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  • amplifying an accordion

    I am in a band with an accordion player. We're having a terrible time getting the accordion up to a good volume relative to the drums and electric guitar. Our drummer is not very loud - at practice I can almost hear myself sing without a PA (we do use a PA though). I can make my guitar amp as loud or as quiet as needed.

    The accordion has a built-in miking system with a 1/4" line-level output. It is terribly prone to feedback. I'm looking for a reliable way to amplify the accordion without feedback. Traditional close-miking is not really an option because we move around a whole lot.

    Is there a clip-on mic or pickup (or anything else) anyone can recommend that would work for this job? I have no problem with running the accordion into an amp or a PA - I just don't want the obscene amount of feedback that we've been trying to work around.

  • #2
    Have you tried cutting the offending feedback frequency(s) with an equalizer? You could try a 31 band graphic or a parametric equalizer.
    There is also a Baggs acoustic guitar preamp that has a tunable notch filter that might help.

    Then again, this could a sign that you shouldn't try to amplify this particular instrument.......
    I'm backed by the shack of a soul boss most turnin' stormin' sound o'soul

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ear Abuser
      Have you tried cutting the offending feedback frequency(s) with an equalizer? You could try a 31 band graphic or a parametric equalizer.
      There is also a Baggs acoustic guitar preamp that has a tunable notch filter that might help.

      Then again, this could a sign that you shouldn't try to amplify this particular instrument.......


      I like the idea of an EQ. Does anybody know anything about so-called Feedback Eliminators? Behringer makes a cheap one, and I hope that if I treat it very delicately it might last a year or two....

      The accordion was invented and perfected well before the amplifier, but so was the acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar is prone to feedback as well, but there have been huge improvements in the way of reinforcing its sound for live rock music. I am looking for something comparable for an instrument that is not quite as popular.

      Incidentally, I think the max I could spend is about $250 - $300, hopefully a whole lot less.

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      • #4
        A couple quick and random thoughts here....

        This 1/4 output - what kind of cable have you been using? A guitar cable (unbalanced)? You might want to try a balanced, TRS cable, which may or may not reduce the feedback.

        If the 1/4" jack is unbalanced and is meant for a regular guitar cable - The Baggs Pre-amp is an excellent idea. Stomp box style unit that is used on acoustic instruments all the time. Has parametric EQ, feedback/notch filters and a separate gain and volume structure as well as a D.I. to run a balanced mic cable to the PA. I'd bet this would fix you right up...
        Main Guitars: ES339, '73 Tele Deluxe, '73 Guild Bluesbird, '74 Guild S-100C, Heritage H140, G&L ASAT, Rick 330-12, SG Classic, Martin D-1R, Carvin C980

        Amps: bassmen heads (BF'65 & SF '67), '68 Champ, '69 VibroChamp, '72 SF NM Super Reverb, '73 Deluxe Reverb, '72 Bandmaster Reverb, Mesa Boogie Studio 22+, Winfield Cyclone head, Traynor YGM-3 & YGM-4, misc. cabs

        FX: Fender Reverb Unit, Keeley BD-2, Fulltone Fulldrive 2, Dano Fish N' Chips EQ, SD-1, L.R. Baggs PADI

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Singin' Dave
          A couple quick and random thoughts here....

          This 1/4 output - what kind of cable have you been using? A guitar cable (unbalanced)? You might want to try a balanced, TRS cable, which may or may not reduce the feedback.


          Will make no differece in feedback.

          Micing a reed body is difficult since the reeds will vibrate when they pickup sound from monitors as well. Also, the cavity will tend to resonate and cause feedback when excited by sound from outside the instrument.

          Was this a factory installed pick-up system or somebody's home-grown attempt?
          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

          Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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          • #6
            This is a professionally installed job. The sound quality is great but the issues you mentioned are the big ones.

            the reeds will vibrate when they pickup sound from monitors as well. Also, the cavity will tend to resonate and cause feedback when excited by sound from outside the instrument.


            Would a lavalier mic or a mini PZM mic, if such a thing exists, be a good choice? i know nothing about their feedback sensitivity since i've only used them in video and studio situations. what about something like this?

            Would it be better or worse to send the output to more sources? We could DI it to the PA and run parallel into a bass amp for stage volume...

            So far I'm leaning towards the EQ or feedback squasher idea. afaik, the output on the accordion is unbalanced @ -10 db, with a volume knob. It worked well at a club when we DI'd it to the PA for FoH, but the monitors were causing the same feedback problem.

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            • #7
              The accordion was invented and perfected well before the amplifier, but so was the acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar is prone to feedback as well, but there have been huge improvements in the way of reinforcing its sound for live rock music


              Where I come from, they have been amplifying accordians since the early 60's. Every wedding reception had a guy playing an accordian through some kind of amp.

              You might also try and find the oldest music store in town and ask around for someone who does accordian repairs. They may have some ideas as to a better mic/pick-up arrangement.
              I'm backed by the shack of a soul boss most turnin' stormin' sound o'soul

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ear Abuser
                Where I come from, they have been amplifying accordians since the early 60's. Every wedding reception had a guy playing an accordian through some kind of amp.

                You might also try and find the oldest music store in town and ask around for someone who does accordian repairs. They may have some ideas as to a better mic/pick-up arrangement.
                Good advice.
                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just shooting from the hip here... but maybe some kind of clip on mic like you would use for drums would work?
                  http://www.myspace.com/steverobertband
                  Fav. Quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

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                  • #10
                    Didn't a lot of the vintage amplifiers have an accordian input?
                    Here's a modern choice, but probably way over your budget -

                    http://www.musicmagicusa.com/amplifiers.html

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                    • #11
                      convince your accordion player that he needs one of these...

                      http://www.roland.com/products/en/FR-7/

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                      • #12
                        Something like a Beta98 might be a good mic for you, but it still comes back to the source picking up vibrations and reacting with vibrations.... just a thought. Beta 98's clip on and have a supercardioid pattern and good freq response... It's typically used for drums, but with it's very gradual cut in the LF response, you probably wouldn't lose your low end, and it will certainly shimmer the top!! Just a suggestion (others can feel free to shoot this idea out of the sky, I just love the idea of using these mics for other instruments, they really do sound good!)
                        Fender Acoustasonic Tele
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                        1984 Martin Shenandoah
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                        Yamaha RBX 260F Fretless 4
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                        And a cool old Kingston Bass that looks good on my wall....
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by km_mcrc
                          convince your accordion player that he needs one of these...

                          http://www.roland.com/products/en/FR-7/


                          He has told me a few times he wants one of these, but he is in serious debt and ain't getting a damn thing for a long time. And I am not his sugar daddy. :P

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                          • #14
                            Those Italian Amps were cool... they would be good for a lot of things... like me with a harp in a rack and an acoustic guitar maybe.
                            http://www.myspace.com/steverobertband
                            Fav. Quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

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                            • #15
                              Accordians can be a bitch. A clip on close to the open end of the bellows (where the bulk of the sound comes out) works best, and a pair won't be a bad thing. I find the countryman isomax works great, they are very small and can easily be placed close to the source without impeding the player, and they sound great with minimal eq.

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