Type of button box being played?

Type of button box being played?

If I may beg a bit of wisdom from the hive mind… can anybody help me suss out what sort of button box Damien Mullane is playing in this lovely set of tunes?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paeUVTP6xuk


I’d love to know both the maker and the key, and how to characterize the sound — I thought I had an ear for wet vs. dry but I can’t figure out which way this one leans, assuming it has multiple reeds anyway (wouldn’t most multi-row boxes?)

The little melodeon I’ve been playing has me so charmed that I’m about ready to try a button box… but as you might imagine, I’ve been listening to a lot of recordings/videos and trying to figure out what type of sound I really like before investing in an instrument.

Many thanks for any help!

Lisa

Re: Type of button box being played?

It’s an E Flat box made by Betrand Gaillard (French) who lives near Nantes in France.
E Flat in this case is the same as saying it’s a B/C accordion except every note is a semi-tone higher.

Re: Type of button box being played?

C/C# in other words.

Re: Type of button box being played?

yes indeed, but B/C a semi tone up, probably answers the next question.

Re: Type of button box being played?

Great tune, great playing. For those who may be interested the first one is Kylebrack Rambler by Finbarr Dwyer.

Re: Type of button box being played?

"I thought I had an ear for wet vs. dry but I can’t figure out which way this one leans, assuming it has multiple reeds anyway."

It sounds like 3 reeds MMM tuned dry or somewhere between dry and swing but not very wet at all. It could very possibly also be 2 reeds MM also tuned dry to swing.

Gaillard’s website: http://www.gaillardaccordions.com/accordion-makeur-workshop.html

Not sure what the current lead times are but when I looked a few years ago before buying my van der Aa box his lead times were a few years.

Re: Type of button box being played?

Thank you all for the helpful replies — whew, I’m glad I asked!

Given my budget I probably won’t be getting in line for a brand new, custom-made button accordion any time soon, and happily I’m not in a big rush. But I figure that if I soak up all the sounds and information I can now, and save my pennies while I’m at it, then when I’m lucky enough to trip over the nice used box I absolutely MUST have, I’ll be able to recognize it.

Re: Type of button box being played?

If keys/tunings/pitches in this topic are confusing, you should go for B/C - or C#/D if you’re familiar with those fingerings (do you play melodeon?).

Re: Type of button box being played?

I’d be horribly confused if I had to identify the different keys/pitches by ear or by looking for certain notes on the push/pull… but once they’re explained to me it makes sense. I do play a little melodeon in D, which is acting sort of like a gateway drug to get me interested in a full-fledged button accordion.

The one thing I’m not entirely clear on is whether the D row of a C#/D box would (typically) be keyed the same as the one row I’ve got on my D melodeon? It seems like they would be — it’d be like having both a C# and a D melodeon in the same box, wouldn’t it? — but when I’ve tried to ask this question of other folks I’ve been met with confusion. Either I’m not asking the right people, or I’m not doing a very good job of verbalizing the question.

Re: Type of button box being played?

Lisa yes the D row on a C#/D box is the same as a D 10 button melodeon or for that matter a D/G melodeon, popular here in the UK. The lowest 2 0r 3 buttons can be configured in various ways giving you either a low octave or accidentals.

Re: Type of button box being played?

"The lowest 2 0r 3 buttons can be configured in various ways giving you either a low octave or accidentals."

That is true for D/G but not for C#/D where the full chromatic scale is available to you across the two rows. C#/D will generally be 23 button in order to get the low G.

Re: Type of button box being played?

« it’d be like having both a C# and a D melodeon in the same box, wouldn’t it? »

Well, yes, you could look at it that way, but you’d want to get away from looking at it that way as soon as possible!

You could start instead by regarding it as a D melodeon with a second row providing a full set of accidentals (all the notes missing from your D row). So your first steps from transitioning from a D melodeon would be to realize that you can now play any tune in G by staying on the D row and fetching the C-natural from the other row, or any tune in A by grabbing a G# next door.

The next step would be to realize that the outer row gives you two reversals, or "magic notes" - duplicates of notes on your D row, but in the other bellows direction. These are F# and C# on a C#/D box. Only two notes, but even these two can open up a lot of flexibility and flow in the phrasing of tunes.

For example tunes in B minor can be played strictly on the D row. But once you start to make full use of the magic notes, they turn into a quite different animal - you get the same enticing flow that B/C players get in Am.

And, copying other other fingerings used by B/C players, you can play in many more keys, E major and F# minor for starters, and theoretically in any key at all (there are actually players who can do this with ease, but don’t be surprised if you never make it that far).

So please allow yourself to be talked out of thinking of a C#/D as two melodeons. Think of it as a single system, the system that allows Jackie Daly, Mairtin O Connor, Sharon Shannon etc. etc. to make all the great music that they do! Or as the more snarly cousin of the B/C box that allows so many other great players to do amazing stuff. :-)

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Re: Type of button box being played?

That is some great playing! Been listening while reading the thread: and some great advice!

Re: Type of button box being played?

It is wonderful, isn’t it Trish! And Steve/Stiamh, thank you for laying that out so clearly! You got the question I was asking and the question I hadn’t thought to ask all at once.

Actually thank you again to everyone — as Trish said this thread is full of helpful advice. Now I just need a button accordion!

Re: Type of button box being played?

(and years and years of practice, but I figure that’s the fun part…)