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I want to play the accordina but need help choosing one. I am leaning toward either the Dreux or Carrel instruments (or an original Borel if one became available) but haven't seen them compared or heard them played side by side. If anyone has experience playing either or both of these instruments I would like to get your opinion on the various instruments, including placement and style of mouthpiece. Thank you. Jim

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Hi Jim, although I believe the accordina to be a wonderful instrument (I love that unique tone...!) I'd guess you wouldn't likely get too many replies from this board as it is biased on a very particular kind of small squeezebox...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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I'd guess you wouldn't likely get too many replies from this board as it is biased on a very particular kind of small squeezebox...

 

Which doesn't necessarily mean everybody here is a monomaniac.

 

On another forum I am a member of, not a free reed place primarily, I have seen several accordinas come up for sale over the past few years, a Borel was advertised for a long time, only to sell after the price dropped to 1000 and a Dreux went eventually to ebay but remained unsold.

 

I think it's fair the OP assumes you never know what's to come out of the woodwork if you ask.

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Hello Jim,

At least one if us here plays the Accordina.

I'll respond more fully when time permits.

Short version: Marcel's instruments are superb.

Be Well,

Dan

Dear Dan,

 

Thank you. I look forward to hearing more. If there is any other forum (or other location) where you think I can get information about buying (and playing) an accordina I would appreciate it.

 

Best,

 

Jim

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Hello Jim,

I have limited experience with original Borels, no direct experience with a Carrel, and extensive experience with Marcel's (Dreux) Accordinas.

There is definitely allure to a Beuscher/Borel instrument, but with that comes the complications associated with age, deteriorating components, few who can maintain, service, or repair them, and virtually none in as-new condition requiring both effort and further investment of time and expense after acquisition. The Carrel design is generally consistent with conventional Borel, but has less appeal to me in its materials, construction, and playability. Marcel's instruments are substantially akin to the Borel, but have some improvements. That said, Marcel's are heavier, thicker, and a tad bulkier. Perhaps, this contributes to what I consider more depth and resonance in tone.

All take some getting used to and feel awkward at first. There is a learning curve and an adjustment period. I found the end mouthpiece location (in particular with the long Nicolas mouthpiece on Marcel's) preferable to the side location - both for comfort and stability.

The mechanism of Marcel's Accordinas is superior to any other that I have played, the reeds are superb, and the tuning is precise. I also like the aesthetics of Marcel's fretwork which I think also contributes to the character of sound.

I own three Dreux Accordinas and they are virtually indistinguishable except for the one which has a brushed rather than shiny finish and is different both visually and to the touch.

If you have more specific questions, I will attempt to share any experience that relates directly to them.

I hope this general reply is helpful in some way.

Be Well,

Dan

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Dear Dan,

 

Thank you. Your comments are very helpful. I am going to order a Dreux instrument. Am I correct in thinking that if I want I can change the location of the mouthpiece myself (if I have the necessary mouthpiece)? I am leaning toward starting with the long Nicolas mouthpiece, but who knows. I wouldn't want to have to send the instrument to France just to change the mouthpiece location. I've heard that each instrument is special ordered and it can take a few months for it to arrive. Is that your understanding? I guess in the meantime I'll practice on the iPad CBA (if I only knew what to practice). Any further suggestions apprciated, including any method books that might be helpful. I might be able to struggle through the Galliano book. Because I have a lot of experience with similar instruments (in the sense that fingering patterns are readily moveable) such as guitar, lute, viols, and c vs f recorders, and I am used to both regular musical notation and four types of tabliture, I should be okay with the mental side of things. Hopefully there are excercises to help my fingers get used to the most common movements, and suggestions on how to make a nice sound breath/embouchure-wise. If you don't mind...why do you have three accordinas?

