Tuning Preferences?

Just getting started with playing the accordion and have questions? Have a question about a technique? This is the place.
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CodyOutside
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Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:41 am

Tuning Preferences?

Post by CodyOutside »

Does anyone have a particular preference for tuning? My accordion currently is tuned to 442hz and It's a little off so I'm taking it in to get it super tuned. I'm trying to decide whether to keep it at 442 or switch to 440. Is one better for accompaniment than the other or does it make any difference?
Phillip C
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Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:00 am

Re: Tuning Preferences?

Post by Phillip C »

Hey Cody,

My preference is 440hz. I have my grandfather's old 1955 accordion and recently got it tuned. It is fairly pricey, but when you think about it, it's almost like getting a brand new accorion. Michael Arralde tuned mine and did a phenomenal job!

https://www.expertaccordionrepair.com/

If you play or accompany stringed intruments they can tune to you at 442, but good luck with playing with a piano at 442 :) That was one of the reasons I wanted to get my box tuned was one, to have it play in tune, but two be able to play with other players.

Hope this helps, good luck!
Phil
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Tom F
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:59 pm

Re: Tuning Preferences?

Post by Tom F »

Hi Cody,

I think Phillip makes some good points here. Who do you intend to play with? Many instruments can tune to you. And you may or may not notice the difference when playing with other accordions.

You also don't mention how many treble and bass voices you have, and if you have musette. Also do you have access to a competent tuner? And will the cost of tuning exceed the value of your accordion?

Personally, it seems to me that having the accordion tuned well to itself is more important than trying to tune the whole thing down to 440.

Anyway, good luck, I know how frustrating it is to have some reeds out of tune, and like Phillip says, a good tuneup will make you really happy.
CodyOutside
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:41 am

Re: Tuning Preferences?

Post by CodyOutside »

Thanks for the tips guys.

The accordion is similar to this one here. It's a 120 bass note, has 10 tones on the keyboard side and 4 on the bass side. One of the tones is musette. For the most part it seems in tune to itself, in fact it's not even that bad, but when I play some harmonies it doesn't sound quite right on certain tones. I fortunately know a shop nearby that will be able to tune it for around the $600-$700 dollar range which might be less than what it's worth. From what I understand, I only will have to tune it once, as long as I take care of it.

I do plan on playing with string instruments (mainly a mandolin and a violin). Even though I'm not playing with a piano player right now or even in the near future it would be nice to not worry about it.

For a little more info, I bought this accordion from a friend recently who had it up in an attic for many years wrapped in a towel. For it to be playable right now is super amazing.
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Tom F
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Re: Tuning Preferences?

Post by Tom F »

Good luck to you Cody!

This is a difficult and personal decision.... For me, putting this much cash into an older accordion tuning would have to be out of love of the instrument.

As much as I hate to say it, I feel that an older accordion that has spent its time in the attic will continue to experience tuning (and other) issues over time as the leathers weaken, wax hardens, etc. Even my new accordions experience minor tuning issues.

If you really love this instrument and plan to play it for ever, go for it! If not, and you may buy a new accordion, (or, you may find you want a smaller, or different type, or a Roland) then take your time. Play and enjoy it for a while. Maybe just get the offending notes "spot tuned."

Anyway, congratulations on your purchase and I wish you success!
Wilco Lagerweij
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Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:29 am

Re: Tuning Preferences?

Post by Wilco Lagerweij »

Hi Cody,

I just had my accordion tuned at a good accordionshop and this is what I am told:
All older accordions were tuned on 440 Hz. The accordions from the last 30 years or so are mostly tuned to 442 Hz, for that tuning is better to match other instruments.
An older instrument can be worth tuning, but only an expert can tell you if it is worth it, for there can be more issues to the instrument.
The accordion is a delecate instrument with wooden, paper, metal, wax and vilt parts, that all are easyly influenced by heat, moisture, storing wet, extreme dry conditions, salty air, not beïng used several years and age.

If an accordion needs more than tuning, you need an overhauling and that’s very expensive.
The costs of (major) tuning are depending on the accordions size. For every tone has two reeds and every reed needs to be seperately tuned.
My accordion is a 120 bas with 5 treble reeds. So counting 42 pianokeys by 2 by 5.... that are only on the pianoside 420 reeds !
That explaines why a major tuningsession is costly.
In Holland these cost are €500,- / $600,-

I am very happy I had it done. The accordion sounds so much better!

The repairshop told me to return the accordion every 3 years to do some finetuning to keep the accordion at it best.
These costs are only about €60,- / $70,-

Hope this can help you to make a wise decission

Gr. Wilco
CodyOutside
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Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:41 am

Re: Tuning Preferences?

Post by CodyOutside »

So finally a follow up to this.

I got my accordion super tuned. I dropped the whole thing down to 440. And on top of that I had the musette tone wet tuned (it was dry before). Costed me $550.

All I got to say is it was worth every penny. It makes a tremendous difference. It sounds so beautiful and has a lot of character with the wet tuning. I am super happy with it now and I can finally start adding harmonies to my lessons.
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