Welcome to old and new friends who are interested in discussing Cajun and other diatonic accordions, along with some occasional lagniappe....



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Re: Butt Boxes

Butt box!
Is that one to be played from behind?
Or perhaps you're referring to a portable toilet!?
Love ya really Jeff, just havin some fun.

Re: Butt Boxes

Dear AJ,

Me luv you long time too : )


Slapping boards to gether and belt sanding them to length is crude and expedient and typical of production, not fine craftsmanship.

Entirely hand made Italian accordeons such as Castagnari and Beltuna.. including shipping to the US and import duty and an extra dealer profit are about $2500.

These American made boxes have no shipping, no duty, no dealer mark-up and are $3000.

I don't begrudge profit .. and I know what it takes to make a box.

But there is something rotten in Denmark when butt boxes are $500 more than a properly mitered box.

Re: Butt Boxes

Only problem is them Eyetal-yun boxes have a very weird and no-fun air button that sucks. Plus they sound like crap compared to the real-deal, genuine, folk art, the best for the job hands down Louisiana box. Sure some of the local fare ain't much but I have two from Mr. Richard and one from Marc and they will b happy to smoke any of them there furrin' imports...

Re: Butt Boxes

Only the Castagnari has an odd location for the air button.. you get used to it. The Beltuna is normal as are many others.

The difference between the majority of Cajun made butt boxes and Italian hand crafted ( not production ) is.. precision*. There are other differences such as design, materials... The keyboards are lower and faster and button travel is much less.. and they weigh less. And none of those honking great metal corners to cover belt sanded butt joints.

* all the holes that are supposed to be in line are in line..
no frayed edges, no glue slop .. no chips left inside, all the arms and pallets are in line and the same distance apart. etc no nails holding coil springs.

Richard Richard is different than a Savoy.

As to tone and playability... once you try a truly handmade box ... such as a Beltuna or a Quebec made Messervier.....or Clement Breton.. you'll understand.

As to Savoy once he saw and played a Quebec made box .. he changed.. but a butt is a butt..
I'll pass .. thanks..
It's an indicator of what's inside.

Re: Butt Boxes

The bottom line is, that we're dealing with Cajun accordions on this site. The European melodeons may be precisely built and handsome in finish, but you can't get a dancehall gig in South Louisiana playing a muffled accordion.

Cajuns are a rugged lot, and they like loud accordions. Butt joints don't have a **** thing to do with sound or execution, so why all the ranting?

Castagnari's have their niche, but they are a misfit here.

Re: Butt Boxes

The bottom line is...

Re: Butt Boxes

Not sure.. was that supposed to be humorous. ?

Re: Butt Boxes

It's for those who like zydecul...

Re: Butt Boxes

"It's for those who like zydecul."

Now that made me chuckle.

Out of curiosity, I now own a Castagnari, which will be gone over and heavily molested over the coming weeks.

Very few cajun players would like the limited button travel, I sure don't, but it's definitely preferred in other genres, I'm guessing those that play with mostly fast single notes. It does have a snappy action, and is the my main piqued interest with it.

Re: Butt Boxes

The Castagnari air button placement is problematic.

I recently had my left wrist and thumb rebuilt. My thumb is now 1/2 inch shorter and in a different location, but they saved it. My wrist is finally able to rotate a bit.. this 33 years after being mowed down by a yuppie BXXXX and nailed from behind in an off ramp. She doing 80MPH me 45.

Anyhow, because of my reconstruction, I could no longer manipulate the Castagnari air button,. And rather than perform open heart surgery to correct this design peculiarity, and butcher a very fine instrument, I sold it.

I am pursuing another 1 row with a conventional air button... perhaps a Beltuna or a custom made.

I will assume you bought the beat up Castagnari without a thumb strap.

I valued it at $1400... but not interested due to condition.

Take look at the reed blocks and the placement of the some of the higher pitched reeds.

The action suits my style of play. Fast and precise. Common to Quebec and Irish players and some classical players.

Removeable front keyboard panel is handy.

Curious to hear of your observations once you get into it.

Re: Butt Boxes

And no coil springs and "nails". And mitered joints on compound beveled frames. Smaller, lighter, faster.

Smaller stop knobs rather than those great honking lumps..

Other details are, well, different.

Re: Butt Boxes

"The bottom line is, that we're dealing with Cajun accordions on this site."

1. From the Intro line to this site:
... "discussing Cajun and other diatonic accordions,.."

"The European melodeons may be precisely built and handsome in finish, but you can't get a dancehall gig in South Louisiana playing a muffled accordion."

2. Have you played or owned a Castagnari or a Beltuna?
They are as loud (if that's your objective.. I look for tone and modulation and musicality)

"Cajuns are a rugged lot, and they like loud accordions. Butt joints don't have a **** thing to do with sound or execution, so why all the ranting?"

