CAJUN ACCORDION DISCUSSION GROUP
hi, i am looking for recommendations for a first time accordion purchaser. i am a mostly serious musician who is serious about purchasing and learning cajun accordion. i want a quality instrument for a beginner, but does not have to be the top of the line. but something that is playable, respectable, and probably re-sellable (in case my love of bois sec subsides someday). thank you for any help, guidance, or direction. feel free to email me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a first-timer, I'd go with the Gabbanelli "Cajun King" (see the thread in this forum regarding them. They are sturdy, sound good and are reasonably priced, plus they have many keys and color choices. They've also been in business a long time and have decent customer service.
You start picking out those Bois Sec riffs and you might find yourself -- like the rest of us in this forum... either playing in bands, building your own accordions, or finding that you can't own enough of 'em!
You got that right. I almost got as many accordions as I got guitars.
Mee too ! I kot az may nee cordjuns as I kot ouaouarons in my pond !
BUY LOUISIANA MADE!
There are many small shops in LA and Texas. I bought mine from Danny Dyson. Le Capitaine. Well made, sounds great, priced right.
Jude Moreau makes top of the line Louisiana accordions with ( like Larry Millers ) a very good price to quality ration. Either are sound buys.. I suggest you contact both for estimates..?
Well, I agree with cajungreeneyes to buy Lousianna made, but most are a little pricey. I almost cringe to suggest buying one now, as they are Chinese made, but Hohner makes a rather decent Cajun style box called the Ariette. For $299 you really can't beat the price for a starter instrument. Probably not adequate quality if you are thinking about going pro, but if you just want an inexpensive box to see how you are going to like it you probably can't beat the value. Probably not much resale value either, but it was adequate to get me started, and totally hooked on the Cajun accordion (that and The Balfa Brothers. After about six months, I was hooked enough to talk my wife into letting me upgrade to a Bon Cajun which I absolutely adore! Eventually, I will use the Hohner to practice tuning, and for a backup box when I need to send my Bon Cajun in for tuning or repairs, as I am definately going to leave that one for the master!
best of luck, and I hope you love the squeezin'
Thanks everyone! Now, if y'all have so many accordions, who has a LA made they want to sell to me?? Do you recommend starting with a "Key of C" or "D" or other?
Just get in touch with Jude Moreau in Groves, Texas.
Don't mess about with anything else....your musicianship will suffer!
Jude makes GREAT accordions and reasonably priced.
The thing is also that he's a practicing performance musician and that counts for me a lot...means he has a feel for what's goin' down and that translates into his accordion making skills.
I got a Bb made to order by Jude and it's ripper!!!
Elton Doucet near Chruch Point, La. makes a very fine inst. for the price.
Start with a C accordion. That is the key most of your accordion instructions, tape or DVD are in. In most of your workshops, like in Augusta or the Balfa week always requires a C accordion. Good luck!
but for anything recorded, you can always change
the key and re-record in the right key
might be weird for videos and dvds though.
Jude's accordions are top quality. I have a B flat and a D, and could not be happier. He also is a great person to deal with for service.
While I don't own anything but LA boxes -- four Falcons and one Martin, I agree with the need of owning a LA box -- especially since I was very familiar with C&Z for several years before I even thought about learning to play. HOWEVER, by the time the special LA box order is built and received (2 months to a year in most cases) one's desire to get learning the tunes running through one's head might get a bit cloudy. For an immediate jump start, I'm with Hal. Sink the cash into something made for first-timers to see if they even warm-up to it.
That said, I'm also all for first-timers buying a $1k-$2K LA box, so when they give up on it after a couple of months, they sell at a drastically reduced price tag to braves like us!
Hey Rick,I Maybe mistaken, but you did'nt happen to be at atchafalya club in henderson on St. Patrick's day? Geno Delafose played that night and I had just checked out your website the day before and thought I saw someone who looked like you in the restraunt. May just be coincedence! lol! By the way, cool site.
