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Looking into Accordions

SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
edited August 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So after traveling to europe this summer and seeing all the accordionists playing in the streets, I've sorta grown attached to the oddly constructed instrument. I have played trumpet for 10 years and am looking into learning another instrument that functions like a one man band and have sort of settled on the Accordion.

Unfortunately, I know very little about what would be a good starting accordion, nor do I know of where I can get one for a solid price (second hand used?). Any accordion players out there with suggestions for where and what I should be looking at?

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    3_eyed_weasel3_eyed_weasel Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    There's a lot you have to look for when buying an accordion.

    There's piano, diatonic, and chromatic accordions. Piano accordions are the most famous since it just has a piano on the side. Chromatic accordions have rows of buttons instead and is used more amongst professionals and Russians. Diatonic is similar to chromatic but it's very rare and not as good.
    Since you don't play piano I'd suggest chromatic. I hear it's more difficult to learn but can do things that a piano one can't such as really large intervals. Though they're almost always more expensive than piano accordions. Price and how far you plan on playing should factor into your decision.

    On the other side you have base buttons which allow for whole chords or single notes with just one button.
    The standard is stradella base, but some accordions have a free base system. The stradella base system has two rows of single notes and 4 rows of different chords such as M or m. Google it for more details. Free base just has single notes, however it is much better to have for classical music where the bass clef is much more intricate since you have an easier time jumping to a note.
    Stradella is the cheapest and then free base. However there are accordions either with a stradella base and 3 extras free base rows, or a switch to change between stradella and free base however those are incredibly expensive
    Stradella should do just fine, even for a lot a classical pieces, so i probably wouldn't go for free base unless you really wanna pay for it.

    The number of bass notes is also different. 120 is the standard, however folk accordions can have 10, while classical ones may have 160. The most you really need is 72 to have all the chords and notes however a 96 bass and up will make it easier for fingering. I wouldn't suggest 160 bass ones due to the price, and the immense size. (Seriously, you'd could have like back problems standing up with a 160 bass).
    As always what you should get should be based on your musical preference and price range.

    The last thing are switches which you can't really chose, and aren't that important. Switches open and close certain reeds giving the accordion different sounds. Both sides can have switches, and can range from 2 to 7 or higher.

    I went to a lot of websites and stores when I was looking for an accordion and honestly, ebay had the best prices, especially for second hand ones. I got a 96 bass accordion that looked pretty much brand new for the price of 72 one at other stores. There aren't really any specific brands of accordion you should look for, however if you want an electronic accordion, Roland is the only company that makes one. Also get good accordion straps. I don't know what to tell you, just make sure they're comfortable on your shoulders.

    So if you want a cheap starter accordion get a 72 stradella bass piano accordion. They usually cost about 300-400 dollars and chromatic accordions are generally 100 dollars more. (However if you know you want to play the accordion try looking out for 96 bass accordions for the same price and if price isn't an issue just get a 120 bass one. Not only do accordions have differing amounts of bass notes, but they also have differing amounts of keys.)

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    3_eyed_weasel3_eyed_weasel Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    And in terms of colors, red picks up the chicks.

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    cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    So...pricey...

    I too have been wanting to get into accordion as well. But it looks/is pretty tough, and I don't have the money to spend right now guilt free. Will be bookmarking this thread though.

    As for advice, I can only assume it's the same for other instruments too. Go to a store, try and bring someone who knows what they are doing, test out the instrument yourself, etc.

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