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Author Topic: Choosing a first B/C..  (Read 3015 times)

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4ydo

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Choosing a first B/C..
« on: August 23, 2011, 09:58:38 PM »

Hello Everyone!

Sorry for another newbie thread, I've searched for a lot of info (honestly), but got all messed up.

I've finally decided to buy a B/C melodeon during my trip to London later this year(cause it's impossible to buy one in my country).
I'm absolutely sure about B/C tuning(deep into the Irish trad music, and a buddy from a local session plays one, so I wont be alone (:)),
but not sure which one shall I choose. My budget is about 750-800 pounds.
If I understood everything right, the best choice for that sum would be a Sandpiper or a Hohner Morgane? Both of them have good reviews on this forum. After watching a couple of youtube videos with both of them I thought Sandpiper sounds better to me. But is it a good sound for an Irish session? And which one of them is louder?

Are there any other good boxes I shall consider? I've seen some nice opinions about Weltmeisters, but haven't found any videos or recordings with them  :(. Are these solid boxes for beginners?

There are another 2 things I haven't understood clearly. First is about a thirds removal. Sandpiper has a third's stop, Morgane doesn't. Does it mean that after buying a new Morgane I'll need to remove thirds before I can start playing it? So, Sandpiper is the only option for me then?

Another shady thing for me is about bass layouts. Does Sandpiper have the same one as Morgane and other new boxes? Which one do they have? A traditional or a modern one? Is it good for beginner or need some adjustments?

Excuse me for tons of questions  (:). I'm looking forward to any advice.




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Denis

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 10:25:19 PM »

Hi Denis

I can't answer all your questions - I know nothing about Sandpipers - but here are a few thoughts.

If you are set on playing Irish music I think I would steer you away from the Hohner Morgane and towards something with a traditional flat keyboard, instead of the mushroomy things the Morgane has. No doubt people will say you can slip and slide around just fine with a Morgane keyboard (others may say slipping and sliding is to be avoided, but take no notice of them), but I'd go with a flat keyboard.

As far as the basses are concerned, no you wouldn't have to do anything to the basses with thirds on a Morgane or another box before you start playing. For Irish music, particularly on B/C, you should concentrate on the right hand for quite some time before thinking about incorporating the basses. (People who play English music may well tell you different, but take no notice of them either.  >:E )

However if and when you do get around to working with the basses, yes you will want to get rid of the thirds in the basses, and you can do this by taping up the offending reeds.

Few accordions are not loud enough for an Irish session. Most of them can easily be far too loud. And, as far as the right sound goes, there isn't one. You need to decide what sound you like, and by and large this means how much tremolo you like. (Your session mates may have ideas about it too: if you went for a very wide tremolo, this might be unpopular with your fellow musicians.) If in doubt, ask for swing tuning - won't offend anybody. Later on you can go for something else.

Another possibility to consider would be to buy a well set-up secondhand box such as a Hohner Erica or Black Dot. There are a few people on the forum here who might be able to help you with this, for example Theo Gibb or Mike Rowbotham, and no doubt others too. You could do a lot worse than get such an animal.

Good luck
Steve

nfldbox

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 02:00:37 AM »

Final bit of advice: listen to Steve  ;D
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Jackson

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2011, 04:00:55 AM »

Hi, Denis, from another just-getting-started B/C player in response to your question about Weltmeisters . . . I don't know about the 86W, not having had the chance to test-drive that model, but the used and affordable 512 model I ended up with has exceeded my expectations quite nicely with its smooth, easy action, and fairly powerful sound. Mine is finished in natural alder, with three stops for versatility and a Joe Burke bass layout.  The stepped keyboard doesn't suit everyone, but I haven't found it to be a disadvantage--at least, not yet!  Compared to the unreconstructed Double Ray I tried, this Weltmeister feels quite substantial--and sounds less clackity..!  (:)

No doubt I'll succumb to the sultry charms of Italy at some point but, for the foreseeable future, this Weltmeister feels like a fine starter/intermediate box.

