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Author Topic: small box with best bass  (Read 2856 times)

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bearwhisperer

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small box with best bass
« on: March 15, 2017, 10:25:56 PM »

Any opinions on which small quint box, such as a Lilly size, would usually have the most full and deep sounding bass? Either one or two voice treble is ok, but I'd like a light and compact box that my old arthritic body can manage. I'm now using a Saltarelle Bourouche, which is not good for bisonic phrasing and is killing my arms and shoulders. Will not be using a mike.
Thanks
George
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george garside

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2017, 09:03:46 AM »

the preferred sound/volume etc of the bass on a box is a very personal thing  and for example I love the lilly exept the , for me, overloud bass whilst on the other hand the bass/treble balance on a pokerwork Erica is spot on!

It also depends very much on individual style of bass playing ?  long harmonising chords or light tapping of staccato rhythm  and the choice is more difficult if you do a lot of both!

The only advice I can give is to not take anybodies word for it but to go and try several boxes at one of the larger dealers

probably not the answer you are looking for ?

george
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Andrius

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 09:13:56 AM »

Lower key of the box will be deeper bass  ;)
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squeezy

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 09:52:36 AM »

Lower key of the box will be deeper bass  ;)

Actually no ... almost all melodeons are made with C being the lowest bass note and B being the highest regardless of the tuning.
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Anahata

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 10:00:34 AM »

Try a Dino Baffetti Black Pearl.
It was was one of my favourites when I was trying out boxes, until I found an Oakwood of the type I have now. The BP has quite a deep sounding bass for a box of its size.

Old Hohners are good for bass too, in a rather different way.

As George says, you have to try them out, ideally both playing and listening to someone else playing.
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squeezy

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 10:07:17 AM »

I think I know what the OP means by full and deep sounding. 

The notes that a melodeon produces are made up not only of the frequencies we hear as musical notes, but loads of other higher harmonics too. 

Even though most boxes will use reeds of the same pitch in their instruments, some end up amplifying the bassier frequencies leading to a fuller deeper sounding bass whie other will amplify the higher harmonics which make them sound a bit more nasal (and will feel louder too - because they are more in the middle of our range of hearing and compete with the frequencies made by the right hand side).

The problem is that most smaller boxes tend to have a sound with more higher harmonics amplified than lower ones because lower pitched harmonics have longer wavelengths and need a bigger chamber to resonate properly.  It's not a coincidence that classic acoustic bass instruments like tubas and double basses are huge while high-pitched instruments like the piccolo are tiny!

I agree you need to try as many out as possible to be sure, models like the Lilly, Saltarelle Epsilon, Loffet Touptit and the Sandpiper 1 voice boxes all exist as well as vintage Hohners like the Liliput and Preciosa.  For me the old Hohner Liliputs have the most bassy basses of all these with the Lilly having the most nasal sounding basses.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 11:05:11 AM »

I just wonder if this is the Holy Grail of boxes.
I have a small sized Tommy which is known for *not* having a good bass response. I resolved it by going to a full sized Hascy which has a more resonant sound and is bigger.
As Squeezy says, size has a huge effect on sound, so wonder if any smaller instrument can have a good bass response in compared to a full sized box?
Good question though!
cheers
Q

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Thrupenny Bit

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Theo

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 11:06:00 AM »


I agree you need to try as many out as possible to be sure, models like the Lilly, Saltarelle Epsilon, Loffet Touptit and the Sandpiper 1 voice boxes all exist as well as vintage Hohners like the Liliput and Preciosa.  For me the old Hohner Liliputs have the most bassy basses of all these with the Lilly having the most nasal sounding basses.

Some (most?) Castagnari Lilly's have two bass reeds spaced two octaves apart.  This gives it (to my ear) a very unpleasant sound. 

I agree with Squeezys comment about bass sounds needing physically large instruments.  If you want a light instrument it's more a. Are of finding one with the "least bad" sound.  Individual examples of the same model can be very diffetent, so it's essential to try before you buy,  or if you can't do that then buy with a right to return for a full refund.
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george garside

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2017, 01:25:34 PM »


I agree you need to try as many out as possible to be sure, 
Some (most?) Castagnari Lilly's have two bass reeds spaced two octaves apart.  This gives it (to my ear) a very unpleasant sound. 

  quote

I tend to get round that on the lilly by not using little if any bass and treating it more as a sort of substitute fiddle!

george
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Garry Probert

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2017, 04:17:43 PM »

Hi although i,m relatively new to melodeons ,darrens been plinking for many years and I've been fortunate to play a wide collection of his and friends boxes ,the hohner liliput is an extraordinary little box with a really big and well matched sound
so far "including" some very swanky italian boxes the club II is an absolute bass bin but its double the weight of the lilliput and harder on the arms to play, the lilliput is effortless

I really can't fault the little hohner liliput,easy to play light big bass for its size the Castagnari Lilly i really liked initially very easy action tight feel but if i have a plink on it now it seems to be missing something.

