The First Ever Southern England Chromatic Button Accordion Rally
Saturday 7th October 2017 near Didcot Oxfordshire
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Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

For the modern ones among us.
Rhelsing
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by Rhelsing » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:12 am

Rhelsing wrote:Thanks, Ben. Your post showed up just as I finished my post to Jerry, so I won't repeat that. Paul seems to be still working hard to keep improving the Concerto. I love the accordion without the Midi, which is why I like the craftsmanship and hand made reeds in the Elka, but for some more modern songs - I love the versatility the Midi box brings to the instrument. Not sure once indust the cobwebs off again if I will pay the freight for the Concerto, but definitely no longer going to consider the Roland. I do agree with you, however, if Midi is someone's main desire the Roland is probably a good solution and the price is far less than the Concerto.
Well, having dusted off the ElKA and my skills for a few months, I made the plunge a few months ago and ordered a new Concerto. Pick it up first week in May so I will post a review. Coupling my ElKA with an Orla XM-300 was an inexpensive way to get a good midi accordion I had up and running again, but frankly would not recommend that arrangement as there were too many incompatibilities - mostly things having to do with volume and tempo and things cause by coupling old analog technology with digital technology. Mostly issues with the ElKA, not the Orla. I will keep the Orla as a rythym system. Staying in Salt Lake City for a week when I pick it up to attend a Concerto "Camp'" designed to familiarize Concerto players with creating registers and using some of the unique features (phantom sound, etc.) so hopefully I can give a pretty good in depth review when I bring it home.

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JerryPH
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by JerryPH » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:52 am

Congratulations! :b

Its too bad that the Concerto is so badly advertised and/or promoted. This is likely the most popular accordion forum in the world and you are the first one I see playing a Concerto here. Still a year later, I see the same videos on Youtube that I saw a year ago and even the website for the Concerto is also unchanged. In the meantime, I see hundreds of new V-accordion videos, the introduction of new models, additional sound expansions for free, and in general, a movement and evolution in that side of the industry.

Could you share with us what enticed you about the Concerto that convinced you to invest in them? What features does it have that you like more or what can it do that others cannot? Could you also share what model you have, what options and how much was it?

I am sure you have to be excited, and I Iook forward to learning more about your accordion and this very low key company. :)
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

Rhelsing
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by Rhelsing » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:16 pm

Jerry,

I agree with you, I think Paul Pasquali could do a better job of advertising the Concerto. Paul has been developing midi accordions for over 30 years and this one is his masterpiece. I bought the Model 255, which is the newest. Why did I pick the Concerto? Partially because I know Paul and bought my ELKA II from him 30+ years ago (and then like you stopped playing for about 30 years, picking it up again November of 2016). Largely also because I like having a good acoustical accordion also and while I currently forget who in Italy makes the accordion I was able to get hand made reeds with choices I wanted and a tone chamber. The Accordion itself is built in Italy (I forget but will post when I recall the manufacturer) and then Accordions Intrernational (Paul's company) adds the electronics. Since I have not played a midi-accordion other than my ELKA MIDI II, my comparisons with other midi accordions is largely from what i have read about various models on the internet - but the functions I like in the Concerto seem to be all put together in a very nice package. Each group of registers has 8 registers. Three for the left side, three for the right side (and I am not sure what the other two do - I will let you know when I get back). So, for each registration you can set bass, chord 1 and chord 2 on the base side - and solo, orchestrated 1, and orchestra 2 on the right. Each sound (over 300 in the instrument) can also be set controlling volume, reverb, and other features. (I think this is similar to most midi accordions). There is the typical ability then to split (three choices) chose arpeggios options (three choices), etc. Each group of sounds can also ad a "Phantom Sound" controlled by a foot pedal. The Phantom Sound is in addition to the other six registers described above and i will explain in a second. When you change a register (the whole group or a given channel within the group) the nes wound does not sound until you hit the next note that plays that sound. The Phantom sound also brings it to another level, for example you can be playing with a set up you like (say a string orchestra), with a split on the right hand sounds - but then also hit the foot switch and bring in the phantom sound (say an oboe) to replace the current solo sound (perhaps violin). If you are holding a note (or cord) the phantom sound will play separately above or below that note - to perhaps play a run or something - and then when you hit he pedal again it will revert back to your original solo sound.

