Things inside the Box #2

In this things-inside-the-box post, I will have to stretch the premise a tiny bit and move to things outside the box. This one is about a shoulder or thumb strap on the accordion and things in between. In between? Yes, apparently such a thing exists. But see for yourself:

I always thought that there are three ways one can hold and play the button accordion:

One shoulder strap

2018 Sharon Shannon - by 2eight - DSC3303

Two shoulder straps

Tony MacMahon

Only thumb strap

Whether the shoulder or thumb strap on the accordion is to be preferred is discussed by many (for example here) but seems to be a matter of personal preference in the end.

With this in mind, take a look at the following

That’s the first time I have ever seen a concertina-like hand strap on an accordion.

For me it feels awful to play and that’s mostly because the fingers are forced in such a weird position. I can imagine someone who is used to placing his hand behind the keyboard, like Mairtin O’Connor, might actually be ok with it…

It would be interesting to know if someone else has come across such a construction before. Or even more so, if someone is actually playing like this?

What do you think?

➡ things inside the box #1

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Top 5 Best Irish Accordion Albums

We all have a soft spot for top lists and to my surprise I couldn’t find a ” Top 5 Best Irish accordion albums ” online, so here it is: My favorite accordion albums of all time.

My personal taste in accordion sounds tends towards more tremolo and slower more old-school kind of playing. However, this has not always been the case, so later on I will follow up with my favorite non-old-school button box records. If you have some nice suggestions feel free to drop me a note.

I think its very important to support the artist by buying their music. Therefore I have attached links below to where you can buy this music. Some of the artists can also be found on streaming sites, others don’t.

The amazon links below are affiliate links, if you choose to use those, you support me and this site.

#5 Notes from the Heart – The Mulcahy Family

Mick, Michelle and Louise Mulcahy have recorded this fantastic and much praised album in 2008 and I lost count how many times I have heard it since. Such a lovely flow.

Tip: check out the set that starts with – The Leitrim Lilter –

#4 Up and Coming – Oisin & Conal Hernon

A cool Banjo/Box album by Oisin and Conal Hernon – this one deserves much more attention than it currently gets. The two have recorded multiple albums together but this is the only old-school sounding one as far as I know.

Tip: check out Micky Quinn’s.

#3 Martin Quinn & Angelina Carberry

Really tight Banjo/Box playing by two masters! The tunes are quite interesting non-standard tunes or at least I have not heard them played so often. The opening set – McCarthy’s and McGann’s – is a firm favorite of the Amsterdam Session’s two box players.

#2 In Retrospect – Danny O’Mahony

Danny O’Mahony’s fantastic first solo record. In my opinion one the best if not *the* best box album ever made. Created by an exceptional artist. I have not found any place where one can buy the digital album online, but it’s possible to order an actual CD (that’s also what I did).

For example from Claddagh Records.

…and here comes the number 1:

#1 The Kitchen Recordiongs – Sean O’Driscoll & Larry Egan

Hands down the best Banjo/Box album. Love the sound and playing of Larry Egan, the selection of tunes and the laid back feel this record has. Have they or maybe Larry Egan made any other recordings? I’m only aware of this one and I would love to hear more!

Tip: The Cuil Aodha/Nettles in the Soup

I hope you enjoyed my Top 5 Best Irish button accordion albums! If your favourite album is missing or you have some nice suggestions feel free to drop me a note.

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Same hohner box – very different tunings

Custom button accordion tuning: same Hohner box, very different sound! Listen to a side by side comparison below.

Recently I have fitted a vintage black Hohner box with a set of new Super Dural Reeds.

The tuning I choose was a medium wet tuning with +-10ct A.

Vintage black Hohner in C#/D with a medium wet tuning

Following the new owners wish, the box was re-tuned to a much wetter – Paolo like – tremolo. I am quite surprised what difference that makes but have a listen for yourself:

Vintage black Hohner in C#/D with a very wet -Paolo like- tuning

Personally, I love that new sound! So from now on, this particular – non-standard – tuning has a firm part in my tuning repertoire.

If you have any custom button accordion tuning questions or requests feel free to contact me.

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Weltmeister in A/D (“gedraaide 5de Toets”)

A very pretty Weltmeister button accordion for sale in A/D, freshly tuned and serviced – ready to play. The accordion sounds very mellow and quiet because A/D is much lower sounding in pitch than C/F. This is a perfect instrument for a beginner or someone with sensitive neighbors.

