Old Bandoneons

  • Each single brand of bandoneons has a history. Many instrument makers produced on demand, that is the client explained what he needed and the result was a more or less custom instrument. THe big producers often simply scaled up a work shop and that was the factory. The section Bandoneon related Biographies tells about.

  • Alfred Arnold

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  • The bandoneons exported to South America were distributed by a single retailer. This unique privileged representative could decide about the final consumer price. Since this system made the instruments more expensive, Alfred Arnold created new brands for his bandoneons. This way he could bypass exclusive distribution treaties made with the importers, and deliver the new brands to competing importers.

    The main importer in turn reacted by numbering each sold instrument and engraving it visible from the outside. This number suggested to be a serial number being at the same time the proof of the original instrument. Not numbered bandoneons were then considered not original being less considered. On the second hand market false numbers were then common. However with some routine they may well be recognized

    Inside the instrument you'll find in most cases a hand written numbers, later they where stamped. These numbers again are not real serial numbers. They were used during production to keep parts of one instrument together. You may find them on reed boards or on the bellow frame. The bass side with a B prefix, the treble a D (Diskant) In fact, the numbers were not current. They are not related to any production year or about the number of produced instruments. Many instruments were exported as kits to be assembled at destiny, a way to circumvent the high taxes applied to ready-to-use bandoneons.

  • Alfred Arnold 130 voice dual Reed double action

    Alfred Arnold Louis XV

  • Alfred Arnold, 142-voice, model Louis XV # 80210
    Bandoneons are expensive today and were also in the past. For some musicians buying a bandoneon was scarifying many month earnings and were lucky to gather one of the cheaper plain versions without any decoration. On the other side the rich owned bandoneons as a piece of art or for representation. Often they even did never play them. There was a market for the as expensive as possible. versions.

    The instruments were basically identical, except the cabinet. Molded head covers look like French baroque furnitures. and are nick named Louis XV in South America. They added a rich mother-of-pearl decoration and used the far more expensive aluminum reed boards.
    The model is seldom and collectors are market.

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