Not a musician :)



Not a musician :)

Postby RodionGork » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:40 pm

Hi Friends!

Regretfully, I'm not a musician. I'm IT-engineer by occupation and also spend my free time giving electronics classes in some sort of physics-dedicated school. I barely can play a few chords on guitar accompanying my singing or whistling and another my connection to the world of music is that my wife is a professional violinist and also plays piano.

Few weeks ago I decided to try the dream of my childhood and purchased an old accordion - one of those which were brought here from Germany immediately after the end of the WW2. After having a bit of exercise I understand that is horribly out of tune on several (many enough) keys. I took it apart and get some idea of how it is built. I've found most of the leather "back-valves" curling and sometimes not covering the holes - and some reeds with the stains of rust.

After scratching reeds a bit with a file, tearing and re-gluing leather etc I've managed to fix some keys which gave different tones on pull and push. Though still my wife prefers me to play with two doors shut behind our rooms :) Nevertheless I think to improve it a bit more later. And probably to buy another one in a better condition. I feel that my experiments with filing and gluing will give me good insight of how to choose and test...

So thank you all for allowing to join your community. My warmest greetings from Saint-Petersburg (known in the past as Leningrad), Russia. There is a small old video below - I'm trying to accompany my wife in playing a well-known tune. Luckily she plays much louder so it may pass unnoticed that I even couldn't always maintain the proper tempo :lol:

Ah, and Merry Christmas to everyone! Sorry for forgetting about this (for some vague reasons we celebrate it two weeks later) :)

Watch on youtube.com
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby hais1273 » Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:34 am

Good luck with your accordion engineering! Very nice violin playing...
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby debra » Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:13 am

You started off in the right spirit, so you are very welcome here! Sadly, playing an accordion that works well and is in tune and doing a bit of engineering always go hand in hand. Many people play the accordion and take all its flaws as a natural property of the instrument rather than going about to fixing them or having them fixed. Once you get the hang of playing the accordion and you're no longer banned by your wife you can actually start playing songs together. A lot of arrangements for violin and piano can be done well on violin and accordion.
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby Yffisch » Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:39 am

I think you should go and buy a new one immediately! And use the other one as a hobby repair project or something. It took me...many years until I realized the importance of having a good instrument. Everything sounded much better automatically and it was much easier to develop your skills. Of course it's good to use some half-decent accordions just to get to know the consequences with them, but I would go for a good one. Especially since your wife seems kind of skilled on the violin, she would NOT like to play with a rusty old accordion, haha. She would probably more like the sound of a better one.
I bought my favourite accordion very cheap on second hand. It's an old Bugari Superfisa and Seniorfisa. Got them for about $1000 each and they work very well on both beginner and intermediate and advanced level.
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby debra » Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:10 am

Yffisch wrote:I think you should go and buy a new one immediately! And use the other one as a hobby repair project or something. ...
I bought my favourite accordion very cheap on second hand. It's an old Bugari Superfisa and Seniorfisa. Got them for about $1000 each and they work very well on both beginner and intermediate and advanced level.

That is actually good advice (apart from a brand new accordion typically also requiring minor repairs and tuning before being perfect). The OP is from Russia so a Bugari may be prohibitively expensive. But no matter which instrument is chosen, when you play the 16' (L) reed on a good instrument you can close your eyes and just imagine that it's a cello that is playing. If that works then it may be good enough to please his wife who is violinist. That is important because in a typical Russian apartment it's not that easy to find a spot that is behind two closed doors to block out the sound...
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby RodionGork » Sun Dec 25, 2016 11:51 am

debra wrote:That is important because in a typical Russian apartment it's not that easy to find a spot that is behind two closed doors to block out the sound...


It sounds you do know how the life here looks like ;) The matters are exactly as you describe - and the fact that I decided to try accordion is strictly connected with the fact that this year we've moved from the small apartments to larger ones.

Advice of buying a new instrument (I think of at least two really) is verily a good one. The trick is that before I begin I have a little idea of what I need.

Now I understand it bit more clearly. We here are really flooded with roughly two classes of comparatively cheap instruments:
- various models of Soviet and post-Soviet make - however they seem to be far worse than Soviet-made "bayans" (but I prefer to practice with piano-accordion first) - and also with many fancy devices from the 1-st half of XX century
- many models of Weltmeisters and alike, mostly between 1960 and 1990 years;

Prices may vary from $50 to $500, often with no connection to real condition and value. What seems to be granted - is that some of these instruments are better than those which could be purchased brand-new from the shop at the range of $1000-1500.

So my current goal is to build enough understanding of the matter to make optimal choice in a couple of weeks. I've already visited several places to try a few used instruments and get the hands-on idea of what is good and what is not. E.g. one of the most recent options was a nameless black Weltmeister from 60s as I decided. Very pleasant to look-and-feel, but it failed the test of matching push-pull pitch on the same key, as it seemed to my ear. I opened the tuner on my phone and found really that while most "pull" pitches are quite precise, most of the "push" pitches are +5...+12 cents.

