Chinese Accordions.. don't be affraid...
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October 20, 2007
There is a new breed of Chinese Accordion. The Chinese are taking their accordion building very seriously. The third generation of Chinese Piano accordions are available in many keyboard configurations. It is possible to get a 12.5 inch keyboard -across the white keys-, all the way to 19.5 inches. That would be from 26 to 41 piano keys. They even make one with 22 and 45 piano keys. They come in these standard keyboard configurations 22, 25, 26*, 30*, 32, 34*, 37*, 41* and 45 Keys. I have measured the 26*, 30*, 34*, 37*, 41* key models.. -I have them here- I have yet to get my hands on a 22, 25, 32 and 45 key model. Get this ... The 26*, 30*, 34*, 37*, 41* key accordions have identical piano key dimensions, and bass button spacing.. I am sure the 45 key model must have the same professional key sizes... I don't know about the 22, 25, 32 key model, yet. It looks like they ALL are designed around the same key width and button spacing. I still need to verify the 22. 25, 32. 1nd 45 key model. Thank You China!.... I can switch between these different accordion sizes without sacrificing fingering accuracy because the keys and buttons have the same dimensions and spacing. -Thats a nice!- they all -the ones I have seen- have the same suspension system... they all feel the same, and they are fast... -Thats a nice too!- The key spring is accessible from behind the grill, if one needed to be serviced... the other keys do not have to come out to do it. The keys are self centering... when glissing -sliding- up and down the keyboard.. or torqing the keys sideways, the keys return to their optimum position.. Over time, sliding around on European made accordion piano keys sometimes causes the rod to bind and burr the key pivot point, slowing the key action and eventually causing sticking.. you do not want an accordion with slowing or sticking piano keys.. -it does not happen on Chinese accordions, because they have a different -and better- keyboard suspension system.. -They do not use the rod pivot point design, there is no rod to remove or service. I am an engineer, I have taken German and Italian accordions apart, the Chinese do not make keyboards like the Europeans, they make them better! There were a few European designed accordions that took this same approach -very high end designs- but most european accordions are not designed in this way. if you need to service the european -rod based- keys, you have to pull the rod out, ALL the keys from the end of the keyboard to the one you want to fix.. fall out.. and have to be reassembled back into the accordion.. The european keyboard, uses a propritary shaped hairpin spring under the key, and they vary from accordion to accordion... and it can't be change with out pulling the whole keyboard apart.. often the european keys get stuck on the rod... "sticky keys"... even if they don't stick they can "slow down".. so service is necessary to spin the rod and or replace the spring to reawaken them from slowness and sticking.. I am telling you this because, Chinese accordions are getting a bad rap by some of those who make a living selling and servicing italian and german accordions. These folks are afraid of the Chinese accordions, because they cost so much less, and the Chinese quality is getting real good and returning a better price performance value for you the buyer. What is not as profitable for them per accordion, is good for you. China has more accordion players than any other Country in the world... and most of their accordions are made in China, China invented the accordion. I have had master accordion technicians, poo poo the Chines accordions, by sticking their fingers between the Chinese white keys and making derogatory remarks... but the Chinese accordion keys -the latest generation- spring right back, none the worse from such abuse.... don't try this on a European accordion... The technician had no idea of my engineering expertise and tried to BS me into rejecting a superior technology and accepting an unfair predjudice against Chinese accordions. Funny he poo pooed my playing the blues on accordion.. he had no appreciation for it.. he played some backward notion of blues -it sucked- and said "why would antone want to play that?" Bottom line, on the latest generation of Chinese Piano Accordions... they piano keyboard suspension is superior, fast, serviceable and get this, scalable. What does scalable mean?.... it means that the various size piano accordions 22-45 keys can be assembled "scaled" using the same suspension, from the very same key inventory.. and valve linkages, reducing engineering and manufacturing cost due to the "economy of scale"... -i.e. mass production- quality control becomes easier to maintain and statistically verify.. The new generation of Chinese accordions, have their levers -linkage that connects the key to the large valve/pad- made of strong light weight rectangular metal... not