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  1. Uh…th…th…they's funny lookin? And you can get ALL the ladies with em!   Why the curiosity? Are you thinking about taking it up? Looking for a fellow accordioneer? Just looking to "reward your curiosity?" Which I might say…I hate Coke…but Vanilla Coke was an ok drink…I don't even like soda. Except for a soda last week…it's been almost a year since my last! It's a purdy feeling! ./[tyler]

  2. The accordion is larger than the concertina and the bandone처n and it uses a keyboard that opens and closes vibrating tongues that are given air through the shrinking and expanding motion of the instrument.

    Those are about all the juicy details that come to mind.

  3. Well I've spent the last couple days having tons of fun with my new toy accordion from here:


    I wish I knew a seasoned accordion player who could give me the inside scoop on choosing my future real squeeze-box's style, version, key, tuning, brand and model. So many choices.

    And I have it on good word from a hot girl that playing the accordion would make me sexy, if you would like to know (now, the birdwatching, she says, is another story)!

  4. Having just spent a couple of hours playing Christmas carols on the accordion, let me put in my two cents. If you aren't looking to build up killer biceps, look for a ladies' model–they're a lot lighter, though somewhat smaller. (Though killer biceps would attract more ladies, if that's what you're looking for.) Don't settle for less than 120 bass. And make sure you test all the keys and buttons. Mine has a sour D bass that rattles my molars. I'm not sure about attracting the ladies, but playing carols outside a store at Christmas (with a Salvation Army kettle) certainly drew lots of attention. Jim

  5. Wow, thanks. Yea, I played my first carol today: Jingle Bell Rock. Lends well to the 'ol squeeze box. I think I want a button style, partly because of how huge the pianos are. Lady's size would be a good alternative, but … ladies size? Can't they call it portable size or something?

  6. I just finished reading the Accordian string. I am pleased to hear that our host is interested in the accordian. I have a smallish piano accordian which isn't very good condition, but which I enjoy immensely.   Avoid Hohner accordians. Their tuning is different and they don't sound as good when compared with italian accordians. Excelsior is a "Cadillac" brand in the Italian accordian category. I thought accordians were either German-made (Hohners) or Italian-made. I don't know if that's really true or not. I do know that if you have a choice between a hohner and any other brand, don't buy the Hohner.   I'm curious to know if there have been any studies done that would make a connection between the desire to learn shorthand and a liking for accordians and accordian music . My brother, (who prefers Pittman) owned several accordians and played very well. I like the accordian, and so do John S. and Forkner.   (Vehement contradictions from anti-accordian shorthand enthusiasts are not really necessary. I know you're out there, but the goal here is to promote and develop an idea…)  

  7. Alright!  Welcome to the cool club.  I thought Hohner was the number one brand.  They sure sell a lot of harmonicas.  They do sell lots of diferent tunings and styles, I noticed, on their website.  Maybe the ones you've seen were just flukes.  Or…maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I'm interested in the German polka sound, which has less tremolo than the Italian sound, but then again, my friend and I have discovered that the theme to "The Godfather" sounds ubercool on the 'ol squeezebox.   As far as a connection to shorthand, well, I'll bet you just said that to comply with the "on-topic" rule.   Just kidding!   (…but I really will) You don't have to follow that rule in the Anything Goes section.  Wait, wasn't I supposed to delete this section? _________________ Shorthand: isn't it about time?

