Accordion opinion

Accordion opinion

There’s a "Castagnari Lilly B/C" 2-row button accordion being sold locally. I’m sort of tempted. Any opinions gratefully received.

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Re: Accordion opinion

Do it Kenny. I just bought a Salterelle Bouebe. I think that learning the same tune on different instruments makes me a better musician. You can always sell it if it doesn’t suit you. The Castagnari Lilly is an excellent box.

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I agree, the one I tried at a session was very nice. I also have a Saltarelle Irish Bouebe from about 10 years ago, but had the spring tension on the buttons pretty dramatically reduced, making it a much more comfortable and responsive instrument than from the factory.

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The Lilly is a very small box, which is good. It is also surprisingly powerful, due to the way the reed blocks are mounted. But it has only voice (set of reeds) which makes it dry - no tremolo - and also IMO pretty harsh-sounding. IIRC it does not have a flat keyboard but a traditional keyboard with the levers exposed. Not ideal for our kind of music, perhaps, but livable with.

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As an instrument you’d certainly do just fine with it, though I hope you’re ready to reconfigure your musical brain. Nothing made me feel quite as stupid as my first few weeks with a B/C box.

I’d take advice from someone sensible about price: my perception is that market values of boxes seem to have a lot of factors, some of which are not obvious.

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Agree with other opinions here: I also play a Saltarelle Bouebe B/C. Not keen on a lot of tremolo, so dry sound suits me: all a matter of personal taste. Castagnaris certainly don’t come cheap!

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I started with a B/C Lilly but as others have said I found a stepped keyboard was a problem and the single voice sounded more like a concertina than a box to me. After trying a Paolo (too heavy) I settled with a Saltarelle Bouebe B/C which I still have and is all I need. Having only 2 voices it gets a bit lost in a big noisy session but I don’t often do those these days or I play my flute. If I was starting the box now I would consider a refurbished Hohner.

From what I’ve heard C#/D may be an easier system to learn - Stiamh has an excellent series of YT videos based on C#/D which I found was also useful for B/C.

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

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Thank you all very much, people. Very helpful, as always. I think I’ll go have a look at it, anyway, hear what it sounds like, check the condition. I might not advertise the outcome, though 🙂
PS - Genny, are you out there ? I’d value your opinion here. Might give you a call.

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Re: Accordion opinion

I used to have one. Fun to play & practice with but doesn’t project well in a noisy session or through a microphone.

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You might prefer c#/d being a fluter. I find it hard to think across rows (ie playing in E on my c#/d) If bc is your thing , Certainly go for it if it’s reasonably priced. But also consider an old hohner as you’re in Scotland. I saw three recently in a Glasgow pawn. These can be set up to play wonderfully.

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Re: Accordion opinion

…. I might phone you first Kenny!!!

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Do also bear in mind that on the very nice four videos shown by David Levine, only ONE of these is on a B/C instrument: the difference is apparent in what is available to play in the left hand: much less on B/Cs than on D/Gs or G/Cs.
Stiamh’s video is excellent in really spelling out the differences between the semitone systems. (B/C or C#/D)as per Gromit’s post.
But the big advantage of B/C over the D/Gs and other 4th apart combinations etc is being able to play at least right hand in any key……if you can find the right buttons! Fully chromatic! Even some good right-hand chords possible, Bb, C#m, etc