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Author Topic: Where do you start ?  (Read 4823 times)

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Lester

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2012, 04:44:52 PM »

The Morgane is not just "a Pokerwork re-styled with Latin looks" - it's a Pokerwork with mushroom buttons, a stepped bass, superior bellows & bellows tape, superior bellows straps, an adjustable bass strap, drier tuning & a faster, smoother playing action.  It's a Pokerwork minus all the sub-standard, annoying charming things about a Pokerwork!

I've corrected that for you   >:E

AirTime

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2012, 08:24:33 PM »

Ha Ha Lester!  We all know, you've made a good living taking those "re-fettled" Pokeworks & restoring them back to the charm of their stock condition!  ;)

Quote
Indeed not. I said I don't know how good or bad they are, and at the right price they may be good value for money.

Yes, I understand what you were saying - I agree: the only way to know is to be able to try the box. There seem to a number of different boxes like this showing up, for eg:

http://cgi.ebay.fr/EXCELLENT-ACCORDEON-DIATONIQUE-GANKINE-NEUF-SOL-DO-A-SAISIR-PRET-A-JOUER--/270956406586?pt=FR_YO_InstrumentsMusique_Accordeons&hash=item3f1642a73a#ht_500wt_1285

It would be really informative to gather a variety of these boxes together for a bit of direct comparison.

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Adam-T

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2012, 09:01:05 PM »

Quote
it's a Pokerwork with mushroom buttons, a stepped bass, superior bellows & bellows tape, superior bellows straps, an adjustable bass strap, drier tuning & a faster, smoother playing action.  It's a Pokerwork minus all the sub-standard, annoying things about a Pokerwork!

The current pokerworks have stepped bass, Yeah the bellows tape is poor (Cheap if time consuming to change), the straps are easily changed for about £10, the bass strap is cheaply replaced with something better too, I`m not sure I`d want drier tuning in a Hohner, I guess they had to do it to one box.. If I was paying £750-£800 for a new box, It`d be a Sandpiper or save a bit more for a Saltarelle Le Bouebe and keep the Pokerwork for that Hohner sound.

Quote
I would say Euro-spec, Chinese-made accordions offer the best bang for the buck in new accordions.

The Black Diamonds certainly do (or did, i`ve not seen how much the prices have risen since they warned of one imminent), a classic example of Chinese construction with quality control .
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 09:09:59 PM by Adam-T »
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Owen Woods

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2012, 11:38:44 PM »

I would chose a Morgane over a Sandpiper. But a Bouebe secondhand over either of them (and that was my choice when I got mine!)
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Anahata

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2012, 12:04:58 AM »

It would be really informative to gather a variety of these boxes together for a bit of direct comparison.

Which reminds me: the other thing about cheap stuff is that the quality is very variable. It's always been like that with Pokerworks but many other things besides: best policy is to try out a whole bunch of supposedly identical boxes and pick the best one. Not practical on eBay of course...
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Idelone

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2012, 12:02:02 PM »

We seem to have arrived at a chicken an egg situation. To be able to evaluate a box, you have to be able to play one to appreciate the subtleties, and if like me you have no experience or do not know anyone locally who could assist with the choice, then your are rather on your own. If you have a budget then you are stuck with the choice available at that price, and could end up buying something amazingly good, or depressingly bad, which could alter your whole melodeon playing experience; a bit of a lottery.  I remember when I first started sailing, a drunken skipper took five novices out for the weekend, and we ended up in some pretty nasty weather. I loved it and still sail, whereas the other four were ill, hated it, and have never sailed again, which is a great shame. One bad experience can alter your perception of something that could be great fun.

I guess most of you were in this situation at some time, and some made a lucky choice and others not so; perhaps another one of life's little learning curves. I will let you know what I finally choose, once I summon up the courage, but out of choice I would prefer not to purchase an instrument made in China, although sometimes it is not evident from the description.

Cheers, Ian
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Idelone

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2012, 12:15:55 PM »

Yes, I understand what you were saying - I agree: the only way to know is to be able to try the box. There seem to a number of different boxes like this showing up, for eg:

http://cgi.ebay.fr/EXCELLENT-ACCORDEON-DIATONIQUE-GANKINE-NEUF-SOL-DO-A-SAISIR-PRET-A-JOUER--/270956406586?pt=FR_YO_InstrumentsMusique_Accordeons&hash=item3f1642a73a#ht_500wt_1285

Airtime - I checked out the Gankine; this is what it sounds like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHzqO_2LXNc

Do you know its pedigree ?  Could it be one of the made-to-order Chinese boxes like the Guidi ?

