I was super excited to be invited to visit accordion factories in Castelfidardo with Chris Lovell who runs The Accordion Shop. I do a lot of tuning, repairs and renovations for Chris and the trip would mean we could buy a stock of spare parts and see some of the working methods in Castelfidardo’s factories.

 Visiting accordion factories in Castelfidardo
Hotel Parco, Castelfidardo

Castelfidardo is a small town (Population 20,000) but is home to half the accordion factories in Italy. Arriving at Hotel Parco I was delighted to see accordions all over the place.

Hotel Parco Room Key
Hotel Parco Room Key

Pasco Italia

Pasco Italia make Paolo Soprani, Moreschi and E. Soprani accordions. I had a great chance to learn some tuning tips from Francisco who was doing the final round of tuning which is done with the reeds installed in the accordion’s body.

Accordion Tuner Francesco
Accordion Tuner Francesco

I had a great chat with Pasco’s boss Giansandro Breccia about wood and reeds and acetate coatings and loads of other stuff. I really can’t thank him enough for answering all my nerdy questions!

Pasco Boss Giansandro and me
Pasco Boss Giansandro and me

We also went for lunch (at Pippo’s).

Lunch at Pippo's
Lunch at Pippo’s

Museum

Yep – if you know about Castelfidardo you probably know there is a museum with the worlds largest playable accordion (and not much else!). I went there and played it (Welsh tune!) and here is the inevitable photo with Chris and Julie Lovell.

Worlds Largest Playable Accordion
Worlds Largest Playable Accordion

Carini’s Accordion Parts

Carini’s is an Aladdin’s cave of accordion parts. You can get everything from the smallest spring to whole mechanisms. A big part of my reason to visit Castelfidardo was to go to Caini’s. I put together a trolley full of stuff: valves, bellows pins (like 10 different kinds!) grill cloth, strap brackets, wax, special glue etc. Having established a relationship and seen the stock I will be able to get what I need in the future. It’s a family business – here are the two sons either side of me and Chris. Luka on the right was very helpful to me so thank you!

Carini's Accordion Parts
Carini’s Accordion Parts

Excelsior & Pigini

Excelsior have been making great accordions since before I was born, I have bought 2 brand new (from The Accordion Shop) and they feature heavily on most of the Pressgang CDs. More recently they were acquired by Pigini and the the model that I bought in the 90’s is still made in their new home alongside the Pigini range.

Excelsior & Pigini Factory
Excelsior & Pigini Factory

The welcoming staff at Excelsior/Pigini showed us round their bright modern factory with a justified sense of pride. Traditional techniques and values seemed to live happily next to modern innovations. Craftspeople and robots were literally working side by side “the robots do the boring jobs”.

Excelsior & Pigini Factory
Excelsior & Pigini Factory

Voci Armoniche Reed Factory

The tour of Voci Armoniche has forever changed the way I look at reeds! The passion that our guide (the manager) had for both the history and the future of accordion reeds was amazing. They make 4 qualities of reed and the top level handmade “A Mano” reeds are a world away from the budget “Tipo C” with different metals, shapes and production techniques. Voci Armoniche supply many top accordion manufacturers including Beltrami who built my 2 custom accordions that I use daily.

Voci Armoniche Reed Types
Voci Armoniche Reed Types

MusicTech MIDI and Microphone Systems

Another of the big reasons for me to visit Castelfidardo was to meet MusicTech. I have already installed one of their microphone systems and have their MIDI and microphone systems in both of my Beltrami accordions. It was great to meet Paolo Miles who did a great demonstration. I had a play on their newest version of MIDI accordion with boss/designer Claudio showing me the best sounds and combinations.

MusicTech Paolo, Me, Claudio and Chris.
MusicTech: Paolo, Me, Claudio and Chris

I would like to thank the other staff for showing me various installation techniques and especially Gary who helped me out with the language.

MusichTech MIDI Accordion
MusichTech MIDI Accordion Bellows Wiring

Shop: Castelfidardo Musica

It’s only a little town but it has a better than average music shop!

Castelfidardo Musica
Castelfidardo Musica

Brandoni, Scandalli and Baffetti

We also went to visit Brandoni and Scandalli and met Baffetti boss Genuino. I had a great time. I’ll leave you with another picture of the hotel.

Hotel Parco Telephones
Hotel Parco Telephones