Accordions produce beautiful music with a wide range: folk, ethnic, to ‘alternative’ music. If you’re looking to make your own awesome squeezebox music, this guide will help you find the best accordion for beginners that can fit your needs and budget.
We have compiled below a list of factors for consideration in looking for the best accordions for beginners, some frequently asked questions, a list of the best accordion models in the market presented per category/type, and our recommendation of the best accordion.
How to Find the Best Beginner Accordions
If you want to be an accordion player, the best way to choose your instrument is to base it on your needs, age, how you will use it, and how comfortable you are with it. Take a look at the list of some considerations below.
Choose the Type of Accordion
There are different types of accordion, based on tonal quality and build. The most popular types are the diatonic/button accordion and the piano accordion. Let us differentiate the two.
The button accordion is the first kind of accordion invented. They are mostly bisonoric, or played with one or two keys, and have a variety of pitches based on the bellow action’s direction. Of the different types of button accordions, the diatonic is the most popular.
The button accordion is easier to play than the piano accordion once you learn how to play it. The learning curve is steep at the start, as the main challenge is to remember the functions of the buttons. The buttons are smaller and closer to each other, and each button usually denote more than one note, depending on whether you push or pull the bellows.
With this kind of accordion, it is more convenient to play transitions from low notes to high notes and to go up and down the octave. The player of the instrument has the ability to play scales faster and more precisely, and can cover more than two octaves with a stretch of their hand.
It is smaller and lighter than the piano accordion. Since it involves a single push-pull action, a button accordion is sufficient for players who have no intention of going into the intricacies of music. It produces a distinct retro-style tone, making it suitable for traditional folk music.
The other type is the piano accordion, the most popular type of accordion. It is easy to learn if you are already skilled at the piano or have background with other musical instruments. Take note though that it is closer to an organ than a piano, as the keys are lighter, rounder and smaller than piano keys.
Piano accordions are unisonoric or chromatic, meaning they produce only one pitch regardless of the bellow’s direction of action. Playing them involve the double action of pressing and drawing.
Compared with the button accordion, the piano accordion has bigger keys. This makes them heavier and makes it harder to play far apart notes as the player’s fingers would need to cover more space.
Piano accordions produce classic tones and can be played for modern jazz or to produce other more complex and diverse sounds. Its octaves are denoted the same way as a piano.
Check the Weight and Size
On average, accordions weigh between 22 and 28.7 pounds (around 10-13 kilograms). Lightweight options start between 6.6-8.8 pounds (3-4 kilograms). The largest playable accordion in the world is 8 feet tall and weighs 440 pounds (200 kilograms). It requires at least two people to play.
Since the accordion is not a stationed instrument and is meant for carrying, younger players and beginners should opt for smaller and lighter models of the instrument. This will help them to learn not just how to play the accordion, but also how to handle it as well. The accordion should rest comfortably on the legs of the player and not hang from the straps, to distribute the weight evenly and reduce the straps’ wear and tear.
The weight of the instrument is based on its size (height, width, and length) and number of metal reeds. The piano accordion is generally bigger and heavier than the button accordion, unless you choose a mini-accordion.
Consider the Number of Reeds
The reeds are responsible for different timbres, which refer to tone quality or tone color. The reeds’ count can be from 1-4 for button accordions, or 16 for piano accordions.
While you can decide on how many reeds to choose depending on need, take note that more reeds equate to more weight for the instrument.
The reeds also affects compression. Consider whether you can expand and compress the bellows easily.
Try Out for Ease of Playability
Accordions typically have anywhere from 22 to 45 treble keys, and 8 to 185 bass keys. The best accordion for beginners feature a lower number of keys. While many keys offer versatility, they are also more difficult to play.
Beginners should also look for accordions with flat fingerboard and straps that may be adjusted to provide maximum comfort and ease of movement, making them easier to play.