Best of luck,

Jack

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Jack
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mory

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 09:59:35 AM »

Hi, thats about second hand Saltarelle Irish Buebe money, which would be an ideal box or maybe a Mengacini either would take you a long way on your journey and possibly all the box you'd ever need. I know there's a real healthy Irish session scene in Moscow so you may even find one there, have you met Evgeny Puchugin? look out for him if you get to local sessions, we've managed to trade between Uk and Moscow, might be able to arrange something if second hand is the way you end up going, good luck anyways, All the Best mory
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nfldbox

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2011, 03:05:55 PM »

If the Busilacchio on Gumtree is still there it might be worth paying for it and picking it up later. An honestly workable instrument in tune for 200 is amazing. I'm pretty sure you would not lose any money when you move up.
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4ydo

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2011, 09:35:04 PM »

Thank all of you for helpful advice!

It's a pity nobody answered about a Sandpiper yet, but Morgane is surely out of my list now  (:)

Steve,

Thanks for a lot of useful info! I haven't considered reconstructed old Hohners yet, but it seems like a nice option. I'll try to contact Mike Rowbotham later to learn about prices and possibilities.

mory,

Second hand Saltarelle Irish Bouebe seems like a lovely proposal, but not sure I'll be lucky to find one soon.. I'll surely keep an eye for it!
I know Evgeny Puchugin, but he plays a concertina, not a box. He was the one, who gave me a lot of information about "concertinas" once, but then I decided to play an accordion instead  ;D
The matter is that I'll be studying in the UK(London) in October and November. I think about buying an accordion during this time to avoid international shipping. So I'm mainly about the UK sellers.

Jackson,

Thanks! Weltmeister seems like a possible option then  (:)


nfldbox,

Thanks for info. But I really decided not to buy much cheaper boxes. I think in most cases you get what you paid for, so I just want to buy the best box I can afford. It's not easy to buy or sell one in Moscow. That's why I need an accordion that would serve me well at least for a couple of years  (:)

« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 10:02:43 PM by 4ydo »
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Denis

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2011, 10:45:35 PM »

definitely try at least 3 or 4 boxes before you buy - hopefully when you're in the UK you can visit a couple shops and get a feel for several boxes in your price range -

keep button height/travel in mind when you are trying out boxes - a box with high buttons can be difficult to play - too much button travel can slow you down -

go for the sound you personally like - you're going to be stuck with it once you buy it, so make sure you really like the sound of it - consider the recordings of box players you enjoy listening to - if that's the sound you want to emulate, find a box with that sound -

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Andrew Wigglesworth

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 11:16:00 PM »

Personally I don't see the issue around not having a flat keyboard. Irish box playing is not so different from many others and I know of excellent Irish style players who don't use flat keyboards. Having said that, a flat keyboard will not do you any harm so if that's your preference ...

On high buttons that slow you down. An odd one that, which boxes are those and how high would they have to be? I doubt if that's a common problem at all but if this refers to button travel, then just remember that you shouldn't be ramming your fingers onto the buttons anyway. Horses for courses and all that but I've never had any real issue with button travel on, say, a Hohner Pokerwork (or Erica) and in fact dislike the boxes that have had their button travel "fixed". Try them both ways and see what you think.

Having disagreed with Steve, I'm now going to agree with him. If you're going to play a lot in sessions, then watch out on the tremolo front. There's a lot of talk about "cutting through" in sessions (that always seems a bit too violent for me) but a wide tremolo can tend to dominate and I find it much more difficult to play along with and interact musically with other musicians, especially fiddlers. Steve's right I think with the advice to consider going for swing tuning to begin with.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 11:39:15 PM by Andrew Wigglesworth »
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tedrick

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2011, 01:52:46 PM »


On high buttons that slow you down. An odd one that, which boxes are those and how high would they have to be?

