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Author Topic: History of Saltarelle?  (Read 23218 times)

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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #40 on: October 25, 2017, 11:32:06 AM »

This is an honest question - no hint of a slight.

If Saltarelles are made by different makers over a period of time, how do they have a 'Saltarelle sound'? I say this as someone who was in an orchestra that was heralded for its sound, despite a changing personnel. I've had this broom 20 years, it's had 3 new heads and 4 new handles.
What is the Saltarelle sound (assuming we can define a Hohner or Castagnari sound)? How is it maintained over an ever changing construction?

Can't speak for others but, in my case, I should clarify by saying that when I say I love the Saltarelle sound I mean, specifically, the sound resulting from it being fettled after I got it. The man who fettled it described it as having the Saltarelle sound after he had done it. It certainly sounds very different to the way it was when I bought it and I love the sound it makes now.
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Greg Smith
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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #41 on: October 25, 2017, 07:31:38 PM »

To be honest, the label on a melodeon isn't of great importance to me, any more than whether the label on my T-shirt is Calvin Klein, Marks & Sparks or Lidl . All I'm interested in is whether the product is up to the job and its performance satisfies me. I happen to have owned my Saltarelle for many years, and I've never played another box - with the possible exception of an early Oakwood - which has felt so "right". It happens to have been built by Serenellini, but it could just as easily have been built by any other reasonably large maker and badged "Saltarelle". Badge engineering is nothing new - the motor industry has been doing it for decades.  What matters to me is that I have a well-built, sweet sounding and reliable box with which I am very happy. For the record, I have played a number of other Saltarelles and found them less satisfactory than mine, a few Castagnaris, none of which I liked at all, a lot of Hohners, some of which were gems and others absolute dogs, and a selection of  other boxes of assorted ages and origins which have ranged from the  abysmal to the not too bad. Probably the best engineered box I have, and certainly the one I'd save in a fire, is a delightful little one-row Hlavaček; the one I'd rely on for gigs, sessions  and the like is the Pastourelle II.  The fact that it's a Saltarelle is irrelevant; the point is that it's a good reliable instrument that suits me perfectly.

Graham
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Among others, Saltarelle Pastourelle II D/G; Hohner 4-stop 1-rows in C & G; assorted Hohners; 3-voice German (?) G/C of uncertain parentage; lovely little Hlavacek 1-row Heligonka; B♭/E♭ Koch. Newly acquired G/C Hohner Viktoria. Also Fender Jazz bass, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Epiphone Sheraton, Charvel-Jackson 00-style acoustic guitar and other stuff..........

Squeezing in the Cyprus sunshine

Maggie

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #42 on: October 26, 2017, 09:43:10 AM »

When I decided to buy a melodeon, I went to Château d'Ars where there were about twenty (or so it seemed) makers and sellers of melodeons.  Spent a day going to each stand and listening to all the melodeons within my price range; made a short list and the following day went back to listen to them again.

I couldn't play a note, so asked the sellers to play a variety of slow/fast tunes for me.  At the end of these two days, I chose the melodeon which gave me the mellow rich tone, plus good volume that pleased me best.  Very happy with my Saltarelle l'Elfique!

That was two years ago.  A couple of months ago I took it to Stephanie Simon, a very well reputed tuner and repairer, for a wee check-up.  She stated that it was very well made, good reeds, everything as it should be and still in tune.  She spent a few minutes on one of the base reeds, then declared it fine for another year or so.

Maybe I have been lucky - or maybe I chose to buy from a dealer who ensured that the instrument was as it should be before selling it to me.  I don't really know.  I do find it sad to hear the criticisms, especially as they may put people from choosing to buy a Saltarelle.  With regard to the 'Saltarelle sound', I was at a festival recently, heard an unusually lovely melodeon - rich and gorgeous - so went to see what it was .... yes, a Saltarelle! 

Please don't let some bad press put people off buying a Saltarelle.  It seems that the problem is consistency not quality, there are lots of wonderful Saltarelles out there, not just those that are poorly built.

Maggie :|||:
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Julian S

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #43 on: October 26, 2017, 10:46:30 AM »

To me, the problem seems to be lack of consistency. It would be good to have the opportunity to try several examples of the same model for comparison - but I wonder whether the problem is as much lower specifications as quality control.
With my (and GPS) Pastourelles , clearly we have the situation of 'they don't make 'em like that anymore' . Serenellini make, type of case, weight, reeds,mechanism, whatever -somehow all works together to make for us great boxes, and I know that recent Pastourelles are just completely different.  If only Serenellini made a 243 (deluxe ?- I forget the model) but with two voices - now that would be interesting to compare.