Cheaper accordions would have lower speed and response, does affecting their playability. They are more difficult to play, and you will most probably outgrow their tone and build and look for a better accordion a year after you learn how to play them.
Factor in the Model’s Age
If you’re shopping for vintage accordions, please keep in mind that the older the model of your accordion, the more difficult it will be to find parts that would already be worn out. Pick one made after 1960. Their keyboard is white, versus the yellowish keyboard of models before 1960.
Examine the Unit’s Condition
If you’re buying a new accordion, skip this. Check the instrument for presence of fungi. You can find this out by smelling. If it smells of mildew, there is a high probability that the instrument is already internally damaged.
Pick Out A Model You can Personalize or Customize
The best accordion for beginners invite a high level of personalization and customization. You can add a personal touch by choosing an accordion that fits your aesthetic preferences. A more stylish model draws more attention and can boost the confidence of the player, especially beginners. Since you feel ‘invested’ in your personalized equipment, you’re more likely to keep playing (and improving your skills.)
Stick with Your Budget
Price is among the biggest concerns for beginners. Accordions are generally expensive instruments because of the complex nature of its production process, how its different components are painstakingly fitted, and the time commitment required to produce each instrument.
Check if the price range matches your budget. You can expect to pay over $500 for the best beginner accordion. Still, some great options exist in the $300-$500 price range.
The button accordion costs less than the piano accordion. An accordion with more reeds is more expensive. With a higher price tag comes a more pristine tone and sound clarity and quality.
You can start with a model within a more affordable price range, and upgrade after learning to play the instrument for a considerable span of time.
Beginner Accordion FAQs — Additional Tips
We have included below a list of questions frequently asked by aspiring accordion players.
Button- or Piano-type Accordions?
As discussed above, each type of accordion is ideal for a certain kind of music. It is important that in choosing your instrument, you understand your purpose and take into consideration your personal preferences. Button accordions are more appropriate for folk and lively music. Piano accordions can be used for modern jazz and other complex music.
Another helpful factor to consider is whether you will be transporting your instrument often. If yes, then opt for the lighter and more compact models, such as button accordions or mini-accordions. This enables you to play the accordion wherever, whenever.
Finally, consider the learning curve required to play the instrument. For a beginner with no background in playing other musical instruments, a button accordion may be the better choice. Those with musical background will find the piano accordion easier to learn how to play.
Acoustic or Digital Accordions?
In our modern age, even accordions have become digitalized. Digital accordions have much wider range of sounds available, since synthesizers are crammed into the instrument. They can play any sound you have with them as MIDI controllers.
We have included in the list of the best accordions below a model of digital accordion. Consider though that the acoustic accordions have a distinct sound that cannot be caught by its digital counterparts. It again boils down to a matter of needs and personal preferences.
Other bonus features
For ease of paying and comfort, you can opt for an accordion with a flat fingerboard and with straps that are adjustable. Some models come with accessories such as a cleaning cloth, method book and bag.
The Best Accordions for Beginners Reviewed
Now that we have looked at the factors for consideration, let us take a look at the list of the best accordions currently available in the market.
- Hohner Compadre GCF Diatonic Accordion
The Compadre comes from Hohner, the best known manufacturer in the world that specializes in accordions. It is a standard diatonic button accordion. You can get it in different keys of three at a time, but it is commonly available in the keys of G, C and F. It contains 12 bass buttons on the left side and 31 treble buttons on the right side.
At 8.8 pounds (around 4 kilograms), this accordion is among the lighter and more compact models of Hohner. It features a celluloid fingerboard and a pair of treble reeds that produces high-quality resonance. This accordion is unique in such that the grill is very wide and open, producing great and full sound quality at a high volume.
The Compadre is comfortable to play and can be used for long periods without too much effort. It is made up of high-quality materials that can withstand daily depreciation but can assure that the instrument will still sound great over time. Its buttons are smoother and more recessed than the other models, allowing a smooth performance.
