This is a short question and answer section, as many excellent websites exist with in-depth explanations of all things accordion. Just typing ‘accordion FAQ’ into any search engine will produce a plethora of fascinating web pages. 


  • What is a piano accordion?
    A musical instrument of the aerophone family of free reed instruments, where sound is generated by the movement of air across steel reeds, producing vibrations or sound waves.


  • When was the accordion invented?
    The first free reed instrument was the sheng, a Chinese instrument not dissimilar to pan pipes. The free reed was developed in the nineteenth century in Germany and Italy, and the world centre-of-excellence was established in Castelfidardo (near Ancona on Italy’s Adriatic coast). The most astonishing feature of the modern piano accordion is the Stradella bass system, an extremely complex series of rods and levers in the bass end of the accordion that could lay claim to be the world’s first computer.


  • How does a piano accordion differ from a melodeon?
    Think of the accordion as a vertical piano, and the melodeon as a mouth organ/harmonica. Basically (and note that what follows is the English definition) the accordion plays the same note when pressed, whether the bellows are squeezed or pulled (unisonoric), and the melodeon is diatonic (or bisonoric), producing a different note on the draw than on the push of the bellows. The piano accordion is a far more versatile instrument [well, I would say that, wouldn’t I?! Greg] because it can play in any key, whereas the melodeon is restricted to two or three keys. In Ireland and some other countries, what we refer to as a melodeon is called an accordion, or accordeon. So terminology can be confusing!


  • How long have the Chinese been making accordions? 

    The first recorded ‘free reed’ instrument was the ‘sheng’, in the the 14th century BC, during the Shang Dynasty in China. So, when the piano accordion was introduced into China at the beginning of the 20th century, it was actually something of a homecoming for the most advanced member of the free reed instrument family.


    When Chinese manufacturers copied the Italian and German imported instruments, the piano accordion rapidly became the most popular instrument in China - a position it maintains today.


    Black Diamond Accordions assessed several Chinese accordion manufacturers and approached one of the oldest established companies to produce accordions to our exacting specifications, using the finest Italian reeds for exceptional tone quality. Our factory has been manufacturing accordions since 1952 and employs craftsmen and women who have perfected their craft over many years.


  • What’s so great about Black Diamond Accordions, then?
    "Good question", writes Greg. "I have played many modern and older Chinese accordions, and they differ markedly. The older ones had extremely dated designs, looked ghastly but played well. The ones that sounded bad were frankly let down by their players. The modern ones look a lot better, but many have cheaper, mass-produced reeds and take a lot of air to produce sound and subsequently don’t have fast playing action. Many modern Chinese accordions have bogus Italian-sounding names (anything ending in ‘i’ will do!) but have few reeds, don’t weigh much and don’t deliver a pleasing player experience. Let’s face it, if money was no object, we would all have a brand new Castelfidardo squeezebox every year. But as the old song goes, it’s too tight to mention, so what’s the next best thing? Good Italian reeds, put into a quality frame by a time-served craftsman in China, covered in a modern shell that pleases the western consumer eye. In other words, the best of both worlds, the sound and look of the west, but at the cost of the east."


  • What kind of reeds do you use?  
    We use Cagnoni Durall reeds in our smaller accordions and melodeons, and Cagnoni Durall Extra Tipo A Mano in our 120-bass and Cassotto piano accordions (see table below for details).


  • How come they’re so cheap?
    They’re not, relatively speaking. The same factory produces accordions for the domestic Chinese market at roughly half the price, which use domestic mass-produced reeds. These are top-end accordions, played by professional classical musicians in China who are every bit as demanding as their western counterparts. Our instruments are affordable because there is still a disparity in labour rates between craftsmen in Europe and China. (We have personally visited and inspected the factory which makes our instruments and can testify to the high standard of the working conditions of staff.) 


  • What do they sound like?
    Visit our Audio/Video page to hear four tracks of top world-music accordionist, Sam Pirt, playing a Black Diamond 96 Bass accordion, as well as reviews of our B-system Button Accordion and D/G Melodeon by music teacher, Les Titford. We will be adding to this page with clips of our other instruments soon.
  • How does a button accordion work?
    See Les Titford's Beginners' Guide below:



Cagnoni's specs for the reeds we use. For fuller details go to the Cagnoni website.








Aluminium avional alloy  series 2000  hardness 140÷150 hb

Special steel for harmonic reeds with resistance
= 2000 ± 50 n/mm²

Medium large  quadro


Standard assembling  with bollatura a testa piana

A Mano
Durall Extra

Aluminium avional alloy  series 2000  hardness 140÷150 hb

Special steel for harmonic reeds with resistance
= 2000 ± 50 n/mm²

Medium large  quadro


Standard assembling  with bollatura a testa piana and polishing of the tongue

Terms and Conditions


1. About these Terms and Conditions.

In these terms and conditions 'we' and 'us' mean Black Diamond Accordions, and 'you' means you the customer. In these terms and conditions certain words spelt with initial capital letters are defined terms. For your ease of reference these defined terms are listed together at the end of the terms and conditions. These terms and conditions together with your order confirmation constitute the contract between us and you for the supply of instruments. No other terms and conditions shall apply. The contract cannot be varied unless we agree to vary it in writing or by email.

