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Author Topic: Castagnari Tommy reviews  (Read 9393 times)

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Steve_freereeder

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Castagnari Tommy reviews
« on: November 18, 2007, 01:14:20 PM »

Castagnari Tommy


I bought my D/G Tommy from Hobgoblin in 1992. It was the first Castagnari melodeon I ever owned.  Over the years it gave me stirling service, having been used in sessions and gigs, but has been used particularly for playing outdoors for dance teams. I had it re-tuned once by Paul Flannery at the Music Room.

The open, stepped, keyboard is slightly smaller than a standard melodeon - the buttons are just fractionally closer together, but this doesn't give rise to any problems switching to and from standard sized instruments. There is one stop on the treble end to bring in the lower-octave third voice.

Plus points:
1. Good strong sound on the treble, both with the 2 voice and with the lower third voice added. Great for playing outdoors.
2. Very responsive, quick to speak.  Punchy sound when required, but easy to play quietly too.
3. Very even response and sound from the lowest notes to the highest.
4. A nice lightweight box, easily portable.
5. Great workmanship and attention to detail, as you would expect from Castagnari. Mechanically, it is excellent. The action is quiet and I never had any trouble with it. Although I have since sold my Tommy on to another player, I still see it occasionally and it is still going strong after 15 years. Both myself and its subsequent owner take great care of their instruments and this one looks pretty much like new, despite its age and amount of use.

Negative points: (not many at all!)
1. To keep the weight and size down, the LH basses have only 2 reeds instead of the more usual 3 (see below**), hence sound is not as rich as could be obtained on a larger box. However, it is perfectly adequate for most purposes.
2. There is no stop to remove the 3rds from the chords. (This is a failing on many Castagnaris except the very expensive instruments. Saltarelle seem to be able to do it, so why not Castagnari?)
3. On the early Tommys there was no adjustment facility on the left hand wrist strap, but modern instruments have a velcro adjuster.

Overall, I would recommend a Tommy to anyone as a good general purpose instrument. Someone with very large hands just might have some trouble with the slightly smaller keyboard, but I doubt it.

Originally posted on the old Melodeon.net website in 2003.
Updated here by Steve_freereeder 18th November 2007.
and again 2nd August 2010


Anybody want to add anything.....?

** The basses on the Tommy are now three reeds per button, not two.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 08:41:52 PM by Steve_freereeder »
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Steve
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melodeon

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Re: Castagnari Tommy reviews
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2007, 10:39:56 PM »

The Tommy was the only melodeon I have owned ( of more than 50)  I could run out of air.

The button spacing is the same as the Lilly.

The original Tommy had a higher quality reed and 3 voice bass.

But a decent instrument for many.

I offed it.
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Pushpull

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Re: Castagnari Tommy reviews
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2007, 11:13:24 PM »

The Tommy was the only melodeon I have owned ( of more than 50)  I could run out of air.

The button spacing is the same as the Lilly.

The original Tommy had a higher quality reed and 3 voice bass.

But a decent instrument for many.

I offed it.

I've never found it to be particularly air hungry. A 1 row 4 stop is much more difficult to manage. Surely it's just a case of careful use of the air button (and phrasing)?

Re. button spacing, the Lilly is slightly closer spaced than the Tommy.

I admit it would be nicer if it had a 3 voice bass, but then it wouldn't be the lightweight box it is. Actually I have a fancy for a 2 voice treble with 3 voice bass in a box with the same button spacing as a Tommy. I'm guessing it would come out to about the same weight.

Roy.
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Open_G

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Re: Castagnari Tommy reviews
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2007, 11:40:22 AM »



Overall, I would recommend a Tommy to anyone as a good general purpose instrument. Someone with very large hands just might have some trouble with the slightly smaller keyboard, but I doubt it.



I can't see that there will be many out there with larger hands than mine- with a wingspan of just over 26cm, and 21cm from wrist to fingertip. I have no problems with the more compact keyboard layout of the Tommy compared to other boxes I own/regularly play.
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Folkiekay

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Re: Castagnari Tommy reviews
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2007, 07:47:53 PM »

I've been playing two Castagnari Tommys out on the street as a busking musician.  I've had the G/C since August of 1998 and the A/D since February of 2000, and both have held up very well - with only one tuning needing to be done on each of them since I purchased them new.  Several of my accordion friends with huge hands - size 14 ring fingers - have played my Tommys with no problems at all.  Nobody has ever run out of air.  Possibly Jeff had a box that had something wrong with it to begin with.  I use all of the bellows when I play - and I mean all.  I go way out and all the way back in and back out over and over.  It's just my playing style, and not meant to be fancy or showy. 

I think the loud sound of the Tommys makes for good street music, and the price ($1500 for each) was much less when purchased than anything I've bought since, so I don't worry about anything happening to them.  They've both had bird poop, beer,and rain on them, and it hasn't affected them at all.  They look as new as they did the day I got them, and play just as well.   They are not as precious to me as my handmade Hydes, but I think they are good boxes and I'd rate mine to be an 8 on a scale of 10.   

The small size makes them easily portable - fitting into a backpack and easily carried.  Also the Tommy is easily taken onboard a plane and easily fits under a seat or in the compartment above the seats. 

All in all, I'd recommend a Tommy if that's what one wanted --  especially for street music.

Kay

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Re: Castagnari Tommy reviews
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2007, 02:05:45 AM »

The Tommy is  (was) a fine instrument   just not for me

I don't even run Hohner Ericas or 114's out of air
Nor my Mory  nor Serenellinis..  just the Tommy

I use a lot of bass and am judicious with the air button

I owned a couple  Lillys  and the spacing seemed to be  ( since I measured it) the same as the Tommy
My Tommy was  made in 2002  ..
True I have played better ones

Mine was G/C  I prefered the D/G version

Whereas in a Lilly I preferred the G/C

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