Cheers, Ian
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AirTime

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2012, 08:14:42 PM »

Quote
We seem to have arrived at a chicken an egg situation. To be able to evaluate a box, you have to be able to play one to appreciate the subtleties, and if like me you have no experience or do not know anyone locally who could assist with the choice, then your are rather on your own. If you have a budget then you are stuck with the choice available at that price, and could end up buying something amazingly good, or depressingly bad, which could alter your whole melodeon playing experience; a bit of a lottery.  I remember when I first started sailing, a drunken skipper took five novices out for the weekend, and we ended up in some pretty nasty weather. I loved it and still sail, whereas the other four were ill, hated it, and have never sailed again, which is a great shame. One bad experience can alter your perception of something that could be great fun.

I guess most of you were in this situation at some time, and some made a lucky choice and others not so; perhaps another one of life's little learning curves. I will let you know what I finally choose, once I summon up the courage, but out of choice I would prefer not to purchase an instrument made in China, although sometimes it is not evident from the description.

Yes, I was in your position not very long ago. I was also confused & somewhat daunted by the conflicting information. And you're right: when you are not yet able to play anything, testing a melodeon is not going to help you much. Here's the insight I can offer based on what happened to me:

I first bought a 50 year old CF Pokerwork on Ebay for $190. It was in perfect external condition but required re-valving & tuning to be playable, which cost another $250. I also bought a 1980s GC Pokerwork on Ebay for $265 which was in perfect condition inside & out, playable & in tune. Following that, I was lucky enough to get a great Ebay buy on a very slightly used Hohner Morgane, which turned out to be a BC & not a GC as advertised. This I (in effect) traded for a GC Merlin. Subsequently I bought 3 very old Hohners which needed extensive restoring.

Ideally, what you want to find is something like my GC Pokerwork - a relatively recent German-built Pokerwork/Erica in new & playable condition. Here's a current example in the US:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/220999051607?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_500wt_1356

It's not possible to know FOR SURE what the playing condition will be of one of these boxes, but you can have a pretty good guess based on the information in the listing. The worst case scenario is that you might have to spend 100 - 200 pounds to have it fixed up. A Pokerwork like this is something you may always hang on regardless of what you go on to play & if you choose not to, you will always be able to re-sell for more or less what you paid for it.

The second option is to buy an older re-furbished Hohner - Pokerwork/Erica - from one of the professional restorers mentioned on this website. This will be a somewhat more expensive option than the Ebay purchase, but you will be getting a box you KNOW is playable & may also have had modifications made that make it easier to play & with a drier tuning. You are likely to pay between 300 & 500 pounds for one of these.

The third option is to buy a modern "Italian/French style" box that is "Euro spec", but partly or entirely assembled in China. Examples of these are the Hohner Morgane or the Sandpiper, or a number of other brands that pop up on the internet. It is hard to find these used, as they are recent additions to the market. New they are around $1000 US - apparently around 750 pounds in the UK.  A new Pokerwork appears to be around 575 pounds in the UK, but does not include a case or straps. I can't speak about the Sandpiper or other brands, but based on my own experience, I consider the Morgane very significantly superior to a stock Pokerwork & a much better value than a new Pokerwork.

The final option is to start off buying a used or new Italian or French box. Which is going to set you back a lot more. You'd have to ask some of the better-off members of melnet for opinions on these boxes ...

Finally, I think it's unlikely that whatever option you choose you are going to end up with something that is so bad that it puts you off the melodeon completely.

Hope this helps!



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Adam-T

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2012, 09:15:17 PM »

Pokerworks are £499 from the Music room, for an extra £50 you get a gig bag, two Hohner straps and a Mally book and CD - the Motgane is £750 and no mention of any extras with it ..

To be honest I`d not buy a new Pokerwork anymore than buy a new Morgane and I can see your point about the value of the morgane in this comparison (Difference of £250 maybe worth it to many, especially those not into DIY fettling who prefer a dry sound) but there`s no shortage of used pokerworks, Lester has a totally fettled one for £350 as well as other Hohners such as Ericas, Corsos, DoubleRays etc and if a better box is the order of the day, there are used italian boxes about (Bafettis, Saltarelles etc) ..

