Bincis. Ciccarelli reeds win hands down in the lower keys but for E or F, Binci is the way to go. Antonelli reeds are another option but less commonly available from makers in the key of F.
So...Ciccarelli for a Bb.
Hey Mark. When you play an "F" accordion in the 5th (on the pull) you get the key of (F,G,A,B,C) ,you guessed it, the key of "C".
So the two most common positions of play on any Cajun accordion will be the 1st Position and the 5th Position. In this case, on an F accordion would be "F" and "C" respectively.
But you already have a "C" accordion that plays in the key of "C" for it's 1st and Primary Position and also in the key of "F" for it's 4th position aka "The Back Side".
I think you should really go off on a tangent and have an "A" accordion built! This will give you the Zydeco option. Playing in the 5th position (on the pull) on an "A" accordion, you get the key of (A,B,C,D,E) ,you guessed it again, the key of "E", which is one of the easiest and coolest keys to sing in! And it will help you to get all the white chicks. Zydeco tends to do that, and to be honest, I don't know why that is. Maybe it has something to do with these white liberal chicks getting back at their white slave owning forefathers??
As for who makes the best sounding Zydeco accordions and what kind of reeds do they use, well, your guess is as good as mine. But this late in the game, you'd think the answer to your "reeds" question would be common knowledge, but it's not. Somebody's hoarding the information again for some reason.
Absolutely go with the Binci in the high keys. Like John said, the Cic's sound good in the lower keys.
I've done a good bit of experimenting with different reeds, and it's mostly just cost me a lot of money, while satisfying some curiosity. What I've found is most of the Cajun crowd want loud and powerful, and that's Binci in any key. Some people who only play at home, and people of other genres find Bincis too loud and harsh. For those, the Ciccarellis are good. I find the Cic's a little more responsive than Binci, not as loud and powerful, with a nice ring. Falcon likes them and feels they are very close to the old Salpa reeds. I've also tried several Harmonikas varieties. Most have been unimpressive. Harmonikas does have a copy of the old German reeds used in the old Sterlings and Monarchs, and they come very close to that sound, but they do not have new Italian reed performance.
But hands down my favorite sound of any combination, is the higher reed Binci reeds, especially E.
I have a Bon Tee in A, and it's been my go to box lately. Most songs I play are on the pull, which is of course the key of E. And yep, it's definitely an easier key to sing in than a C, and much easier than a D.
I'd like to have a nice G - that's even better than A for singing. I should see if I could make a trade to get one.
I don't really have an opinion about the types of reeds. I have 8 cajun accordions (1 A, 3 Bb, 3 C, 1 D), and they all have Binci reeds. Seems OK to me. But I don't have a high E or F so I can't comment on that.
As to who makes the best accordions for Zydeco, well, there's really no difference between the accordions used for Cajun Music and those for Zydeco. For Zydeco, we like internal mics, while external mics are more common for Cajun music. But the accordions themselves are the same.
There's a weird myth that for Zydeco accordions "must" be tuned wet, and for Cajun accordions "must" be dry, but there's no truth to that.
I think the internal mics used for zydeco music might make the accordions sound wetter, so maybe that's where the myth came from. Other than that, the choice between wet and dry comes down to personal preference. Rules are for fools!
Never heard of Brescia reeds. Can you elaborate on those a little?
One thing I'll say about Hohner reeds, there are some that, to my taste, are my favorite sounding reeds of any of them. But since, like the old German reeds, they are/were made by so many sources, the quality is very inconsistent. The old ones, if you can find them, are usually good. I don't have much confidence in new ones.
Not sure what that might be. Only other reeds I know of being used are Voci Armoniche, which I don't care for, and Antonelli.
You won't find old Hohner or old German made reeds except by pure luck. If you're wanting mellower, the Harmonikas reeds are definitely mellower. They have several options, I've tried 3 different versions of their reeds, all different sounding. Never tried higher than D, though.
I stumbled on a pre-Hohner German accordion made by Koch, probably early 1920s. 3-row box, F, B-flat, E-flat, two reeds per note. I didn't think about repurposing the reeds, but this thread has me thinking. Link #1 is an overview of the instrument by a local repair tech who restored it, Link #2 is his shop, Link #3 is Scott's YouTube page. He teaches engineering, and has an amazing setup for repairs.