Digital accordions, are they worth the investment?

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digital accordions

A brief history of the digital accordion

The classic accordion, comprised of mechanical parts, has been a beloved musical instrument for over a hundred years. Still, with the advent of technology, electronic versions of the traditional instrument have become increasingly popular.

Not only do digital instruments offer more sound options, but they also help beginners learn and practice more efficiently. Read on to learn all about electronic accordions and their available brands.

What is an electronic accordion?

An electronic accordion, also known as the digital accordion, combines a traditional accordion with modern technology. It includes a keyboard similar to an electric piano and MIDI-compatible buttons that produce sounds from an internal speaker or amplifier.

These instruments are often used in both classical and pop music genres. Some models may even be equipped with additional features like drum pads or built-in effects processors.

With the advent of electronic musical instruments (primarily keyboards) and synthesized music in the early ‘80s, classical accordions were almost shunned by the onslaught of electronic keyboards and electronic music.

That did not stop creative minds like IkutaroKakehashi, the founder of Roland Musical Instruments corporation in Japan, from teaming up with the best accordion makers in Italy and producing a world-class digital accordion. This was the birth of Roland’s world-famous V accordion. (V-for virtual) which revolutionized the world of accordions.

Traditional vs electronic accordions

The main difference between traditional accordions and electronic versions is that digital instruments are much more user-friendly than acoustic ones. For instance, they usually come preloaded with automatic accompaniment functions such as rhythm patterns or chord progressions which can help beginners get up and play quickly without having to learn complex theory or technique first.

Additionally, many electronic models are lightweight, making them easy to transport or store away when not in use. Finally, the sound quality of these instruments tends to be much higher than what you would find on an acoustic model due to improved sound engineering technology and greater control over individual parameters like volume or reverb level.

Versatility and advantages of Digital (MIDI) Accordions

Thanks to the brilliant ideas of Roland’s engineers, accordion parts retained their functions. Air pumped by the bellows would activate electronic pressure sensors instead of the free reeds.

For many reasons, these new “virtual accordions” are becoming increasingly popular amongst pros and beginner accordionists. Here we will list some of the advantages of digital accordions.

Video courtesy of Breezy Bellows
  • MIDI Accordions can be easily connected to studio equipment for sound and file sharing.
  • Digital accordions can be tuned and configured to play a variety of bass systems. A MIDI accordion can easily emulate the sounds of a Russian Bayan or a French musette and the sounds of a violin or saxophone. Digital (MIDI) or V-accordions can act as a one-man band on a new level.
  • Digital accordions are great for practicing because they enable students to plug in a set of headphones and practice without disturbing anyone.
  • There is no need for frequent tunning of the reeds or maintenance. They are also lightweight and often relatively compact.
  • Digital accordions allow you to upload digital music files, like beats, chords, bass, etc., directly onto the instrument.

Popular digital accordion brands

Roland

Roland, a pioneer of digital accordions, provides an electronic alternative to traditional acoustic accordions. They are one of the most popular electronic accordion models on the market due to their ease of use and impressive sound quality.

Roland electronic accordions feature intuitive controls with realistic sound sets, allowing musicians to create rich and dynamic sounds that can be enjoyed in any setting. From professional performers to casual players, understanding the features of Roland electronic accordions will help you find the right level of performance for your needs.

Whether you’re looking for a classic folk music feel or need cutting-edge processing capabilities, there’s an electronic Roland accordion just for you.

Roland FR-1X Premium V-Accordion Lite 

V-Accordions have revolutionized the music world, and Roland has dedicated itself to the ongoing development of these fantastic instruments. The FR-1x series is the newest addition to the famous V-Accordion family. These compact, lightweight models offer the same flexibility and portability as their famous FR-1 predecessors but add significant features, including USB functionality and advanced bellows-pressure circuitry. 

