Greetings from Denmark

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Mityr
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Greetings from Denmark

Post by Mityr » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:54 pm

Hello everyone
I've lurking on this forum for half a year actively leeching on all your collective knowledge on accordions; it has been quite the learning experience, and I've learned so much about accordion repairs, practice routines, different genres, etc. etc.
You are all great!

I've been playing accordion for a year of time now and started out on my fathers old Scandalli PA, which had sweet Italian voices. Unfortunately, some time into my accordion career, I got infatuated by the idea of playing a freebass accordion. I had seen tons of videos of brilliant Russians, Swedes, Poles and surely a lot of other nationalities playing Bach, Vivaldi and Scarlatti - classical works - and even jazz on the accordion, which stand vividly out in my mind as a great use of the instrument.
I had to find a freebass instrument.
In Denmark they are not easy to come by, and especially PA converters are hard - not to say impossible - to find on the used market. This hardship of finding a suitable accordion have led me down a dark path - figuratively - of expanding my search field. I went from PA converters in Denmark to looking on the German used market, the Swedish and the Norwegian. Turns out they are either already sold or way too expensive for a student.
Then I managed to buy a old, cheap and battered Weltmeister Grandina with b-griff layout, and now embarking on a task to see if the buttons would speak to me, I played this heavy beast of a German accordion. At first I was baffled. I began looking through old posts on the forum, hoping to find the secret that would unlock the melodies of the CBA. I put the Scandalli away in a closet. When it had stood out, I would pick it up at times, where the b-griff frustrated me. My fingers would suddenly feel at home again, and music was flowing out of the accordion. It was nice. But it wasn't helping me play the other one.
I managed to put enough practice time in, and it started to make some sense. I couldn't play fast, couldn't play prima vista, couldn't play perfectly, but I could play. I figured it wasn't impossible, and my search expanded to button accordions.

Now, last saturday I picked up my new accordion, a beautiful Ellegaard Special, from a repairshop in Copenhagen, where I had left it some weeks ago, due to it being damaged under the shipping from Norway, and I've been itching to post a picture and brag about it.
https://imgur.com/vQyg4CL
https://imgur.com/znit1vw
https://imgur.com/MDDPMeu
It's a B-griff in the treble, but the bass side seems to be C-griff. I am not sure though. I haven't got enough experience to determine, if it's a weird B-griff setup, but it isn't like the usual Bayan, where the lower notes are lower on the accordion, instead they are situated as on the treble side.
I'm excited to learn, but I've got quite the way before I'm any good.

And one more picture of the beauty
https://imgur.com/YYq2ba2
I hope you don't mind, if I poke my head into threads once in a while and join the discussion.
Thank you for reading through my wall of text

Last edited by Mityr on Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Happy owner of a cba-b Ellegaard Special with cba-c freebass
Longingly learning

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debra
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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by debra » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:37 pm

Welcome!

There are accordions with B-griff keyboard and C-griff bass side and also with C-griff keyboard and B-grif bass side. They are not as common as C-griff on both sides, B-griff on both sides or B-griff keyboard with B-griff Russian system on the bass side. There are even rare ones with C-griff keyboard and C-griff Russian system (low notes at the bottom instead of the top).
The reasoning behind your B-griff keyboard and C-griff bass side is probably that these sides are "parallel" to each other instead of the usual "mirrored" setup.
There is only one really major drawback to what you have: if you ever want to "upgrade" to another accordion it will be very hard to find another one that is the same, as the combination is so rare.
And if you think of changing the accordion, we have been discussing that here and it is just way too difficult to even try.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:49 pm

Mityr,

A very warm welcome to the forum, where I hope you will have all your questions answered.

My own knowledge is limited to the PA, so I am unable to help you with any information relating to the systems you mention.

All I would advise is that you stick to one system, as you will only confuse yourself by attempting different systems.

Good Luck,

Stephen.

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Mityr » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:51 pm

debra wrote:Welcome!