It has touch sensitivity which defaults to on for appropriate instruments like piano, but can be turned on and off for any selection. Normal pay is volume petal for media and bellows for acoustic - but at the touch of a button you can move the midi over to bellow.

It has the ability to store up to 1028 registers in 14 banks of 8 groupings of 8 registers. 24 groups present on the grill at any time and any group of 8 (63 registers) can be archived or restored without having to use a USB or anything - basically storing banks of 8 registers by type (perhaps Christmas, Polkas, etc) with any three banks of 8 groups of preprogrammed registers available at any time while playing.

ALl of that seemed to be significantly more than other choices - but also significantly more costly. Price seems to run from about $16K to about $23K depending on the buyers choices. New ones (including mine) are spec'd out and then sent to the factory for production. I have seen used ounces available for about $10K, Chuck Henry has one available for $10K right now. He has a web page with pretty good examples of the accordions capabilities at http://chuckhenryandmusic.info/hear_me_play" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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fjsys
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by fjsys » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:24 pm

Congratulations!
I am sure that you will enjoy it a lot.

I also agree that more advertising could be done, however that would probably mean less time for the other things that he does. (like teaching me!)
Jerry you also have to realize that Roland has more staff and money to be able to advertise and produce the v-accordion, whereas Paul's operation is quite small and really a nice niche.

Hopefully the weather out here turns a little nicer for your trip. It has been cold and wet so far this week. (with snow in some parts)
Ben

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JerryPH
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by JerryPH » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:32 am

Rhelsing, it does sound amazing, I am looking forward to hearing it in action! :)
fjsys wrote:I also agree that more advertising could be done, however that would probably mean less time for the other things that he does. (like teaching me!) Jerry you also have to realize that Roland has more staff and money to be able to advertise and produce the v-accordion, whereas Paul's operation is quite small and really a nice niche.
First off, Roland's dedication to the V-accordion in the past was humongous, that is a fact. They would make huge competitions, galas and shows showing many world-class accordionists taking the "V" to some incredible places all over the world. They were known to give away several dozen V-accordions to all their "big guns". Today, their marketing is sporadic and inconsistent. The big shows and competitions are gone, and most of the little action that does happen is now in Europe, not North America. Heck, today, the marketing budget of the Bugari Evo dwarfs the marketing budget that Roland devotes to the V-accordion, and this is a company that is the same size or smaller than Paul's!

That said, Paul really should be... but does NOT need to be the one to make videos, does NOT need to be the public face of the Concerto, he **really** needs to get someone... *anyone* else to make 25-50 good quality short videos really showing what the Concerto can do and put it out there on YouTube or Vimeo. Basically, that is about the same number of videos Roland made of all their V-accordions combined and all the rest are made by owners and other people like Richard Noel and Dale Mathis. In my eyes it's not a question of he cannot afford that... the reality is that if he wants to sell and compete in today's digital world... he cannot afford NOT to do that. Don't believe me? Ask Liberty Bellows what percentage of their sales would dry up if they took down their YouTube channel!

That is another thing... what confuses me is that I can't find ONE video of a Concerto by an owner on YouTube, what's up with that?

Also, just like Roland, I don't see one single video of a Concerto that is of an educational manner, a "how to use it and what it can do" series. The Roland is no better in that area... until I decide to jump start that project of mine in that area. Why does Paul need to teach you? He should be teaching 2-3 employees, and they should be teaching the clients... his time is of great value and he should be spending it marketing, promoting, selling.

You see, if my coming videos do as much for the Roland as my videos did of the photography triggers did (sales jumped up 27% within 30 days of my 2nd video release), I cannot see why not similar results couldn't be resultant for the Concerto... and no one paid me anything to do the Pocket Wizard Mild to Wild series , not a single penny. I do it for the fun, pleasure and chance to take my learnings deeper, and, I know that I am by nature an educator, so I can do it fairly well.

Maybe you could do something like that for the Concerto, because currently, I think they are the accordion world's best kept secret, and perhaps they should not be! ;)
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

Rhelsing
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by Rhelsing » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:14 am

Good idea. Maybe I will try to post a view YouTube videos. Never tried that and I have no idea how good they will turn out with an iPhone as a camera - but worth a try. Chuck Henry has a few youtubes posted with his concerto if you search Chuck Henry Accordion but they are not educational. I will check with Paul when I see him and see how many concerto players there are out there that might be interested.

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