It has an attractive and beautiful look and is available in red matte color, among other colors. Together with it comes a gig bag that is dust- and water-resistant, ensuring that the instrument is safe and secure. The Compadre has comfortable adjustable straps that makes it easy to handle and carry around.
Although the Compadre is more expensive than the other choices, it is the best choice available. Being a mid-range instrument, it is ideal for beginners and experts alike. You can use it from practices to gigs, making it a great accordion.
- Hohner HA-3100 Panther G/C/F 3-Row Diatonic Accordion
The Hohner Panther G/C/F 3-Row Diatonic Accordion is among the successful models of the company when it comes to entry-level accordion and is one of its best-sellers.
The Hohner Panther G/C/F 3 is a 3-row diatonic accordion. The most common combination plays in the keys of G, C and F. It has 12 bass keys on its left and three rows of 31 treble buttons on its right. It has a total of 12 treble reeds in two sets.
At 9 pounds (around 4 kilograms), it is lightweight and compact. It measures 12 inches in height and 7.5 inches in diameter.
Its soft buttons are easy to press and produce high-quality warm and clear tones. The sound is so good that one may think it is a high-end accordion such as those worth over $1,000.
The Panther has dual strap brackets, providing more comfort. It is made up of great quality materials that makes it resilient, sturdy, and enduring. You can expect it to last for years. Its matte black finish and stainless steel grill with a panther logo in the middle makes it very attractive.
This accordion comes with back straps, a cleaning cloth and a diatonic method book by Hohner. Unlike the Compadre, it does not come with a bag. Warranty is available for parts up to 90 days after you buy the instrument.
The Panther is ideal not just for beginners but for players of all skill levels. It may not be the cheapest, but it is affordable given its offer of premium quality at a reasonable price.
- Rizatti Bronco RB31GW Diatonic Accordion
The Rizatti Bronco RB31GW Diatonic Accordion is a standard model at the lower-end range, which is perfect to commence learning. It is a classic diatonic accordion, which plays in the keys of C/G/F. It has 31 treble keys and 12 bass buttons.
The Rizatti is compact and lightweight, weighing 12.5 pounds (around 5.7 kilograms).
While its elegant look is perfect to display during performances, this accordion is not a great option for someone who is more advanced.
It comes at an affordable price and produces a nice sound quality, making it one of the best for beginners.
- Fever F3112 MX Button Accordion
The Fever F3112 comes from a company that manufactures different types of key and string instruments. It is a button accordion with three rows, 12 bass buttons and 31 treble buttons. It is available in the keys of G/C/F.
The Fever has a 20-fold bellow, which help improve sound quality. Its corners include sheepskin. It features a slide lever air valve that allows air intake to be faster. This results in ease on operating, and a loud, bright sound. The Fever also has highly sensitive keys that feel great and are easier to play.
The instrument is long-lasting and very durable, with Italian style decorations and attractive colors (stylish pearlescent blue, red-white, and white color options). Together with it comes a carrying case with padding and lock, and with straps.
With its perfect intonation, this instrument is of professional grade within budget. The Fever is affordable, well-balanced, and suitable for all skill levels, even for a beginner.
- Hohner BR48R-N 26-Key Piano Accordion
The BR48R-N 26-Key Piano Accordion is a non-intimidating starter accordion. It comes with 48 bass keys, 26 piano keys, and 2 treble registers. It plays in the keys of B-C.
This piano accordion is lightweight and comes at an affordable price point compared to other piano accordion brands. It features four voices, which means that 1-4 reeds can vibrate at the same time when you press one key. Hence, it produces one loud and distinct sound. Another feature it has is tremolo tuning, which ensures that notes are tuned exactly the same.
This piano accordion looks great and is of long-lasting quality. It has features that were formerly exclusive to more high-end instruments, making it suitable for beginners and seasoned accordionists alike.
- Ammoon 22 Keys Piano Accordion for Beginners
Ammoon is among the forerunners in the instrument market for entry-levels. This piano accordion is a classic yet premium piece, consisting of 22 keys and 8 bass. It weighs at around 3 kilograms.
