Sunday, February 13, 2011

A melodeon destination in the Northeast U.S.

I imagine that there are some readers who have wandered to this blog in search of information about how someone can start to play the melodeon. I'll write a future post about methods of learning. This entry pertains to the question of where to acquire an instrument...

After an initial, somewhat bizarre encounter with an accordion store in NY, I found The Button Box, which was then in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is now located in Sunderland. What a breath of fresh air. The Button Box stocks loads of diatonic accordions (as well as concertinas and some piano accordions), and it is a pleasure to visit. Founder Rich Morse succeeded in building a great place for people interested in melodeons and concertinas -- you can get books, learn about the various options, and try out every instrument.

I vowed to guide prospective melodeonistas to the Button Box!

One of the fun things about visiting the Button Box is that you can try out all sorts of instruments in different tunings and button layouts. Right now, their listing of instruments in stock includes a Saltarelle Tramontane -- a three-row box in G/C with accidentals on the inside row and a very unusual 14-bass layout. They also have a three-row Castagnari Handry in G/C/F with 18-bass buttons.

Another great thing is that each staff member is a joy to chat with, and they are committed to guiding their customers to instruments that are the right match.

The Button Box co-founded an annual event called the Northeast Squeeze-In, which is also a great place for a beginner or prospective player to learn about lots of instruments, meet some really great people (including the current owners of the Button Box), and enjoy hearing all the lovely music that button boxes can play.

Learn about the Northeast Squeeze-In, now run by an independent group, here.

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