  8. It seems to me that Hohners are well-marketed. I don't recall how the harmonicas rate, but they are a lower-risk investment, if you find out you aren't compatible with other tunings or whatever.   If you have already acquired your Hohner, you may prefer ignorant bliss. 🙂 Otherwise, accordians.com looks lika comprehensive website with links to everywhere and informative-looking newspaper. When I lived in the big town of Portland, Oregon, there were quite a few music stores, but there was one that I knew of which had several new and used accordions. If there is some place like that in your town, that would be a good way to comparison shop and try some out. Talking to dealers, teachers, and "players" can be informative. If you see a store that specializes in folk music, or alternative music, you might find some button accordions.   My accordion is a "ladies size" Paoli soprani (if the name ends with and "i" you're probably on the right track) and was purchased at the Good will thrift shop for $25-$75 by my brother, who then made some minor repairs and adjustments. But then he used to be a professional thrift shopper and relatively knowledgeable about accordions.   Smaller accordions are not as heavy and difficult to maneuver, but don't have as rich and full of sound as the full size models. A heavy accordion can be discouraging for learning, in my opinion.     Gregg+accordion   It wasn't difficult to detect the ridicule in your tone, but many people would be surprised at all of what has been "studied".   Doesn't it seem plausible that people who have one uncommon interest would be likely  to have more? It would depend on what is motivatig them. What attributes do gregg and the accordion have that make them compatible?       portability star potential unrivaled–in most settings–most bands don't have more than one acc player–if any. power outage preparedness–with no need to stockpile batteries economical for continued participation–(especially if you inherited your accordion) complicated enough to stimulate sustained interest ideally suited for rare book collectors–there's comparatively little out there for the accordion versatile/multiplicity of purposes and settings both are good tools for those with administrative/leadership/service abilities timesaving/shortcut–with the acc you get a whole lot of music–rhythm, melody, harmony, and full backup–with fewer instruments and less time to learn than a comparable instrument such as the piano or organ.–This may not be quite so true with a button, but you still get a lot of "sound" ….   They are also complementary. One is introverted the other extroverted.   For me there is something about the vibrating of the reeds that is conducive to "soundness of soul".   By the way, as well as being a great way to bring people together, there are times when the accordion can also  be an effective tool for helping certain guests to find a better place to use their time. This can be useful for people who want to study shorthand, but it can also be helpful for diffusing/sidetracking arguments etc. and thereby bringing a little more of heaven to the earth.      

  9. Sorry if i sounded ridiculous in my reply. The fact is, anyone who likes shorthand AND accordion is on the top of my friends list! You're right, it is a certain type of person who likes them both. … "Wierd" comes to mind, but nothing wrong with that.

    The list of commonalities between shorthand and accordion was insightful and funny, though I haven't yet tried using my accordion in an administrative capacity! Good idea.

  10. It's not just that the accordian itself is an administrative tool–it's that that type of person might be drawn to it. You know, someone who likes to "push the buttons" and knows how to use a little push or pull at the right time (preferably with a smile) and if done well,  it can really get people moving.    

  11.   John, it's amazing what I'm learing and discovering in this group   In my youth I took lessons (well, actually a group of us kids, whose parents were hooked on Lawrence Welk — and this was BEFORE his reruns on public TV LOL — were kind of coerced) on accordion. Piano accordion. Started out with the little 12 bass/20 key model to a 120 or 160 bass, and the keyboard was 45 keys if I remember correctly. There was a master switch which could be hit with the heel of your right hand, three — I believe maybe even 5 —  switches on the kbd and I believe three on the bass (It's been awhile).   I sure wish I had that sucker now — of course my back might not appreciate it! And living in an apartment, like I am now, I surely couldn't play The Beer Barrel Polka at 2 AM if I felt like it. (Shades of my misspent youth at Pilsen Park in Chicago).   There are a lot of things on the Web to help you out: just Google "Accordion" or check out rec.music.makers.squeezebox  http://www.accordionusa.com http://www.accorions.com and http://www.accorionlinks.com just for a start — I go there from time to time just to see what I'm missing.   Have fun and keep us posted on how it's going!!   John Simi Valley, CA

  12. Woo hoo! Chalk another one up for the accordionist/stenographers. Ah, the Beer Barrel. Some other favorites I catch myself whistling while walking errands across campus:

    Heel and Toe Polka
    Gesundheit Polka
    Lichtensteiner Polka
    Pizzicato Polka
    Grashuepfer Polka
    Clarinet Poka (eventhough it's played out)
    Walzer aus Schwaben
    Das Kufstein Lied

    I still haven't decided exactly which direction I'm going to take the accordion. I mostly have German stuff. American stuff seems the same as German, but just more boring and hokey. Some is good, though. Slavic stuff is really cool. I definately have to get more of that. I like the cajun tuning, the sound is engrossing. Then, since I live in Florida, maybe I should get into Tejano, sounds like a mix between German and Latin music, which I also love. So many accordion options–whats a boy to do?!