   
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Martin J

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2017, 05:38:15 PM »

At about 7kg the Saltarelle Bourouche is quite heavy in itself.  The Castagnari Dony is 4.2Kg but really doesn't feel it as the reeds are so responsive.  If you sit to play and take the weight on your legs there is no weight to speak of on your arms or shoulders.  The 2½ rows may also be advantageous after the Bourouche.
PS: I do have a Lilliput and it is great but the tiny buttons take a lot of getting used to.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 05:40:09 PM by Martin J »
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squeezy

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2017, 06:08:41 PM »

I know it's a side issue but is the Bourroche a continental chromatic, or have you got one that's been melodeonised?
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Squeezy

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Garry Probert

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2017, 06:11:54 PM »

Hi i think as the poster suggested
Quote
Lilly size
I cant really see a lot of options in that weight and size ,I have arthritis and found the lilly perfect size and weight but the versatility and rich tone of the hohner liliput,put me off a lilly
I had problems playing the liliput but darrens "less tips more flat" sorted that and the small button size makes the spacing appear very different when it's actually a very small difference and i think  4.2kg is even heavier than my club II       
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playandteach

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2017, 07:26:00 PM »

My local music shop in Hexham said that they have a Black Pearl coming in for sale at around £895 (DG). They may be willing to take an offer. I can always go in and record something on it if you're interested.
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Martin J

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2017, 08:44:34 PM »

Garry Probert - but darrens "less tips more flat"

I have problems playing my Lilliput. Any info on the above please?

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Garry Probert

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2017, 10:10:11 PM »

Hi as a duet concertina player i was approaching the melodeon with the same fingering hand shape,but darren plays more pads not tips of fingers and no thumb hook but two straps. He often plays major 7th using one finger flattened to play two notes on both rows ,don't understand the mechanics but it creates a more sliding feel less resistance than bolt upright fingers, perhaps more fleshy butexactly the opposite to sloppy not tip fingering on say a guitar.

He also pointed out the button spacing on the lilliput is 17mm the club II is only 19mm so the smaller buttons are only slightly closer together ,but being smaller buttons with larger gaps between buttons ,it made me think they were actually very close ,he rattles around the keyboard with impunity and has sausages for fingers so i figured it had to be me lol

My biggest improvements have come from backing off ,less pounding the buttons and using the air more effectively
and shortening the bass and chord comping

This using the air button slightly to facilitate direction flow i,m struggling with
either too much or too little ,but seeing a push chord and bass from a long pull stretch seamlessly speed up without a drop in volume or tone something to work on       
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malcolmbebb

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2017, 10:46:47 PM »

Garry Probert - but darrens "less tips more flat"

I have problems playing my Lilliput. Any info on the above please?
I play mine with my fingers fairly flat, with the pads of my finger rather than the tips. It takes about ten minutes to move between the Dino and Liliput with any fluency. I also use the thumb groove and don't grip the fingerboard.
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bearwhisperer

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2017, 11:23:29 PM »

Thanks for so much help with my first post!
I can see that I may be heading down that long and financially devastating road that I think many of you have traveled.
Wanting a European box and being in the US is tough as well.
In response: I had posted on the accordion forum after buying my Bourouche, that the bass seemed a little loud compared to the treble. Sometimes from using one M reed (not so bad with bandoneon), but also as squeezy has mentioned, the thing has four bass reeds and the smaller ones activate quicker than the big ones giving it a kind of bright bass.(C in fact being the lowest). I like a big deep bass for long scale phrasing of the balfolk type stuff, but of course would like the box to be able to do it all.(not going to happen I know). The Bourouche CBA is greatly versatile, but I now realize that some phrasing that seems common on the bisonic is not achievable on the unisonic. It seems kind of like you can "sing" on an accordion but you can "dance" on a melodeon.( I had a C#D for a while).
I did come close to bidding on a Dony on ebay recently but chickened out.
I would love to try a Lilly.
I'm off to central Virginia on Sunday to look at a Sandpiper and a D/G Bouebe for sale by another member.
I'll post results.
Thanks!
George
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Garry Probert

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2017, 12:17:38 AM »

Hi
Quote
I play mine with my fingers fairly flat, with the pads of my finger rather than the tips. I also use the thumb groove and don't grip the fingerboard.
Thats exactly as i,m learning ,its not instinctive but when you see it implemented you can see the advantages. 

Quote
It seems kind of like you can "sing" on an accordion but you can "dance" on a melodeon.
I briefly tried a pa on loan ,but after trying a melodeon with that big bass i was hooked
and best of luck with your melodeon hunt
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bearwhisperer

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Re: small box with best bass
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 02:39:10 AM »

BTW squeezy, my Bourouche is CBA unisonoric.
And Anahata, I've definitely noticed your Oakwood as well as a Dino that you have video posted.
Thanks
George
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