. (withheld) and the customer service is not at the forefront of the business.
I can buy one from Canada for far less than in the US.  But I don't feel like taking a chance.

What I really don't like is the over accentuation on embellishment to the chassis.. Cheezy at best.. I don't like it. Either CNCd or lazered ... absolutely incongruous with the rest of the box and un necessary.  Save the time/money and put it into the guts. And bag the design on the bellows, please.  ( Other makers take note... designs on bellows.. particularly attempted images of the corporate logo or initial of the brand or animate objects etc ..tacky)

Just my opinion.

Look at classical guitars and Martin guitar pre commercialization... no logo on the headstock. Now Martin uses the company script in what is called "NEON"

I did not buy an accordion form a maker  in the So P...    because he wanted to put a billboard sized name plate on the front of the instrument.. I said none or on the back. Would not budge. No sale.

Note that my Clement Breton had no script or badge or name or emblem anywhere on it.

 

Clement Breton's boxes are just plain cool.  And I do like the ballsiness of the sound and playbility.  Not at all delicate as with some mother makers.  This is a players box.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Pearse Rossa on January 18, 2018, 12:41:26 AM
A big thing for me are the springs for the pallet levers; the Beltuna has scissor-type springs that rest under the keys, and the Breton has coil-springs that are attached to a little screw at the base of the pallet, and I MUCH prefer the feel of the latter.  I never knew until recently what the difference was, but every box that I tried that had coil-springs always felt better to me.  It gives the keys a more "snappy" feel which I find very satisfying and easier to play with.

In the event that you might want to adjust the action, I think that angled springs are much easier to work
with than coil springs...but that's a subject for another day I suppose, and of course if you are satisfied with
things as they are, it's entirely academic!
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: boxcall on January 18, 2018, 01:38:12 AM
I do not know how many boxes M. Breton made, but mine was numbered #31.

As to the Beltuna box..
I admittedly have not played one.

They look production designed and made. Wood is average and often mismatched, some other details which I shared with Matt when he sent me a picture of his Beltuna.  ( sorry for slagging your box ! )
Some have Binci reeds, others say they have something else.
Unfortunately the US distributor is .. (withheld) and the customer service is not at the forefront of the business.
I can buy one from Canada for far less than in the US.  But I don't feel like taking a chance.

What I really don't like is the over accentuation on embellishment to the chassis.. Cheezy at best.. I don't like it. Either CNCd or lazered ... absolutely incongruous with the rest of the box and un necessary.  Save the time/money and put it into the guts. And bag the design on the bellows, please.  ( Other makers take note... designs on bellows.. particularly attempted images of the corporate logo or initial of the brand or animate objects etc ..tacky)

Just my opinion.

Look at classical guitars and Martin guitar pre commercialization... no logo on the headstock. Now Martin uses the company script in what is called "NEON"

I did not buy an accordion form a maker  in the So P...    because he wanted to put a billboard sized name plate on the front of the instrument.. I said none or on the back. Would not budge. No sale.

Note that my Clement Breton had no script or badge or name or emblem anywhere on it.

 

Clement Breton's boxes are just plain cool.  And I do like the ballsiness of the sound and playbility.  Not at all delicate as with some mother makers.  This is a players box.

To each there own (some people like cheese, Theo? (:)) I get compliments all the time on how nice my Beltuna looks and when my teacher played it his first comment was that it feels really well built. I don't think the CNC area stands out that much. There may be a piece of wood that doesn't match on mine depending on the angle that it's viewed from (it's wood after all this effect can happen when different sections are taken from the same piece of wood). They do put quality in the inside from what I can see, your not going to get better slide systems metal not wood that sticks also locking cams that keep them in place and they are adjustable if needed. The reeds in mine are Artigiana, blocks and other components inside look really good. Bellows are also very good ( I'm not crazy about logos either but I suppose as a maker I'd want it on there). I think the corners are done nicely and it doesn't have the metal corners (which I don't think look that great) most of the good quality makers these days are not using them, (say but a few to cover their BUTTS) although it's a good discreet place for a logo. I think the method of pallet attachment is good also it looks cleaner, although they must use some kind of tape to cover the attachment point. It had falling off mine ( I bought it second hand and it was off already) I fixed it with some birch banding which match the pallet material quite well.
I've also dealt with the person who is the US distributor for them ( different box) He was some what accommodating but didn't really give me what I ask for, just close to it. The person I bought the Beltuna from got it from him. So I know where your coming from with that business.
All of the above is just my opinion and experience of course.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: mselic on January 18, 2018, 05:12:27 AM
Apart from it being an excellent box to play, the Beltuna design does have some very nice features as you mentioned (locking stops, rounded corners...) but it also has a few drawbacks.  The flimsy gold tape that covers that pallets is an inexcusable travesty and yes, it peels off in no time exposing the waxed-on pallet arms.  I think the newer ones may have done away with the tape...The mismatched wood seems to be fairly common, as I've noticed it on several boxes.  None of the above were deal-breakers, but they were noticeable.  Some people really like the look of them. In general, they really are better than most one-rows you'll come across.  They were originally intended as affordable models for students in Quebec, but somehow they took off from there and became something different (ie. NOT affordable!)  They're not trying to be an old-school 10-key "melodeon"; it's more of a modern take on an old idea.

