BANDONEON Frequently Asked Questions
That's the most frequently asked question. I think Argentina and Uruguay are the
best places to find bandoneons, (Argentinean -"diatonic"- system only se
In France very few old good bandoneons are to be found, mostly "chromatic" system. Post 1945 instruments are frequent and bad
Be careful in Germany because there are many different systems there which do not belong to Tango tradition, have different sound and tuning and nobody knows how to play them.
Prices vary a lot following luck, ignorance, quality, decoration (mother of pearl inlays) and condition of instruments. Among musicians bandoneon are between 2000 and 4000 US$ (4000 is really a maximum for a good old and well tuned instrument in good shape.
(Tuning is expensive and good tuners are extremely rare)
What do Diatonic, Chromatic, Bi-sonor, uni-sonic, Argentinean
People traditionally call diatonic bandoneons which play two different notes with one button, one note when the bellows opens and another note when the bellows closes. They are sometimes called Bi sonic
People traditionally call chromatic bandoneons which play the same note when you open or when you close the bellows. They are sometimes called unisonic.
On a strictly musical point of view all bandoneons are Chromatic, which means that they cam play the twelve notes of the octave.
Diatonic instruments (folk harps, folk flutes ,folk accordions, blues harmonicas etc.) can only play seven notes per octave. Diatonic accordions generally play a different note when you open or close the bellows, therefore the popular musicians called diatonic the bisonic bandoneon. In the popular tradition diatonic means bisonic and this language ambiguity will last forever, we will have to live with it and explain it every time.
Bandoneons that cannot play twelve notes per octave are not bandoneons although they might look pretty much alike, they are German Concertinas.
Most post war instruments, including Arnolds are mediocre.
He builds he bandoneons which are the close to the old Alfred Arnold's.
Totally traditional wooden mechanic and steel reeds on zinc plates.
He builds both Argentinian and Peguri ("chromatic) systems
Krummer Weg 1a
They make exact replicas of old Alfred Arnold bandoneons,including original wood and materials.
They also use the original trade mark AA in agreement with the Arnold family
they build both Argentinian and Peguri ("chromatic) systems
He was the first to rebuild bandoneons in the 80's he is also a bandoneon player
for a more complete list see:
contact other bandoneon enthousiasts and connoisseurs at the
and a french speaking forum at http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/bandoneon-francophone/
more complete informations at Christian's Bandoneon Page by Christian Mensing