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Why is it so hard to find b/c accordions?


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I'm looking for an older melodeon like a Hohner Black Dot.  It seems like all the used ones for sale are C/D or similar keys.  Everything I've read says that B/C is the best key to have for traditional Irish music, but it's really hard to find melodeons in this key.  Are there limited resources available for learning Irish music in C/D or other keys?  Do I need to transpose everything?

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C#/D is for playing Irish music in an older style, more "on the straight row", rather than "across the rows" like on a B/C. Though plenty of well-known Irish players, like Jackie Daly, Mairtin O'Connor, Dermot Byrne, Charlie Harris etc. play C#/D.

 

B/C accordions are actually much more common than C#/D ones, and generally much easier to find, but that may depend on where you're located...

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5 hours ago, Pgidley said:

I did a quick search and found a couple for sale...most are listed as Double Ray, which is the model name. Black dot is more of a nickname that people call them.

 

In fact both names appear on them (though Double-Ray is more prominent), but here in Ireland I've only ever heard them referred to as Black Dots.

 

Both names go back to the origins of the model, which was commissioned from Hohner by J.T. Forbes' music shop in Dundee, Scotland, and became available in April 1934 along with the "New Forbes Tutor" - and Black Dot refers to the black button in the middle of the keyboard that was a major part of their tablature system for the instrument. ("Play at sight the very first night" was their motto!)

 

But I guess they named them Double-Ray (Scots dialect for two-row) to emphasise that these weren't the single-row "bothy boxes" of old, but something new and modern at a time when button accordions were going out of favour with the rise of the "new-fangled", fully chromatic, piano accordion.

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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I can offer you several models of Double Ray,  two voice, three voice,  red 1960s/70s,  1930s pearloid with metal grill,  black with green/white logo.  
there is a black two voice here on my website, others are waiting for refurb.

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3 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

In fact both names appear on them (though Double-Ray is more prominent), but here in Ireland I've only ever heard them referred to as Black Dots.

 

Interesting Stephen, I didn't know that. The few that we have had kicking around over the years have all been older models. Currently neither of our two household Hohners are double-rays at all - one is a black Erica retuned to C#/D, and the other is a silver pearloid 4 voice B/C box, but it has white pearloid buttons and no black button "De-Luxe". I wonder if it pre-dates the Forbes tutor? 

 

SaltyD, any of those options from Theo would be top choices. They'll be expertly set up and will likely play much better than a Hohner sitting in a corner in some dusty music shop.

 

If you want to stick to someone on the US side due to everything going on (though the mail seems to be operating normally), Scott Bellinger can probably source something for you. There was another guy using the name "Dancemaster" who seemed to do some good work too, but I'm not sure if he's still operating. Worth reaching out to. 

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15 hours ago, seanc said:

I was looking for a b/c to try out as well. I was coming up empty.

i ended up picking up a Garvey aaa for $350 locally in c#/d.

 

They're probably relatively rare in the United States because it's not a mainstream instrument there, B/C is pretty much only used in Irish traditional music these days...

 

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I am supposing the Lynette that BB sell is probably pretty close to the Garvey.

 

but I am not enough of an authority to make any sort of call. 
I picked up the one I did based on the price. Lot see if I could get a grip on it.

 

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On 4/22/2020 at 7:06 PM, jwinship said:

The Button Box has a range of b/c and c#/d accordeons for sale.

 

Yes, but in another thread saltyd has told me they're "looking for a b/c under $500" - in which case a used (preferably German-made) Hohner is really their best option...

 

We have some very good players in Ireland, like Josephine Marsh, who prefer Hohners over anything else.

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