  13. Why set limits?   At least this early. You won't really know what niche you fit into (if any) without a range of experience.   I have a book called "Contemporary Accordion" from Oak Publications. c. 1981 by Louis Giampetruzzi.It's geared toward piano accordion, but not exclusively. It has samples of many different styles. What's really valuable is the discography and the of not so common recordings of various styles, including, Irish, English, bluegrass, cajun, tex-mex, etc. on various types of accordions.   Priscilla

  14. Okay John.  I appreciate your enthusiasm, but remember shorthand draws some conservative types–there are ladies, minors, preachers, and who knows who else reading these posts.   Alright. Bill Monroe and Bluegrass Boys, 16 All Time Great HIts (Columbia CS 1065) has two or three cuts of Sally Ann Forrester playing backup bluegrass. One of the tunes is Rocky Road Blues. This used to be available on cassette.   Next. "Everlasting Joy" is a bluegrass gospel tune from Charlie Bailey and Happy Valley Boys with Phyllis McCumby on accordion.  (Old Homestead Records OHCS 102) This record may have another accordion cut. If you get this recording I will resist envy because I wanted this one after playing the transcribed sample from the book but never got it But that's me.   p. 34 of this book says..The accordion was used most in the southern mountains as a backup instrument in gospel music. (Orna Ball plays accordion on Rounder Records with her husband E.C. Ball)   Queen Ida and Bon Temps are really cool zydeco on button accordion. I don't know french so I can't judge the lyrics but it's one of my favorite sounds.   There may be an updated version of this book out there.   What kind of accordion did you come up with? (I promise, no more hohner bashing.)   Priscilla    

  15. There is bluegrass accordion?  Ubercool!    Thanks for those references, I'll try to find them.  I really like the zydeco sound too; I've downloaded two CD's worth already from some great websites.  It's accordion with bootie shaking power.  I haven't picked up a real accordion yet, since I'm still not even sure which I like best.  I bought this toy accordion online for $15.  It may look wimpy, but it has almost a two octave range, and sounds almost as good as my friend's women's size piano accordion.  It's all wood and metal construction too.  Nicer than I expected.  In fact, I think I'll always keep one on hand, even after I get a real sqeezebox.  I can take it camping and to the beach and not have to worry about it getting ruined in the sand and humidity.

  16. You're right that the little accordion is really cute. It looks like it would be nice for children, as well. I have eight. Oldest 26, youngest 6,— 4 girls, and 4 boys. and a few small grandchildren who don't live nearby.   My accordion is "well worn" and has a broken strap. So I have mainly been playing the piano lately.   Do you have any tips about where the good places are to download music.?   I used to use Kazaa and then I lost a most of my downloaded music.   Now that I have dsl and a fresh pack of cd-r and I've learned how to use the cd burner. (It has taken me about 3 years to learn that cd-r is cheaper than cd-rw and most rws don't work in my computer).   Priscilla    

  17. Michael, Flute and accordion? Being a player of both, I can't imagine how you would manage, only having two hands, and all. (I have the same problem trying to play piano and flute together.) I did have an "uncle" who used to play cornet solos and accompany himself on the accordion (left hand only). And I remember in high school playing the flute and the pedals of an organ in a duet with my mother, who played the manuals of the organ. (She never quite got the hang of "pedaling.") Jim

  18. That must have been some sight.  So, your mom's not a good peddler.  Neither is mine ;O)
    About the duet stuff.  Have you tried a quartet?  I thinks those walking orchestra circus clown people would make good shorthand writers.  I can see similarities… :O)  

  19. I used to play piano with my feet! It's tough to get all ten toes working, but you can easily switch between the big and little toes of each foot to get a four "finger" approach going…not good enough for big, tough songs like "Stomping Boots In Muddy Weather," but songs like "Moochie Poochie Blues" or "The Salt And Pepper Waltz" are quite passable. I couldn't play flute whilst toe tapping the keyboard, but I'm sure someone might be able to reach all new heights of cheeze and "kill me now"ness!   Now I've got Moochie Poochie Blues stuck in my head! ./[tyler]

  20. Okay, let's try this again, shall we?  See attached sound file.  And check out my pimp new paint job.  Notice the custom straps and chrome buckle.   BEFORE:     AFTER:   ______________________ Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

  21. You can get a perfect Russian maid one for around USD300.  However, we have our own version which is called a Bayan (accent on last sillable).  It's even better then the accordian in range – the accordian has a keyboard like the piano, the bayan has many rows of small buttons, fiting in much more notes (not sure how much exactly, but would think at least two more octave).  Was thinking of finding a picture of one, but I have to go and have DINNER.  I am so hungry, just back from work.  Cheers!

