Diatonic Accordion in G/C
Jean Princivalle, Comté de Nice, France

The diatonic accordion was developed in Germany in the mid-19th century, taking on its modern form around the turn of the twentieth century. The early instruments had only one row of buttons on the right hand side, and two bass buttons on the left. By the 1900s instruments with more than one row of treble buttons appeared, giving access to a wider range of keys, and the bass accompaniment was also expanded by the addition of more buttons.


By the 1920s, instruments with up to five rows on the treble side and a piano-accordion style bass system had appeared. Early diatonic accordions were fragile, with brass reeds which went out of tune easily and a mechanism prone to breaking. They were however quite cheap, which led to huge numbers being produced in Germany and Italy, and sold around the world. Today, however, diatonic accordions profit well from modern manufacturing techniques and the demand for quality instruments.

I was fortunate enough to assist in the final assembly of this 2-row diatonic accordion in G/C (which means you can play in G, C and Am). I happened to be on leave in France for a month in 1989 and witnessed the birth of one of my favourite instrument in Jean's dusty workshop up in Coaraze. He had decided to name his line of accordions “Jorgina”, that's why there's a J on the right side box.

Serge Laîné

Links: Diatonic Accordions


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