What kind of accordion should I buy? There are many instruments it can be challenging, especially if it is your first time shopping for an accordion. There are many things to consider when you purchase an accordion. Here is what you need to know, especially if you’re a beginner at this instrument.
What factors you need to consider when buying an accordion for the first time
If you want to be a professional at playing the accordion or even doing it as a hobby, then which accordion should I buy with the highest quality? On top of quality, you need to look at what size, weight, type, and tuning are best for you. I am sure the piano accordion is the one instrument you know. But there are more options out there than the piano accordion.
If you want to play accordion, tt would be best if you got the musical instrument that suits your musical tastes and is comfortable for you to play. It is easier to play the smaller it is. As you get better, you will be moving on to the larger instruments, and they will also become a bit more expensive.
The accordion you choose will affect what kind of music you play and what type of sound you get. Before buying an accordion, it is essential to determine what type of player would suit what kind of accordion.
Making the right choice on which accordion to buy can seem overwhelming. Let this article guide you to make the right accordion decision for you.
Accordions come in different sizes, from sopranino to what is called bass. They each have different comfort levels for other people, so it is essential to know which size is best for you. If you are starting as an accordion player, then it’s best to go for what’s commonly known as the “C” size or “Concertina” size.
Choosing between smaller and larger sizes
Please note that small accordions are not necessarily for beginners. Smaller accordions have a design that is ideal for smaller people. So you do not have to stick to the small size. The smaller accordion is easier to play, so good for entry level accordions.
When comparing a small and large accordion, each accordion has the core set of buttons that you would use first when you start learning. So it’s just that the bigger instrument has more buttons on its ends, but you can ignore them in the beginning stages of learning until you progress enough to need them.
The weight factor
The instrument’s weight also plays a huge role when choosing an accordion for yourself.
Generally, smaller accordions are lighter. It means that they are easier to hold in your arms for long periods, also easier to play. So if you can’t stand holding it up or hugging something heavy, choose what’s lighter.
These smaller accordions are usually a two reed accordion. Perfect for learning.
Accordion manufacturers saw that size and weight could be an issue for some. They have now come up with a compact instrument. They measure the size of the accordion with the number of keys instead of brass buttons.
This size is quite popular on the market, especially with smaller people. Do not worry; they still have an extended bass range.
Types of accordions
There are several types of accordions:
- piano accordion
- button accordion
- Chromatic button accordion
- Diatonic accordion
- Concertina accordion
- Digital Accordions
- Unisonoric accordions
- Bisonoric accordions
Piano Accordions are a type of accordion that looks like a piano
A Piano accordion plays the same way like a piano, only these stretch out over five rows instead. Most people who are not familiar with the accordion brands believe that all of the accordion brands are most likely a piano accordion. Piano accordions have what’s known as a piano-style keyboard right on top of the buttons, just like piano keys.
A full-size piano accordion has five rows of buttons/keyboard, 7 to 10 bass buttons on the right side, and 2 or 3 chord buttons near the left.
There is what’s called a manual; this is what you would play with your right hand. Then there is what you would play with your left hand, which is called a drawbar. You can pull it up or down to make different sounds that the accordion makes.
The 5th row, or what’s known as a combination row, will have several different switches along with what looks like piano keys for octave changes or what we call reeds. There are around 200 other reeds in a piano accordion, so it has excellent sound quality.
The piano accordion is one of the most versatile in the accordion family because of these fantastic features. It is a wonderful instrument. Its popularity stems from the fact that it can play any form of music.
A Button Accordion has buttons where most people think that sound comes out from when pressed down. This is on the treble side. It is different from a piano accordion.
The button accordion is also a trendy accordion style in the musical world. It fits many different players with its style and configurations. However, these instruments have fewer keys. It has single-note buttons on one part of the instrument. You will find on the other side the chords and bass buttons. Despite the difference many play the button accordion, it is easier to play any accordion once you learn this one.
Button accordions have a distinct sound and for more adventurous players.
The chromatic accordion is what we call a single-row instrument, also what you would call diatonic. It can also fit into the button accordion family. In fact some call them the chromatic button accordions.
Many refer to it as the accordion they saw their grandparents playing or what they heard in polka and Italian music. Depending on what part of the world you are in, that is what type of accordion most people think about when they mention an accordion.
It is an instrument standard in Europe, used mainly for traditional folk music.