The Ammoon piano accordion comes with fewer buttons and is child-friendly. With its body made with maple wood, the Ammoon piano accordion is sturdy and highly durable. Together with it comes adjustable straps, gloves and a cleaning cloth.
Its stylish and magnificent pearlescent finish comes in red, blue, and green color variations that are bright, sparkling, shiny and exquisite. Its keys are made of sturdy plastic for longevity.
With features that are professional-grade, it is an instrument that is best for beginners.
- Roland FR-1x piano-type V-Accordion
Roland is one of the leaders in the market of key instruments, and this accordion is among the best in the electronic niche. It is a smart modern-day accordion, with up to date features while maintaining a pure retro tone. It comes with 26 piano keys and built-in speakers, making it easy for practice and playing in smaller venues.
The Roland accordion is lightweight. It operates on a power outlet or 8 AA batteries. It is capable of up to 5 hours of playing time at once. Its USB input allows sound and data uploading and saving. It features a user-friendly seven-segment LED display.
There are 14 different accordion sounds available for the Roland. The presets include four virtual tone wheels, 16 accordion sets, and 16 orchestral sounds. It also features standard and free bass modes of playing.
The Roland comes in stylish color options of black and red. It is of great quality and more versatility. This model is the best accordion for beginners looking to try out digital options.
- Wal Front 22-key, 8 Bass Piano Beginner Accordion
The Wal Front Piano Beginner Accordion is a fun and easy-to-play mini-accordion. This model is lightweight (around 3.448 kilograms) and has a user-friendly design that is comfortable to use.
The Wal Front’s body of maple wood is corrosion-resistant and highly durable, allowing for it to be used for a long time. It comes in an exquisite and beautiful color and unique design.
It best for students who are just beginning their lessons on music and is also recommended for children.
- Woodstock Chimes Kid’s Accordion WCKA
The Woodstock Chimes Kid’s Accordion features a 2-octave range that produces a very melodious sound. This makes playing it a unique experience.
It is very light at 1.6 pounds yet boasts of long-term durability. Its straps make it easy to hold and gives the best experience while playing.
At an affordable price tag, it includes an instructions book containing 8 songs your child can learn to play. This makes it easier to play even for a beginner.
- D’Luca G104-BK Piano Accordion for Kids 8 Bass 17 Keys
The De’Luca G104-BK Kids Piano Accordion has 8 bass buttons and 17 treble keys.
It is appropriate for taking to lessons and for learning how to play. Its adjustable strap provides for easier portability and play.
It is among the most affordable accordions in the market, yet also one of the most capable even if it is low-priced. This model’s value for money makes it a great candidate for best accordion for beginners.
Editors’ Choice: Best Accordion for Beginners
Now that we have looked at the list of considerations and the best accordions for beginners that are currently available in the market, we present to you our recommendation.
Compadre GCF Accordion
The Compadre is the best choice for us. While its main functionality is similar to other accordions like the Panther, it is a bit lighter and has a distinct sound thanks to its unique grill. The Compadre is also long-lasting and beautiful, ensuring that what you pay for will last you years. The gig bag that comes with it is a great bonus.
If you’re looking for a great accordion, this is the best option for you.
The Final Word on Rookie Accordions
You can never go wrong with playing the accordion. While it is expensive, it is a unique and beautiful instrument that can adapt to whatever purpose you intend it to play. It will surely please not just you, but your audience. This will bring up your musical expertise by a notch!
Now that you have seen the options on the best accordions for beginners in the market, it’s time to take your pick. Which factors for consideration weighs more for you? Which accordion will you make your first?
My introduction to accordion music was by way of Zydeco and Tex-Mex music. Once I got my hands on my very own squeezebox, I was hooked. Let me tell you, playing the accordion is every bit as fun as listening to it. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the awesome world of accordions and all its amazing versions!