Buying an accordion

Jr. Martin Accordions

Larry Miller Bon Tee Accordions


Buying a Cajun accordion

The best boxes I’ve seen come from (no surprise here) Louisiana.  There is a vast disparity of prices of Cajun boxes on the open market. 

Take it from someone who’s purchased many accordions, some excellent, some pitiful; if you’re going to purchase an accordion, you’ll likely get what you pay for.

At the time of this writing (Apr. 2003) I'd expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 for a good Cajun accordion, case, and pickup if desired.

Expect to pay more for a new piano accordion.

Some of the “rising sun” brands have attractive price tags, but are not really sea worthy.

If you look around on , you’ll see quite a difference in the prices that the various brands command.  These price differences are not just marketing hype.

Another lesson I’ve learned:  Time and time again, I’ve purchased a “bargain” instrument, just to have to purchase what I really should have bought in the first place, and get rid of the bargain!  (Usually at a loss!)

Also, look out for “valuable antiques”.  There ain’t no such thing!  I mean, yes .. You can locate a relic that might be interesting to display on your mantle top, but if you really want to perform reliably with a box, my adage is: newer is generally better.

If you do buy used, it’s a good idea to have a qualified accordion tech check over the instrument, at least until you know what to look for.

Avoid musty smelling “basement bellows” that are leaking & cracked.  If you can look inside, the reeds should be shiny, not rusty!

Accordion manufacturing materials have vastly improved over time.  There are excellent button box makers in Louisiana; Marc Savoy, Junior Martin, Bon Tee, etc.  For piano accordions, check out Baldoni.

Button boxes are available in a variety of tunings, or, “Keys”.  This is very similar to buying a harmonica or mouth-harp.

The most popular key is “C”.  All the training materials that I’ve ever seen use a “C” box, so it would behoove you purchase an instrument in this key.

(My very first Cajun box was really an Irish accordion in the key of “B”.  Friends, don’t make this mistake for learning Cajun music!)

Baldoni Accordions


Mark Savoy Accordions