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Accordion Buying Guide & Tips

What you need to know before buying an accordion (basics).
  • Key or button: Accordions come in two basic types: button (diatonic) and keyboard (chromatic). The type of accordion that will work best for you is the type that suits the music that you want to play. Bass buttons range from 12 bass (or zero with a Norteno) to 120 bass.

  • Size/weight: Accordions have many reeds, sometimes 4 per key/button, so they can get quite heavy. All accordions come with straps, but extra supportive straps are available also. Accordions with more bass buttons are larger than accordions with fewer. The smallest normal accordion is a 12 bass, and the largest is a 120 bass.

  • Storing your accordion: Accordions should be stored in a medium temperature, dry place. If it gets too hot the wax that seals the reeds will melt, and if it gets too cold it will crack. Most of the accordion is made out of wood, so mold will grow in the dark, protected insides of your accordion if it gets wet. Another danger of moisture is rust on the reeds. If they start to rust, it will affect their pitch and performance. Your accordion should also be stored upright (on the bass side) so that the reeds do not warp and affect their response.

  • Key: Some accordions have a choice of what key you want. The most common is GCF "Sol" so if you don't have a specific key in mind, this would be a good choice.

  • Switches: Some accordions have switches that affect the right hand keys/buttons. And some large accordions have switches for the left-hand bass buttons. These affect the sound that each reed gets. A switch will control the low (bassoon) reed, middle (clarinet), high (piccolo), or various combinations of these.

  • Tuning: There are two types of tuning accordion reeds dry and wet. Dry tuning plays a single note and it sounds pure and without any "wobble." Wet tuning plays two notes at the same time, but they are only slightly different, so it gives a little "wobble" in the sound and makes it fuller. This can also be called tremolo. Accordions are tuned by style, and the type of tuning is not an option.

If you are starting out and looking for a decent quality at affordable price, we recommend the following:

For intermediate and professional level playing accordion players, we recommend the following: