CAJUN ACCORDION DISCUSSION GROUP
You know, this instrument has some folk art elements to it, like the crudely designed ,yet well made bass box, the brass corners inserts, nice and tight and so elegant.
Ok, so I realise that the treble buttons holes are a tad to wide, but the holes have no tear-outs on their edges, same for the decorative strips, nice and tight in their dadoes.
I didn't notice any saw, or tools marks and every parts that can be seen have been carefully finished.
I know that some fabrication is done with machines, but all in all the fittings are pretty tight.
The bass box straps tightening device is a hoot, and the strap leather work , not sloppy at all.
Look closely at the handmade flappers, to me they look identical.
The box looks except,for some crude designs elements
pretty tight in terms of fabrication execution, and what threw me at first, are these very " elements", witch makes this box a very interesting , folksy piece of " Americana".
We are to much encsonced with our ideals,but when we see a true, valiant and succesfull effort at fabricating a musical instrument, albeit rather crude, but clean, we automatiquely denigrate it, simply because, it does not quite ressemble the original.
But to me the very charm of it is that it's one as you said ,of a kind,so to speak.
That's why the "box" with all its awkwardly design elements, represents the true spirits of true craftsmanship at its roots level.
What I also love, is that the "Author" din't try to copy exactly a modern design, but rather very confidently, decided to incorporate his or her own ideas.
In my class, I would give this effort an A for originality and craftsmanship and if the instrument plays an A plus.
You wouldn't kick this American Folk Artist out of your class would you?.
It looks pretty rough. How does it sound and play?
Can you play?
No, it doesn't look rough,it's not a factory made LA box, that's all, it's a Hand made cajun accordion,in the purest sense of the expression, done in a Folk Art "veine" that's all.
Its one of a kind that's all.
It's beautifull and so American folksy,and yes it's very well made and aside from the innards, witch we can't see, the "only rough" visible items on the box are the split and tarnished brass decorative corners.
The rest of the box seems to be in very good shape.the case seems also very well made.
"All" the screws heads are burried under , not flush.
Note the ingenius thum-strap adjustment system.
Rough looking, Nah, it's "just" a piece of History
,it's clouding your better jugement just because it doesn't look like a Junior Martin, that's all.
Surely, there should be someone on this list who lives close by the seller and could try the box?.
BTW, just because I love this box , doesn't mean that "it'" my box.
Funny, I've never heard of a "factory made LA box"
When I first came to Canada, I worked in a very small Factory, or Assembly plant ,witch is by definition a building "large or small" were manufactured parts are "assembled" by a small or large group of people, into a finished product.
Take the "Big Bananas" of Cajun Accordions building and they "ALL" use about 80% of parts manufactured by outside sources, witch are in turn, assembled by a small staff, comprised of friends and family members.
If they didn't do that Jim, you might have to wait months and years for the delivery of your box.
Several years ago I bought a box from Junior,and it took him a week to deliver the box,the same with Marc, why?, simply because, he would always, as he told me, have enough "materials" in stock to "assemble" in his small plant or factory,100 accordions over a short period of time.
Now, after the fire, I don't know what his situation is.
Evidently, some builders take their time,have no staff at all, and finesse their boxes,and as a result , you get a box that has more personnal attention spent on it,and it shows and Falcon is one of them,and of course there are others, "BUT" it will take infinitly much longer for delivery,these are my type of builders.
I think you have somewhat miss understood Jr's approach to accordion making. The reason he has all of these parts on hand is because he believes in the principle of not just making one finger board, bass box etc at a time but 20 finger boards, bass boxes, etc. at a time. This cuts down on the overall time that it takes to make a finished box. He realizes that to reset the saw for each individual part would take MUCH longer than to run through the same piece of the bigger picture 20 times at once before resetting for the next piece. At the same time because he's not constantly recalibrating machines he has a more consistent end product. To me this makes for an accordion that will never feel different to play along side another one that he has made. I have never heard Jr say that he could get an accordion out in a week unless he already has one half done, but I would assume that if it was just a basic curly maple with nothing extra it could probably be done and shipped in 2. I understand what you mean though by certain builders taking their time and making sure every little thing fits exactly the way they want it. I know you don’t believe that Jr does this in the same manner that Randy or some other builders do but, through all of the countless hours I have spent hanging around his shop watching him, I have to disagree. He may use butt joints which we all know causes controversy every time the words are uttered on here but he's in the shop before 6 AM most days and doesn't leave until well after the sun goes down. The most important thing is that he doesn't like shabby workmanship, and he's very serious about making a box the right way as opposed to just making a box. While he hasn’t drastically changed the overall outward appearance of the instrument, he has spent years trying different approaches to make the instrument sound louder and more clear, easier to play, and more efficient with air. Sorry for going on and on like this, I just had too much free time on my hands for once
I understand your point.
I agree, it is an interesting and unusual piece of Americana that can be apreciated for it's folksy elements and hand made ingenuotous design elements and features.
It would be a very good mantle piece and could be the center of discussion at home gatherings.
As a playable, professional instrument, it is difficult to determine from the pictures if it would be any good at all. My previous comments were based on pure speculation from my own personal experiences looking at and playing instruments of similar ilk.
I guess only the person that buys it and tries it out will know for sure. :)
I'd like to say to each of you who have posted to this thread, that is pleaseing to see that you each have managed to state your opinions and/or disagreements with respect and dignity toward each other, without anyone being offended.
You have shown that we can sometimes disagree but still have respect for each other.That's the way it should be .
And you know, I have to admitt that my first impression of the instrument in question was: it looks rough as a corn cobb, but after reading the different responses from Claude, I think I understand his view point a little better.
BTW, that "handtooled" leather strap on the bass box: looks like it might have been a mens western belt before it was cut and used as a bass box strap ( been there/ done that )
I'd have to agree that the box looks clunky. It's true that some parts appear to have been handmade.....wait, could this be the first truly "hand-carved" Cajun accordion we've ever seen(!)
I am DYING to buy another box. It's really tough, though, to set aside $1500+. I wish I had played enough Falcons to see what the buzz is all about. The single key ones are up to $3000. No thanks.
On a side note, I recently played Jock Pottle's (Bosco Stompers in NYC) new Savoy D box and it was outstanding! I mention this b/c I'd heard rumors of a slip in quality in Acadians. I have no complaints about mine -- it's a tank that drives like a BMW -- but it's good to see that the workmanship is still up to par.
My next one will definitely be an A box -- either light-colored wood with metal buttons from Savoy or an all black w/metal buttons from Junior.
I dunno what it is, but the all black Junior boxes I've seen have such a sleek, classic look.
Keep squeezin', calice
I will say this, the box looks better than anything I could ever build. The bass side looks pretty comfy I must admit.
On to the subject of Acadian brand, I have one that's 2 years old and one that is 4 and they're both my favorites out of any box I've ever played. I've played on older Acadians and they are just as good, only difference I've noticed is the compression0 has improved on Acadians.
Keep in mind these are just my opinions, other opinions vary!
They're all good down there though, that's for sure. All the ones I've played are good.