I read a lot here about what seem to be the "big" names--Savoy, Miller, Martin, and Falcon--though you might come up with a different list. I also read good reports here about some less-well-known but highly-respected builders like Jude Moreau and Danny Dyson. (I wouldn't even know they were builders if not for this board.)
Now, today I noticed on another thread that Rick mentioned a builder named Cecil who works behind Floyd's shop and it got me to wondering which not-so-famous builders any of you might care to recommend?
You know, after a year with the old 114 I'm getting ready to move on to a hand built one and I'd like to get one that I can enjoy for a good long time. So, if you were only going to buy one, what would it be?
Finally, how did you decide what brand to buy? Did you choose by reputation? Did you know the builder? Did you try different brands? If I were buying a guitar, I could go to the store and play 42 different guitars, but this is different, isn't it?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Oooh this should be a good thread, Claude! One to create a comprehensive list from. I know you can do a google search on builders and a few will come up. But what I've noticed on these lists are that many of the builders listed have either passed or are no longer building. You'd think there'd be a new generation of builders? I'm just as curious as you are, Claude.
I've seen a few "Pointe Noir" brand accordions, (Dick Richard, I believe) which I'd like more info on. Cajungreeneyes has one as I've noticed from the recent photo header on this forum. I know Dirk Powell uses one in his instructional video, and more recently, Travis Matte, known for playing Falcons, just acquired a black Pointe Noir, which he told me he really likes.
Regarding Cecile's boxes; I don't know if he's given them a name yet, much less started building them in any quantity. A little over a year ago, I saw one he had just finished as I visited with him at Floyd's Record Shop. It played sweet and was well-built.
Also, I agree... this forum has introduced Danny Dyson and Jude Moreau to me, too. I'm glad to know about them, too! Everyone who plays LA boxes surely have their own preferences. I've never heard anyone say, "I wouldn't buy one of ____'s accordions cuz they suck." Heck, even Ariettes, Morellis and Heros get props on this board!
Thanks for your reply.
I would like to be mistaken about this, but I thought Dick Richard had passed on. Is that right?
The name brand for handmade accordions at Floyd's is " SWALLOW "
Mr. Ervin Dick Richard passed away in April of 2005. He became ill shortly after his wife passed away and spent the last 6 or 7 years of his life in a Eunice, La nursing home. There are only about 400 to 500 Pointe Noir accordions that were made by Mr. Richard.
Claude... that is an interesting question, one I hope many will chime in on and lend some comments.
I have a Cajun Classic that I commissioned four or five years back. It was built by Laten Miller in Lake Charles. Now Laten is not to be confused with Larry Miller... they are not related, per Laten.
I rate this particular accordion in two or three facets:
The craftsmanship was pretty good with a lot of individual touches that sets it apart from other accordions I have seen. Laten is not rushed, nor is he a man that will rush the building process.
The looks are beyond what I originally commissioned, it is a beauty with a finish that is over top (aircraft super high gloss clear coat) with a ton of depth in the finish... and extra pearl inlay on the fingerboard.
Playability, in the beginning...not as good as my other accordions.
Last fall, I had this accordion re-worked on the finger board and re-tuned on the Antonelli reeds by Jude Moreau, it is about as good as I have played short of the Pointe Noir.... although the bellows are still fairly stiff.
Should I ever have another accordion commissioned, it will be done by Jude Moreau as a Bb specialty. What I mean by specialty, is that it will have some of my ideas for appearance and include some inlay work that may not be standard stuff. I don't mind paying the extra for what I want, and, time is not any issue in my book...
Jude Moreau is a fine builder (I have played on 5 or 6 of his boxes) and he's pretty tuned into his customers needs and wants, I think he can champion my next "I want accordion."
Re: Dick Richard - his accordions are the finest I have ever touched, no doubt about it!
John Roger built some very fine instruments under the brand name (Cajun) but got knocked out by Katrina. He had been building since 1978 and built 10 to 12 custom instruments a year. When I spoke with him last he said he is planning to try to get his shop going again. Then I also hear mentioned the name Elton Doucet occasionally. I hear his accordions are very good for the price.
i was talking to my best friend from high school on the phone the other day..his name is Chad Doucet...i told him i bought an accordion and was trying learning how to play it....he says "oh really? thats cool..my uncle Elton makes accordions"..lol needless to say i'll be going through Chad and Elton for my next accordion:)
Anyone ever heard of La Louisianne accordions made in Lake Charles, LA. I'm not sure of the name of the builder. I picked one up from Sean Vidrine about 2 years ago and wanted to get some background info. on this builder. If I'm not mistaken I believe Chris Miller has one of these accordions in his collection. It's the only other one I have ever seen.
Do you know anything about a LaTosca Gretsch Emperia Accordion? I am unable to find any information about this accordion Logan firstname.lastname@example.org
La Louisianne Accordions are made by Ken Guillory. I've also seen a "Professional" made in Lake Charles by a Lejeune. It was marked "professional accordians" with the spelling "ian" rather than "ion". A friend of mine has a couple of "Legers", one a 9 button that sounds really sweet. Laten Millers "Cajun Classic" mentioned by Nonc is also a nicely made box. another friend of mine has one of these in "C" tuned very wet. I personally have a "C" Cajun Special made by Rudy Lejeune from Estherwood LA (same I-10 exit as Iota, where Larry Miller is). It has no markings on the reeds so I suspect they might be old Hohner reeds. Written in ball point pen on the reed blocks is "handmade by Rudy Lejeune in Estherwood La # 9 "C".
Maybe the #9 is how many boxes he had built up to that point but i don't know. It's the only one I've ever seen or heard of though.
I have an Anthony Falcon Bb box.. from 1988.. great playing, great sounding ( I have had several Acadians, Martins, a Falcon, a Larry Miller box ) and this one has a character all its own.. thumbs up.
Regardless of attitude, I guess the builder with the most experience building is Marc Savoy. He has been building since 1960.
It is suprising that after building accordions that long he has not made any signifagant improvments in his instruments. Perhaps It's because someone else does the work. MHO!!
In Finland is one good cajunbox maker . Name is Jarkko Helin and he had C/Z band too. Band name is Crawfish Kings. Go and see : http://www.cajunmusic.dk/
Hi guys. I have been reading the posts on this site for a few months now but I had to chime in on this one. I have a "Swallow" C accordion that Mr. Cecil just finished for me about a month ago. It is #25 (he has them numbered up to this point). He does a great job. I love mine. It is a natural curly maple with some darker shades blended and matched throughout the box. This is a very loud accordion and has a good sound (I have only been playing for a few months, so I can't be the best judge). I will be at the Balfa week if anyone wants to play on it. See you guys there