CAJUN ACCORDION DISCUSSION GROUP
I was wondering if any of you ever play with your upper or lower reed banks shut off. When I was first starting out on my Ariette, I liked to take the upper or lower banks out for some songs to change the sound. When I got my box from Larry his instructions said the reed stops were only for tuning and to always play with all banks enabled. Is there any risk to the reeds by playing with some banks closed, or is Larry just speaking about tradition?
No, it will not hurt the reeds, some songs are played with the low row blocked, it's all in what you want to do but for the full traditional sound you play with all of them up.
I agree with Larry.
On a well made accordion, the "slides" will last a very long time without trouble.
Every time I put my accordion away, even if it's at one of those festivals that you play four times in a day, I always push in the stops to avoid damage.
I have been doing this for years and have never had any trouble with my stops getting loose and falling down.
The only possible damage you could be avoiding is as the rods stick up in open position they could possibily get bent,but if the accordion is dropped they could get bent anyway. So I leave um open! Don't wana be using rubber bands to hold them open in the future. But if you are afraid of bending them have yor accordion made with the stops open in the down position.
I never turn anything off, but it wouldn't hurt anything if you did.
I've been playing a double keyed Falcon for 12 years now and it's been switched from C to D on a daily basis numerous times and I have yet to have any problems what so ever with slide failure or slippage. In my mind, if they were made to be stationary and not move they would do just that, but they are made to move, so I wouldn't worry about it. If they slides do wear out in a couple of years then I might be more concerned with the overall craftsmanship of the box. My thoughts only !
I have a new Bon Tee Cajun box from Larry and asked him about his instructions not to move the stops. He said that they are handmade and if you work them enough (as others have said) they may start leaking. I seldom see anyone push any of the stops down, although Steve Riley did it here in Atlanta for one song. I guess it's like Larry saying that button #1 is used only for tuning and not playing. I used to close the 2nd stop on my Hohner 114 to make it dryer. I'm leaving mine up for now.
The first year I had my HA-114, I routinely opened and closed the stops each time I used it. They weren't particularly tight in the first place, but they got so loose that they did slide closed by themselves. I fixed them by cutting plastic shims from a milk jug and slid them in place. I used plastic because I thought it would hold up well, and also be smooth enough not to bind. 15 years later, the repair is still going strong.
In your case you have to close some registers and open others to play in the different keys. Others who play other brand accordions don't have to do that and gain nothing by doing so unless the song calls for it. Don't mean to say anything bad about one or the other. They are all good.
In my opinion closing the lower read bank makes the accordion sound more "Irish". It is an interesting sound but I much prefer the full sound of all the stops open.
I also prefer having the read bank open in the down position. Gravity is on your side and they are less likely to bend if dropped.
Hey there Hal,
Yep, my first accorion was an arriette as well.
I know what you meen, and, I did the same thing myself messing around with the knobs and all... experimenting with sound and instrument.
While I have three of Larrys accordions, it's pretty much the same message ... "don't close off a bank of reeds, play it wide open" as a rule of thumb.
I once held some pretty dandy venues that would place master artists on stage performing. I brought out a guy name Jesse Lege' and let him cut loose on the California scene with Edward Poullard on fiddle and a band that was A #1. They tore it up musically and played like a bat out of you know what.
Jesse took my "D" accodion (which I let him use)and he used it on his gigs. I watched from the sound board and I cringed when he partially closed off a bank of reeds for a wetter sound while playing "Zydeco Sont Pas Sale'" Now, Jesse plays harder than I do (by far and much much better I might add) and I watched and I wondered just what I would wind up with (stressed reeds?)afterwards, as a result.
That accordion was never damaged, which sorta a tells me couple things.... it is durable and it is built to take a beating musically... and... I surely must play much lighter that most folks.
Most master players know how to play off that air button so as not to damage the reeds with harsh excessive back pressure... or excess air crossing the reeds that are played.
So much of the ton of little things that go into grasping the accordion and mastering it, depends on what ya play and how hard you tend to play it when ya do play it. Make sense??
Sence then, yeah I have farted around with closing off reed banks (one row of reeds that is)and this and that, but realizing that I do play softer than most and always accoustically... although, I have amps and mics ets. that could shatter glass. I think it is a matter of how hard you push it and also mastering that air button. Goofing around looking for the right sound, has caused me to have Jude Moreau take and re-tune my favorite C box semi wet for a sound that I simply favor. I think that is much better than partly closing off a reed bank to get certain sounds out of something that has a traditional tuning. P.S. You are normal
I could be wrong but I don't ever remember any real masters of the accordion partially closing off the reeds on any bank. They either played wide open or just the low reeds closed and then just for a very few songs. Now having one bank of middle reeds tuned a little off is something more and more are doing.
I have an old Aldus Roger record and on the back cover is a picture of he and his Sterling. He has I think the second or third stop pushed in. I assumed it was to take out some of the German tuning sound. I sometimes push in the low bank on my 114 just because I like the change and I fine it plays a little easier, uses less air.