I’m a 56 year old Belgian box player, wild about Irish trad and Canadian stuff. I started playing music quite late (at the age of 45) after one memorable evening with Miss Shannon and her band in Canterbury. It took me a long way to find the right box : started on a French heavy three row G/C box (the standard box in Belgium, but horrible for ITM), then I switched to a three row in A/D. Next came the D/G 2 1/2 row. Finally I fell for vthe charm of a small 2-row box, but the B/C didn’t work too well (certainly not in the key of D). I finally ended up with the C#/D, which is really my thing.
This is only half my story : I messed around with various bass layouts (both 8 and 12 bass) to end up with the standard modern bass layout that I hardly use !
I play various boxes, mostly old Saltarelles (Nuage in B/C and C#/D, and a Cheviot in C#/D/D#), a Hohner Morgane (my "travel box") and a Weltmeister one-row melodeon in C. Since a few months I think of adding a light weight 3-row C#/D/D# with a small Stradella bass system to my collection, giving me some extra bass and rhythm when I’m playing solo.
My favourite box players are the mighty Mairtin O’Connor on No. 1, followed by Tim Edey, Sharon Shannon, Luke Daniels and the great Alan Kelly (a piano accordion player). But my big example is notably fiddler (!) Kevin Burke, I’m trying hard to put some of his perfect timing and subtle fiddle style into my accordion playing.