What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?


Hope somebody can help me out on this one!

I’ve been playing accordion all my life (obviously stopping occasionally for meal/toilet breaks/sleep etc!) and have somehow managed to inherit a whole bunch of them over the years, of various sizes and descriptions in various states of repair.

A few years ago I was left a Gallanti, by an auld Irishman after he’d died. He’d seen me play as a kid and just wanted me to have the box! It is just the most amazing box to look at and certainly the best one I have to play. I’d always wanted to own one after seeing Ritchie Kelly "King of the Ceili" strapped into one on the front one of my dad’s ancient albums!

Despite my obvious attachment to this particular instrument I have been looking around for one with a more responsive keyboard, that I can play at session/gigs etc, as it’s particularly hard work banging out the triplets etc on this one. That, coupled with the fact that it suffers from slight emphysema!

I’m not sure whether it’s financially viable to get the Gallanti repaired to it’s original standard - so I may as well buy a new or second hand instrument.

I’ve tried several flavours and really like the Salterelle piano box - although over

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

The box player in our band plays a Borsini - loves the key action and has a very full sound (Scottish Ceilidh Band). He’s talking about getting another one so they must be doing something right…
Cheers, Izzy

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

Phil Cunningham plays a Borsini too. As Sheena Wellington once said "He can make the accordion sound like a musical instrument". 🙂


Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

And Phil Cunningham has an "instant Violet Tulloch" button! (if this is the same instrument he uses in live gigs).


Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

I should clarify - Violet Tulloch was long time vamping piano accompanist to Aly Bain & lots of other Scottish musicians….

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

hi, i play both a Bompezzo and a Pigini (obviously not at the same time though!) and i must say that i love the Bompezzo for trad sessions-lovely sound from it along with great key action-i’d definately recommend one!!

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

I had a galanti musette which I lasted some 15 years of continental travel. The bass lever box kept coming adrift - I had hellish problems with them - but what a sound!!!!

I now play a Marinucci which has a lovely musette and no problems with the innards, except the leathers coming loose on the treble pads.

Both of these were some 20 years old when I got them so had been well and truly played in. I had tried both exact models brand new in the shop and they were not a patch on the old ones.

Harry Hussey (top jazz accordionist) told a tale of 6 top of the range Borsini (I think) coming into the London accordion shop, all exactly the same. The shopkeeper said - pick which one you like. Harry played them all and said this one. The shopkeeper said - yes, that one has already been sold.

There you have it - every accordion is slightly differently voiced and actioned. You may need to try many before you get the one that inspires you.

I was talking to Phil Cunningham about his Borsini - he had it midi-fied but disconnected the right hand side, only using the left hand midi.

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

Hi Mike

As you may have noticed I’m playing a Fantini at the moment, excellent box, very responsive and good value too. Apparently the factory in Italy has started to manufacture them with swing tuning as it’s so popular with Irish musicians. I picked it up from Allodi Accordions in Lewisham. You should call in there if you get the chance as Signor Allodi has an astounding array of piano boxes and he’s only too willing to let you try them and offer really good, honest advice. By the way, this is NOT a plug! Accordions of London have a shop on Kilburn High Road, but it’s not as big.

Good luck!

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

Cheers Conan - It’s all your fault!!!

It was actually when I played your Fantini that I suddenly realised how much more difficult it was to play the Galanti! It’s a very nice box with a lovely sound.

I’ll check out Allodi when I’m next in town and maybe get to play at the Porterhouse too.


Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

Hi Mike,

Take it from me, it don’t matter what the make; just toast it over a hot flame for a few hours - it’ll sound great…….. 🙂


Titch {=/=}===++

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

Hi Titch,

It was pretty toasted on Tuesday night!! What a session!! Although that fact that it took you until after 11pm to really get going didn’t go un noticed! Cask Conditioned Celtic Rock? More like Nitrous Injected!!
See you Tues

(like yer little icon thingy!!!)