round soft metal rods. Each linkage has four 90 degree edges.. this strengthens the linkage from changing shape. It also benefits mass production and quality control.. I am studying the Chinese accordions... because I can get them at wholesale prices, for my study.... I am an Italian American Senior Engineer.... and I see mean spirited gossip and innuendo directed at Chinese accordions.. and yes even against buying accordions on ebay... -you have all seen it- Consider the American and European Accordion manufacturers and Dealers who are threatened by ever improving cost quality benefits of Chinese accordions.. and eBays easy access to accordion sales.. Remember, Accordions have lost their reputation and appeal in the US.. because of these very same people... -except south of the mason dixon line- Which incidentally, is the only place in America where the accordion is greatly appreciated by all generations, and the only place in America where accordions are still made, and the only place in America which has developed America's own original accordion cultural music. North of the mason dixon line.. accordions are the subject of relentless jokes and distain. That Northern Accordion culture is dying out along with the old timers who dominated it.. And when you think about it... it was not very original... copying much of the European Accordion Music... Don't get me wrong though, I like playing my Italian wedding music, and polkas, and tangos... but unfortunately not a lot of people want to hear it. And the ones that do are getting older and older and fewer and fewer.... I have gravitated to the Louisiana Accordion Music.. -I always was a rock and roller- I love it.. and there accordions are widely appreciated by all generations and is spreading more and more into main stream entertainment and acceptability... Notice how many of the On-line Accordion Dealers are now selling Chinese Accordions in their stores and on eBay. Quite often with their own name brand.. and cosmetics.. And others are not.. I will help set the record straight concerning the latest generation of Chinese accordions... what is available, and what to look for... the good and the bad... right now I have 6 chinese accordions here in my house/garage lab... I have bought some from ebay and others via my Chinese contact.. I have a lot more information to share... about chinese, german, italian reeds and the chinese bass action.. and chromatic button boxes, and converter bass boxes.. and free bass systems.. The Chinese engineering in these areas are just as good -excellent- as what I have described about the Chinese piano key engineering. The lady of this house... has two Steinway Grand pianos.. one that I rebuilt... and a harpsichord.. and countless students of all ages and sizes... they ALL play on standard Grand Piano size keys and keyboards... little kids and petite women.... on big keys. My suggestion... keep to standard size piano accordion keys.... if you need a smaller accordion get one with less keys... It appears, from the Chinese accordion designs they would agree with this. I just bought a Professional Italian Made full size Accordion... retails for 6000.00 and I also paid 1050.00 for a top of the line Chinese Accordion -from eBay. The Chinese Accordion gets played four times more... I tried selling the Italian Made Accordion for half price 3000.00... No One Wants It. Bottom Line, China is making extraordinary musical instruments that everyone can afford... and that sound and feel great. A lot of people -resellers- don't like it... remember when "Made in Japan" was a stigma? There are those who are trying to do the same to "Made in China" In my garage shop most of my power tools are "Made in China" Sorry to say, I could not justify the high costs of the American made tools. Even the ones that are made in China and sold by big American Tool Makers.. There are some Italian and German Accordion makers re-marketing Chinese accordions as their own.. They change the name, maybe the grill, and the decorations.... if they are doing anything to change out the reeds they are keeping it a secret. We the accordion buyers need to know the details concerning the reeds we are getting with our accordions... you have to insist on answers,,, All the Chinese accordions I have, have Chinese -made with German steel- reeds. And for a few hundred more on the professional size accordions, I can get them with Italian made reeds.. Supposedly they will have better compression, and articulation capabilities... but not necessarily sound any differrent.. I am very happy with the Chinese -made with German Steel- Reeds.... I am getting some of these accordions with Italian made reeds, and will see for my self.. I will let you know.. Beware of those who speak badly of Chinese accordions... there is a LOT you should know about them, and the 3rd Generation Chinese Accordions.. I will post more when I have a chance.. I love playing the accordion.. Lets ROCK!
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