2. Placing your order

2.1 To place an order you must be 18 years of age or over.

2.2 You may place an order by:

2.2.1 using the Shopping Cart on the Black Diamond Accordions website and following the appropriate checkout procedure;

2.2.2 telephoning us on 0780 1308054; or

2.2.3 emailing us at

2.3 We will not guarantee that orders placed in any way other that those listed above will be fulfilled.

2.4 By placing an order, you make an offer to us to purchase the instruments you have selected on these terms and conditions. We may or may not accept your offer at our discretion.

2.6 If we accept your order, we will notify you of our acceptance by issuing an order confirmation. We will send your order confirmation to you by e-mail provided you have indicated an e-mail address on your order . Otherwise we will send the order confirmation by post. The order confirmation will be effective on sending. If we cannot accept your order we will attempt to contact you by email or telephone or post.

2.7 Whilst we will make every effort to supply you with the instruments listed on the order confirmation, there may be occasions where we are unable to supply these instruments because, for example, such instruments are temporarily out of stock. In such circumstances we will contact you to inform you and may suggest alternative instruments that you might wish to purchase. If you do not accept our suggestions then we will cancel your order in relation to those instruments we cannot supply and repay you any money that you may have paid to us in respect of those instruments. Subject to clause 11.4 below, repayment of such monies will be the extent of our liability to you if we are unable to deliver to you the instruments you have ordered.

2.8 Information contained in our advertising, brochures, other written materials, on our websites or given to you by our agents or employees constitutes an invitation to treat. No such information constitutes an offer by us to supply any instruments.

3. Supply of your instruments

Subject to these terms and conditions, we will supply to you the instruments indicated on your order confirmation.

4. Prices

4.1 The price for the instruments will be the price indicated on your invoice.

4.2 Delivery costs, where applicable, are payable by you as indicated on your invoice.

5. Paying for your instruments

5.1 You may pay for your instruments by any of the methods of payment as may be displayed on the payment paragraphs of the Black Diamond Accordions website from time to time.

5.2 You must pay in the currency as indicated on your Invoice.

5.3 If you are paying by credit card, then you must supply your credit card details when you place your order. Your credit card will be charged when we issue your Invoice or on shipment of your instruments. We will not supply the instruments to you nor perform the Services until your credit card issuer has authorised the use of your card for payment of the instruments and/or Services ordered. If we do not receive such authorisation we shall let you know. Your credit card billing address must be in the mainland United Kingdom, Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man.

5.4 If you are paying by cheque or bank transfer, your instruments will be supplied and instruments despatched after your payment is cleared. If we do not receive payment in cleared funds within 30 days after the date of your order then your order will be cancelled.

5.5 We will send request for payment, your invoice, and instruments to you at the billing address indicated on your order confirmation. We may, however, send the documents by e-mail only where you have indicated an e-mail address on your order .

6. Delivery of your instruments

6.1 Orders will not be accepted and products will not be delivered to any address outside the mainland United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.

6.2 Subject to clause 6.1 we will deliver your instruments to the delivery address as shown on your order.

6.3 We will use our reasonable endeavours to supply your instruments within ten working days of the date of issue of your order confirmation. Estimated delivery times which are given at the time of placing an order are estimates only and do not equate to guaranteed delivery times. If you have ordered several instruments at one time, we may deliver each such instruments on different days.

6.4 Title to and risk of loss in your instruments will pass to you on delivery of the instruments and the instruments shall be delivered accordingly.

6.5 Upon delivery of the instruments to our carrier we will send you a confirmation of shipment by e-mail provided you have indicated an e-mail address on the order .

7. Your right to return the instruments or cancel a contract for services and to receive a refund

7.1 If you are not satisfied with any instrument or the terms of any entitlement to services you have purchased from us, you may return the instrument to us or cancel the entitlement to services and obtain a refund of the price of the returned instrument or Service entitlement if you contact us within 14 calendar days of delivery of the instrument or entering into the contract for the purchase of services. If you choose to return a product the transportation charges set out in paragraph 7.2 will apply.

7.2 You are liable for the costs of returning an instrument.

7.3. If a instrument was supplied in error, is incomplete or faulty and you believe that you are entitled to a replacement or repair in accordance with paragraph 10 below, please telephone us on 0780 1308054 or email us at In the event that you are entitled to a replacement or repair in accordance with paragraph 10 below, the transportation charges will not be applied.

