You can buy a Louisiana crafted cajun accordion and even if you can't learn to play it you will still have a work of art to display. The master builders are starting to retire and/or leave this earth.
Here's my advise (what I did, and didn't regret):
If you're not sure and on a small budget:
1) Buy an Hohner Ariette on E-Bay
2) Get Dirk Powell's video or DVD (volume I).
All of this will cost you about $300.
Try it out, and if you develop further, you'll eventually upgrade to a good quality box, get volume II of the Powell video, get Cajun music and keep learning from there.
If you don't like it, you won't be too much out of pocket, and can always re-sell your box for about the same price.
Live your passion, DO IT NOW!!!
I would like to add to this get Larry Miller's "You can play Cajun accordion" Great instructions for the basics. I played through a few of his exercises, started playing Colinda, and once you get the hand of playing the octives on push pull you can start picking up stuff from listening. Larry's instructional CD also has lots of great old tunes by Nonc Allie Young.
I got a Ariette from Marc Savoy shipped to my door for a little under $350.00. At first I thought it was gonna be easy but it was harder than i thought.It will take time and a lotta playing and listening.If you can get a program like Transcribe! you can slow the music down without the tone changing. It will help a great deal...it has helped me a ton! Good Luck!
Mike In Winnie,Texas
The First Act Accordion...Sounds Good...I may try that..One question...Is is possible to learn to play use the learning tapes that are available. I have found several, And if when and if I step up to a real accordion. Would I be able to play it? Or would I have to start all over with the learning process..
First Act Accordion is a $24 TOY for god sake!
Forget about this if you are serious about learning.
If you do learn on a decent entry level box (i.e. Ariette or the likes) and with the proper tapes (i.e. Dirk Powell), when you get on a good quality LA made box, it will be like... upgrading from a Lada (Russian-made car sold in the 80s in Canada that were clunky and always broke down) car to a brand new Cadillac, or to use another analogy, it's like moving from a $100 guitar to a $800 guitar!
Check out this link also to get a few Cajun box lessons on the web. www.bignick.net/BoxLessons/boxlesson_Index.htm
Sure the First Act is a Toy, but it is a lot cheaper than spending $300 on up and finding that you just can not get a grasp on the Push, Pull. If I wanted to spend big money for something that might possible turn into a shelf display, I'll stay with my big 1/4 and 1/5 scale RC cars. At least they are things most everyone, young and old can associate with. On the First Act, buttons 1, 2 and 10 are missing, leaving you with buttons 3 thru 9. If you look at the sheet music from Big Nick and others, you will find that most tunes are played with buttons between 3 and 9.
Just my 2 cents