J
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triskel

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #44 on: October 26, 2017, 01:19:34 PM »

If only Serenellini made a 243 (deluxe ?- I forget the model) but with two voices - now that would be interesting to compare.

If you mean the 233 de Luxe, then (though it was never a catalogue option) they used to make some 2-voice 232 ones (the model numbers consist of the number of buttons + the number of voices) for me, when I had a shop in Dublin and the Irish dealership for them. They then started to offer that 2-voice model in 21-key configuration, as the 212 Selli (but in those days it didn't have the stoppers or the curved grille it has now).

I only wish they'd had the large range of diatonics available then that they offer now...  :-\
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triskel

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #45 on: October 26, 2017, 01:41:02 PM »

If only Serenellini made a 243 (deluxe ?- I forget the model) but with two voices - now that would be interesting to compare.

If you mean the 233 de Luxe ...

Ah, hang on! You're more likely thinking in Pastourelle terms, in which case it'd be the 2.5-row 273 de luxe that you mean?

In that case I only ever had one of those in 2-voice off Serenellini, a special order (with a mano reeds) for Tony MacMahon's brother Brendan. But the only reason they could do it for me was that they still had a spare body for a Pastourelle (or Connemara?) II left sitting on the shelf, from when they were building them for Saltarelle, and they covered up the rectangular "window" (for the old-style paper label) on the front of it with a wooden plaque engraved with thir own name.

It was a cracking box!  :D
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #46 on: October 26, 2017, 03:19:32 PM »

I may be misunderstanding what is being said here, but it seems to me that (allowing for a few exceptions that were genuine manufacturing issues) most of the comments running down Saltarelles, especially those of earlier manufacture, relate to a poor initial setup. Nothing a good fettling wouldn't sort out. This is exactly the same sort of thing you would get buying a Fender or a Gibson guitar and is the sort of thing a good dealer sorts out. If your supplier doesn't do this it is not difficlt or very expensive to find someone who will. Not really such a big deal.

I thought the subject of this thread was the history of Saltarelle, not some minor issues people experience with new ones.
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Greg Smith
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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #47 on: October 26, 2017, 04:01:06 PM »

Greg I think it’s more than that.  I’ve worked on various Saltarelle models of a variety of ages, on some it is as you say a matter of getting the reeds set up optimally.  The same is true to a greater or lesser extent of most larger makers.  What I’ve also found is that the reed quality is quite variable, and it’s not simply a matter of machine made, tipi a mano or a mano.  Some of the best playing examples I’ve seen have reeds that have all the hallmarks of being machine made, and some of the least rewarding to play had reeds that had all the physical signs of true a mano - hand riveted, blue edged cut from narrow steel strips - but still were hard work to play even after the most careful setup.  So my advice to Saltarelle buyers is always try the actual instrument before you decide. In Europe the distance selling regulations give you a legal right to return something bought online or by mail order. So I even if you can’t visit the retailer you can still try before commiting to buy.
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pbsalt

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #48 on: October 26, 2017, 05:55:40 PM »

I may be misunderstanding what is being said here, but it seems to me that (allowing for a few exceptions that were genuine manufacturing issues) most of the comments running down Saltarelles, especially those of earlier manufacture, relate to a poor initial setup. Nothing a good fettling wouldn't sort out. This is exactly the same sort of thing you would get buying a Fender or a Gibson guitar and is the sort of thing a good dealer sorts out. If your supplier doesn't do this it is not difficlt or very expensive to find someone who will. Not really such a big deal.

I've been lucky with my Nuage - but if buying a new box I would expect it to be in playable condition and not to need fettling.
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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #49 on: October 26, 2017, 06:07:42 PM »

I've been lucky with my Nuage - but if buying a new box I would expect it to be in playable condition and not to need fettling.

Well don't buy a Hohner, Sandpiper, Sherwood, any cheap chinese box, the Castagnari Mory I bought that had valves laying loose in the casework, a new Oakwood etc etc.

Or as others have said Play before you pay!

Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #50 on: October 26, 2017, 07:14:06 PM »

I suppose my point is that when I first saw this thread I was hoping to see something about the history of the instrument. Not just another series of mailings knocking it, saying things that we already know.

For example, I would like to know how long the brand has been around. When different models were manufactured. Methods of manufacture would be of speecial interest to me. I am a manufacturing engineer who spent a large part of my life working in automation. If advanced manufacturing techniques have created problems that would be of great interest to me. I already know there are quality control issues that seem to relate to the way in which manufacture is tendered. I would like to see more of the interesting (to me)  technical stuff. Presumably, no one who posts here has any knowledge.

