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Wet vs. Dry is a matter of taste


Whether to tune wet or dry is a matter of personal preferance, and that is fine. However, it is somewhat of a myth to say that zydeco requires or is better with a wet tuned single row button accordion. Yes, there are some very notable players such as Geno that prefer wet, but the players of dry tuned boxes far outnumber them.

I am not quite sure how this myth got going, but I have a few theories. First, in zydeco, we typically use internal mics rather than the external mics used in Cajun music. This changes the sound quire a bit, and to some ears, it might sound more wet. Also, in zydeco, you are as likely to hear single row and triple row button accordions as well as piano accordions. OK, well, the single row accordions used in zydeco are predominantly just as dry as the ones used in Cajun music. But, the triple rows and piano accordions are invariably more wet tuned because they were imported, and that is just the way they are made. There isn't much opportunity to request different tunings as in the case of a custom built single row. If you combine that observation with the fact that many people cannot distinguish the type of accordion used in a recording, you can see how people mistakenly assume that ALL zydeco accordions are wet, even though it is really only on the imported triple row and piano accordions.



You also can request "how wet" you want your box. If it's extremely wet, I find that chords don't sound as good to my ear. If it's slightly wet (5 - 7 cents) the chords sound better to my ears.

BUT some Zydeco players don't play as many chords as heard in Cajun.

Chords sound best to me in dry tuning though.

As David said, it's all a matter of taste.


Re: Wet vs. Dry is a matter of taste

Yeah you right, David. I personally like to use both wet and dry tunings. I guess it depends on the tune, really. Dry tuning definitely has a clearly-defined modern sound, IMHO. And that old-timey smokey bar "live" sound, makes me think wet. Maybe it was the poor recordings made in the 40s and 50s. Someone who I admire a great deal who is doing something different today, is Travis Matte & The Zydeco Kingpins. A lot of his tunes are played with wet tuning which is a real kick -- the way he plays -- similar to Geno. So really the tuning preference doesn't have anything to do with the best reeds to use for Bb. Sorry I got out of the thread -- but for someone considering a Bb, having one stop tuned wet offers the player that additional option. Something to consider when buying a new box. Great conversation, y'all.

what he said!

yeah you right brother dave..

what he said!

i will spotlight the guy who has the wettest
cajun accordions known to man - bruce daigrepont.

they sound like a calliope to me..


Re: what he said!

May sound funny to y'all but I like the wetness of a Morelli accordion best. How many cents wet are those cheap reeds?

Re: Re: what he said!

how many cents?

those accordions are wet because they
are mistuned, more than anything else.

they are going to be all over the map
as far as wetness goes.

some buttons very wet, some dry.


Re: Re: Re: what he said!

Maybe that's why it sounds good to my ear? Old sounding, out of tune

Re: Re: Re: Re: what he said!

I'll make a recording today of my D Morelli (aka arriette). I personally don't like how these accordions play, but I do like the sound.

Don't get me wrong, I would rather play my handmades anyday!

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what he said!

Cool! I'd like to hear it.

I've heard the "wettest" tuning is called, "Columbian wet." An accordion guy at Brook Mays Music in Dallas, told me that. And me, also being a fan of Vallenato music, I believe it. It's just a preference... I like it wet and like it dry... it's all good... just gimme the accordion... the perfect instrument...

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what he said!

The link is above. Give it a listen! This is done on a $150.00 accordion. And yes it is slightly wet tuned, and IN tune

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

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

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