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We will be discussing various  Hohner Button Accordion Hohner Piano Accordion and Hohner Chromatic Accordion models in this guide, so you can determine which is the best choice for purchase.


There are many on the web that sell Hohner Accordions, but very few that know anything about them.  We sell and know each Hohner Accordion.  Almost every genre of music has or can have the accordion integrated as a background or a lead instrument, so lets learn about them!

Hohner 1 Row Button Accordions:

Hohner Ariette Cajun Accordion - This accordion is specifically priced for the beginner and only comes in the Key of C only.  A hard shell case, straps and Instructional booklet is included with your purchase.

All Hohner 1 row accordions have 4 pull stops, which are 16-8-8-4.  What does this mean?  The 16 represents the bassoon (bass), the 8 represents the clarinet, the second 8 is a clarinet tuned slightly sharper (mid) and the 4 represents the piccolo (high) in organ terminology.

A great instrument for Cajun sound and other folk styles, Hohner’s Ariette has a traditional design with four treble stops, open key mechanism and Cajun tuning. The perfect beginner’s or intermediate accordion, Ariette includes a 40-page instructional book, shoulder strap and hardshell carrying case.

Why buy this accordion?

One Row accordions (Ariette or HA-114) are played in a "driving" uptempo rhythm, like a fiddle.

Matt's Rant: People around the world have bought this specific model because of it's easy playability. The Ariette is a great way for you to begin to connect to the great music which has originated in the Mississippi delta of the deep south. In this small region, music such as the blues, jazz, cajun, creole, zydeco, folk and gospel were born. Personally, I have re-connected and dove into the past again in the wake of the recent hurricanes, to grab the roots of where modern music began. The music world owes an incredible amount of debt to this area that has given so much.

Let us not forget Folk styles, two steps, waltzes, jigs and reels which this accordion can be used for. Webster's definition of folk music is: "traditional and typically anonymous music that is an expression of the life of the people in a community." English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Australian and Canadian traditionals from era 1600-1900 are very important in the fabric of the Folk music world.

Hohner HA-114 One Row Accordion - This instrument is suited for the advanced/intermediate player and comes in the Key of C or D.

What types of music is this accordion used for?
Cajun, Vienna, German, English Country Dance, Morris Dance and Québécois Dance.

The question we get is the obvious one -- what is the difference between these models?  There is a $500 difference for starters and that cost relates to the quality.  Again, the Ariette is geared for the beginner.  Every attribute on the HA-114 is geared for a player that can appreciate Hohner German engineering.  The exterior of these jewels is lovingly designed based on the roots of the diatonic accordion tradition. To achieve this, the traditional “goldbrand” process is used, a complicated technique by which the wood, under pressure and heat, is given the desired structure before final finishing.  The reeds produce a very smooth tonality.  With 4 voices, the HA-114 produces a big sound.

Hohner 2 Row Button Accordions:

Hohner HA-1600 Hohner Corso - This accordion has a very full sound.  Hohner's Corso has a three-voice tremolo and a four-voice bass with one shoulder strap. The Corso is well suited to playing folk, polka and traditional music.  Oddly enough, this model is widely used in Madagascar.  You'll need to contact us for details regarding who and why. Please Note: The Hohner Corso requires a Hohner 12x case, as the size (7.5" deep by 12" high) is the same used on all 3 row Hohner button accordions.

Hohner HA-1622 Double Ray -  Is a beautiful, modern Irish-style accordion with a classic feel and double brackets for shoulder straps. Beginners should start with the key combination of B/C as the scales are a bit easier to learn.  The C#/D model is also available, however the notes would be the equivalent of mostly black keys on a piano, which is better for Intermediate/Advanced players to grasp.  We carry a great 'Learn to play Irish button accordion' DVD.  Be sure to add a Hohner 10x case to protect this instrument.

Hohner HA-2815 "Pokerwork" - The two-row Hohner 2815 accordion offers a two-voice tremolo tuning and traditional styling. This Vienna-style accordion's genuine wood body is enhanced by real leather hand and bellows straps.  The 2815 is Hohner's loudest 2 reed accordion; the Pokerwork carries well over a dance floor.  What types of music is this accordion suited for?  This accordion is perfect for English Country Dance, Morris Dance, Sea Chantys or American Folk music.  Be sure to add a Hohner 10x case to protect this instrument.