3. Look up the definition of "rant". "Rant is a word used by those with a bias. If facts bother you, call someone else's observations, experience a rant. Seems to work for some.

Irish players are an equally rugged lot and there are 500 Castagnari or Beltuna one rows to every Cajun made one row. And they play the hell out of them.. I'll post a clip.

"Castagnari's have their niche, but they are a misfit here."

Castagnaris are niche because they are a modestly priced, exquisitely made
accordeon that is known the world over and those who want to protect their personal and jingoistic bias will find fault with them, even though most have never owned one, played one, or opened one up. If you had, I suggest your your opinion would change unless of course an admission of excellence would counter cultural bias.

As to "misfit".. refer once again to item 1.

I'm still musing about "muffled"...

Objective of a Cajun built accordeon:

1. Loud
2. Loud
3. Loud
4. Loud

Re: Butt Boxes

Do you prefer...
vichyssoise or gumbo?
Armani or Levi's?
Vespas or 4-wheelers?
Thoroughbreds or quarter horses?
Crayfish or crawfish?
Rhumba or two-step?
Fur Elise or Bosco Stomp?

All of these things have their place in the grand scheme of things. Half of them have limited appeal to Cajun musicians for whom this board was created.

Good luck force-feeding those Italian instruments to the Cajun players.

Re: Butt Boxes

I have no interest in force feeding anyone.

Facts based personal observations and experience is my interest.

Having owned Cajun made boxes, Hohners, a few Quebec made boxes, 14 Castagnaris and other Italian made accordeons. I have made my choices. Choices based on first hand experience not bias and BS.

Buy what you like.

I started fishing for and eating crawdads at age 8 out of the Humboldt River in Winnemucca, Nevada. Bacon on a string tied to a pole and a coffee can to catch them.

Armani or Levis.. I own both but modern Levi quality sucks.

Vespas and 4 wheelers...

Never owned but ridden Vespas, I prefer Lambrettas for scooters..
I have also owned 53 motorcycles to include
14 BMWs
5 Moto Morinis
2 Moto Guzzi LeMans
1 Norton Commando
NSU Supermax
Bultaco Metrtalla
2 Montessa Scorpions

I founded the Monterey Bay European Motorcycle Club in 1982-83. Gave it up when the yuppies invaded and postured rather than rode bikes.

4 Wheelers you mean 4X4s

58 Land Rover ( this one was the official vehicle for the 1960 winter Olympics at Squaw Valley)
61 Land Rover
64 Land Rover
67 109 NADA Land Rover (1 of 500 made)
74 Land Rovewr
1960 Austin Gypsy with a Rolls Royce engine
1969 Toyota Land Cruiser
1980 Jeep Scrambler
1982 Toyota Long Bed
1987 Mitsubishi Montero
2000 4 Runner (still have it)
2016 Tundra daily driver

Vichyssoise or Gumbo.. Both are good . I prefer bouillabaisse and Cioppino which I make.

Thoroughbreds or 1/4 horses. My choice are ponies from the Marble bros out of Lovelock, Nevada and Carmel Valley, Calif.. bred from Appaloosas and eastern Nevada Mustangs... my wife owned one. I owned a pack, saddle and cart race trained 13 hand mule named Lucy. She is now in Idaho on permanent loan to a packer friend. She's very happy. Hpo0rses are prissy, mules are
dependable and have character.

Rhumba or 2 step. Both are fine, but I also like mazurka and waltz.

Fur Eliz... one of my practice pieces on mandolin. Bosco Stomp rocks.

I believe you are short changing Cajuns and force feeding, if not pigeon holing, them with your obviously ethnocentrically biased list.

My guess is that if you presented an Italian top quality 1 row or a Quebec 1 row such as Clement Breton, MELODIE, Sa'Gne (SP) or Messervier to a Cajun player after it was retuned from 12TET to "just" tuning...and it was the same price or less than a Cajun made butt jointed box.. they may be positively impressed.

I know which I would choose.. as I have had the exposure and I have no ethnic I have no bias.

This brings to mind.. don't show up to a Bluegrass Jam with a Gibson or a Taylor..
Gotta be a Martin of a Martin copy.

I like Martins.. had over a dozen, have one now, But there is nothing like a good Gibson.. nothing compares. Unfortunately , these are rare.

"Half of them have limited appeal to Cajun musicians for whom this board was created."

You have just stated your position, one of exclusion rather than inclusion.

And this is contrary to the headline statement which I have already posted.
You want all non Cajuns to leave and or give up playing because they weren't born of "Cajun" parentage.

"Welcome to old and new friends who are interested in discussing Cajun and other diatonic accordions,.. "

Where does this exclude non Cajuns ?

The emperor has no clothes.

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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