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Author Topic: 1 Rows?  (Read 1149 times)

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Winston Smith

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1 Rows?
« on: January 27, 2019, 12:58:22 PM »

As I salivated over this: Messervier accordion from Québec in the For Sale section, I got to wondering whether there's really anything to choose between all these beautiful hand-made 1 rows? Is the Messervier actually any better than the Savoy, or the Wesson, Sagne or whatever?

I realise that they may all have distinctive little differences, but even the same model from the same maker might also have those, and that the variety/quality of the sound will be due to how the box is set up and tuned, but essentially, is any particular one objectively better than the other?
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GPS

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 01:21:11 PM »

I think you may have partly answered your own question -  it depends what you mean by "better".  For instance (though this doesn't apply specifically to 1-rows), take the Castagnari/Saltarelle "debate"; I think most of us would agree that Casta build quality is generally higher than that of Saltarelle, but does that make it "better"?  All the Castas I've played have felt unnecessarily heavy, and I'm not a great fan of their characteristic sound. For me, my Saltarelle is "better" because it  handles more like a lightweight Hohner but has a faster and smoother action than a Hohner and, to my ears at least, a sweeter sound than a Castagnari.  Others may - and some certainly will - disagree; it's a matter of personal taste. I guess it's the same with the brands you mention; the only answer, really, is to try 'em and see what you like. Not a very practical suggestion, I admit, but I can't think of any objective way of assessing whether box A is "better" than box B or box C.

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..........

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Lester

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2019, 02:42:30 PM »

but I can't think of any objective way of assessing whether box A is "better" than box B or box C.
That's easy, if Box A has Hohner written on it, it is superior to the others  >:E 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 04:04:24 PM by Lester »
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GPS

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2019, 03:55:58 PM »

 
but I can't think of any objective way of assessing whether box A is "better" than box B or box C.
That's easy, if Box A has Hohner written on it, it is superior to the others  >:E [size=78%] [/size]

 ;D ;D
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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

Winston Smith

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2019, 04:59:37 PM »

As ever, Mr Bailey isn't very short of the mark! Mind you, I have played quite a few 4 stop Hohner's by now (some even weren't mine, and therefore in good condition!) but when I had a squeeze of Tuftie's Wesson I had a bit of a "Damascus Road" moment.
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Dick Rees

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2019, 05:22:41 PM »

but I can't think of any objective way of assessing whether box A is "better" than box B or box C.
That's easy, if Box A has Hohner written on it, it is superior to the others  >:E

Lester...

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Winston...

For me it's how the box breathes, how the reeds speak (response) and the feel of the pressure in the bellows.

If the box has that "alive" feel when you skweez it, it's a "player" for me.  The lighter yet robust casing of the Hohners is still the best fit for me.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 05:31:58 PM by Dick Rees »
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mselic

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2019, 05:30:23 AM »

I got to wondering whether there's really anything to choose between all these beautiful hand-made 1 rows?

Yes! They are all quite different from one another and, as you surmised, even the same model/make will vary from one box to the next.  As primarily a one-row player, I've been lucky enough to try quite a few here one-row boxes here in Quebec and I can tell you that some makes are drastically different than others.  As others have suggested, it really comes down to personal taste and what one is looking for.  Personally, I find the one-rows made in Quebec to generally be among the best out there.

I play a Melodie as well as an older Sag'ne.  The two are not alike, aside from the fact that they are both 4-stops in D that use similar reeds.  I have them both because they play and sound completely different from one another, at least to my ears.  The Melodie is loud, strong, assertive, speaks easily at the slightest prompting, with a tone that some might interpret as being a bit harsh.  The Sag'ne is softer, quieter, with a more mellow and sweet tone.  One is heavy and one is a featherweight.  They both play very differently in ways I find difficult to describe.  A Sag'ne of today sounds and plays completely differently than the one I have.  And so on...

If you've only ever played Hohner 4-stops, playing a handmade one-row with top quality reeds is going to be a big, delicious step up! Having said that, there's something fun about the Hohner HA114s that can't be replicated in even the best of boxes.

So in answer to your question, while you might be able to objectively say that some boxes are better built than others (think Messervier vs. HA114) which box is better overall can only be answered subjectively.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
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ju

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 09:02:03 AM »

And that’s why you need one of every make and model in your collection 😉💰💰
 Matt , have you ever had the chance to compare a Castagnari Max with a nice Québécois box ?
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 09:08:48 AM by ju »
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mselic

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2019, 12:41:35 PM »

Matt , have you ever had the chance to compare a Castagnari Max with a nice Québécois box ?

I have, yes.  I actually used to own one of the older models, and I've tried a couple of the newer ones as well.  They're about as different from the Quebec-made boxes as it gets!  The hard edges of the casework are potentially uncomfortable depending on how you play the box, and the air button location is a right pain (I had mine moved to the 'standard' position).  The biggest difference is the sound; I find the Max has a really 'boxy' sound, kind of chunky? It's not a bright sound like the Quebec boxes which are typically made with Binci reeds.  As a two-voice it sounds very sweet, but as a four-voice it's definitely missing something IMHO.  The high reeds don't have that 'bite' that stands out with the Bincis.

I tried two brand new models out in a shop in Newfoundland.  They had a G and a A.  The newer models are larger than the old, and a fair bit more clunky and awkward.  The treble button springs were quite stiff, too. They were still quite nice, but not what most box players from Quebec would be looking for, and definitely not the right sound.  I enjoyed mine for a time, but I don't miss it.

Of course, in keeping with the point I raised in my last post, it would be fair to mention that some folks might find the Max to better suit their tastes than a box from Quebec.
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4 stops: Melodie D, Beltuna G, HA114 A
Hohner Erica D/C#

Larry Powers

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2019, 03:28:51 PM »

I agree that this is a very subjective question.  All the boxes mentioned should be of excellent build quality and sound.  The real issue is, if you live outside of Quebec, is the lack of availability and the cost to ship.  I was fortunate to find a seller who was in the states and was very accommodating with shipping and a trial period.  I love the Bouchard box I bought but if it had been one of the others I would probably have been just as happy. I do find the extra buttons make this box a little more playable.  The real variable would probably be the condition of the box depending on the care it received from the prior owner. 
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mselic

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Re: 1 Rows?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2019, 03:58:10 PM »

I briefly considered buying the very same Bouchard box that ended up in your hands! Glad to hear that you’re happy with it!
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4 stops: Melodie D, Beltuna G, HA114 A
Hohner Erica D/C#
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