My Favorite Accordions
A guide to some nice, light-weight, affordable, professional instruments.
Here is a list of some of the best accordions I have played, in no particular order, and where to find them.
Planet Squeezebox – This is now my favorite, and most dependable instrument. I use a 72-bass, without midi, and a fairly wet tuning (2 clarinets, 1 bassoon). 72, 96, or 120 basses, midi or not, these accordions have the best action and sound I have found yet. Other musicians, sound techs, recording engineers, and audience members repeatedly tell me it’s the nicest sounding, best looking accordion they have encountered. Planet Squeezebox is designed by Ken Mahler of Mahler Music in St.Paul, MN, and built in Italy. You can visit him at www.accordionheaven.com. You will be truly amazed at the comfort of this well-balanced, dynamic, and good-looking accordion. Ken has just begin making this line available, and I’m sure once they get on the scene, people will be wanting them, and putting them in high demand. Ken is also a good source for high-quality pick-ups.
Baldoni Combo III – A gem of an accordion, Italian-made, designed by Al Baldoni, who runs a shop in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, WI. This box has 3 treble reeds, and Mr.Baldoni can give you the best musette tuning you can get in the States. It’s pretty, clear, and has great key action. All this, and it only weighs 12 pounds! About $2500.
Guerinni Ramona (with Castiglione insignia)
This is my workhorse. 72 bass, 3 reeds on the treble ( 2 clarinet and 1 bassoon). They can be ordered direct from Guerinni by going to www.guerinni.com. They also make a 4 reed version, with 3 clarinets for a real wet musette sound. Make sure you ask for the hand-made reeds if you are a pro, gigging a lot. The price is really reasonable. A friend got a 4 reed for $1300 in 2000! – www.accordions.com/guerrini/
Titano 48-bass, 50′s model. – I’ve had 2, a black one that got smashed in a car wreck, and a blue one that I still enjoy. The treble has 2 clarinets, and the bass is configured 4X12, so there are no diminished chords. But it’s a sweet sounding, good looking, and classic small accordion. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has a Titano 48-bass with 2 clarinets for sale.
Weltmeister Reuben – This is a 60-bass, 2-reed box introduced to the Twin Cities by Castle Accordions. They instantly became a favorite for area accordionists who do strolling jobs, because it has a bright, beautiful sound, good action, comes in an array of glittery colors, can stand a real hard workout, and weighs in at 12 pounds! For around $1000, it’s a great strolling or beginner instrument.
Castle Accordions also have a line of their own design, made by the same company that produces the well-known Zupan Accordion. I have not played one yet, but I understand they are really nice!
Guerinni Oxford – This is a 96 bass instrument with 4 reeds on the right hand. I played one once, and it was the easiest bigger instrument that I ever played.
Well, there you have it. I haven’t played every accordion in the world, but I know what I like, there it is. Please contact me if you have trouble locating these. I’ll see what I can do to help.
Amplification – A microphone is always going to give you the best sound reproduction, but isn’t always the easiest thing to use, especially if you move around, or play with an electric band. So, what I have found works best in the way of a pick-up, is a Sennheiser system that uses 5 small condenser mics, and runs on a battery. It gives you separate volume control for left and right hand, and reproduces the sound with less distortion, more consistency across the keyboard, and less feedback than any other system I have tried. My source is Mahler Music, at www.accordionheaven.com. But most good accordion stores will have them, or something like them. Around $500 installed, and well worth it for the professional.