I was referring to some entry level boxes that do not have as well adjusted keyboards - did we ever sort out over in the Sandpiper thread if the Sandpiper is made and assembled in China or in Europe? What is keyboard action like on the Sandpiper for those who have had the opportunity to play them?
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Gromit

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2011, 06:08:28 PM »

There are not that many accordion shops in London - but there is the Return to Camden (Irish trad festival) in Camden town at the end of October and early Nov. and in previous years there has been a shop at Camden Irish Centre. Any way lots of good music and workshops and sessions (but not listed in prog. yet) - bound to be box players around so worth a visit for advice.

http://www.returntocamden.org/

http://www.returntocamden.org/programme.html

I tried a stepped keyboard but found a flat keyboard better - I've got an old model Salterelle Boube which is fine for me - see Luke Deaton (LDbosca) playing one beautifully here:-

http://www.youtube.com/user/lukedeaton#p/a/f/0/TbDMe1x3ats
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 08:23:33 PM »

I tried a stepped keyboard but found a flat keyboard better - I've got an old model Salterelle Boube which is fine for me - see Luke Deaton (LDbosca) playing one beautifully here:-

http://www.youtube.com/user/lukedeaton#p/a/f/0/TbDMe1x3ats

I'm speechless, I could watch playing like that all day. I've just discovered yet another very talented box player. Life is full of pleasant surprises!
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2011, 11:46:07 AM »


On high buttons that slow you down. An odd one that, which boxes are those and how high would they have to be?

I was referring to some entry level boxes that do not have as well adjusted keyboards - did we ever sort out over in the Sandpiper thread if the Sandpiper is made and assembled in China or in Europe? What is keyboard action like on the Sandpiper for those who have had the opportunity to play them?

I don't think that there's ever been any question of Sandpipers being assembled in Europe has there? The Music Room people said right from the beginning that they would be assembled in "the far east" and there's this on the product pages for Sandpipers:

Quote
Italian reeds and British design, assembled in the far east for a great product at a great price.

What "far east" means is obviously a guess, the likelyhood is that it is China, but who knows.

Do they have an issue with button adjustment on the keyboard? The Music Room have the in-house skills to check over these boxes before they are sold and given their good reputation I assume that is what they do.

mory

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2011, 12:18:56 PM »

Say high to Evgeny for me, I know Eugene plays the Concertina the point was as a point of contact as we have had a trade before, anyways feel free to contact me if I can be of any help, either PM or emails on my profile, here's someone in Chester with a BC Buebe for £950  marilyn@halfepannikin.co.uk    its been up for a while (so they may take a drop) as a private add at the bottom of Rees's site       http://www.melodeons.com/    the guy who runs the shop that appears at Return to Camden is Pete and his email is pj@pjmusic.co.uk   You'll really have to do Return to Camden you'll be in heaven, theres no reel comparison between the Weltmister/Hohner boxs and the Buebe or Mengacini unless they have been well attended to, like this    http://www.theboxplace.co.uk/purchase/HohnerBC/prod_146.html    good hunting, mory
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 01:30:48 PM by mory »
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LDbosca

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2011, 05:46:32 PM »

I tried a stepped keyboard but found a flat keyboard better - I've got an old model Salterelle Boube which is fine for me - see Luke Deaton (LDbosca) playing one beautifully here:-

http://www.youtube.com/user/lukedeaton#p/a/f/0/TbDMe1x3ats

I'm speechless, I could watch playing like that all day. I've just discovered yet another very talented box player. Life is full of pleasant surprises!

 :|bl Thanks very much, you're very kind! (:)

Steve C.

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2011, 07:23:16 PM »

New Black Dot would be the equivalent US$1100 here and maybe the best new box?
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4ydo

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Re: Choosing a first B/C..
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2011, 08:44:32 PM »

Thank you, guys! You've been a great help to me.
I'll surely visit Return to Camden, it seems like a great ITM festival!

I think I'll go for a renovated Double Ray from Mike Rowbotham. He is a really nice man and helped me a lot in understanding of what I want from an accordion. And it's a bit cheaper as well, so I'll be able to take a couple of introductionary lessons(anyone knows a good B/C teacher in London? (:))
But now I'm stuck on bass layouts. As far as I know the most popular ones are Burke's and McComiskey. From a printed info I liked Burke's more(it seems to be easier as well). But what would you recommend for a beginner?

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Denis
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