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Author Topic: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys  (Read 6350 times)

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Christopher K.

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"Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« on: December 25, 2010, 09:52:30 PM »

I bought this funny little guy on Ebay, which appears to be a 1920s piano accordion made by Hohner under the Venezia name.

It has buttons instead of piano keys, and stradella basses. The bellows are absolutely airtight and the reeds are in terrific condition, too. When I opened it up, it was apparent that no one had opened it for a very long time, if ever. The reeds are, for the most part, steel reeds on H-stamped aluminum plates but some plates bear the Koch stamp! I've seen the mixed up T and H plates in a few boxes, and it appears that at some point, Hohner was also using old parts from the Koch factory. That's a new one for me.

Owen Woods

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2010, 04:48:03 PM »

Do you know I was thinking a few days ago that something like that would be fun to play around with, I saw one (a very nice one) on eBay a year or so back, there's a thread about it somewhere. Then again, if I got another box there are at least 3 people who would murder me :P Glad that it is a success, are you going to restore it and play it?
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Christopher K.

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2010, 01:54:47 AM »

I'd like to restore it, at least that's the long-term plan (no fixed costs! where anything is possible  :|glug).

This one is in terrific shape, so it only needs minimal reedwork, gaskets, and could do with new pallet felt. It is really easy to play -- the keyboard has a removable panel and the buttons have a positive stop so they don't sink or get stuck. Before opening it up I played it for a bit and the only real drawback that I can see is the size of the bellows.. instead of the smooth and long passes I had anticipated, I found it was easier to change directions more like you would on a diatonic, which caused my brain considerable stress because I was playing the white keys while still thinking that there were two notes to each.

Barring my own metal limitations at this point, it seems that there are interesting hybrid possibilities for accompanying singing, etc. I suppose I could also sink some money into it and make a cool single-row melodeon with the white keys, converting the black keys along the way as handy accidentals or reversals.  :||: :||:

Owen Woods

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2010, 02:03:07 AM »

I'd like to restore it, at least that's the long-term plan (no fixed costs! where anything is possible  :|glug).

This one is in terrific shape, so it only needs minimal reedwork, gaskets, and could do with new pallet felt. It is really easy to play -- the keyboard has a removable panel and the buttons have a positive stop so they don't sink or get stuck. Before opening it up I played it for a bit and the only real drawback that I can see is the size of the bellows.. instead of the smooth and long passes I had anticipated, I found it was easier to change directions more like you would on a diatonic, which caused my brain considerable stress because I was playing the white keys while still thinking that there were two notes to each.

Barring my own metal limitations at this point, it seems that there are interesting hybrid possibilities for accompanying singing, etc. I suppose I could also sink some money into it and make a cool single-row melodeon with the white keys, converting the black keys along the way as handy accidentals or reversals.  :||: :||:

You could, but really there would be little point :( Better to keep it as it is. How much did it cost out of interest? I've got a tiny piano accordion which leaks like a seive (job for next term) so I know how confusing same push pull can be on a box that size. Still, bellows waggle has been used by piano accordion players before to get a bit of liveliness into their playing; I expect that this instrument has a particular style that it likes, just like any other. I think it could catch on :P It is a very pretty box though, even though I have no real wish for it I am coveting it :P

It's the opposite of the Ludvig etc. boxes, diatonic boxes with piano keys. An interesting addition to a collection.
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Christopher K.

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2010, 02:17:13 AM »

$78 plus $19 for shipping (she undercharged for Priority and lost a few dollars), which is pretty much at the top for what I'll pay for fun stuff that needs work. There was only one other bidder. I think this was because Ebay was positively raining vintage Hohners when the auction ended and this one didn't receive the attention it may have on a slower day. Considering that it's an oddball layout helped things, too.

Refitting/retuning is a fun idea to play with, but I think you're right about keeping it as-is. I probably won't use the accidentals as often as I'd like to think I would. It's a funny little box, I'm sure it's got its own "tune personality" hiding within it. Keeping with the piano layout there are plenty of tunes possible in different keys.



edit: here's how she listed it:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rt=nc&nma=true&item=290509934018
« Last Edit: December 27, 2010, 02:18:48 AM by cpsmart »
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Owen Woods

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2010, 07:49:57 PM »

$78 plus $19 for shipping (she undercharged for Priority and lost a few dollars), which is pretty much at the top for what I'll pay for fun stuff that needs work. There was only one other bidder. I think this was because Ebay was positively raining vintage Hohners when the auction ended and this one didn't receive the attention it may have on a slower day. Considering that it's an oddball layout helped things, too.

Refitting/retuning is a fun idea to play with, but I think you're right about keeping it as-is. I probably won't use the accidentals as often as I'd like to think I would. It's a funny little box, I'm sure it's got its own "tune personality" hiding within it. Keeping with the piano layout there are plenty of tunes possible in different keys.



edit: here's how she listed it:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rt=nc&nma=true&item=290509934018

Aye, that's about my limit as well. I always seem to miss the really interesting things though :P The problem that I can see with it is that it would be weird using your thumb on a button box and it's fairly critical to PA fingering. Be interesting to try it out. As you say, quite possibly very good for singing.
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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 02:36:03 AM »

This box crept into my head for some reason or other and I was thinking about how best to adapt it for normal playing. Have you considered retuning the bass to make it bisonoric? If you had it going up in tones with the same rake as the stradella (i.e. the mechanism wouldn't need changing, assuming melodeon mechanism rather than true stradella as is usual on boxes like that), but with the fiifth in between on the pull then it could work quite well.

i.e.
C#/G#
B/F#
A/E
G/D
F/C
Bb/Eb

Would involve some tricky reed work, admittedly, but then you get full chromatic bisonoric bass with a unisonoric treble. The opposite of a BCC# :P
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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 05:15:54 AM »

That's an interesting idea, but might be more trouble than it's worth for this little monster.  ;D  Of course, I'm still thinking about making it a funky one-row with convenient accidentals. I've got enough spare reeds lying around here. I would keep the original reeds as-is to avoid ruining it completely.

I was playing with it again and all I can say is that it is a true novelty - the bellows are very small and my compulsion to use the thumb loop is difficult to overcome. Because it looks like a melodeon? Maybe.

Little wonder that Hohner didn't sell so many, or that this example went unplayed for so long...

Owen Woods

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2011, 06:32:28 PM »

Aye, I can't imagine that it would be the easiest thing to play! ;D
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savantuk

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2011, 04:13:25 PM »

Everyone should have one!

I'd like to have a crack at one, so I must keep my eyes open.

Thanks for posting such an interesting subject.
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Doug

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Owen Woods

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Re: "Venezia Chromatic" piano accordion with buttons, not keys
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2011, 04:17:50 PM »

Everyone should have one!

I'd like to have a crack at one, so I must keep my eyes open.

Thanks for posting such an interesting subject.

You'll have competition, I'm keeping my eyes open as well! :P
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Bergflodt D/G 4 voice, Saltarelle Bouebe D/G, Super Preciosa D/Em, Hohner Impiliput B/C+C#

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