There are accordions with B-griff keyboard and C-griff bass side and also with C-griff keyboard and B-grif bass side. They are not as common as C-griff on both sides, B-griff on both sides or B-griff keyboard with B-griff Russian system on the bass side. There are even rare ones with C-griff keyboard and C-griff Russian system (low notes at the bottom instead of the top).
The reasoning behind your B-griff keyboard and C-griff bass side is probably that these sides are "parallel" to each other instead of the usual "mirrored" setup.
There is only one really major drawback to what you have: if you ever want to "upgrade" to another accordion it will be very hard to find another one that is the same, as the combination is so rare.
And if you think of changing the accordion, we have been discussing that here and it is just way too difficult to even try.
Thank you Paul
I must say it's weird having you reply to me after reading so many of your insightful comments.

This is new to me. I've been reading a lot about the different layouts and combinations, but I've actually never heard about a "hybrid" b-griff-c-griff accordion.
And I think you might be right. The chromatic passages are from the outer c and towards the bellow c-c#-d. Parallel is a good describtion, as it flows with the treble side in a way.
Is there a technical point by doing it this way, or is it mostly a random variation in building design?

I'm hopefully playing this accordion for many years to come, but when time comes, and I might want to upgrade to an Akko - like yours, right? - or Jupiter or Pigini, would it be possible to order it in this rare design?

This is really interesting.
Thank you again

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Glenn » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:57 pm

Hi Mityr,

Welcome indeed to the forum and congratulations on your new accordion and the courage to play CBA free bass.
You didn’t explain how you came across this instrument. Was it a lucky find or the result of months of searching?


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1) Ballone Burini 46C (4+5) cassotto (LMMH) 3/3 PA; 2) Accordiola Piano V (5+5) cassotto (LMMMH) 3/3 PA;
3) Roland FR8X; 4) Hohner Vox 4k (LMMH) 3/3 CBA

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by JerryPH » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:05 pm

Welcome!

Yes, I too will have to agree that once you get comfortable with one system, stay with it, however, you are at the start of your musical education, so feel free to test and play around, but do be careful to first not to overspend and second, do pay attention to Paul's advice.

There is little more disappointing than finding the accordion that you like, then growing and wanting to get the next level only to find that the system you chose is difficult to find instructional material for, that your old accordion cannot be resold for anything close to what you spent on it and that your choice of system is so rare and you cannot find another accordion a notch better in the same system.

Free Bass accordions of themself are a bit of a rarity today, and there are many systems out there, but I am glad to see another young accordionist that has the desire to learn this system. I myslf am going to be starting my Free Bass studies all over from the start again very soon, but I have the advantage of having studied in the past and I have 3 accordions that all have the same system, making it a lot of fun for me.

Good luck and again, welcome to the forum. :)
Last edited by JerryPH on Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Howie » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:10 pm

Welcome aboard Mityr, glad you joined up.

cheers

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Mityr » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:03 am

Glenn wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:57 pm
Hi Mityr,

Welcome indeed to the forum and congratulations on your new accordion and the courage to play CBA free bass.
You didn’t explain how you came across this instrument. Was it a lucky find or the result of months of searching?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Hi Glenn
Yet another of giants of the forums. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

It's a longer story - as usual - and is comprised of 6 months searching, several failing bids and lastly a stroke of luck sprinkled with a bit of humanity.
I'll give you the short version to not end up writing entire novellas in here. Back in april I was on a fieldtrip with my class. Destination was Copenhagen - quick backstory. I come from North Jutland, so being close to accordion shops is a rarity or a several hour trip with just trying out an accordion in mind. I visited a shop in Copenhagen. Mentioned my fascination with freebass instruments and requested to try one out, if he had a model in the store.
He was the one to bring my attention to the scarcity of PA converters in Denmark.
But he had a 92 bass Giuletti with handmade reeds - as far as I remember - and C-system treble and bass. He sat me down with the instrument, went up to his workshop in the back and I was left behind with this mysterious and seemingly random jumble of buttons. The instrument had a very clear sound, cassotto like, and was in great shape for a used instrument. But problem was, and it still is in some ways, I couldn't produce a single tune, and coming from a PA, where I had "mastered" the first page of Hungarian dance no. 5 in g minor, this wasn't very reassuring.
I went home without the accordion, but a promise to call back and give an update on my thoughts. He's a really nice guy.
This coincides with me finding this wonderful forum, and all the knowledge and experience of you guys. I began reading, and reading, and reading some more, and even more, before 2 weeks later, I had seen many succesful anecdotes of people learning CBA after PA - I was dismayed by the fact, that my accordion teacher had tried in her youth, but ultimately failed - and I had an idea of how the layout worked.
Well, I called, and he had to tell me, the accordion was sold in the meantime; I was too slow on the trigger. This was the first of many failed attempts at buying one.

