Piano Accordion for ITM

Piano Accordion for ITM

My X-Whoppingly large PA is dying and euthanasia is in order. I would like to learn to make good Irish traditional music on a piano acccordion. I like the versatility of the instrument and playing oom-paa-paa bass isn’t actually mandatory. I would like to play bass when playing solo; this is one of my main reasons for trying to learn to play ITM well on the PA. As far as sessions, well, I’m not that popular anyway.
I’d like to downsize to a 72 or 80 bass with 34 keys. Three voice treble seems to be the standard with 5 registers. Is there anything unusual that I should look for that is best for ITM? Would a 60 bass box present a big disadvantage? I was looking at this one http://www.harmoniky.cz/en/accordions/15-arnaldo-35 , although I can’t find anyone who even sells it, let alone info about it. Any info, perspectives, tangents and even humor are welcome.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

I should think Karen Tweed plays Irish-style piano accordion about as good as it gets - certainly I find her take on it beautiful and impressive. I looked up her website but found it unavailable, and other sites about her had no info on what kind of accordion she uses. But it’s worth bearing her name in mind and making further searches, as no doubt she plays the most suitable accordion she can get for Irish music. Solo and with others, she’s recorded quite a few CDs.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

Jimmy Keane, of bohola… amazing

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

I have a Saltarelle Clifden, just got it after a couple of years of salivating everytime I saw someone playing one on youtube. http://www.saltarelle.com/medias/accordeons/original/clifden_1.jpg

It’s a great pa for irish trad, light (14 lbs) 2 voice swing tuning, 35 notes(fiddle range), 60 bass with no dimished chords, and higher octave bass/chord voicing so oom-pa is impossible.

Take a listen to Alan and John Kelly on their Fourmile House cd. Alan has had a clifden for a long time, even before they came out with the wood model. I haven’t heard better trad piano box anywhere. The Scoil Cheoil na botha videos on youtube have several runs with Oliver Laughlin and his clifden. Also look at the Iron Horse video with Dermot Byrne, Donald Shaw and Niall Vallely. Donald is playing a clifden. Very impressive stuff.

Karen Tweed is certainly worth a listen too, she plays a Pigini most of the time, 34/72 model, without the front cover on. She’s in the Comhaltas video series doing a street session with another pa player who’s very good, but didn’t list his name.

Phil Cunningham has a clifden too: he’s shown playing one on the Transatlantic session videos on youtube with Sharon Shannon.

Not cheap, but state of the art for irish trad piano box,


and nice to look at too.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

Of course, forgot Jimmy Keane, absolutely one of the best piano box players.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

Nicholas i dare say i could find out what kind of accordian Karen uses. ( I loathe the woman. I truly find her unbearable) I have some contacts who know if you want to know….

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

That’s funny Djaque - she speaks highly of you.

Posted by .

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

another link for a very good sounding PA - to my button box standards, that is - juste look at the weight : 7,700 kg…
http://www.castagnari.it/accordeons/09/Magica_Piano
and all the contacts I had with Karen Tweed were just real nice… I used her session books a lot…

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

The original link you posted to harmoniky.cz seems to have a lot of delicia accordions on there. for beginners, they are ok, but make sure you get one cheap. They are utter rubbish on the inside, prone to falling to bits and sounding crap. I use a 96 bass Fantini myself but you should be fine with a 72 or 60. I only have 96 because I like to do a few songs in obscure keys (and because I play various types of music). Better to get a mussette tuned accordion rather than double octave as well. best accordion shop in britain is http://www.accordions.co.uk There is lots of advice on the page and he is a lovely fella to talk to as well.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

Karen Tweed plays a Pigini 72 and also uses a Guerrini.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

Sounds to me like Karen T spends a lot of time playing on single reeds (or so dry you can’t tell.)
Apart from ooh-pah basses I reckon it’s that multi-reed ROAR that means PAs are sometimes not so welcome.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

I have an old Imperial that works for when I need it. Usually in a large group, heavily orchestrated with voices and the multi-reed roar gets covered up by the rest of the sound.

Playing along, you have to stop the PA down to the clearer quiter reed settings or the other players will throw you out on your arse.


Jimmy Keane is someone who can change your mind about PA. Saw him working solo a few years ago. He is very good all alone much less with some good backers.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

Not to change the subject, but did anyone notice that we got a mere five-word response above from Iris?? Not 5 pages, not 500 words. Five words. This is unheard of.

Of course, the … could cover a lot of territory.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

I play a 1970s morino 120 bass pa - gorgeous cassotto sound and nice raspy bass - fine for Scottish, but it has a piccolo register which is too shrill for ITM sessions and it is very, very heavy to carry.
For the band, I also play Roland V2 76 bass electronic pa - these are SO LIGHT - but you need an amp (no reeds or internal speakers) - brilliant for the band as it has 50 or so convincing accordion stops plus you can put string bass and even percussion on the left hand which really fills the band sound - and cheap at £1300.