  • 26 Piano Keys and 72 Bass buttons
  • Lightweight and suitable for any skill level
  • Full-range high-quality speakers on board in the bass reflex box: 7 W x 2
  • USB memory port for Wave/MP3 player, new-sounds upload, data loading/saving
  • 16 Accordion Sets, 16 Orchestral sounds, four Virtual Tone Wheel presets, eight User Programs
Video courtesy of Dale Mathis

Bugari Evo

A perfect blend of delicate Italian craftsmanship and high-tech digital sound by Roland, Bugari’s electronic accordion is truly a game changer in the world of accordions. Born in the Italian town of Castelfidardo, known for the superb craftsmanship of accordions, these midi/electronic accordions offer a unique sound and superb craftsmanship not found anywhere else.

Bugari Evo (Bugari’s digital division)accordions are exquisitely crafted, powerful, and precise instruments. Sensitive touch response systems accurately reproduce all of the subtleties in the player’s expression.

At the same time, optional external pedals allow individual control over all aspects of the accordion’s sound setting, allowing users to customize their electronic instrument and create unique personalities depending on their style and preferences.

The popularity of Bugari Evo accordions is growing fast. These superb musical instruments are used in all music genres, from folk and rock to solo classical and orchestral performances.

Whether a beginner or an experienced musician, Bugari Evo accordions will provide you with all the sounds, you need to let your music shine. Two popular models of these accordions are HARIA P41 and HARIA B55.

Bosnian accordionist playing a traditional folk song on a digital Bugari Evo Haria P41 accordion.

Some final words

Whatever your skill level—from beginner to professional—there are plenty of excellent brands when purchasing an electronic accordion for yourself or someone else! From Roland’s V-Accordion line to Suzuki’s EAD series, numerous options are available depending on your budget and needs.

Electronic (digital or midi) accordions offer enhanced sound quality compared to traditional versions while making learning easier for new players thanks to additional features such as automated accompaniment functions. If you’re looking for a versatile instrument that looks great and sounds even better than its acoustic counterparts, look no further than the world of digital accordions!

9 responses to “Digital accordions, are they worth the investment?”

  1. Harry Promm Avatar
    Harry Promm

    I play a Paolo Soprani diatonic button accordion and I am interested to switch
    to a chromativ digital or electronic version. The question is what is the cost of one these units and what is easier to switch to – piano keys or buttons. Please contact me either by e-mail or phone (613 9612616)
    thanks, Harry Promm
    heinzpromm@mail.com

    1. admin Avatar

      Hi Harry, I am sorry for the delayed response. I have a friend in Germany (a Bosnian accordionist) who owns several digital accordions. Let me ask him for his expert opinion. I will let you know. Blessings!

  2. stanley oropesa Avatar
    stanley oropesa

    I’ve had nothing but trouble with my Roland 8x model…bellow leakage from both sides, a power switch that wouldn’t turn off for a week and froze all accordion functions, and some bass notes that went silent. To get a repair, one has to ship it to the L A office…a major hassle to say the least.

    1. Dino Rossi Avatar

      Really? Wow, I am sorry to hear that. I will have to look into this. Is this your first accordion? Have you played acoustic accordions in the past?

    2. Dino Rossi Avatar

      Stanley, you mentioned that you’ve shipped your digital Roland accordion to Los Angeles office? We are in Los Angeles. I am curious what service center will they use. I hope it turns out fine.

  3. tom torriglia Avatar

    nice article. I may quote from it for a term paper I am writing.

    1. Dino Rossi Avatar

      Sure. Feel free to quote it.

  4. Susan Avatar
    Susan

    I had a bad experience with my first Roland, too. Had the accordion approximately 2 months and the bellows ripped right off the accordion. Distributor returned it and it took 8 months to only find out that they were replacing the accordion. Major hassle. It never “felt” like and accordion…bellows, key responsiveness etc. I sold it.

    1. Dino Rossi Avatar

      I am sorry for your bad experience Susan. I do not own any Roland accordions at the moment but I do play on them here and there. Their popularity grew exponentially in Central Europe over the last 5 years.

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