Months go by, and I'm still searching - and I'm awful at writing short texts - around August i had expanded my search to around 5 websites from around Scandinavia. I was checking them, admittedly, obsessively several times a day and had become pretty good at guesstimating value of converter accordions. Having tried bidding on a couple, I logged on to the Norwegian site one day and spotted a used accordion for sale. My Ellegaard Special. It had been put up less than an hour before, and I quickly shot a bid towards the seller. Stating I was from Denmark and had been looking for an accordion like hers for ages - half a year is basically forever at my age.
I think the seller was a bit charmed by the thought of selling the accordion to a younger person with enthusiasm for playing, and went back to me after another bid and asked if I wanted to bid a bit higher - maybe it was just good bargaining, but I like to believe in the more inspiring story.
I won. Excited and now the owner of my own accordion, I stopped my obsessive search for used accordions, and instead I checked the package tracker a lot. As if the package would come quicker, if I kept pressing update.
One day it arrived at the local postcenter. I wasn't home to get it before closing times and had my dad pick it up and take it home. Then in the evening, I arrived home and was nearly jumping with excitement. I opened the packaging. No visible damage - you see where this is going? - and with awe i opened the gigantic accordion case, only to find a accordion with a lot of the bass mechanism damaged; buttons had fallen down. I didn't get to play my accordion just yet.
I called the accordion shop in Copenhagen the next day. Told him about the damage and he offered to open the shop a saturday, so I could drop off the accordion.
The seller and I had communicated before the package arrived. I had requested for her old notes to be sent seperately, which she was nice enough to do. I told her about the damage under transportation, and she contacted the Norwegian postservice, and I contacted the Danish.
Right now, they are still playing hot potato with the insurance, but she has done a lot to help, I have called the postservice a million times, and now the repairman - I can't overstate how much a help these people have been - has sent out mails to both parts and made a claim for the price of the repair.

And now I've picked up my beautiful accordion. Totally repaired from the internal damage and visible damage in the bass, and I am finally able to play.
The story is long now, but I have to end with saying, that I probably overstated, how hard it is to find a converter instrument, but my budget was around $ 1000, with some leeway in either direction, and it definitely limited the available instruments.

Well, thanks for reading and thanks for the greeting. Have a nice day
Happy owner of a cba-b Ellegaard Special with cba-c freebass
Longingly learning

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Mityr » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:06 am

Thank you, Howie
It's nice to be here
Cheers
Happy owner of a cba-b Ellegaard Special with cba-c freebass
Longingly learning

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Mityr » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:14 am

Thank you, Jerry!
It's reassuring to see the same advice coming from different mouths. Not that it didn't have enough merit coming from Paul. Right now, I'm enjoying playing the accordion and not thinking too much about the system and advantages. I found a pdf of Ellegaards comprehensive method for free bass, which seems to be written for the c-system bass, and it's seems to be a nice way of getting acquainted with the tiny buttons.

Looking forward to here more about your free bass journey in the future. It's always nice to get different perspectives and thoughts on the correct way to go forward and not create bad habits from the beginning.

Cheers
Happy owner of a cba-b Ellegaard Special with cba-c freebass
Longingly learning

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by debra » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:38 am

Mityr wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:51 pm
..
I'm hopefully playing this accordion for many years to come, but when time comes, and I might want to upgrade to an Akko - like yours, right? - or Jupiter or Pigini, would it be possible to order it in this rare design?
...
Our world revolves around money. The accordion world is no exception. Every accordion brand makes C-griff, B-griff, C-griff with C on the third row (Finnish system), B-griff with C on the second row (was popular in Belgium), Balkan B-griff with 6 rows, ... anything the customer wants. And for the bass side it's the same: C-griff, B-griff, low notes at the top or low notes at the bottom. And of course any keyboard side can be combined with any bass side as the internal construction of the body and reed blocks does not change when the keyboard changes so they all fit together.

So much depends on coincidence. I keep on saying that I (and my wife too) should have started with CBA at least 10 years earlier than I did, but at that time I was living in Belgium in an area where most people play B-griff so I would probably have ended up playing B-griff. As it happened, after moving to the Netherlands and seeing few CBA players, but all with C-griff, we ended up starting on C-griff. This was an expensive choice because I have seen many excellent used accordions for sale that were all B-griff, and at the time no C-griff so we ended up with the expensive choice of buying new. Later the situation started improving.