Loadsa Choice, different tastes, different pockets..
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catty

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2012, 04:31:46 PM »

I'm in the rural US and therefore have little accessibility to boxes.  I scrounged ebay for mine--was able to acquire a couple of good old pokerworks, a corso, and an old club--each for ~$200.  Hohners make great boxes for beginners.  However, I haven't been quite smitten with any of my boxes until I obtained another old Club IIIB S -- just what the nomenclature desingates, I don't know.  I love this box.  And I acquired it for well under $200.
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Idelone

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2012, 05:30:16 PM »

In response to Airtime and Catty's postings.

Having checked out the US Ebay, it does seem that, at the moment, you have more on offer than we have on the UK site, but I guess that will change over time (more available in the UK not less in the US).

Catty, having perused past postings on this site, it seems that the view, for people like myself who are learning, is to stay away from the Club box, down to layout from what I can glean, but here you are saying you really love your Club. Is this down to ease of playing, keyboard layout, or the general feel of it ? What makes it so special ?

Never the less, it does seem from both of your postings, that once you buy one you somehow feel compelled to buy, another, and another, .......
Perhaps that's why there seems to be a dearth of boxes available in the UK; everyone here who plays has at least a dozen !

Thanks for  your common sense views. Regards to you both, Ian
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Ollie

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2012, 05:39:21 PM »

It should be remembered that Hohners are not just beginners boxes. Yes, they make cheap boxes for beginners, but a well-fettled Hohner in good condition is a joy to play. I spent many years on a Pokerwork, constantly pining after a Costalotti. I am very happy with my Beltuna, as it works fantastically for some things, but I've since, er... regressed (?) to a wonderfully set up 12 bass Hohner Erika from Mike Rowbotham, which is an utter joy, and certainly my default box.
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catty

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2012, 05:46:00 PM »

In response to Airtime and Catty's postings.

Having checked out the US Ebay, it does seem that, at the moment, you have more on offer than we have on the UK site, but I guess that will change over time (more available in the UK not less in the US).

Catty, having perused past postings on this site, it seems that the view, for people like myself who are learning, is to stay away from the Club box, down to layout from what I can glean, but here you are saying you really love your Club. Is this down to ease of playing, keyboard layout, or the general feel of it ? What makes it so special ?

Never the less, it does seem from both of your postings, that once you buy one you somehow feel compelled to buy, another, and another, .......
Perhaps that's why there seems to be a dearth of boxes available in the UK; everyone here who plays has at least a dozen !

Thanks for  your common sense views. Regards to you both, Ian

Ian, I'm more comfortable on the standard (?) layout on my other boxes...but as I said I'm not entirely enticed by their sound--corso is a little much, and the pokerworks lacking in playablility.  I acquired one old Club III (for $60), and whille its tuning is a scant off I like its playability--so I sought another.  Over christmas I acquired this one (for $160)...it plays and sounds beautiful.  So, I persevere with its layout as I prefer its sound.  I think I can say that, regarding all the aspects you mention--key feel, bellows feel, sound--in my hands, it's a more expressive instrument.  Also, I have a few extra keys in more convenient location (the middle of the board on the 3rd row) than on the others (at the ends).  Layout takes a little adjustment--some tunes seem to lie better on one box or the other--but I think the adjustment is not too difficult.  Rather than the layout, I think the more significant differencesa are in the bellows action...the experts here can provide more insights into the differences in layout, and the basses.  Simply, I love to play my tunes in minor keys...or what sound like minor keys on my box
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 06:40:51 PM by catty »
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catty

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Re: Where do you start ?
« Reply #33 on: April 16, 2012, 06:11:13 PM »

I think my precious (and heavy, btw) red club is as Ollie states--a "well fettled" hohner...very rich sounding and mellower in tone than my corso and the coronas I've played.  Plus, switchable reed banks.

Add: but I am truly a bargain hound--being a "work-at-home" parent with limited means, I dont acquire a new instrument these days without selling another...  So I hunt down the most inexpensive gear.  I'm fortunate that some things here--like hohner melodeons, tenor banjos, and especially piano accordians--are sometimes cheap and plentiful...you can't throw astone without hitting an unplayed PA.  either by necessity, lack of better judgement, or otherwise I try to take advantage of this--anyone need a good PA?  :-[
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 08:10:58 PM by catty »
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