I write this as who lives in Italy, has relatively accurate insights on accordions and accordion brands.
I have know both the Gabbanelli's ( Elio and Ubaldo ) and Baffetti's for many years. I have owned and played their accordions for years.
Yes,Baffetti, produces affordable high-quality instruments. They have been less available than some other brands, but this is changing. They are a family owned and run operation, state of the art production, and furnish other brands to other markets as well.
The Gabbanelli brand serviced largely the huge Tejano, Conjunto, NORTENO market. Hundreds have been produced yearly since the 1960's, saturating the market. This partially accounts for more players not playing Baffetti. Gabbanelli accordions have been around since 1940.
All Gabbanelli accordions are produced in Italy.. the Houston ones produced by IMC in Castelfidardo for the US, Canada, Mexico markets..and the "Elio" ones or " Italian" ones you may be referring to, are produced by Elio and Ubaldo Gabbanelli in Castelfidardo for European markets. From what I understand, Elio and Ubaldo do produce other brand accordions for the U.S. market. There are thought to be differences between the two productions, and some players even share your opinion; not everyone, however.
So we have three builders here, in one country,and as for tastes, well that's a question of availabilty, budget, tastes and other factors.
I do think that Baffetti is establishing itself with pro players in Zydeco ( with the 4 and 5 reed varieties ) as well as in Conjunto/Tejano with their Tex Mex models ( several major players have switched to Baffetti in the last few years : Grammy winner Joel Guzman.
No Woolying or Bullying here : )
Your insight and oberservations are appreciated. The Baff's I am more fimilar with were those sold by Larry Miller and seemed to be very cheaply made. So let the buyer beware.
I much appreciate your input, and am not a Baffetti spokesperson or salesperson ( though I have owned some and have one on order right now. ).
I can say two things about Larry's and any others who sell Baffetti accordions:
1) 90% of what makes them are parts which belong to 100% of the other Italian brands (i.e. Galassi Bellows, Artigiana or Binci reeds, etc. The celluloid is applied by the same folks who do other major brands..the engraving as well .. buttons, etc etc are all standard Castelfidardo sub-jobbed parts )..
2.) what is different: the price is lower in relation to the quality of parts and workmanship. I can vow that Baffetti has one of the, if not THE, best reputation in terms of DIATONICS ( in terms of quality for price ) anywhere ( they admit that even in Italy under fierce competition ). They build several other very popular and top of the line folk diatonics for the European market..( which judeges boxes MUCH harsher than the U.S. market ).
There are no shortcuts..although I do know of some builders who do actually put more "under the hood" and make one pay for it.
The key here is not "cheap".. the key to understanding this brand is "standard to high quality at an honest price". More for your dollar. This remains indisputable. All the rest, and rightly so, is personal preference..which is 90% of what goes into choosing an accordion of any brand.
There are many more similarities between Italian accordions than differences.. the little differences are what count.
I'm looking for one in FBE with 3 to 4 reeds. Anything around?
Thanks for posting. I think the last post was a mistake.
Good to hear from you on this site Karlos.
I welcome folks that have accordions for sale on this forum. That's one thing that its all about. When I bought my LA box this is where I came to get people's commnet and recommendations. Its a great forum and wonderful people willing to help.
Kirk, Craig, & Ed,
Thank you guys. I appreciate the support! I actually do have an F,Bb,Eb 3-reed 5-register Dino Baffetti for sale. Feel free to e-mail me for further details and pictures on this and/or the 4-reed 9-switch box fellas.
I also enjoy you updating us on accordions for sale and other things like some of the video clips you brought to our attention some time back. I visit your site fairly often. I am not offended by your posts and never felt as it we were being 'spammed.' Just my opinion.
Well it ain't spam IMHO but maybe a little commercial. I am not offended by it at all but others may want to advertise also. Am thinking about opening a little accordion business myself with a small inventory. Could post the current inventory daily. only for those interested of coarse. No spam here. Perhaps I could also list a few supplies, straps, cases etc. After all if you sell accordions,well what about supplies. I would not have a store just a storage shed or garage for the inventory and selling only through the internet. It won't take up much space here guys. Lemeknow what you think!!
Karlos' site is really a great reference for us diatonic cats. I never knew that much about Beltrami boxes until now. We Braves need a resource like Karlos because it's kinda difficult to obtain decent triple-rows (here in Texas) outside of Gabbanelli in H-Town. Thanks Karlos!
Rick in Big D
Gracias Rick! I hope to meet you soon!
Thanks for visiting my website. I really appreciate it. I'll be updating the site in the coming days (hopefully by weekend end) with new pictures and a few new soundbites. I plan on putting a few pictures of my November '05 trip to Italy along with pix froma recent Festival. Check out the site next week sometime.
My tuner stopped working on H-Gabs..quality concerns
I saw the innards.. not the same as those for the Euro market..
overhyped and overpriced..but that's just my opinion
Dino Baffettis also vary in quality.. I would trust Karlos..and of Course I would like to see the inside of Joel's box and compare it to an off the shelf instrument before I bought one...
endorsed instruments often are hand made and receive special attention while an inventoried unit may not..
Dino BAffetti also makes many (if not all ) of the Saltarelle accordions which in Europe and GB and Ireland are second in popularity only to Castagnari
of the higher end Italian diatonics.. however .. historically there have been many comments about the quality of the Baffetti Saltarelles..
Before Dino Baffetti the Saltarelles were made by Serenellini and there were no complaints of quality..
Even so... many famous players use Dino BAffetti made Saltarelles.. these are all wood boxes..Players would include
Mairtin O'Connor, Jackie Daly, Dermot Byrne on and
Play before you pay or have a return agreement up front.
You are right about the Saltarelle quality.. it is becoming a preferred brand amongst some confirmed pro Irish and Celtic players.
The Guzman and other pro's playing Baffetti Tex Mex have handmade reeds, usually custom tuned to player preference, and the button level is adjusted to preferred height and action, along with custom engraving. Otherwise, same as off the shelf boxes. ( correct me Karlos if wrong ).
The merit of the Baffetti remains its ration of high quality at a reasonable price.
There are more expensive brands ( ones which under the grille are meticulously built in terms of materials and workmanship, and tuning..such as the Beltrami who Karlos represents ).. but only differences in inventoried units is in the reeds, action, tuning and engraving..which can be accomodated by special order.
my 2 cents. G.
Saltarelle was originally a product of a meeting of the minds between Mairtin O'Connor, Bertrand, one guy I can't remember and the current owner/operator of Saltarelle... they parted company as do most "good " partnerships... this was around 1980 something..
Saltarelles have been the box of choice for at least 15 years.. until Cairdin, Verde, Kincarra and Bertrand ,Brigss ( if you have $8000 for a 2 row) and other boutique brands came on the scene..
In the last few years Castagnari has come on with some flat keyboard 2 rows but yet have not made a dent..
Other Brands such as Borelli actually made by Mengascini are favored for light weight and speed..
Baffetti is the choice for a loud 2 row especially in D/G for the Morris....
... Beltrami is on good terms with Nello Menghescini.. they are both top notch builders..and Betrami does custom tuning for Castagnari, Baffetti, and most likey for Nello.
... Beltrami is in Stradella ( the second city for accordion production in Italy.. which has dwindled to only a couple makes.. mostly jobbed to Castelfidardo )..
... The TUNING tradition in Stradella is quite famous... They have a different technique and do more shades of tuning.. and .. are best known for being able to tune to keep volume very balanced , even on the higher notes, where on diatonics you can lose volume...