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Author Topic: Black Diamond Italian range  (Read 1072 times)

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RogerT

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Black Diamond Italian range
« on: April 17, 2018, 07:58:38 AM »

Anybody played these yet? Note the combo of brass and aluminium plates (frames).

https://www.blackdiamondaccordions.com/melodeons
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 08:01:20 AM by RogerT »
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 08:12:04 AM »

Yes, I tried the Olivia at Sidmouth last summer.
Beautifully made. Jon Loomes showed me the inside, and the reeds are pinned in rather than waxed in place. The workmanship looked top quality. The Olive wood was just gorgeous, obviously I was a  woodworm in a previous life and I like a nice wood finish.
It played really well, and sounded very nice, all in all a lovely box.
Other friends who tried it had similar positive thoughts. In my opinion they are very nice instruments.
cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

RogerT

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 08:24:21 AM »

Curious to know your view on the prices of these high end boxes...

Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 09:03:04 AM »

Curious to know your view on the prices of these high end boxes...

Played them at Sidmouth last year. They are superb boxes. The  price is every bit as justified as any other quality hand made box. There are a couple of other threads around about these, if you can find them..
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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

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 10:55:34 AM »

I agree about pricing.
It puts it up there, or beyond even, the price of a similar 2r8v Castagnari.
At Sidmouth it was priced on a par with the new model Oakwood too.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 11:11:48 AM »

I agree about pricing.
It puts it up there, or beyond even, the price of a similar 2r8v Castagnari.
At Sidmouth it was priced on a par with the new model Oakwood too.
Q

And compares remarkably favourably in that company. The Olivia looks great, feels great and sounds great.
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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

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 11:58:04 AM »

Indeed it does.
I hope their range is successful and we see another choice of quality melodeon.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Bob Ellis

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 06:46:20 PM »

Murray Grainger and Jon Loomes are bringing some to Melodeons in Wensleydale at Hawes this weekend. I don't know whether they will have boxes to actually sell or samples to try so that you can order one.
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Jon Loomes

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2018, 01:16:13 PM »

Yeah, these designs are my fault so I suppose I better check in. Pricing is based on a low markup on the cost to build which is why they compare so well to everything else.

Fundamentally, these are the results of me spending ten years playing/selling/mending morris boxes of all shapes and sizes.  Every aspect of these (materials/dimensions/ergonomics/air pressure etc etc)has been considered from the ground up with the British player in mind. All models D/G, 4th button start Anahata layout as standard but can of course be built to spec. Every part of the build is traditional but where there are design choices to be made, everything has been geared towards my ideals for the morris/session/concert player as appropriate.  The wooden boxes in particular are aimed at the serious professional, although I'd happily gig with any of them.

So, there are now 4 models.

Olivia (the olive wood cased instruments) 2 voice/1 voice RH, hand made Ciccarelli reeds pinned on synthetic leather on alder blocks, Brass shoes on the right, Dural on the left. This gives a bright and responsive instrument with loads of attack and a wide dynamic range. Clean and easy to work on, the brass adds a tiny amount of weight, which is compensated for in a thinner case construction. Olive is dense, 60 odd lbs per cubic foot. The stiffness raises the treble response but the thinner boards bring some low end back in. It's a very "open" sound.

Guillietta is a two voice morris box, celluloid on plywood -  it's a good material, strong and light and resistant to changes in weather - (Oakwoods have always been plywood AFAIK as are things like the Black Dog/Black Pearls)  Dural reeds, machine level, Ciccarelli again.  I like this one, myself but I'm not a great player, certainly not these days. It's forgiving and the more limited dynamic range makes it easy to get consistent tone. I don't have to work very hard to get a good sound)

Eleanora is a compact single voice, Ciccarelli machine reeds on dural both sides. Celluloid on ply again. Bigger than the lily/epsilon etc as you can't get proper tone at those size ratios. Reeds on blocks (waxed) instead of waxed onto the board, IMHO the best sounding of the "concertina" boxes. If you need that sound in something smaller I'd recommend either a Toutp'tit or better still, a concertina.  This is the only one of the models that doesn't have a 3rds on/off in the left hand, this is simply for cost reasons, ie we wanted this model to be as competitive as possible - if it's an issue, we all know the sellotape trick.

Finally the Angela is a three voice, Walnut case, Best of the best Ciccarelli Hand made reeds, brass shoes in the RH, Dural in the left.  Darker in tone  with none of the mid range wooliness that you can get from a cherry box (in spite of their similar density, approx 40lb per cubic foot). Again the construction is a fraction lighter than usual to allow the box to resonate more freely. As an aside, some people say they can't hear the difference between woods on boxes and I know this one has been done to death, but to me walnut and cherry are chalk and cheese. The decisions we made on wood were far from arbitrary.  Olive is a pain to glue and hard to get in big enough pieces hence quite expensive.  We wouldn't have used it if it weren't for good reason.

Anyway, a number of prominent players have been very complimentary about all of these, the Angela in particular "Best Melodeon I've ever played etc" - I don't want to fill this post with hyperbole though, I used to have to do that routinely writing web copy and it's easy to come across as disingenuous.  What I will say is that I'm very pleased with how well these have come out.  I used to play professionally so it was nice to get the opportunity to design these, they are all very much to my taste which is basically English trad tunes and songs, so they won't suit everyone but I'm very happy with the quality. I think they stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of everything else.

If you've got any questions, drop me a line and I'll try to help.

Best wishes,
J

Choonz

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2018, 06:51:06 PM »

Had a play on the Guillietta at Wensleydale along with another diminutive lady.  Our consensus was that easy to play and sounded nice.
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pipives

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Re: Black Diamond Italian range
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2018, 10:08:28 PM »

I had a play on these at Witney last year, (and those of you who know what I do for a day job know I've played a few boxes!) and they really are superb things, a testimony to their designer and the guys in Italy who are putting them together...
They are worth every penny, and I expect to see these creeping onto the morris/session scene fairly soon, which should help get the name and reputation these deserve 'out there'
I'd have one myself, but have been spending far too much time (and money £££) on small hexagonal things with reeds and bellows in!  :o
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