The Breton? Now that's old school... >:E
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 18, 2018, 02:07:15 PM
Mechanics are one thing, aesthetics are another. Attempting to "create" an aesthetic  commonly results in  failure.
Let the wood and fittings be what they are.  I, too, like cheese, but gimmee Stilton, or Monterey Jack  or genuine Italian varieties but don't create one for visual appeal.

As to my observations of the Beltuna ( based on photos to include Matt"s), were I  able to buy one without the lazered schlup. and matched wood, and all wood pallets no gilding etc and with top tier Binci reeds and Padauk with (please) no contrasting white wood stop knobs and no emblem on the bellows, and so on... I would consider one.. I suspect without all that stuff, it may be less money.

Why is there no one creating a simple box with high quality design, materials and workmanship throughout to include an air button in the right place and a thumb groove. ?
Too bad Clement Breton is not still building his "charm" boxes.
Gaillard used to make two versions of the one row. This was many years ago when there was a 120 day wait period and very low prices. As I was moving, could not order. Now he no longer makes them. Price is not a deterrent to purchase.

I am now aware of 6 players who have switched from Castagnari to the Beltuna melodeon to include some famed players.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: -Y- on January 18, 2018, 03:46:18 PM
Why is there no one creating a simple box with high quality design, materials and workmanship throughout to include an air button in the right place and a thumb groove. ?

What do you think of Kay Albrecht one-row melodeons ?
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Steve_freereeder on January 18, 2018, 03:54:53 PM
....I am now aware of 6 players who have switched from Castagnari to the Beltuna melodeon to include some famed players.

Having sold a Castagnari Mory and subsequently regretted the sale, I had a brief flirtation with a Beltuna Alex 3 (the equivalent three voice 2.5 row). The Alex 3 had a lovely creamy sound and was very well made. But oh so heavy! Noticeably more than the Mory. I had the Alex 3 on a medium term approval period, so it went back fortunately with no financial loss.

Not long after that I acquired a replacement Mory and have never looked back.

So I switched from Castagnari to Beltuna and then switched back again.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Simon W on January 18, 2018, 03:56:49 PM
Why is there no one creating a simple box with high quality design, materials and workmanship throughout to include an air button in the right place and a thumb groove. ?


There's always these beauties
http://www.melodeons.com/gallery
I'm sure a thumb groove could be added.

Simon
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Steve_freereeder on January 18, 2018, 03:58:16 PM
What do you think of Kay Albrecht one-row melodeons ?
Very nice indeed and beautifully made. But only available in LMM voicing and I much prefer the standard LMMH voicing. The H voice gives the sound that extra 'bite'.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: boxcall on January 18, 2018, 08:56:34 PM
Apart from it being an excellent box to play, the Beltuna design does have some very nice features as you mentioned (locking stops, rounded corners...) but it also has a few drawbacks.  The flimsy gold tape that covers that pallets is an inexcusable travesty and yes, it peels off in no time exposing the waxed-on pallet arms.  I think the newer ones may have done away with the tape...The mismatched wood seems to be fairly common, as I've noticed it on several boxes.  None of the above were deal-breakers, but they were noticeable.  Some people really like the look of them. In general, they really are better than most one-rows you'll come across.  They were originally intended as affordable models for students in Quebec, but somehow they took off from there and became something different (ie. NOT affordable!)  They're not trying to be an old-school 10-key "melodeon"; it's more of a modern take on an old idea.

The Breton? Now that's old school... >:E

I like your old school!!
True the tape on pallets is poor design, I just used the banding material, cut pieces to fit and iron them on, it worked great and they haven't move since. And like I said they blend right in, also pallet arms are glued on on mine. The mismatched wood is no big deal on mine it's not that far off and the average person would never notice. It's like a carpenter going into a house even if it looks great you could find something to criticize if you look hard enough.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: Psuggmog Volbenz on January 18, 2018, 09:59:12 PM




I "stand" firm that perching one's self on top of a production built accordeon (more specifically a butt jointed accordeon)  is no testament to its quality. It's an excuse.
....or "showmanship" which was a veiled point I was making.
Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: melodeon on January 19, 2018, 02:49:27 PM
Yes, I got that.

What you can't do with skill, do with charm;
If that doesn't work.. try BS.

And that is an excuse for butt joints.

I am glad someone else has seen, and  understands, the Barnum and Bailey of standing on an accordeon.

Title: Re: Clement Breton box
Post by: triskel on January 19, 2018, 04:50:00 PM
I am glad someone else has seen, and  understands, the Barnum and Bailey of standing on an accordeon.

Yes, people do see that, and the "circus" of your objections to butt-jointed melodeons too. Only if you're going to stand on top of a box built like that it's going to be stronger (with two columns supporting a beam beneath you) than a mitre joint, though not if the instrument was laid on its side...

Butt there's nothing wonderfully strong about mitre joints, in fact failed ones (even with reinforcing blocks on the insides of them) are the bane of my life and I'm weary of the subject after more than 45 years of gluing them back together again. :(

What I always say to people choosing an instrument is that the main consideration should be "Do you like the noise it makes?" and (much as I like to see beautiful materials well-put-together) that should be what really matters if what you want is to play music on it.

Hence (for me) this Globe "Gold Medal" (in D, and with original factory tuning) is a thing of tremendous beauty, and the perfect melodeon, because it has the authentic sounds of both John Kimmel and Peter Conlon within it: