3 row is a good idea for such situations. I have a GCF ( thanks, Glenn ) which I wanted to try Tex Mex, but when they play Irish stuff in the pubs, it's a whole lot easier to have the full G scale, and the wet tuning sounds better ( to me ) for that stuff. I have a Bon Cajun in D, but, at a pinch, you can play D on the G row.
Guitarists have an easy life - only one instrument to tote!
Unless you want to get into Irish system playing (C#/D or B/C), which requires a brain transplant, an A-D-G three-row would cover the notes you need almost all the time for Irish or Quebec music.
Although I don't think that tuning is out there in the cheap models like the Hohner Panther. I played a Panther not long ago and thought the action and bellows were decent even if the sound was a bit anemic.
This is a three row diatonic accordion available in Bright Violet, Bright Orange, Bright Yellow, Red, Black and White. The finish is a matte paint similar to the Panther accordion but comes with an adjustable bass strap, a gig bag and a set of straps. It is offered in ADG, GCF FBbEb and BbEbAb key combinations. Retail $799.95
and this model would take care of the light tone of the two reed models...
El Rey del Vallenato
...an economy three row instrument with three sets of reeds. It is finished the same as the Compadre and is offered in the same colors. The key combinations are:ADG, GCF, FBbEb and BbEbAb The El Rey comes with a gig bag, shoulder straps and also has an adjustable bass strap. $995.95
A two row DG Pokerwork would do the trick as well and be a bit louder than the three rows. A is played up the 5th on the D row, but the basses are eliminated.
Dale - those instruments look like some good fun for the not-quite-ready-for-pro player. I looked at the brochure *.pdf for the "new for 2007" stuff, and zydeco enthusiasts should be aware that the 3 reeds on the El Rey Del Vallenato are all mid-range, so you won't get that low honk you might desire.
Plenty of Celtic music is played on MMM boxes though...it's a matter of taste for sure.
Since I am new new to the accordion, I play most of the banjo, fiddle, and guitar tunes I know in C. This helps me learn the fingering. I also try to play the A and G key tunes I know in G and can usually get by if I play an A note instead of the F natural.
Unfortunatly this does not work if I play with the group because they play mostly in the fiddle keys of D or A.
My plan is to get good enough and then buy a D box for playing in D and A. At my current rate I will have plenty of time to save up the money.