Hohner Morgane - The instrument “Morgane” is highly regarded in the Gaelic and Breton music. Our diatonic accordions are demanded companions spread all over the world in Folk, Cajun, Zydeco, Vallenato, Blues…World Music.  The sound is very dry.  We have a video clip of this accordion.  A Free hardshell case and straps will be included with your purchase.

Hohner Erica - One of the most popular Hohner accordions for years.  The Hohner Erica is a wonderful diatonic accordion for Cumbia, English Country Dance, Morris Dance, Sea Chantys and American Folk Music. Be sure to add a Hohner 10x case to protect this instrument.

Hohner 3 row accordions:

We get the most inquiries on 3 row accordions, which allow for "cross row" playing to really get the accordion to sing.

Spanish Key Combinations translated:

GCF = SOL en espanol

FBbEb = FA en espanol

ADG = LA en espanol

EAD = MI en espanol

BbAbEb = Cinco Letras/BEsAs en espanol

You may need the correct information to make the right choice, so here is some basic information to help:

The Hohner Panther- Made in China.  This model only is made in GCF (SOL en espanol) and only comes in Black.  This model is arguably the best first accordion for the $.  Perfect for the beginner/intermediate player.  Professional musicians also buy this model, because of its quality and playability.  No matter what type of music you play, the key of GCF is the place to start.  Why GCF?  Because the rows in this accordion are the easiest scales to learn.  Just like with a harmonica, you would start with the key of "C", learning the notes of the scale, then likely G, F and the harder keys. Just because the Hohner Panther is Chinese, don't let that hinder your purchase.  The Panther is made to very strict guidelines, with very high standards.  Accordions are fragile!  If not packed right, your accordion could easily get damaged in shipment.  We actually take the time to test and correctly pack every accordion we sell, so that our customers get their accordion right the first time. To protect your Panther please order the Hohner 12X case.
The Hohner Compadre - may be the smartest, most affordable 2nd accordion purchase you can make, if you have started with a GCF, like a Hohner Panther.  ADG and FBbEb models are the most popular keys.  The finish is a matte paint similar to the Panther accordion but comes with an adjustable bass strap, a gig bag and a set of straps. The Hohner Compadre is offered in ADG, GCF, FBbEb and BbEbAb key combinations (Sorry, no EAD).This is a great value and will put a new look on the market especially for the younger players.  Available in a variety of new matte colors and a wide selection of key combinations, the Compadre is the 2 voice model for both entry-level or experienced players.  An economy model with high on performance extras, the Compadre features an adjustable left-hand strap and a radically re-designed wide-open-web grille, allowing for even greater volume along with solid protection.  The Compadre comes with double strap brackets, comfortable padded straps, and an easy to carry, resistant gig-bag. The Compadre is the new standard and affordable alternative in the Hohner economy series, and like its name, is a new friend and compadre to all Hohner accordionists.  Accessories: Gig Bag and Padded Textile Straps - Included with purchase.

Hohner El Rey Del Vallenato - Finally, an economically priced accordion for the Vallenato/Cumbia/Merengue market!  ADG, GCF and BbAbEb (Cinco Letras en espanol) models are the most popular models.  This accordion will keep us in tune with the changing music scene as the demand for an economy three row instrument with three sets of reeds grows. It is finished the same as the Compadre and is offered in the same colors. The key combinations are: ADG, GCF, FBbEb, EAD and BbEbAb. The El Rey comes with a gig bag, shoulder straps and also has an adjustable bass strap. El Rey Del Vallenato is available in a wide variety of matte colors and key combinations. You'll hear even more of that famous Hohner sound booming from its newly designed wide open web-grille. El Rey del Vallenato features a handy adjustable bass strap , comfortably padded shoulder straps and a light , durable, protective gig-bag.

