Button Accordion reed advice

Button Accordion reed advice

Hi All,
I am ordering an accordion tomorrow but don’t know anything about reeds, can someone please advise what is the difference?

Factory contact said I have a choice of super durall as follows:
8’-8’-8’ or 8’-8’-16’ (MMM or MML)

Any ideas what the difference is?

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

First is three sets of reeds in the same octave, second is one set of reeds an octave lower than the other two sets.

(From organ pipes - 8 foot is piano pitch, 4 ft octave higher, 16 ft octave lower, etc.)

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

Big difference. The letters refer to the octave in which the reed (voice) sounds.

M (medium) reeds are in the same octave/range as fiddle, flute, etc. and are sometimes called clarinet (or violin) reeds.

L (low) sound an octave lower - same range as a tenor banjo. Sometimes called bassoon.

H (high) or piccolo reeds sound an octave higher.

MMM will give you a lovely complex sound. Jackie Daly and Mairtin O Connor use this setup mainly.

MML will give the choice of a two-voice sound in the main octave (when you switch off the L) and the option of a fuller sound (when you switch on the L). MML is nice for solo playing and in dance bands but for session playing MM or MMM will be more appreciated by your fellow musicians. (Unless you are a really hot player and everyone is deferring to you.)

The other important thing to specify apart from MMM or MML is how much tremolo (wetness) you want to the box tuned to. You must investigate this before ordering otherwise you may hate what you get.

If you are unsure and don’t have time to investigate, ask for swing tuning - less likely to offend anybody.

If it’s a really good quality maker, you could ask whether they offer the option of "hand-made type" reeds (tipo a mano). Could cost you an extra hundred or two, but worth it if it’s a top-quality box IMO.

Good luck!

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

Jeeves is spot on. In France and Italy the MM are called "flutes" instead of clarinet. And if you can have reeds "tipo a mano", or even "a mano"(hand-crafted rees, whereas tipo a mano are very good quality factory reeds). I just got a new box, with a mano reeds on the melody side, and tipo a mano on the bass, and the playing is just exquisite !

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

[I just got a new box, with a mano reeds on the melody side, and tipo a mano on the bass]

really? what kind?…..:)

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

and yes, OP, do pop for "a mano" or "tipo a mano" if you can. it makes a big diff in bisonoric boxes. i personally love mmm, never use the low reed. i particularly love mmm when you have switches for all of these options:

a) a single bone-dry reed by itself
b) two mms
c) all three together, mmm, for a so-called "true musette

but you should consider whether you yourself like a low reed option. then it’s better to go LMM.

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

well, I just got a new Castagnari "handry", 3-rows-18 basses (I’ve been playing that for decades now…), MML with what they call a half-swing (slightly wetter than the swing). it’s at the same time sweet toned and powerful : I had to learn to play softer than my old one, but the reeds are so good you get a sound with the slightest of effort on the bellows.
I see on their catalogue that the "irsh-style" they make have tipo a mano reeds. But if you ask, they can make it with a mano reeds…

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

Can you give an example of a player that plays this "true musette" sound. Not sure what musette sounds like.

Re: Saltarelle Connemara ii

I haven’t given the go-ahead for the order yet, and have stalled because I am now considering getting a Saltarelle Connemara II instead. What are people’s thoughts on this box? The Connemara iii has more bells and whistles, as the ii only has 2 voice and a stop on the bass side for the thirds. The downside of the iii, however, is that it only have 21 + the 5 extra instead of 23 + the 4 extra on the ii. I think I need the 23….but I’d like a box with options for different sounds.

Re: Button Accordion reed advice

Think French cafe music in the movies, and you will realize that you have been hearing musette tuning all your life!
When I hear really wet tuning, it usually is old Paolo Soprani boxes, rather old fashioned type of sound, which I never liked. I do remember starting to hear the drier tuned boxes, and thinking, "maybe I do like accordions after all."
For myself, I went with swing tuning, just a little bit of wetness and fullness to the sound, but dry enough to be crisp and clean.
My Lord, it does sound a bit like I am discussing wine, doesn’t it?