Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thing of Wonder: My Accordion

Do you know what I'm loving? My accordion. Isn't it beautiful? The black with gold accents, the pearlescent keys.*

It's far from new. But it's new(ish) to me. It belonged to my uncle, a skilled piano player, then somehow wound up in my parents' attic for many years, and now, has finally found its way into my hands.

It needed some love. Some valves on the bass side were stuck, so whenever I drew the bellows, it played the same discordant pair of notes, which is a problem, unless you're into minimalist monotonic drone-song, which I'm not. But I figured out how to open the beast up (which was surprisingly hard to do but worth it, because its inside is even cooler looking than its outside), rooted around, more or less figured out what was broken, and more or less stopped it from being broken. And now it only plays notes when I press the buttons!

So I'm learning accordion. Slowly.** And I love it.

As does Sarah, of course. Because who doesn't love the (constant) accompaniment of (fumbling, poorly played) accordion. Right, babe? Right? Right...?

* By chance, it precisely matches my guitar, which pleases me.

** Did you know you can learn anything on YouTube: accordion lessons, banjo lessons, throat singing lessons. (Hmm. Accordion, banjo, throat singing... Maybe I can find a way to combine those, forming The World's Most Annoying One Man Band.)


  1. Anonymous10:55 PM

    Then read and listen to this, and then get to work, bud. Can't wait to hear the one-man-band version.

    (Now, back to my yearly re-enactment of The Ten Plagues of Egypt. I'm on unhealable boils.)

  2. so cool - where are the pictures of its guts? I'm a little shocked you didn't have an accordion already tho, just seems like something Slimbolala woulda had....

  3. Anonymous2:42 PM

    2 out of 3 ain't bad:

  4. My goodness, two out of three ain't bad at all, though I feel a banjo would really take his performance to the next level.

    As for the world's most annoying song, it is undeniably annoying, but it won't hold an annoyance-candle to my first (s)hit single, "Tibetan Polka Jamboree!". (Good luck with the unhealable boils, by the way.)

    And Lee, I wish I had taken a photo of the inside. The whole left/bass side (all the bijillion little buttons) is a thing of wonder (and splendiferous geekery) even without peeking inside: the circle of fifths running up and down, the sequence of chords along the diagonal (root, major, minor, seventh, diminished). It's a beautiful thing. But the inside is truly mind-boggling, the stunningly complex system of levers required to mechanically translate all those buttons into their corresponding set of tones. I don't know how anyone ever dreamt it up.

  5. Also Lee, I actually used to have a little toy Cajun accordion (your instincts were correct) which I would sometimes noodle arround on, but somebody stole it from our flooded-out house, along with my banjo, bass, drums, and all of our flood-grimed CDs. Grr...

  6. Anonymous12:05 PM

    In the case that the following info is NOT part of your "Splendiferous Geekery" lexicon, I feel it incumbent of me to make sure it gets added...

    There is yet another SLIM, who's an accordion maven, who's got more than a touch of the vaudevillian W.C. Fields:
    SOURDOUGH SLIM...check him out here, here and here. (The Yodeling Cowboy is a wonder to behold.)

    (Note the name SLIM placed vertically and tastefully on his accordion.)

  7. I can see/hear it already. You jamming on the keys with Joe on the Drum Buddy. Infinite possibilites and limitless horizons. This could be the start of something truly big.

  8. My goodness, Sourdough Slim. A splendiferous thing indeed. (I did not know.)

  9. Gorgeous. That's a sweet squeezebox ya got there, Slim.

  10. That is a pretty cool lookin' accordion.

    Bruce, Accordion Noir Radio