A used Akko or Jupiter or Pigini should be relatively easy to find in B-griff, but with that C-griff bass side, not a chance. However, the good news is that when you master your current instrument a Russian B-griff should not be too hard to learn as it is just your bass side rotated by 180 degrees (not mirrored which is a harder conversion to learn).
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Mityr » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:15 pm

Stephen Hawkins wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:49 pm
...
All I would advise is that you stick to one system, as you will only confuse yourself by attempting different systems.

Good Luck,

Stephen.
Hi Stephen
This seems like good advice. It has to be since everyone is repeating it.
Right now I am totally content with the system, and I hopefully will be for a long time.
Your Arietta looks to be a wonderful old instrument - I just fell over the post

Cheers
Happy owner of a cba-b Ellegaard Special with cba-c freebass
Longingly learning

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Mityr » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:35 pm

debra wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:38 am
...
And of course any keyboard side can be combined with any bass side as the internal construction of the body and reed blocks does not change when the keyboard changes so they all fit together.
...
A used Akko or Jupiter or Pigini should be relatively easy to find in B-griff, but with that C-griff bass side, not a chance. However, the good news is that when you master your current instrument a Russian B-griff should not be too hard to learn as it is just your bass side rotated by 180 degrees (not mirrored which is a harder conversion to learn).
Paul, you have a scary amount of knowledge about accordions. I wonder, if I will ever be able to amass the same amount of expertise in the world of accordions.

These are very useful pieces of information, thank you!
I have a follow up question, because I spent 5 minutes wrapping my head around your last sentence: Is it disadvantageous to have the lower notes on the button of the accordion?
I figure the deeper notes tend to use a bit more air and the bellow must be harder to operate from the bottomside, and your weaker fingers will be the main movers on those notes.

Is my speculation wrong?

Thank you!
Happy owner of a cba-b Ellegaard Special with cba-c freebass
Longingly learning

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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by debra » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:20 pm

Mityr wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:35 pm
...
These are very useful pieces of information, thank you!
I have a follow up question, because I spent 5 minutes wrapping my head around your last sentence: Is it disadvantageous to have the lower notes on the button of the accordion?
I figure the deeper notes tend to use a bit more air and the bellow must be harder to operate from the bottomside, and your weaker fingers will be the main movers on those notes.
...
It's a good question, but hard to answer.
The reasoning I heard for having the low notes at the bottom of the bass side is that you can press a low note with your little finger and then play a bit of melody or changing chords with the stronger fingers. Playing a low note with the index finger and then a melody with the other fingers may be a bit harder. When you just play a melody or a chord it doesn't make too much of a difference.
Something that plays a role here is that a Russian bayan only has the L+L register and so there is no way to make Stradella chords sound lower or higher. When you watch Russian players you'll see that they often use the melody bass for chords that are available on Stradella, but they play them higher or lower than their Stradella chord would be. On a typical Italian accordion you have many registers to make Stradella chords sound differently.
I have no experience with the Russian bass orientation, having C-griff (keyboard and bass side). I'm not good enough at it (yet) to try what the Russians do, so I cannot tell for sure how hard it is to pretend playing standard bass while really playing melody bass.

See, I really don't know much about accordions... but I have learned that when you want to know what a manufacturer can do you have to ask instead of look at a catalog. When I bought a Bugari ARS/289/C5 that model did not exist in the catalog, but a phone call to Roberto and sure enough it was possible. (The model now appears in the catalog again.) And I have also seen an ARS/289 without convertor, so 45 notes keyboard but only Stradella bass and I have never seen that in a catalog. My wife's accordion also no longer appears in the catalog but I'm sure that it can still be ordered... It never hurts to ask. If it's impossible they will tell you.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
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Re: Greetings from Denmark

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:32 pm

Hi Mityr,

Thank you for your kind words with regard to my recently acquired Arietta. It is, as you say, an old instrument (possibly 65 years) but it is still younger than I am. I guess the Arietta and I suit each other, both of us having seen better days.

The Arietta actually sounds better than it looks, with a sweet tonal quality.

Take Care,

Stephen.

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