I would add that the general standard of manufacture cannot be that bad, or the company would not survive.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
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The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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triskel

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #51 on: October 26, 2017, 08:13:37 PM »

I suppose my point is that when I first saw this thread I was hoping to see something about the history of the instrument.

Actually, as a historian, I'd see quite a lot of history to be gleaned from the replies to this thread, and (for example) your first question  "For example, I would like to know how long the brand has been around." has already been answered.

"When different models were manufactured" is more difficult, but this thread has prompted me to look for the two catalogues Georges Roux gave me in 1989 - and I've found both them, along with a 1990 Saltarelle price list, plus a 1990 catalogue from Name Accordions (Alan Lamb and Rod Stradling), and a 1992 price list from Soar Valley Music. If other people looked at what they might still have, we could perhaps establish around when different models appeared, and disappeared...

Quote
Methods of manufacture would be of speecial interest to me. I am a manufacturing engineer who spent a large part of my life working in automation. If advanced manufacturing techniques have created problems that would be of great interest to me. I already know there are quality control issues that seem to relate to the way in which manufacture is tendered. I would like to see more of the interesting (to me)  technical stuff. Presumably, no one who posts here has any knowledge.

Seeing that Saltarelle have never actually made any of their accordions, and have used different Italian builders over the years to do that, I don't suppose even they themselves have any knowledge of all this. But there isn't a machine that can build an accordion - there's always a huge amount of hand work involved.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 11:52:50 PM by triskel »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #52 on: October 26, 2017, 08:57:08 PM »

I suppose my point is that when I first saw this thread I was hoping to see something about the history of the instrument.

Actually, as a historian, I'd see quite a lot of history to be gleaned from the replies to this thread, and (for example) your first question  "For example, I would like to know how long the brand has been around." has already been answered...


Yes you're right, of course. I just felt the thread had been hijacked by people repeating much stated complaints. Any of the more relevant stuff is tending to be buried by the rest.

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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #53 on: October 26, 2017, 09:17:01 PM »


But there isn't a machine that can build an accordion - there's always a huge amount of hand work involved.


Yes. This is true of much of much manufacturing today. Hand assembly of the complicated bits is a fundemental part of lean manufacturing and flexible systems, though often mechanically or robotically assisted.  However, manufacture of  the components tends to lend itself to CNC and robotic systems. I wouldn't imagine a melodeon is any different in this respect. I mentioned the topic because there was a passing reference to CNC manufacture of Saltarelles in earlier comments. I wonder if anyone knows more about this.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
Lao Tzu

triskel

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #54 on: October 26, 2017, 10:53:02 PM »


But there isn't a machine that can build an accordion - there's always a huge amount of hand work involved.

Yes. This is true of much manufacturing today. Hand assembly of the complicated bits is a fundemental part of lean manufacturing and flexible systems, though often mechanically or robotically assisted.  However, manufacture of  the components tends to lend itself to CNC and robotic systems.

I can't say for definite, because the use of such technology seems to have come on apace (become cheaper and easier to use) in recent years, but it may well be that a lot of such components are being made by outside suppliers - and many "makers" are perhaps more "skilled assemblers"...
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mory

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #55 on: October 26, 2017, 10:54:45 PM »

The Killaloe (I have one in C#D LMM) would seem to have superseded the Super Nuage (Ciaren Kelly has one in DD# MMH) to all intent and purpose they would very much seem to be the same box, as in sound of the reeds, tin badge, timber colouring (dark brown wood stain) 25 button (13 inside row 12 outside row) 12 bass and later to become the Transatlantic with the 12 13 rows reversed but still with 12 bass. Ciarens can be heard here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muzUkgUmwuI if I get chance I will record something on mine and post it. These were all solid timber cases. Chrome grill.

I had a  BC Shamrock (same dark brown stain) but this time with the routed script "Saltarelle" emblazoned on the front 4 voice treble LMMH 12 bass and unusually a wooden fondo/(sound board)
I consider this to be the forerunner to the Tara that now only sports the 8 basses (mine has LMMH) and these are marketed in either LMMH or LMMM as were the Shamrock. Again solid timber very much the same manufacture as the above. Also Chrome grill.
 
My earlier Nuage  (the one that I consider falls into the Serenellini manufacture) is made of ply (as were the Serenellini Cloud at a slightly later time) it is walnut veneered and has the Gold plastic SALTARELLE badge the same as Dermot Byrne plays here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU7tt8BSe-c and indeed has super dural reeds. I originally ordered a new Nuage (tin badge) in black from Rod Stradling but due to what ever difficulties that arose when Sounds Interesting took over the import I never received it and Rod kindly reimbursed me I think the purchase price was around the £1300 area. Ironically it was Sounds interesting that found me my second hand Gold Badge which had been residing in someones wardrobe for about 10 yrs (allegedly). Wood (ply) grill.