Your site rocks Rick. I have to search around for that CD by Danny Collet. He is on a french DVD for about 15 seconds playing a triple note swamp pop tune with a killer guitarist. That 15 seconds of him 10 years or so ago is worth the purchse price of that CD alone.
Thanks Mr. Ace! Glad you like my site. It's just a little diary, really. It's also a place to expose friends and family to music and gives me an opportunity to promote Louisiana-ism... a state of mind that I live in every single day.
Until I get my new [unnamed band] put together and gigging, mosquitogumbo gets all my attention. That is, what's left-over from playing with my accordion and squeezing the girlfriend. Er, something like that!
Nice site Rick.
Now a question or two: on one of the pics, your buddy ,Travis Matte is seen sporting a black Hohner Club box,while jamming with you,at his place.
Now,was the Hohner declubded or was he playing it, with all the accidentals intact.
In any case does he use it on stage, and how did it sounded?.
Can I assume that he was playing Zydeco music with it or just fooling around?.
I just think that theses boxes have a real cool look.
Hey Claude ~ Travis has a very good command of the triple-row accordion, even though he doesn't use one live or recorded.... "yet." that is. That black Hohner Club model of his is really cool. It is all intact with the accidentals and that... drone key. Travis is an amazing musician. Accordion is just "second fiddle" -- as you may already know Travis is very well known and respected in the "Cajun circuit" as a top-notch fiddle player.
The photo you are referring to -- with the triple-row, is just one example of how mult-faceted Travis is. That night at his house, he also strapped on a guitar while his drummer (Simoneaux) played along on my white Martin box. They were working up a new tune that Simoneaux had found a groove on.
Here's the litmus test for all of us in bands OUTSIDE of the Bayou State... get this... every one of Travis' band mates can play the accordion quite well. It's something in the water down 'dere!
Let's all have a drink!
I went to Savoy Music Center to get my first accordion last year. I liked the way the Ariette looked, but playing it was something else. It took a lot of effort to get it to sound. Marc and Tina talked me into a Hohner 114. It doesn't look at all like a Cajun box and not nearly as pretty as the Ariette. But I really liked it. It was tuned much wetter than LA boxes and didn't sound much like the Dirk Powell DVD's and other instruction media. I closed the 2nd stop to take the wetness out, but it still wasn't quite right. I paid about $400 for it and, by far, Marc has the lowest price on them.
It wasn't long, however, before I wished I had spent another $700 for either a Bon Cajun or Jude Moreau box. They are about $1200 now and Bon Cajun shuts down July 7th.
Long story short, my step-fathers's sister from Ireland got my 114 and I have a brand new beautiful box from Larry. It ended up costing more like $1250 when I had it built like I wanted. But now (even though I still want a box from Jr. and Marc) I will live with this one forever. It's my baby and it's so pretty, I could just put it up on the mantel and stare at it. It seems the sound and feel of an LA box can't be duplicated by the Germans or Chinese.
I've only had my Bon Cajun a couple of months, and haven't had my Ariette out of the case since my beautiful Bon C arrived, but this discussion got me interested in a side by side comparison. The Ariette really doesn't sound at all bad. Tuned MUCH wetter, so certainly not as authentic sounding, but really does sound pretty nice. I kinda like the tremolo you get from the wet tuning. The main difference is the bellows are obviously much cheaper and are very stiff in comparison so Larry's so it is much less responsive and harder to play. The buttons are quite a bit "clunkier" too. Overall harder to play fast button and bellows changes. Of course, the wood is really cheap, and construction shoddy, so visually the master craftsman's box wins hands down. But again, the sound really is pretty decent, and for someone wanting an el cheapo to try it out and learn the basics it really is a hell of a bargain. I'm going to keep my Ariette intact until I send my Bon C to Larry for tuning, but once I get the master's box back, the Ariette is coming apart to see if I am any good at tuning.
Marc Savoy's instructions on how to tune an accordion was completely fascinating. Previously I had no idea how they were tuned. Really quite remarkable.