The Corona II - Made in China.  This model is made in GCF (SOL en espanol) and FBbEb (FA en espanol) and only comes in Red Pearl.  This model has sharper reeds and is geared for the beginner/intermediate player.  We sell these to beginning Tejano/Conjunto/Norteno players and is also very popular in Canada and UK for quality and price.  An intermediate player already that has a GCF accordion will find the Corona II in FBbEb an ideal, affordable 2nd purchase.  You can gig with confidence using the Corona II.

The Corona II Classic - Made in Germany.  12 colors to choose from.  4 key combinations- GCF (SOL),  FBbEb (FA), EAD (ME), ADG (LA).  Great for Polka, Vienna, Newfoundland, Quebecois, Tex-Mex, Rock, Blues, Country, Folk and so much more.  Why 4 key combinations? In Tex-Mex for example, each key combination usually represents a "set" when playing live music, where the band will play songs in the corresponding key to accomodate the accordion player.  Great Tex-Mex bands for example may play one set of music in each of the 4 keys.  Very good players can use one accordion for different key combinations, ADG (LA) for instance- These players are advanced/recording artist ability and are true Musicians- Ramon Ayala is a good example of this virtuosity.  The Corona II Classic is truly a professional model, ideal for playing gigs or for any player who can hear the difference of a finely manufactured accordion.  Beginners- If you start with this model, you are making a decent investment and you should take your playing and practice very seriously.  This is the only accordion you will need (aside from other key combinations).  Intermediates- You probably started with a Panther or Corona II in GCF (SOL).  Your ideal choice is to either buy a Corona II in FBbEb (FA) or take the plunge with this model if you can afford/justify it.  The $400-$500 difference in price between the Corona II and the Corona II Classic represents the quality of each product - The Corona II Classic features include a wooden keyboard, improved bellows, finely tuned reeds for excellent tonality and projection of sound, gig bag and straps with purchase and German engineering.

Corona III - This accordion is specifically used for Vallenato, Cumbia and Merengue music.  You will find the Corona III Accordion costs twice as much as they El Rey Del Vallenato.  The difference in cost is due to the Corona III being a professional instrument, with an upgraded keyboard, improved reeds for better tonality and the highest quality craftsmanship.  If your intention is to record and gig, I recommend the Corona III.  The Red Corona III is Made in China.

Corona III Xtreme:  The new Corona III Xtreme is Made in Germany.

The Corona IIIV (V for Vallenato) is musette, the IIIN (N for Norteno) has tremolo and a bassoon set. The overall quality is upgraded from a Corona classic. The action is similar but features felt guides, the bass strap is plush with an adjustable tension wheel. For the moment the reeds are the same reed type found in the Classics. These accordions are made in Germany like the classics. They all come with a gig bag and plush straps.


Specs:  Corona II Xtreme 34/12-2/*-3**/0 (MM)

Corona IIIV Xtreme 34/12-3/*-5/0 (MMM)

Corona IIIN Xtreme 34/12-3/*-5/0 (LMM)


* The Corona II Xtreme has the same bass reed setup as the normal Corona II, however both the Corona IIIV & IIIN have a special bass reed setup like the Hohner Corso, where the bass button also utilizes two reeds from the harmony set, as well as having 4 note chords (2 roots) instead of the 3 note chord found on the Corona II Xtreme and Classics.

** 2 Dupes

Hohner Piano Accordions

SIZE DOES MATTER
Accordions are sized according to the number of bass buttons, 12 bass, 48 bass 72 bass and 120 bass being the most common sizes. Other sizes are available but they all still follow the same pattern of bass buttons.

BASS BUTTON LAYOUT
Each vertical row usually has 6 buttons laid out thus: (from top to bottom) Bass/tonic of chord, major, minor, seventh, diminished and a counter bass button which is a third above the tonic. This enables bass runs and tunes to be played without the chords. 

48 BASS
A 48 bass, for example, would have 8 rows each containing this pattern of chords and notes: Eb, Bb F, C, G, D, A and E. This is a perfect size to learn on, having 2 octaves on the keyboard side, and 8 rows in the bass, which gives you a decent range to begin with and is not too over facing when starting out.