For ITM, I play a 1970s Marrinuchi 120 pa and use the quietest stop, which sounds just like a concertina so is acceptable if you don’t play the bass. If leading, though, I do open up the throttle and use a bit of musette.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

Musette tuning is a matter of taste, I personally hate it, but it’s used in Scottish music. Tweed uses the single reed. She has a Pigini and still has the Guerrini she’s played for over 20 years knocking about. I have my box tuned straight so there’s no vibrato, which gives a thicker sound than the single reed on it’s own. I’d say that’s quite a traditional sound, but amount of vibrato is a matter of choice. If you were buying a used box it might need tuning anyway.

I also happen to think that the Saltarelle accordions are cheap and nasty, very poor quality all-round. You can hear on Alan Kelly’s Fourmilehouse album the odd note where the reeds aren’t working properly, there’s a delay before the reed sounds. The only advantage is the light weight, and you can’t have an accordion that light without losing some quality. Poor response and plasticky horrible feel, but hey, that’s why there are so many different types of instruments around so we get to pick the one that suits us.

I would recommend any Italian accordion for quality of reeds and workmanship, you just get it tuned to your taste when you purchase. I have a Borsini which takes some beating (Phil Cunningham has one), I would also recommend Excelsior, Bugari, Brandoni, Victoria, Pigini, Guerrini etc. You have to try them out to find out what suits. Some Hohners are ok, they’re well built but not as sexy as the Italian boxes. Guys like Phil Cunningham get free/cheap boxes to advertise them so it’s not really an endorsement.

When downsizing you have to think about what notes you can afford to lose, I personally wouldn’t go lower than 72 bass. I’m back up to 96 bass again after 10 years of a 72 bass Pigini (now for sale) and those extra notes are like returned prodigal children, I didn’t realise how much I missed them.

Keep squeezin’

Piano Accordion for ITM

Hi Just thought i would throw in my 2 pennies worth. After many years of travelling and getting my accordions destroyed by airlines, i purchased a "smaller" accordion to take on aircraft. i bought a brandoni wood, super musette …

http://www.akkordeonmaurer.de/pictures/BRANDONI-68W.jpg

I found a picture of it on the web. I was a bit dubious about buying, however i needed something to get on a plane with. So i thought , get something that will make up for size and get something that looks fantastic … i must admit, it does not disappoint. For its size (96 bass in a 72 body with 34 keys) it is powerful, tight compression and plenty of guts when you want it . Light to stand and play all night and sounds amazing. I thought about buying other types of wood accordions, as the one mentioned here, however this was the one for me, so much so i am thinking about buying the 120 bass version with cassotto.

I have an excelsior 940 midi vox 3, a couple of crucianelli accordions and a reedless from musictech (tried to travel with this but sounded rubbish through a cheap PA and cant play in sessions), travelled with them all, this was the only accordion that non accordion players came up and marvelled at how good it looks… makes a change for accordionists when its usually guitarists and drummers that get the attention!!!

As i said its the one for me, everyone has their own personal taste and that’s the beauty of the different types and different tunings available for the accordion.
The brandoni is fantastic for stage work, small gigs and playing with other bands….

For the work horse and accordions that i would use day in day out for serious gigging are my excelsior and my Crucianelli Baton TC Special (my favourite one). A pleasure to play, all be it they are not the lightest, but what a sound ….

just my tuppenies worth 🙂

regards
frazer

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

i have to take issue with a poster above re Delicia instruments. Quality and playability-wise, the manufacturer of these instruments has recently raised its game. For many years i’ve played a Guerrini 72 (same as KT’s) and comparing it with the latest Delicia 72/34, I would unhesitatingly rate it on a par with the (excellent) standard of the Guerrini. In fact, the bass fundamentals are noticeably more powerful and the chords richer.

There’s been rather too much emotive effusion, hype and snobbish myth-spinning about the preeminence of Italian boxes. It’s possible that some of the higher-end and single-craftman-produced instruments deserve the epithet ‘best in the world’, but aside from those, I’d say the Czech instruments match them - and at nearly a third of the price!

To break down a few more holy icons, at least one Italian brand actually sources its instruments from Delicia. Yes, that’s right, an Italian maker is having one line of models built in the Czech republic and badging it with their own name and charging Italian-made prices. Moreover, it’s been mooted that there are only two or three Italian companies left that actually make the the complete instrument ‘heart, lungs and liver’ so to speak, and that for certain, they supply a basic, generic assembly to most of the other brands in Castelfidardo for finishing and badging.

Re: Piano Accordion for ITM

I was investigating the musette tuning on my Roland FR2 last night, you can rev it up to Mark 8 Scottish musette or right down to Mark1 Dry - so you can turn the musettes to be "in tune".

Interestingly, the German accordion setting with Scottish musette tuning sounded best for Scottish.