I was somewhat puzzled - perhaps it is OK, perhaps I'm too capricious? Anyway I decided to try few more instruments :)

And surely it was of no avail to try any instrument before I learned that with the help of register switches I can hear only single set of reeds :lol: Now I'm browsing internet to figure out what the bass-side switches do...

The more long-future goal is to buy something digital (I believe, like Roland FR-3X) as I usually wake up quite early and practicing with earphones could be the only option...

But at first I need to learn a bit of playing :) I can less or more successfully play the tune with the single right hand, but the first week was really hard as I was trying to make left and right hands to cooperate over the very simple tune with three chords. After the second week I feel it is bit less hard than I thought. I switched to tormenting Besome Mucho yesterday. Though currently it is still far from being good enough to be launched on youtube :) So thanks a lot for all your good wishes!
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby debra » Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:27 pm

RodionGork wrote:
debra wrote:That is important because in a typical Russian apartment it's not that easy to find a spot that is behind two closed doors to block out the sound...


It sounds you do know how the life here looks like ;) The matters are exactly as you describe - and the fact that I decided to try accordion is strictly connected with the fact that this year we've moved from the small apartments to larger ones.
...

I have a few associates that come from Saint Petersburg. One invited us for a vacation where we stayed in a former Soviet apartment, did local shopping, experienced the weird three light-switches between toilet and bathroom, the rightmost being the switch for the kitchen (took a while to figure this out, not having a light-switch in the kitchen itself)...
One of my former associates (wife of a current one) even played in Pawel Smirnov's orchestra before first moving to Finland with her husband and later to the Netherlands.

The problem with accordion in general is that it is a really expensive instrument, and with used ones from decades ago it is always very much a gamble. You might try to find a recent used AKKO, which in my opinion is the best accordion brand, and the only brand that uses large multi-note reed plates with hand-made reeds on all instruments from the smallest to the largest. As a result an AKKO accordion sounds just like a similar size (and value) bayan. These instruments are of very good quality but sadly even with a price that is roughly half of that of a similar Italian accordion they are still very expensive. AKKO started around 1990, and it make have taken a while for them to become really good, but any used AKKO from after 2000 should be a good instrument.
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby Yffisch » Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:41 pm

If you are at the level of having trouble of combining both left and right hands, keep on using the accordion you have now. All accordions are good for that purpose!
When you feel comfortable with that (I guess after 6 month or something if you practice some hours every week), then you can start thinking about getting a good one because then you will actually feel the difference :P An advice from me is to buy Black accordions. Colored accordions that you find on second hand or flea markets are usually bad, really bad. But black accordions are somehow mostly "real" accordions. I may be wrong in my analysis, but that's what I've seen :)
Here is pictures of a typical BAD accordion:
http://www.818daily.com/uploads/1/0/1/2 ... 21.jpg?322
http://www.newenglandaccordionmuseum.co ... 00x400.jpg
https://vadardenvard.s3.amazonaws.com/2 ... ia_600.jpg
http://193.238.185.184/images/3035878?s ... ge&index=1

And here is pictures of a typical GOOD accordion:
http://www.accordion-shop.eu/can_Saltar ... image1.jpg
http://www.carlinmusic.net/wp-content/u ... ordion.jpg
http://www.themusicroom-online.co.uk/im ... ordion.jpg
http://axgig.com/images/47226715692538974678.jpg

You can get "good" ones for $800-$1000 if you're lucky :)
As I get it, the Bayan accordions have a melody bass and that is NOT recommended to start with in my opinion. Or maybe Bayan is only a brand, so I may be wrong. But do not buy melody bass until you get the standard bass correct :)

This is only what I think. Not any rules :P
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby JerryPH » Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:26 pm

I would agree with almost everything. :)

If there is a deal for a good Bayan, I would say definitely go for it. The Free Bass is just a switch away from being standard Stradella bass, so it can be an option, not a "must". In Russia you have lots of access to learning material for either... and that pure rich sound that only a true Bayan has is simply not mpossible to have elsewhere.
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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Re: Not a musician :)

Postby debra » Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:12 pm

JerryPH wrote:...
If there is a deal for a good Bayan, I would say definitely go for it. The Free Bass is just a switch away from being standard Stradella bass, so it can be an option, not a "must". In Russia you have lots of access to learning material for either... and that pure rich sound that only a true Bayan has is simply not possible to have elsewhere.

Amen to that! Yes, being in Russia I would also advocate getting a bayan as your next instrument. It is much more likely that you can find a reasonable used bayan than a reasonable used accordion. There is a learning curve, but well worth it. I have owned and used quite a few accordions (some would say way too many) but now that I have an AKKO bayan I can safely say this is going to be my last one. Nothing else quite compares to it.
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