The chromatic accordions offer a range of pitches. The treble side has 3-5 configuration buttons. So this instrument works in many different performances.
The diatonic is similar to the chromatic as it is also popular with folk music. It comes with buttons. The difference is what’s on the other side. It is in the button accordion family.
What you will see on this diatonic accordion is what we call a bass button board. It makes it one of the best accordions when it comes to button accordions. You can control what kind of sound will play here as it works just like what we would call a keyboard, only these buttons are smaller and what you find on some harmonicas and guitar necks.
The button accordions have bisonoric reeds that allow what we call tremolo. Tremolo comes out the moment you use the bellows in or out.
The diatonic has a restriction on specific keys. Some people call this a chromatic accordion with what we call diatonic buttons.
The concertina is what we call a button box. This is what you would see the Irish and English using in traditional music. This was the first accordion to be brought to South America in the 50s. People would also want to call it a piano accordion and button accordion combined.
It’s what’s known as a free-reed instrument or what people refer to as having two tones. One tone comes out when you compress the bellows inward, one when pulled outward.
It is the best accordion for travelers because it is lightweight and easy to pack up, even in a backpack.
Digital Accordions are keeping up with the digital world. They are also known as electronic accordions.
These digital instruments are available with or without built-in electronics and free reeds. They still look like traditional accordions, and some people who have tried them say they feel the same as traditional accordions do. It is similar to a piano accordion as it has piano keys.
These instruments have a significant advantage over other types of accordion because you can use them in many different ways. It is the best accordion to use as MIDI controllers paring with devices to create music. The electronic accordion can play a wide range of music and use sound effects with ease.It is easier to play.
An accordion can either be unisonoric or bisonoric.
The unisonoric type of accordion is what we call a diatonic button accordion that mostly comes in what we would refer to as diatonic and chromatic. It uses a diatonic scale.
It’s what’s called a one-tone reed instrument because there is no change in how the notes sound when the bellows move up or down. You will find this type of accordion is what people think of when they mention what an accordion looks like.
The sound it makes is dependent on the size. It is a good instrument when you want a consistent sound while playing.
As soon as a player presses a bass button on one of these accordions, two or more notes or pitches play. The bellows can move in any direction.
The way the bellows draw out also affects the sound. They might be pushed in or pulled down.
Now that we have a good idea of the type of accordions available to you and you no longer only think of the piano accordion.
What are bass sizes available?
The 8 bass accordion is what most people will choose as it’s the standard bass size.
This instrument can be what we refer to as diatonic or chromatic. It works best when playing music with what we would call a light sound, such as folk and country and even some pop and rock.
It also comes with either 22 or 17 treble keys. It is a small accordion. Some might say it is too small to take seriously.
This one has 26 treble keys. We would refer to it as what people used before the 17 or 22 key accordions. It only has the major chords. This instrument has what are known as smaller bass buttons. It does not have an extended keyboard like what you would see on a piano, where all the notes are available at the front of the instrument.
The 12 bass sounds light and has a limited range. For young players, this is an excellent instrument to start with.
The 24 bass accordion is also a small accordion that can only play a few notes at a time. It doesn’t come with the standard bass notes and treble keys. But the range is a lot higher than the small ones.
The 32 bass has a few more keys added to it, so it has more to offer, unlike the previous ones. It is one of the best accordions for children.
It is an excellent instrument to learn with because it has extra counter bass notes.
This one is the smallest instrument that we can recommend for adults. 48 bass accordions come with all the minor chords. They are also in seven different keys. This is what the professionals tune their accordions too.
48 bass units have a treble range, a 7th chord, 9th chord, and what you would call the 13th chord if you were learning how to play the piano.
It has all the extra reeds that give it what’s known as a big sound. It is also an excellent accordion for beginners.
The 60 bass accordion is quite impressive. Its range is quite good with between 30 to 34 bass keys. It does have a deleted diminished row. It is very similar to the 72 bass while weighing a bit less.
The 60 bass is what we would call a marching accordion. It is what players of the country and ska music use. They need to move around while playing, so the lightweight is a great advantage.
The 72 bass is one of the most common as it is not too big but not too small either. It is like the 60 bass, a 34 key instrument. You can come across some that have 26 even 30 keys.
72 bass accordions feature up to four voices, with the four-voice option usually tuned to double octave or musette.
The 72 bass has a resonant construction. This means the sheer volume is quite loud. One of the reasons its a great accordion is the tremolo tuned reeds.