Mike {=[llll]::}

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

I play Dallape Accordions. I have 3 which may sound excessive but heres why. I had a Supermaestro cassoto accordion for some years which had a very fast keyboard and a bass that was full and rich sounding not boxy like some. However I wanted to replace my smaller Brandoni 34/96 bass (this was a superb accorrdion too, very small) accordion so asked Dallape to build me a 37/97 bass accordion with +7, -7 musette so was a quite dry sounding accordion with 7 bass couplers so it had the same bass as my larger accorion, they used a Artist case for this. It has midi and the better sennheiser internal mics fitted with slipt bass and treble outputs on it. I work in profesional audio so this is very important to me to get this right. It sounded superb so I ordered a second accordion identical with +15, -15 musette for a more strident musette and can use either accordion as a spare for the other excepting the musette of course. When selecting the accordion the speed of keyboard was essential, mI tried a Borsini but the keyboard felt some what rubbery and whilst being a nice accorion was not as precise and solid as the Dallape. If you want to investigate purchasing Dallape speak to the factory direct if you need somthing custom built they are extreemly helpful.

Dave Blackham

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

no doubt about it…….

BORSINI all the wayy.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! woo


Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

I have been a world renowed accordionist for many years. I will share my list of great accordions:
1. Petosa
2. Bulgari
3. Pigini
4. Victoria
5. Beltuna

Now one thing you must remember, they all have various ranges of accordions. You have to purchase the top of their lines to get a real good professional model. The Petosa is the best, period. I have made many a recording using one. They consider me the World’s Greatest Accordionist! I guess you can trust that. Thank you.


Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?

I seem to have accumulated a number of piano accordions (it’s a sickness, I know), 😉 but a few are the stand-out favourites.

My best accordion is a Victoria "Super" (41/120, 11/4, LMMH, dry tuned). It’s simply superb. Wonderful rich tone and very smooth action. Very good volume balance between the left and right hand. It needs a tuning touch-up which it is scheduled to receive in the next couple months. This is my performing accordion for acoustic gigs (jazz, manouche).

I also have an Excelsior 620M (41/120, 9/3, LMMH, dry tuned) which is very nice. It’s was recently refurbished and tuned and had a set of pro Sennheiser mics installed. This is my gig accordion for amplified music - blues, zydeco, etc.

When things get too loud for the Excelsior, I use a Roland FRx3 electronic accordion. Not quite the same as an acoustic accordion, but you can crank it as loud as you want without feedback. 😎

For a casual acoustic kitchen jam I’ll often grab my little Titan. (30/50, 2/0, LM). It’s simple and light, but is in very good tune and has a sweet tone. Titan is Titano’s cheaper line, but it’s a really nice, fun little box.

I have a couple CBA accordions I dabble with, both of which I like. CBA is a better system than the traditional piano layout, and I’d like to learn it fluently, but I have so many years of muscle memory with std keyboards… I have a Sano CBA concert accordion that weighs a ton (97/120, 11/7, LMMM, dry tuned) with a hugely fat sound with the three clarinet reeds. Also a Hohner "Accordina III" (52/96, 5/0, LMM) which has recently been tuned and serviced. It’s a really nice size and weight. And it’s red. 🙂

I also have an old Paolo Soprani (37/80, 5/2, LMM) which I like, but needs a tuning. Good tone, though.

Then there’s a motley collection of other boxes in various degrees of needing attention. There’s an old Gretsch 2-reed that’s probably worth fixing up…

I want to check out both Guilietti and Zero Sette accordions as well. Both brands have been used by top pros. It’s my understanding (though I may be wrong) that the Zero Sette accordions are better now than in the past.

The brands Dick mentioned above are all good. The good names I’d look for are: Victoria, Giulietti, Pigini, Cavagnolo, Excelsior, Beltuna, Petosa, Zero Sette, Bell, Bugari, Mastercraft, Dallape, Fratelii Crosio, top line Hohners and Sopranis.

So many accordions, so little time. 😀

Re: What’s the best make of Piano Accordion?


I’m looking to purchase a nice musette accordion. The above brand recommendations are a great help. However, I was wondering what you all think about Pancordion. My understanding is this was Myron Floren’s favorite brand. If you know about Pancordion, how is their musette accordion?

Thanks. Peter