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Hybrid Bandoneon Review Anyone?


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So, I know this is veering away from the usual concertina topics...

 

Has anyone here tried and have a review of the Guens student version hybrid (c system) bandoneon? It's the cheaper version made in China. I know they aren't currently in production, just looking for someone who's tried it. Thanks

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ya know, I have seen a couple of opinions, was curious myself when they wee available, after I began to play CBA. Thought a C system Geuns hybrid might be fun to try given that I had learned the C system layout Can't recall whether what I saw was here, or perhaps on the Youtube clips that are up. I recall seeing a comment to the effect that they performed pretty well, and sounded pretty good, for what they were, and for the price. I do recall an opinion or two to the effect that the wrap-around-hands ergonomics are not ideal. But there is a gent out there who has one of the high-end Geuns "true" bandos with the wrap-around set-up, and he sounds great, and plays to a very high standard. I think his combo is Mandragora Tango, or something like that. I think it's called the "Gabla" layout, no???

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I owned one that I bought on this forum, and sold to a guy on this forum. It ended up going in like a four person loop and eventually ending back up with the initial buyer. It was kinda cool, but at the time I owned a Duet concertina and a Chemnitzer, and not knowing CBA settup is was kinda redundant. I liked the overall action/feel (for the money) but the tuning was wetter than I'm used to.

 

For anyone that has one or is fixing to get one, note that Geuns offers an upgrade package where he can install long zinc plate reeds (true bandoneon reeds) into the Student hybrids. He no longer produces the Student ones, but can do the upgrade on earlier purchases. It's not at all cheap, but cheaper than the full Euro-made one: http://www.bandoneon-maker.com/medium_hybrid.htm

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Brandon,

I played the dickens out of one of these that I purchased new - years ago, and subsequently sold.

Mine was extremely durable, and as it is designed to do, I exchanged the reed blocks many times to experiment with c-griff, b-griff, and mixed treble and bass as well as mirrored configurations. I learned a ton with it and enjoyed it a lot.

Mine was fine overall, with good action, nice bellows, easy handling, and an okay sound, though it's not an AA or ELA sound.

Some might consider the action just a wee bit noisy.

There are moments that I wish that I had kept it.

If I could have adapted better to the angle of the button panels, I would have seriously considered acquiring one of the high-end models.

Hope this is helpful.

Be Well,

Dan

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Yes I have one of these - the double reeded student model. Had it for a few years, I have to say I love it. But I don't have a lot to compare it with - a poor quality Irish B/C box and (previously) a traditional bandoneon, also not of the highest quality. I play mostly gypsy jazz (not tango) so the CBA unisonoric layout is perfect for me. The size/weight is just right.

 

Yes it has accordion reeds and I think there is a certain lack of density and brightness that I can detect compared with my old bandoneon. On the other hand, I can get local accordion repair people to work on it if necessary. If I had a lot of spare cash I might look at an upgrade from Harry but I would really be a bit worried about it going out of tune where I live (Alberta Canada) and how to get it tuned? So I'm not sure there is a better alternative out there for the money. But I'm open to suggestions...

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Paul,

Do you have any comment on the ergonomics of this hybrid? The placement of the keys is one of the unique qualities that it really doesn't share with anything else. Any praise or criticism would be interesting to hear about.

 

Of interest to me was the discovery of a unisonoric bando by Klingenthal Akkordeons in some sort of partnership (I think) with German bando maker Hartenhauer. It's like the Guen's hybrid, in that it's based on a c-griff chromatic accordion layout on both sides, except that the buttons are on the flats, like a regular bandoneon. I know nothing else about it at the moment.

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Hello Brandon,

For your information and inspiration, here is a bit of history and several photos of what is likely to be one of few (perhaps, only two, as Harry Geuns has the only other one that I know of) remaining in-tact C-griff unisonoric bandonions made by Schonherr and Matthes - often referred to as Schoma.

Harry has a photo of his posted on his website, here: http://www.bandoneon-maker.com/nieuwe_pagina_6.htm

It is the second entry on the page. He has also placed there a link to a diagram of the Praktikal layout.

Mine is from the 1920's and was originally commissioned by a double bass player of the Berliner Philharmoniiker.

My understanding is that very few C-griff unisonoric true bandonions of this quality and scope/size were made, but they did exist as boutique/commissioned instruments that were typically forgotten, and eventually perished, after their original owners' demise.

Then, as now, they were/are quite rare.

The layout, though consistent with what we today describe as C-griff, was referred to as "Praktikal," at the time.

I find it very easy to play and have enjoyed my time with it immensely.

I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have it.

Be Well,

Dan

 

Edited by danersen
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[[[a unisonoric bando by Klingenthal Akkordeons in some sort of partnership (I think) with German bando maker Hartenhauer. It's like the Guen's hybrid, in that it's based on a c-griff chromatic accordion layout on both sides, except that the buttons are on the flats, like a regular bandoneon.]]]

 

this would be much more to my liking than the wraparound approach. i am kinda sorry i didn't buy one of the accordion-reeded geuns hybrids since they were reasonably priced and sturdy, just to have a c -system one since i'm deep into that system now, but i don't think the wraparound thing is optimal at all....

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Wow! That instrument is a sight to behold...

 

BTW, I just got a response from Uwe Hartenhauer about the modern c-system I had mentioned earlier. Apparently the Klingenthal website is outdated - the c system bando is no longer being produced. I have no idea how many of these contemporary models were made. I'm guessing just a handful.

 

post-10138-0-65213400-1424173744_thumb.jpg

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Paul,

Do you have any comment on the ergonomics of this hybrid? The placement of the keys is one of the unique qualities that it really doesn't share with anything else. Any praise or criticism would be interesting to hear about.

 

Brandon, I don't think I'll be much help as I've never gotten far with the traditional bandoneon. I gather it's to do with having a free wrist and being able to use the thumb. You do have to move the wrist up and down, like on a piano (which I do play a bit). Some of the high notes are quite awkward to reach.

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  • 1 month later...

This isn't expected to be too interesting for most folks, but I'm happy to have taken delivery of a unisonoric Peguri system bandoneon. I'm no purist, and expect this will be an easier learning curve than the bisonoric variety. After just a couple of days, the c-system rows are beginning to make some real sense and I'm delighted. It'll be a fun compliment to the EC.

 

FYI for any interested party, when I emailed Harry Guens last month, he had a trade-in student c-system hybrid bando available...the price was good, but I just couldn't quite bring myself to get it. Contact him if you're interested.

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i'm interested, and keep those bando updates coming! . . . :rolleyes: I think I'm going to undertake bisonoric bando, but unisonoric also seems attractive given that a) I already play c-system CBA; and B--the Argentine tangueros often seem to be playing their bisonorics on the pull and using the air button to push back in and start pulling out again, that seems to be a "unisonoric" sound to me. Plus, unisonoric bando wizard Olivier Manoury plays his unisonoric bando on the pull much of the time, working the air button to close it before starting to pull out. So if both bisonoric and unisonoric bando players are doing this, the thought does come to mind, why not get the one with easier to earn note layouts . . .

 

On the other hand, I'm kind of interested in Harry Geuns' other student bando, a regular bisonoric he offers with only 1 set of reeds, the Low set. I was thinking a one-voice might be a fun sound in its own right . . . It's apparently assembled in Asia, but the reeds themselves are his regular handmade, zinc-frame bando reeds

 

Congratulations, and good luck with your new adventure . . .

Edited by ceemonster
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I picked up a Guens double-reeded student (china) model and have been playing it for a half year or so. It is my first squeezebox, so I don't have much to compare it to, but I have been very very happy with it so far.

 

I have managed to get used to the angle of the keys. You can use your thumbs, although it's not ideal. As I advance I find myself using my thumbs less and less; if you're fast enough you can still kinda play smoothly even without using the thumb to cross under.

 

The action is indeed heavier and noisier than I would like. I figure there ought to be a way to stuff some cotton between the metal rods and the wood block under the keys they slide in, but I haven't experimented yet.

 

I would love to upgrade to a better instrument one day, but if I pay 10X what I paid for this box, I would want the action to work better, and I get the impression the pro geuns models have the same type of action as the China-made ones.

 

I ~think it should be a smoothish transition from a guens hybrid to a peguri ( or a praktikal, though they're probably harder to find than meteors). Comments on that from someone who has played both would be welcome, especially for the left hand.

 

Though it has accordion reeds, it sounds much closer to me to a bandoneon than to any of the accordions I have heard. You can't play a melody on top of a chord with good balance, but I understand this is just how things are with a bandoneon; you can play up to two melodies or you can play chords, but not at the same time. I could have deduced that from how it works, but it was still a slight dissapointment coming from a piano background.

 

I imagine it is much less stable than a "real" bandoneon; that is the cost of having more freedom for your hands to move. I only play sitting, and with each side on it's own knee for support.

 

The bellows are shorter than on an expensive bando, but since it's unisonoric I don't think that's as much of a big deal.

 

Minor maintenance issues:

1. When I first got it, some of the rods rubbed against each other slightly, not a big deal but enough for me to notice. It was easy to gently nudge them away from each other to eliminate that source of noise.

 

2. The screws for the straps pulled out of the wood blocks (I suspect the screws are going into end grain; hard to say cause it's covered in celluloid), but I just solved that with some glue, and they haven't come out since then, though I'm careful not to lift the instrument by the straps alone. I figured the glue was less invasive than drilling out larger holes and using larger screws; I'm pretty sure I can still break the screws free and do that at a later date if I have to.

 

3. The key tops on the air valves can come unscrewed easily during handling; thank god the actually keys don't have this problem!

 

Again though, this is a great instrument for the money!

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You CAN play a melody atop chords, but your chords must be super-short and attenuated if you want the melody to be heard. Because there is no way to modulate volume just for one side. Bass comping for folk, tango, or musette melodies works very well on bando using this approach. I guess there is compromise of a sort with all instruments . . . Thanks for the review, the hybrid sounds like a cool item . . .

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