The 80 base is similar to the 60 bass but a lot better. It has no diminished chords and comes with a left-hand range.
It comes with 37 keys for treble and three-voice tunings. This instrument has what’s known as thick bass buttons. They are what some refer to as heavy duty.
The 84 bass is a gem. It is a combination of what most players would look for. It is the best accordion in terms of light and compact.
With the 84 bass, you have a full three-octave treble keyboard when you run out of the sharp primary keys at the top of the piano keys. You can fill it in with the bottom’s flat section of the bass keys.
The 96 bass is just shy of being the biggest accordion. It can have between 34 to 37 keys. It is the best instrument for those who want to play some complicated pieces of music.
You do not get this type of range in any of the smaller accordions. You can get three to four voices with this instrument.
The 96 bass is what some people refer to as a symphonic accordion. Also, what professional orchestras and what we refer to as opera level bands use.
The 120 bass is the mother of all professional accordions. It is the biggest instrument with 41 keys, all the keys compared to the other instrument. So it is full size with all the bass and treble notes. You may even get one with 132 bass notes.
You could get a compact one with 37 keys. But it still comes with all tunings: 3, 4, and 5. These include the middle octave reed.It also gives you the option to move from higher octave to lower octave then to middle and back again. Unfortunately, it is not ideal for smaller players because it is a full-size accordion. It is heavy.
There is a 120 bass model which has a design specifically for ladies. It comes with a complete range of 41 treble and 120 full bass notes, but it is compact. It weighs less, almost comparable to the weight of the 72 bass.
It works well with small delicate hands because there is very little space between this unit’s keys. This again shows how it is perfect for ladies. A professional smaller player may also prefer this because it will suit their size while giving them the entire range.
What type of tuning do you need?
Accordion tuning is what the accordionist will refer to as what qualities they want their instrument to have.
The tuning affects the type of music you want to play. The tuning comes in either double or triple voices, which is common with the smaller accordions.
The bigger accordions have the three, four, and five tunings.
The voices of the accordion are what some would refer to as what kind of range your accordion has. There are the treble voices, the right-hand voices, and bass voices.
The prominent voice is what some would refer to as what you hear when you play it alone. The other two are what come with playing different scales of notes together.
There are reeds dedicated to each note on the right and left sides of an accordion. They are usually tuned at differing levels to give the sound of tremolo, or they are in separate octaves or, in some cases, both.
You can activate the bass and treble sides depending on the range you are looking for.
Each note has two reeds. The first one is for outward motion. The second is for the inward movement of the bellows. Each note on a conventional accordion with four voices will come with eight reeds.
People who play small accordions usually play them in three or two voices. The player can also tune this four voice musical instrument in various ways. The most common of these is the “Double Octave” and “Musette.”
What is “Musette” tuning?
This type of tuning is what makes an accordion what it is. It was the first tuning devised for the musical instruments and what others try to emulate when they can.
The tuning gives a fuller, more mellow sound with less treble reeds interaction than other types of accordions or other instruments. Even in the higher octave, the bass notes are pretty strong and resonate at their fundamental pitch.
You find this type of tuning mainly with French and Scottish playing.
What is Double Octave tuning?
A double octave tuning is what some refer to as what gives the accordion what its bright cutting sound is.
You can tune the treble voices in what is called two octaves, which means that the higher octave of every note on the right side is an octave higher than what would be considered standard.
Collisions between treble reeds are minimized, and what is typically a weaker sound makes it what is interesting to many types of tunings. The bass side chord notes are tuned down an octave from what would typically be standard, resulting in a mellower bass sound.
The double octave is ideal for classical music, Latin American, and jazz musical style. But you can not detune the middle reed for these musical styles.
So when you go for the 120 bass accordion, you will get the best of both worlds. You can change between the Musetter tuning and the Double Octave tuning.
You can change the sound based on what kind of music you want to play or what sort of sound you like. It can handle dry tuning to prepare for jazz or classical pieceas as well as general tuning. It can also accommodate broad Scottish or French tuning. You can be very versatile with your playing.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you no longer feel overwhelmed with your options. Personal preference plays a role in your choice. You can decide if it will be a piano accordion that you will get or a button accordion. You can even get both features. Follow the makers of the best acoustic and classical guitars they are reliable accordion makers. One of the most reliable accordion makers is Tula. The Tula is classified as one of the best accordions, it comes with so many features.