The current Tara that I have is again solid timber this time solid walnut. Veneer on Aluminium grill (CNC cut ?)

I will try and post some more details over next few days like weights and size comparisons, reeds, some pics and some sound samples. All the Best mory
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 07:05:20 AM by mory »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #56 on: October 26, 2017, 11:56:06 PM »

"I just felt the thread had been hijacked by people repeating much stated complaints"

I disagree (mildly) on a couple points...


That's fair enough (:). You  have a lot more knowledge and experience than most and most have more than me.
I am not arguing with the observations. I'm sure they're valid. The point is well made. I think I've got it.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
It is empty, but lacks nothing.
The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #57 on: October 27, 2017, 01:56:49 AM »

1989

The two brochures Georges Roux gave me each show only six models, wood-finish in one, and celluloid in the other.

Wood-finish





Le Bouëbe
Berry
Piroulet
Pastourelle II (21 + 4)
Pastourelle III
Salhiens

Celluloid





Suzanna
Lark (9-coupler)
Morvan
Sundgau (IV, and III)
Aubrac
Trikitixa

The wood-finish models are all shown as having a paper Saltarelle label in a glass "window" on the front of the accordion.

1990

Máirtín O'Connor secured the Irish agency for Saltarelle in 1989, and the 1990 Irish price list reflects that.





The models are:

Le Bouëbe
Pastourelle II (23 + 4 treble buttons, "Model used by Martin O'Connor")
Nuage ("Model used by Martin O'Connor and conceived with his collaboration")
Lark with 2 coupler
Lark with 9 coupler

The Pastourelle II is shown as having a paper Saltarelle label in a glass "window" on the front of it, whilst the Nuage has the Saltarelle name in gold letters. They look very much like the two boxes that Máirtín still plays.

Summer 1990

Name Accordions in England listed:







Le Bouëbe
Berry
New Berry (the Nuage!)
Pastourelle II (23 + 4)
Pastourelle III (21 + 5)
Sahiens [sic]
Piroulet
Suzanna
Lark (9-coupler)
Morvan
Sundgau (IV, and III)
Aubrac
Trikitixa

1991-92

I have a hand-written list of prices "Valid until 15/2/92" from Soar Valley Music, sent to my then shop manager Niall Ó Callanáin:



Models are:

Le Bouëbe
Berry
Suzanna
Lark
Trikitixa
Pastourelle II
Nordsud
Nuage
Pastourelle III
Tramontane
Morvan
Sundgau IV
Salhiens
Aubrac
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 05:03:58 AM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #58 on: October 27, 2017, 05:13:56 AM »

"Gold plastic SALTARELLE badge the same as Dermot Byrne plays here "

Note the wood, not metal, grille.

You seem to have lost or forgotten the link Jeff, but there are plenty of clips of Dermot playing that lovely 1st generation (Serenellini) Saltarelle Nuage - like these ones: Dermot Byrne, Donegal reels, 1996 or Tico Tico or French Canadian Waltz & Jig  ;)

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mory

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Re: History of Saltarelle?
« Reply #59 on: October 27, 2017, 06:25:50 AM »

"Gold plastic SALTARELLE badge the same as Dermot Byrne plays here "

Note the wood, not metal, grille.

You seem to have lost or forgotten the link Jeff, but there are plenty of clips of Dermot playing that lovely 1st generation (Serenellini) Saltarelle Nuage - like these ones: Dermot Byrne, Donegal reels, 1996 or Tico Tico or French Canadian Waltz & Jig  ;)
that's a quote from my post above triskel with the link. and yes indeed it does have a wood (ply) grill Jeff which actually makes for a nice readily detachable one, I attached a small piece of ribbon to mine between the base of the grill and the finger board which keeps it in place and allows quick removal (no screws). It definitely plays a role in softening the sound as when removed its as bright as the Chrome grilled ones AtB mory
It's also the same badge and box construction visually as Jackie's Super Nuage he was playing on his 1995 release Many's a Wild Night, I believe.
The quote from sounds interesting I mentioned in my above post about my Nuage being in a wardrobe for 10 years from the time lines would definitely seem to have been somewhat of an exaggeration more like 2yrs maybe I misheard ::) as I've had it since 1996/1997
 
Martin O'Connor's DD# Nuage is also the same (ply) construction I believe although in a lighter wood veneer finish.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 07:16:17 AM by mory »
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