May 08 2009
As some of you may know my main piano accordion has been back to Pigini in Italy for some repairs but also for some work to develop the instrument. The standard model P36/3 that is my accordion is perhaps the finest 72 bass accordion available but the best is always open to tweaking and I am most grateful to Massimo Pigini for his help and assistance in tailoring the accordion to my specific needs.
So what has been done? Over all all the reeds have been replaced with the absolute finest hand made reeds giving an amazing sound and feel but that is just the start. Lets look further!
Lets start with the right hand. The normal accordion comes with 3 voices, 2 tuned at pitch and one tuned an octave low. Not only that but one of the ‘at pitch’ reeds can be tuned anywhere from the same tuning to up to about 16 cents sharp for that famous tremolo sound. Now my accordion has always been tuned ‘dry’ or totally in tune. However I have had that need for a slight tremolo, maybe about 4 cents sharp. Well on this new accordion I have all three reeds tuned at pitch! One is a wonderful mellow sound, the second is exactly the same to add power and definition. The third reed is a really hard sounding reed for penetration, but of course it can also be added to the first for a mellow tremolo sound.
Moving on we now look at the grill. The purpose of a grill is to give protection to the accordion but of course this is in conflict to the sound, the best sound being no grill at all. Pigini has managed to make the finest grill possible with as little material as possible and a very open weave grill cloth. This is the perfect compromise as it gives you some protection but also does not block the sound at all. The result is the most open and expressive sound you have heard!
Now the left hand! The first obvious thing is the two sound scrolls at the front of the instrument. Normally the sound escapes from the left hand from the plate by the wrist, facing to the left of the player. This is not really ideal as the right hand sound projects forward. What we have acheived is a focused sound projecting forwards by placing a solid wood left hand plate with no holes, thereby forcing the sound out through the two holes at the front, resulting in a great balance between the hands.
My left hand has also been replaced! Not personally of course but on the accordion! Now the obvious difference is that we have changed from 72 bass to 96 bass. Now in honesty this is more because we could than need to but the 96 bass stops any possible restrictions when playing the more complex chords. The much more exciting change is not visible but is with the dominant seventh row. Now for may years I have felt this row to be pretty useless as you can play exactly the same notes with the adjacent diminished seventh button, for instance a C dom 7 plays C E G Bb, but if you play a C with a G dim 7th you get C E G Bb!! So why have the dom 7th row?! So on my new accordion we have dispensed with it and replaced it with a row of open 5ths! This has let me explore all sorts of new sounds, sustained 4ths, minor 9ths without the 7th etc! This to me is one of the most exciting new possibilities my accordion gives me!
I must give many thanks to Massimo Pigini and all his staff at Pigini for the work they have done on my accordion. It is now in my opinion the finest compact accordion I have ever played and I am proud to play it!
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