 

Best,

 

Jim

 

 

Hello Jim,
I have limited experience with original Borels, no direct experience with a Carrel, and extensive experience with Marcel's (Dreux) Accordinas.
There is definitely allure to a Beuscher/Borel instrument, but with that comes the complications associated with age, deteriorating components, few who can maintain, service, or repair them, and virtually none in as-new condition requiring both effort and further investment of time and expense after acquisition. The Carrel design is generally consistent with conventional Borel, but has less appeal to me in its materials, construction, and playability. Marcel's instruments are substantially akin to the Borel, but have some improvements. That said, Marcel's are heavier, thicker, and a tad bulkier. Perhaps, this contributes to what I consider more depth and resonance in tone.
All take some getting used to and feel awkward at first. There is a learning curve and an adjustment period. I found the end mouthpiece location (in particular with the long Nicolas mouthpiece on Marcel's) preferable to the side location - both for comfort and stability.
The mechanism of Marcel's Accordinas is superior to any other that I have played, the reeds are superb, and the tuning is precise. I also like the aesthetics of Marcel's fretwork which I think also contributes to the character of sound.
I own three Dreux Accordinas and they are virtually indistinguishable except for the one which has a brushed rather than shiny finish and is different both visually and to the touch.
If you have more specific questions, I will attempt to share any experience that relates directly to them.
I hope this general reply is helpful in some way.
Be Well,
Dan

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Jim,

if you go to www.leboncoin.fr ( a site of classified adverts in France) and search for Accordina you might come up with a secondhand instrument. There are two people advertising them today, one is Joseph Carrel and the other is an agent for Marcel Dreux.

 

Good luck,

Geoff.

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Oh some accordina on forum concertina?.... :)

 

I play a Marcel Dreux accordina which is a very reliable instrument. I own it for at least ten years and do not play every day but I had never trouble with it. All parts of the instrument ("reeds", "reedblock", screws, buttons...) are "waterproof" and can't be damaged by humidity of the blow.

 

On my accordina, the mouthpiece is on the left side of the instrument because I wanted harmonica sensation. But one of the problem is that you (the player) hear the reeds of the left row of buttons (and half buttons of the middle row) much stronger than the others of the middle row and the right row. Sometimes the high notes which "sound" on the left side are difficults for you ear...

 

To hear the sound, here is a tune of mine which I play this accordina and my friend Tiennet Simonnin plays chromatic button accordion.

 

edit to change the link from dropbox to souncloud.

 

https://soundcloud.com/thoon-1/02-aux-objets-trouves/s-29WNe

Edited by tona
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Thanks Geoff for the website link and Tona for the link to the beautiful tune. (I hope that someday I can play that well!)

 

Regarding the placement of the mouthpiece on the Dreux instruments, are there any physical/mechanical advantages (arm/hand/finger) or posture advantages to having the mouthpiece in one place or the other.

 

Jim

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Hello Jim,

RE: I am going to order a Dreux instrument. Am I correct in thinking that if I want I can change the location of the mouthpiece myself (if I have the necessary mouthpiece)?

A: I do not think that this is a correct assumption. The side and end mouthpiece models are not "interchangeable" and are built to accommodate either a side mouthpiece OR an end mouthpiece.

RE: I wouldn't want to have to send the instrument to France just to change the mouthpiece location.

A: You would need to exchange it for a completely different model as they are constructed differently.

RE: I've heard that each instrument is special ordered and it can take a few months for it to arrive. Is that your understanding?

A: My last correspondence with Marcel was several years ago. At that time he built each instument when ordered and carried no inventory or stock. I don't know if that is the case today.

RE: Any further suggestions apprciated, including any method books that might be helpful. I might be able to struggle through the Galliano book.

A: I think that most any CBA c-griff tutor which addresses right-hand technique will serve you well. The trick is finding your own comfortable way to hold and balance the little bugger. That part is very personal and involves some experimentation

RE: Hopefully there are excercises to help my fingers get used to the most common movements,

A: Yes, the same as for all of the other instruments you list - PRACTICE YOUR SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS in all keys - over and over and over, again. And learn the chord patterns (for maj, min, 7ths, 6th, dim and aug) in all three positions, I.e., with the root tone in each of the three rows

RE: Suggestions on how to make a nice sound breath/embouchure-wise.

A: I know of nothing that relates to this in print. I think this might also be more a matter of experimentation.

RE: If you don't mind...why do you have three accordinas?

A: The truthful answer is unwarranted excess. I have one to take out and one to remain safely at home (and also serve as a back-up if anything happened to my traveler). An acquaintance wasn't getting along particularly well with his and decided to part with it to address some financial needs. Given how difficult they can be to acquire just when you want one, I bought his at market price with no specific purpose in mind for it. If you have definitely decided to pursue a Dreux with a long Nicolas mouthpiece, I might be persuaded to part with it for a price fair to both of us.

