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Author Topic: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?  (Read 2074 times)

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playandteach

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2019, 06:50:14 PM »

I cycle a bit these days, and I'm really happy to see some quite sedate cyclists out on bikes I can only dream of. They are typically just retired folk, and bought themselves a gift for their retirement. I wouldn't expect them to last long in the hobby on a heavy steel bike (nothing wrong with those, either), and I think it's the same for instruments. I played one of Stefan Sobell's guitars the night before last (I am really not a guitarist, but we are friends and he wanted to show it to me). If I had the money, I'd buy one to learn on, and as an investment. (Sobell guitars are in the Briggs league of prices)
However, I still enjoy my standard Serafini 2 voice no frills instrument, and maybe I wouldn't still be playing if I hadn't 'treated' myself to something like that to start with.
I suspect I could sell it for something like what I paid for it, which is fine by me. I actually quite like Pokerworks, but for some reason really dislike Ericas.
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Jesse Smith

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2019, 05:01:03 AM »

It's an interesting discussion. I have some sympathy for both the viewpoint of "you don't need to buy more of an instrument than your skill level justifies" as well as "a bad instrument hobbles the novice". But, I think there is a much wider gulf between a cheap Chinese Brand X melodeon and, say, a second-hand Hohner, than there is between the Hohner and the high end "Costalotti" boxes.

When I was first researching "starter" melodeons, everyone on this forum basically said buy an old Pokerwork or Erica that's been tuned up. It won't hold you back the way a cheap modern box would, and if you don't take to it, the resale value is good and you'll get most of your investment back. So I bought an old Pokerwork for $700.

And the thing is, I really have no motivation to drop $3,000 on a Costalotti at this point, because I know the Pokerwork can take me as far as I can currently see down the path. I listen to Tony Hall or John Kirkpatrick playing an off-the-shelf Pokerwork and I know that if they can get those sounds out of this box then it's good enough for me for a LONG while yet!

And truth be told, I actually greatly prefer the sound of a Hohner two row to most of the Italian boxes I've heard, a possible exception being the Dino Baffetti model that Anahata plays.

So, the idea of cost equating to quality is true up to a certain point, but past a certain baseline I don't think it holds nearly as firmly.
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malcolmbebb

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2019, 07:21:43 AM »

And truth be told, I actually greatly prefer the sound of a Hohner two row to most of the Italian boxes I've heard, a possible exception being the Dino Baffetti model that Anahata plays.

Not just me, then  (:) But an obvious point if you're considering distance buying - if you don't like how it sounds you won't play it.
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george garside

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #43 on: May 02, 2019, 09:13:43 AM »

 a long time ago I had a grey Paulo  . Its the box I have most regretted selling, but I was hard up at the time and needed the brass!


george  :'(
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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2019, 11:29:38 AM »

I suspect there is also a gap between generations, where Castagnaris and the likes have somewhat replaced Hohners for "younger" players. And also a question of habits within some melodeon players subgroups. For people playing French so-called folk music, Hohners are mainly regarded as horrid boxes and remind people of their learning period, whereas more traditional-style players don't really mind.
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Y.

Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2019, 11:49:33 AM »

Hope you have a tin hat -Y-!
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2019, 12:28:54 PM »

Nothing wrong with Hohners. Especially double-rays.
I learned on a porkerwork and when I needed GC I got an Erica.
I am now playing a Pariselle 3 voice which sounds glorious, and has some useful accidentals that aren't on a 2 row DG, but I don't play any better on it than my beat up Hohner.
I'm sorting myself out an old LMM club box for playing in F and again it's a Hohner and again it sounds great. (Age related tuning issues aside).
Mention has been made of people playing French music on posh boxes and we might be partly responsible, but I reckon it was five years before a posh box made its way into the band. Smooth sounding Corona III and my two Hohners were the only boxes up till then.
So I'd say stick to the double-ray, maybe get a bit of fettling done, and only get another if you want 3 voice.