A Swedish waltz played on the Weltmeister A/D

The bellows are as new, the keyboard plays smooth and quiet and the instrument is light and easy to handle.

The accordion has the following features:

  • New tuning to medium flat tremolo (+8 ct on A)
  • Gedraaide 5de toets – push/pull of 5ths button on inside row is reversed. Note: I can remove this if needed.
  • Optional: Bass without thirds
  • Shoulder strap
  • Full 1-year workshop warranty
  • You can add a suitable hard case for an additional fee

Price: Sold.

Contact

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Things Inside the Box… (New mini series #1)

I get to experience the evolution of accordion technology first hand while working on old accordions. Often times I find myself smiling over dirty hacks or creative solutions after opening up a box. In this loose mini series I will showcase some fun and interesting things I find inside old accordions. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

When asked to fix an air leak on an old Hohner Club, I noticed a considerable leak on the bass side of the instrument. To my surprise the cause was not the usual misalignment of the bass mechanics but a very creative repair of a broken air release valve spring

The construction worked surprisingly well for a surprisingly long time (talking years, not days). Eventually, one of the rubber bands gave in and the loose orange end got caught below a flap preventing it’s full closing.

I replaced the broken spring but if I should ever face a broken air release valve spring and I am in the middle of nowhere without a proper spring at hand, I might revert to this temporary fix…

➡ things inside the box #2

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RESTORED 3-VOICE HOHNER C#/D (~1930)

This beautiful Hohner accordion is from the 1930ies and was one of Hohner’s top range models in those days. It was originally tuned C/F before I converted it to C#/D.

It has been fitted with new super dural reeds and tuned to medium tremolo of +-10ct on A. Due to the three voices it plays loud and with a rich and mellow sound. The thirds have been removed from the basses.

The keyboard and buttons are kept original but have been setup (limited button travel, new felt pads and mechanics adjustment) to play much more quiet and easy. The visible metal parts have been cleaned and de-rusted and the bellows are in a good condition.

The instrument comes with a full 1-year workshop warranty and a shoulder strap. A suitable hard case can be added for an additional fee if needed.

Price: Sold.

Contact

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What’s up next?

I have some very interesting boxes coming up soon! This is a look behind the curtain of the workshop.

Almost done: Antique Hohner – 3-voice C#/D

An old, stylish box, fitted with brand new super dural reeds. A longer lasting project is finally nearing completion.

In the past weeks we have been fitting new reeds, new feltpads, cleaning metal parts and adjusting keyboards. Yesterday I played a first tune on it, today I put it on the tuning bellows for the first time. I can’t wait to hear the sound of it once properly tuned…

soon finished: 3-voice C#/D

Work on the Hohner Liliput is making progress. The first Liliput has entered the workshop for an overal check-up. The original reeds in the moody key of Bb/Eb are in good condition. It seems they can be used for the restoration…

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For Sale: Hohner Marca Registrada 1-row

Playing one-row boxes has become a bit of a trend lately. Maybe it’s the search for simplicity or just Emma Corbett killing it on her melodeon (listen here)…

On behalf of an acquaintance, I’m selling a beautiful old Hohner Marca Registrada in the key of C. The box belonged to a relative that recently passed away and was hardly ever played. The Instrument is stunningly beautiful and in top condition: Ready-to-play. It does not come with my full workshop warranty but has been checked in the workshop and the felt pads on the bass-side have been renewed. It plays nicely, the bellows are tight and the tuning is good.

some say…. on the old one-row

Comes with the original fabric bag and shoulder strap.

Price: 300 EUR + shipping

Contact

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Workshop warranty on all my boxes

Button accordion workshop warranty for 1 year on all my work. Every box I sell has been thoroughly set up and serviced in my workshop. In the unlikely event that there is an issue within the first year, I will fix it for you.

This applies for:

  • Problems with the buttons or keyboard
  • Leaking bellows
  • Blocked or out of tune reeds
  • etc

If you have not made use of this warranty after one year, it turns into a 50% voucher for refreshing the tuning of your box.

Conditions

  • Shipping has to be paid by the box owner
  • The warranty holds for defects in material or my workmanship and does not include damage that has been caused by (obvious) misuse or accidents such as water damage, damage from non-expert tuning attempts, etc…
  • Warrant is issued at my discretion

Contact me for if you have any questions regarding the button accordion workshop warranty!

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