  22. How many buttons has a concertina got? What about bandoleons? There are dozens of different types of accordions. Some are diatonic, some are chromatic. The Russian type which has several rows of buttons must be chromatic. The Cajun type seems to me to be a bandoleon, but John must know better.  

  23. How was everyone's Christmas accordion playing this year? I brought my lil' trusty camping on the beach. I gave her a new paint job, so I'll try to post a picture. It was fun, though I'm not sure if it was worth this fever!

    Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

  24. All this brings to mind one wag's definition of "absolute pitch" (aka "perfect pitch")–that very, very rare ability to name or sing any specified note without reference to a musical instrument or tuning fork, etc.  "Perfect pitch", our wag says, "is when you hurl an accordion into a dumpster and hit a banjo!"

  25. Well, it's been a long time coming–I'm overjoyed to announce that I am finally the proud owner of a REAL accordion!  Woo hoo!  I found this old ugly red one at a yard sale for $180.  120 bass; 2 stops.  It's going to take some practice…I'm attaching a sample (recorded with my desktop mic).  My friend is going to be a famous accordionist one day:       I call it Spaghetti & Meatballs for the cheesey art deco design on the grill–not to mention the color.       Happy accordioning!

  26. Ah yes, I remember it well. As a child in the height of early Lawrence Welk popularity, I joined the army of child accordian players. I still have my "squeeze  box" and still remember many of my favorite selections includung the hallowed "Lady of Spain". I expressed dislike for the um-pa-pa sound (except for polkas and certain European selections) to my instructor, who then taught me using piano and guitar music sheets. I developed a smoother style that worked well at parties and in church. I remember attending an accordian classical concert at the Academy of Music here in Philadelphia and was enthralled by the beautiful music produced by artists on the accordian!  My cats  often make uncomplimentary sounds when I play nowadays, but I simply consider the source and continue to make merry melodies! Good luck John!   Doc

  27. You know, I have heard over and over that people learned/bought accordions back in the day for parties. Parties? Are you kidding?! These days, it would be about the most uncool thing you could do to show up with an accordion and start playing. I laugh every time I hear that…then I cry because it's such a shame.

    Just kidding!

    (…but I really do).

  28. John, To assist yourself in developing a listener friendly style on the accordian, it would really profit you to get a book on piano theory to understand why the bass buttons are positioned so, and to develop a smoother sound on the bass side. Also, learn to use your tone selector buttons for distinct sound, sometimes even during the same song. The overpowering sound stereotypically associated with the accordian can be avoided by reducing the push on the bellows, sometimes extending them farther and sometimes to a lesser degree. Many songsheets have breathing indicators for singers and quite often these serve the accordianist as indicators for bellow movement. The color of your accordian is classic, as black, white, ivory, RED, blue and gold were used popularly as the basic color or as the color for the dark treble keys. bass buttons, and tone selecdtors with ivory serving as the basic color of the instrument. The comparison of the use of the accordian and the use of shorthand is quite evident, and so (thank God) is your desire and drive , John, to not let good things pass away!   Gratefully, DOC

  29. Chuck, that sounds fun. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the accordion can play beautiful and mysterious music, kind of like an organ–and not just polka (nothing against polka). I agree that it is not uncool, though I don't think I'll try it at parties yet; they just use CD's days. Camping, on the otherhand, has turned out to be the perfect setting for some squeeze boxing.

    Doc, thanks for the tips–sorry for hurting your ears. If you ever relocate to Jacksonville, maybe you'd like a student! The accordion community here is … like water on Mars. You mentioned that you disliked the oom-pa sound. I can relate to that, though the five instructional books I've found all show that style only. There are some really cool classical accordion sites online. Few in English, of course. I really think my instrument looks cheesy…would prefer a black button style, maybe a bayan, but for now i'll take what I can get.