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JohnS

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2019, 01:53:02 PM »

Three criteria for choosing a box:

What does it sound like?
How well does it play?
Do the top players in the genre use these?

The third question isn't rational but it is human nature.

From my perspective as a non-Irish player of Irish music I reckon that would be primarily be Paolo Soprani, Castagnari, Saltarelle, Cairdin, Paddy Clancy and Gaillard.  Josephine Marsh and Charlie Piggott make fine music on their Hohners but that wouldn't be enough to make the list. 

Then of course there is 'Can I afford it?'.
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george garside

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2019, 02:40:34 PM »

to which I would add  '' will it improve my playing  in direct proportion  to the comparatively huge increase in cost''  .  The Hohner 'clack' and buttons travel etc etc  is easily sorted at moderate cost by  any of the fettlers who inhabit the forum.

george
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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2019, 02:52:41 PM »

True what you say about fettling the boxes, makes me think of Martin Quinn that do good overhauls of old Hohners (and of the video series by Lester).
There would be something to be said about the fact that a decent box shouldn't have to be tinkered with, but all in all I came to like those sounds on my Hohner, they become part of the music, in a way.
Also, it's always funny to see how saying that there are better quality boxes than Hohners is interpreted as saying that there would be something wrong with Hohners.

But sorry to have been drifting such a long way from the original question asked by Matt.
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Jesse Smith

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #50 on: May 02, 2019, 02:55:11 PM »

The Hohner 'clack' and buttons travel etc etc  is easily sorted at moderate cost by  any of the fettlers who inhabit the forum.

Or there is the JK approach, as he says in his video: "As you can tell you can't really get away from all this noise [buttons clacking] and this kind of noise [more buttons clacking] and all this noise [air rushing in and out] and these things banging together [bellows folds slapping], you just have to enjoy that!"

Personally, I think it's a good attitude to take, especially for more informal playing. I kind of view the extraneous noises of a melodeon as giving the sound its own character and identity, like the squeaking of guitar strings as the guitarist moves their fretting fingers.
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Stiamh

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2019, 04:44:47 PM »

Personally, I think it's a good attitude to take, especially for more informal playing. I kind of view the extraneous noises of a melodeon as giving the sound its own character and identity, like the squeaking of guitar strings as the guitarist moves their fretting fingers.

I may as well tell the story that I alluded to earlier in the thread. A few years ago friends asked me to play box on 6 or 7 of the songs they were putting on a CD. There ensued several rehearsals over a period of months, a four-hour drive to the studio and two nights in a motel, and a full day's recording. The engineer/producer/studio owner miked my boxes (a Double-Ray and an old 2-v Paolo) very closely and I thought nothing of it. The session went well, everyone was pleased with the result and I went home.

After which the engineer realised that the clacking annoyed him and added what he described as a "homey" flavour to an otherwise very polished recording. He argued strongly for my contributions to be scrapped. My friends were split on the issue but the singer got the final word and they called in a local PA player (a well-known player I am pally with) to re-record everything I had done on box. I was paid and I still got my name on the CD cover because I put fiddle on one track, but the feeling I was left with wasn't great.  >:(
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Jesse Smith

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2019, 05:39:33 PM »

Yes, that's kind of why I was hedging with "more informal playing". I can imagine that the button and pallet noise could be considered distracting in certain types of recordings.
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mselic

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Re: BC - Where to next from a Hohner Double-Ray?
« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2019, 07:58:59 PM »

As someone already pointed out, acknowledging that there are better quality boxes than Hohners (there most definitely are) doesn’t have to negate or diminish the value of Hohners or the appreciation people have for them; they simply are what they are, and plenty of people chose them over “posh” boxes. It can’t be denied, however, that there are a lot of boxes that are built with better parts, materials and with greater care and workmanship than Hohners, and they have their own resulting advantages. Hohners, even those that have been properly fettled, have their disadvantages, as Steve unfortunately found out first-hand. All of my accordions but one are Hohners, but that one is the box I play 95% of the time, and I’m glad it’s not a Hohner ;)
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