Acadian Accordions

 

Reeds

 

Only handmade Italian reeds are used in Acadian accordions. All of the different Italian reed factories produce exceptional reeds of the highest quality. The criteria between the different brands is so miniscule that only a technician with many years of experience can actually tell the difference. Any brand is available upon request; however the author does have a preference.

 

Bellows

 

One of the many questions asked by beginning accordion students is "How long are the bellows?" My answer to that is “I don't know because I have never counted the folds." All I know is that they are at least twice longer than you actually need.” Acadian accordions are designed to be very efficient with air consumption resulting in instantaneous reed response with a very slight movement of the bellows. Since the right hand has a system of notes arranged in pretty much a fifty percent push and fifty percent pull then there should be no need to extend the bellows out more than six or seven inches for the majority of all songs. Extending the bellows out any farther than that would be very tiring for the player. When bellows are repeatedly extended to the point that they lose their tendency to draw back upon themselves then they are worthless and should be replaced with new ones.

 

Tuning

 

One of the most unusual things about the Acadian accordion is the sound-a sound which is imitated but not duplicated. Tuning is the heartbeat of the accordion-it is the final process in bringing to fruition many involved stages of construction. Tuning can be accomplished by purchasing a very expensive electronic device and tuning each reed to this calibrated reference. The end result using this approach is a sound which seems to emit from beneath a pillow or some other object which muffles the tone. The same approach applied to a piano would have the same results-a sound which would seem to remain hidden within the piano. This tuning method would suffice provided the piano had only one string per note, or if the accordion had only one reed per note. Since both instruments have more than one string or reed per note the objective is to tune the four reeds in such a manner that the end result is a scale which still plays in tune but has a quality of sound and power that seems to pour out of the instrument and grab your ear. This is accomplished by using the rarest of tuning devices-a good ear! The electronic tuning device can compare a note to an internal calibrated standard and tell you if it¹s sharp or flat but it cannot tell you how good it sounds, or much less tell you the quality of the four reeds playing together simultaneously. After all, it is a human ear which will hear the music coming from the instrument and decide whether or not it is pleasing to hear-not the machine.  Custom tunings well be supplied on demand.

 

 

 

Wood

 

Wood choice should be a cosmetic and weight consideration since the exterior wood itself imparts no measurable difference in either tone, volume, response, or sustain. Unlike string instruments which feature a vibrating sound board set into motion by the action of vibrating string transmitted via the bridge, accordions have vibrating steel reeds driven by air. Specially designed reed chambers, precision in the switching mechanism, and experience in bringing all this together are the criteria which determine tone, volume, response, and sustain- not the wood choice.

 

The wood used in Acadian accordions is milled to the required specifications and then allowed to set in a controlled humidity environment for a period of at least one year. Even though the wood is received in a “guaranteed dry” state, forty two years of experience has proved that this is not always the case. After this initial drying time the wood is then sorted into two categories, dependent upon the degree of figure. The pieces with straight grain and plain color are used in our model 1, whereas the more beautifully figured and colorful pieces are used in our more expensive model 2. Workmanship, reeds, bellows, and all other features remain the same for either model.

 

WOOD SAMPLES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

WOOD SAMPLES LIST

 

Sample #

Wood Type

Origin

Approx. Weight

1

Plain Walnut

USA

7 lbs.

2

Claro Walnut

USA

7 lbs.

3

Curley Walnut

USA

7 lbs.

4

Curley Maple

USA

7 lbs.

5

Birdseye Maple

USA

9 lbs.

6

150 yr old Red Pine

Louisiana

7 lbs.

7

Cypress

Louisiana

7 lbs.

8

Laurel

USA

7 lbs.

9

Koa

Hawaii

7 lbs.

10

Narra

Japan

7 lbs.

11

Lacewood

Australia

7 lbs.

12

Purple Heart

Africa

8 lbs.

13

Zebrawood

Africa

8 lbs.

14

Padouk

Africa

8 lbs.

15

Coco Bolo

Central America

9 lbs.

16

Rosewood

East India

8 lbs.

 
Model 1: Dark Claro Walnut, figured wood end plates, scollwork engravings on both sides, inlay on bellow and end frames, abalone inlay on stops
Model 2: Rare, fancy woods with same appointments as Model 1 Prices (effective December 1, 2013) Model 1-$2695 Model 2-$2995 We also offer a solid black accordion for $2500.

All three models have same reeds, bellows, workmanship, action, tone, etc. The differences are only cosmetic. All three models come with chrome steel buttons. Please call for prices during store hours 337-457-9563
To read about master accordion builder and his assistant, Tina Pilione, click here.