    Sidhetaba, that's true, and latin music is a favorite of mine for it's amazing power to get booties shaking. Tangos, though, are played on bandoneons which, though very portable and traditional looking (to things I value much), they don't have chord buttons. One of the coolest things about accordion sound, to me, is that one instrument can produce such complex sounds. Bandoneon would make that harder; I did consider it.

    Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

  30. Oh yea, P.S. – I positively despise the American Lawrence Welk Champagne accordion sound. Sorry, that includes your beloved Lady of Spain. But really, its more about the style a song is played with than it is the song itself. I LOVE Tico-Tico Samba and Dark Eyes. I find that the more ..ethnic.. a style is, the more gripping.

  31. John,  Lady of Spain was far from beloved except for a raunchy reworded version popular in many a 1950 elementary classroom. Actually the 40's-50's romantic ballots, movie themes novelty songs worked well on the accordian. I played mine from time to time in church. An oscilating fan blew my pages and suddenly I was in another inspirational hymn. My dad insisted on a strictly defined practice period every night after homework. He knew and resented the fact that I had my songs timed and would finish on the minute even when he covered the clock. One night he made me replay 10 minutes worth and I missed the opening scenes of Mary Martin's Peter Pan (l954), but even then they did eventually rerun the Broadway classic. Like most musicians and singers, I had to learn many songs that I didn't like, but I was surprised to find that they pleased my often captive audience.   One other recommendation, do not practice shirtless! It gives you hickies on the shoulders and extraordinary painful pinches! Also beware of those little straps that are used to keep the two large straps on tight. Mine slid up and I had to wait for my parents to come home to free me two hours later!     Doc

  32. Just another  pleasant memory or two, but "Hi Lili, Hi Lo" sung by Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer's puppets in the 1952 MGM musical hit "Lili" ( I was seven years old and saw it nineteen times in 1953) won the academy award for best song, the principal instrument being the accordian.  Keep inflating those bellows JOHN!    DOC

  33. John, The DVD of LILI is available. It is also featured on "That's Entertainment" Part One (DVD and CD). The movie was filmed in 1952 and not released until view by a producer's wife who was killing time and asked for a movie to watch. The rest is history!

  34. The most common accordian in the United States is the pianoaccordian. The treble (right hand side has keys that resemble the piano), and the bass (120 buttons on the left hand side) are standard. The smaller 12 buttoned bass is for beginners, and frankly a waste of money. The standard models come in different sizes, so you want to physically try your potential purchase out, for comfort and fit, as well as distance between the buttons. If the instrument is too small, your bass handmotion will be clumsy and awkward. If the instrument is too large, it will slide off without a backstrap to connect the two large adjustible straps, and there will be too much distance when moving from upper buttons to lower or vice versa. Never buy an  accordian that you cannot try out first! Good luck and good fun!  DOC

  35. Hey, I found out there is an accordion repair shop in Clearwater, Fla. which just happens to be on the way to my brother's wedding this weekend–woohoo!  Can we say trade-in?   Here is their website; anyone want me to pick you up something? http://www.accordionsandkeyboards.net   Pie man, Doc is right.  Pretty much everyone in America uses the piano accordion he described.  Depending on where you live, you might be lucky enough to tap into some existing accordion communities which tend toward a particular style of instrument.   MIDWEST: Polka, piano accordion TEXAS: Tejano/Tex-Mex, "diatonic" two/three-row button accordion NEW ORLEANS: Zydeco, cajun-style button accordion   Personally, I like all the music styles.  The decision of which type of instrument to buy is a tough one.  Recently, I'm tending to want the Russian Bayan, AKA chromatic button accordion.

  36. John practice those polkas for the reception. No instrument does the polka justice like an accordian. If you really want to add a bit of romantic flair, play "Al Di La", but they'll expect you to sing along in Italian. Break a leg and knock 'em dead maestro!     DOC

  37. Yes, accordion is a catch-all term for hand held reed instruments powered by air bellows.  Bandoneons are the little square ones famous these days for tango music.  Concertinas are the hexagonal ones.    _______________________________ Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

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