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Ray Abshire's tone

I have been watching Ray Abshire play Johnny Can't Dance on Youtube, not to mention listening to his recordings. His rendition of Bayou Noir makes me want to move. Not a pretty sight! His FALCON accordion has a great sound; a really crisp, bright tone. I wish I knew what wood his black FALCON is and what type of reeds he has in it to give him that tone.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

Not sure the wood but the reeds are old Sterling or Monarch reeds, with maybe a Hohner or two replacements. And aside from the accordion, his playing on that Youtube Johnny is incredible, my favorite version of that song, made even better by Courtney Granger.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

the reeds remind me of Salpa #1's

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

This Johnny?:

Guess his accordionistic skills play quite a role too; he's one of my fav players ...


Re: Ray Abshire's tone

That Stockholm version of JCD by Ray Abshire is still one of my top favourites in Youtube. (for a long time now).
I heard Ron (meloderon) play a D Falcon he bought from Glenn Alessi. Great, bright "ringing" sound indeed.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

Mr Ray Abshire is such a fabulous accordionplayer/singer.
And a very nice gentlemen too.
I saw him twice at the Breaux Bridge Festival and both gigs were awesome.
Both times with his sons on guitar and bass, Kevin Wimmer, Courtney Grnager or Brandon Moreau and the last time Jimmy Breaux on the drums.
The Falcon I bought from Glenn is such a fine instrument and the sound is wunderful indeed.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

Jude Moreau made this statement Nov 2011:

The closest I've ever heard to one of these old Sterlings or Monarchs would be Hohner reeds, or, Ray Abshires "C" that has Salpa #2 reeds that have been cut several times by Randy, just to get close to "that" sound.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

Ray's Falcon has old Sterling reeds not Salpas. Randy recently built one for me with Salpa 2s and they do sound very similar, but his are Sterlings according to the builder.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

I had the good fortune to be able to sit and play with Ray at his home a while ago. The reeds are for sure Sterlings. Was the only way Ray would have it..

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

It's not just about reeds. Abshire's astute dynamic control also contributes to his unique sound. He has a remarkable sense for the accent, often placed unexpectedly, and lapses of softness that have equal effect. This skillful contrast in volume, along with the tonal qualities of his accordion, serve to define his masterful technique.

It's not just the reeds, but they was he exploits them.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

I know they're not Salpas, but they sound similar to my ears. The real test would be to sit down and play the two back to back

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

Maybe one day you too may sit in Rays home and play

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

My Falcon has Salpa reeds and we've compared them quite a few times. The Salpas are pretty close but they still don't have quite the same ring and crisp tone to them that his old German reeds have. If you were to hear just my accordion you would think it is spot on the old Sterling/Monarch sound, but if you play it or hear it back to back with his accordion like you suggested, you can definately hear a difference.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

I wonder how much closer they'd be if they were the same age.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

Bryan Lafleur
I wonder how much closer they'd be if they were the same age.

Do reeds "work harden" over time & use (movement)? Maybe explaining a bit the change in tone over time....

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

I think they do. I had a discussion with Randy Falcon, who also thinks they do, he said Shine Mouton used to say that the best a reed sounded was right before it broke.

I compare it to a piece of metal that you bend up and down. As you bend it up and down it changes the metal, softens it, up to the point it breaks. The harder you bend it, the quicker it will break.

I've noticed that when I first tune a new accordion, after just a few days playing it, the sound improves. I always play a new one for a week or so, then touch up the tuning before turning it over to the new owner. I think that's why Larry Miller used to offer free tuning after the first year.

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

Bryan Lafleur
I compare it to a piece of metal that you bend up and down. As you bend it up and down it changes the metal, softens it, up to the point it breaks. The harder you bend it, the quicker it will break.

guys who ran PAs back in the 70s and earlier may remember how fragile Aluminum diaphragms can be also -- same sort of principle IMHO...

the pistonic motion over time stresses the metal,
even given the 'super small' movement cycles compression drivers operate with, eventually they will break, given sufficient voltage...

if sufficient voltage is not provided, the older AL diaphragms just start to sound a bit less crisp and dynamic than when they were newer -- with less fatigued metal alloy....

seems like that mellowed response is desirable with the music 'producer' (the reeds of the instrument) and not so desirable with a playback system (a music 're-producer').

Re: Ray Abshire's tone

remember Gentlemen, that back in the day ca. 1800-early 1900, the quality and quantity of metals the Germans and English (especially steel) used was better than any other in the world. Some of the steel razors and knives I have from that time period from German and English manufacturers are of far superior quality than what you can get today. They just don't have access to the same material. its gone. used up. I have had metal workers confirm this. That the best carbon steel you can get today ain't got **** on the stuff the used back then. I will say that some of the alloys they make for certain purposes today are far superior to anything they used back then, but would that come into play with things like brass and steel reeds?. Just something to consider. Don't know if the older alloys, brass e.g., would follow the same suit as the older steel, but just something to chew on.

i;d just ask him! http://www.rayabshire.com/

i;d just ask him!


he will talk to you!

great guy

but - ray;s playing is probably a big part of what you are hearing

not just reeds and falcon

i don;t even like that tone all that much on the video but his playing is super


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