Be Well,

Dan

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Dear Dan,

 

Thank you so very much. And thank you especially for even thinking abuout parting with one of your instruments.

 

Last night I decided to purchase a new Dreux instrument. He has an all white button in stock and I can get a black and white button in a couple of weeks. I'm leaning toward the black and white even though I want the accordina yesterday.

 

Best wishes,

 

Jim

 

Hello Jim,

RE: I am going to order a Dreux instrument. Am I correct in thinking that if I want I can change the location of the mouthpiece myself (if I have the necessary mouthpiece)?

A: I do not think that this is a correct assumption. The side and end mouthpiece models are not "interchangeable" and are built to accommodate either a side mouthpiece OR an end mouthpiece.

RE: I wouldn't want to have to send the instrument to France just to change the mouthpiece location.

A: You would need to exchange it for a completely different model as they are constructed differently.

RE: I've heard that each instrument is special ordered and it can take a few months for it to arrive. Is that your understanding?

A: My last correspondence with Marcel was several years ago. At that time he built each instument when ordered and carried no inventory or stock. I don't know if that is the case today.

RE: Any further suggestions apprciated, including any method books that might be helpful. I might be able to struggle through the Galliano book.

A: I think that most any CBA c-griff tutor which addresses right-hand technique will serve you well. The trick is finding your own comfortable way to hold and balance the little bugger. That part is very personal and involves some experimentation

RE: Hopefully there are excercises to help my fingers get used to the most common movements,

A: Yes, the same as for all of the other instruments you list - PRACTICE YOUR SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS in all keys - over and over and over, again. And learn the chord patterns (for maj, min, 7ths, 6th, dim and aug) in all three positions, I.e., with the root tone in each of the three rows

RE: Suggestions on how to make a nice sound breath/embouchure-wise.

A: I know of nothing that relates to this in print. I think this might also be more a matter of experimentation.

RE: If you don't mind...why do you have three accordinas?

A: The truthful answer is unwarranted excess. I have one to take out and one to remain safely at home (and also serve as a back-up if anything happened to my traveler). An acquaintance wasn't getting along particularly well with his and decided to part with it to address some financial needs. Given how difficult they can be to acquire just when you want one, I bought his at market price with no specific purpose in mind for it. If you have definitely decided to pursue a Dreux with a long Nicolas mouthpiece, I might be persuaded to part with it for a price fair to both of us.

Be Well,

Dan

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Congratulations, Jim.

Marcel is a terrific person.

I'm guessing that you will be quite pleased with one of his Accordinas.

The uniform or mixed buttons are little more than way finding and aesthetics decisions.

Enjoy!

Dan

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Dear Dan,

 

Thank you. Something I cannot tell from looking at youtube performances how much breath is needed to play. I played trumpet as a child and recorders as an adult (and harmonica if you consider playing like Bob Dylan to be "playing the harmonica").

Is it comparable to any of those instruments?

Thanks,

Jim

Congratulations, Jim.

Marcel is a terrific person.

I'm guessing that you will be quite pleased with one of his Accordinas.

The uniform or mixed buttons are little more than way finding and aesthetics decisions.

Enjoy!

Dan

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Hello Jim,

Well, given your examples, I'll suggest somewhere between a recorder and a harmonica ...

... Depending on your recorder's chamber bore and length

... Depending on the size of the harmonica and quality of the reeds (think closer to a Suzuki chromatic 64 round hole - not exactly Dylan)

Marcel's instruments are well built, efficient, and incorporate excellent and responsive reeds.

It might actually be more likely to overplay and squawk the reeds than underplay them.

The number of reeds that you are playing and where you are on the keyboard also affects this.

It's different if you are playing a four-note chord or a single note melody and if you are playing closer or farther from the mouthpiece.

But it's not that difficult if you go slowly, go softly, ease into it, relax, and pay attention.

In time, your brain will process it and take command so you won't have to think about it so much - sort of like developing your embouchure on the trumpet.

Hope this helps - at least a bit.

Dan

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