72 & 120 BASS
A 72 bass provides all the sharp and flat keys in the bass and is fully chromatic with a slightly longer keyboard. Classical players will go to a 120 bass if they possibly can
because of the longer 41 key keyboard, which particularly suits piano players, and repetition of some chords at the bass end which offers greater versatility. But, this large instrument is often rejected by “folky” players partly because of its lack of portability — also because there aren’t many folk tunes that require such an extensive range!

WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
One problem that accordion players often have, particularly later in life, is that a 72 bass model or larger, which offers a good range, is very large and heavy, and many players find themselves moving to a 48 bass so that they can continue to play without sustaining injury, or perhaps worse, gradually falling over forwards mid-tune!

REDUCING STRAIN
There are some precautions players can take to increase comfort and reduce strain. It is important to sit correctly and have the straps adjusted to suit you, and it’s worth having a lesson or two to make sure you are getting this right. A backstrap, which pulls the shoulder straps together at the back, can take some of the strain off your neck and back.

CHOOSING A HOHNER PIANO ACCORDION
The Piano Accordion tends to suit beginners who can already read music or play the piano, as the instrument is very logically laid out, and of course has a familiar keyboard.

HOW MANY BASSES?
The size of the instrument is usually denoted by the number of basses. These basses are arranged in rows of 6 buttons for each key: counter bass, bass, then major chord, minor, seventh, and diminished.

A 120 bass with 41 treble keys is the full size model, and the bass end offers a chromatic scale, and all the chords, arranged in 6 rows of 20.

An 80 bass has 5 rows of 16 (omitting the diminished row), and a 37 note
keyboard.

A 72 bass has a 34 note keyboard, but retains the 6 row bass.

The most popular size, and ideal for beginners, is the 48 bass, usually with 6 rows of 8, allowing accompaniment in the keys of Bb, F, C, G, D, & A. The treble keyboard on the 48, 32, and 12 bass models usually has 26 keys, enough for most tunes, but limiting for a pianist.

TUNINGS AND OTHER FACTORS
Many players have to compromise between portability and range of notes. 48 and 72 bass are the best options for most folk musicians, but you only get the full range of notes, and variety of sound from the registers on a full size 120 bass.  Most 2 voice Accordions are tuned with a moderate amount of tremolo, 3 voice have the low octave as well, and musette models have three sets of reeds tuned quite far apart in a strong tremolo, plus a low octave set.

WHAT’S A TONE CHAMBER?
Also called a “cassotto,” a tone chamber is a second long wood or aluminum box inside the accordion. One or two of the reed banks are mounted inside (usually the clarinet or middle octave reeds and/or the bassoon or low reeds). The chamber takes the metallic reedy edge off the sound. Sometimes in case of the “clarinet” reeds (that often come as a pair of reed banks on larger instruments), one bank will be in the chamber and one outside so that the player has a choice. Tone chambers add to the weight and expense of an accordion.

WHAT IS A “FREE BASS” PIANO ACCORDION?
Most accordions have buttons on the bass side that play pre-set chords. On a “free bass” instrument the buttons only play individual notes — the chords must be constructed like on a piano. This gives the player freedom to do chord inversions or come up with more variety of chords than can be gotten otherwise. It also allows playing of melodies in the bass. A few accordions are free bass only. Others allow for switching back and forth between free bass and standard pre-set chords.

WHAT IS “WET TUNING?”
When one bank of reeds of the same octave is tuned slightly off from another, a beat or fluctuation of sound results. This gives a distinctive character to the sound and is frequently used in certain folk music. The “wetter” the tuning, the more pronounced the beating. Sometimes three reed banks are used: one stays at pitch, one is
tuned slightly higher, the other slightly lower. The result is sometimes referred to as “continental musette” or “true musette.” Many older Italian accordions have a very slight de-tuning of one reed bank, creating a subtle chorus effect. Larger instruments with multiple register switches will give the player a choice whether to play
“wet” or “dry.”

My intention of providing this information is to help you make an informed decision when purchasing, considering your playing level and budget.  I look forward to speaking with anyone who has any further questions. 

If you'd like any more information, please check out our official hohner buying guide (PDF download).

Thanks,

Matt Kerwin
Music For All
616-863-8927

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