7.4 If you have received the ordered instrument(s) and have simply changed your mind about purchasing them you may return the instrument(s) to us for a refund, provided that you pay the transportation charges; and

7.4.1 You inform us of your decision to cancel the contract within 8 working days of delivery of the instrument; and

7.4.2 The instrument(s) are returned in their original condition and packaging; and

7.4.3 The instrument(s) are returned in accordance with paragraph 7.6 below.

7.5 Please note that while the instrument(s) remain in your possession you are under a duty to ensure that the instrument(s) are kept safe and secure.

7.6 Steps to follow to claim a refund:

7.6.1 Please telephone us on 0780 1308054 or email us at to make us aware that we should expect the return.

7.6.2 Please return the product to: Returns at Black Diamond Accordions, 4 Rushmere Close, West Mersea, Essex, CO5 8QQ.

7.6.3 Before returning any instrument(s) to Black Diamond Accordions please check that you have: Enclosed all accessories, in-box warranties and other material supplied unless informed otherwise. Used all packaging that was originally supplied. Sealed the packaging securely.

7.7 Following these steps will help ensure the instrument(s) arrive at the correct destination and in good condition within a timely fashion. Please note that your failure to follow this procedure may result in the returned instrument(s) being rejected upon receipt and you may forfeit your right to a refund.

7.8 Please note that we reserve the right to reject any instrument(s) that are not returned in accordance with the provisions set out above and particularly within paragraph 7.6.

10. Twelve-month Limited Warranty

10.1 All instruments carry a 12-month limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. We can only honour warranty claims if you can provide proof of purchase. You will bear the cost of telephone calls you make to us.


11. Our liability

11.1 These terms and conditions set out the full extent of our obligations and liabilities in respect of the supply of the instruments.

11.2 Save as set out at paragraph 11.3 below, there are no warranties, conditions or other terms that are binding on us regarding the supply of instruments except as expressly stated in the contract.

11.3 Any warranty, condition or other term arising out of or in connection with the supply of instruments which might otherwise be implied into or incorporated in the contract by statute, common law, laws applicable in the country where you purchased the instruments or otherwise (including without limitation any implied term as to quality, fitness for purpose, reasonable care and skill) is hereby expressly excluded to the maximum extent permitted by law. In particular, we will not be responsible for ensuring that the instruments are suitable for your purposes.

11.4 Nothing in the contract shall limit or exclude our liability (i) for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or (ii) for fraud or (iii) any breach of the obligations implied by applicable compulsory national laws as to title or (iv) any liability which cannot be excluded by law.

11.5 Subject to clause 11.4 we will not be liable under the contract for any loss of income, loss of profits, loss of contracts, loss of data or for any indirect or consequential loss or damage of any kind howsoever arising and whether caused by tort (including negligence), breach of contract or otherwise.

11.6 Subject to clause 11.4 our maximum aggregate liability under the contract whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise shall in no circumstances exceed the amount payable by you to us in respect of the instrument(s) and/or services in question.

11.7 This does not affect your statutory rights as a consumer, nor your right to return the instruments as per clause 7.

12. Contacting Black Diamond Accordions

You can contact us: by telephone on 0780 1308054 between 09:00 and 17:00 Mondays to Fridays; by post at: Black Diamond Accordions, 4 Rushmere Close, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex C05 8QQ; or by e-mail at

14. Data Protection

By placing your order, you agree and understand that we may store, process and use data collected from your order or fax order or telephone order for the purposes of processing your order.

15. Circumstances beyond our reasonable control

We will make every effort to perform our obligations under the contract. However, we cannot be held responsible for delays or failure to perform if such delay or failure is caused by any circumstances beyond our reasonable control. In the event of a delay, we will perform our obligations as soon as reasonably possible.

16. Disagreements governing law and jurisdiction

We will try to solve any disagreements quickly and efficiently. If you are not happy with the way we deal with any disagreement and you want to take court proceedings, you must do so within England or Wales and the laws of England and Wales will apply.

17. General

17.1 Our failure to enforce any term of the contract does not constitute a waiver of such term. Such failure shall in no way will affect our right later to enforce the strict terms of the contract.

17.2 The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of the contract shall not adversely affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining provisions.

18. Defined terms

18.1 In these terms and conditions: 'accessory' means any ancillary item such as straps; 'Black Diamond Accordions website' means our website for customers in the mainland United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, the web address of which is; 'contract' means these terms and conditions together with your order confirmation; 'consumer' means a customer who purchases instruments otherwise than in the course of a business; 'invoice' means the invoice issued by us to you for the price of the instruments and for services; 'order' means an order placed by you in accordance with these terms and conditions; 'order confirmation' means the order confirmation issued by us to you indicating acceptance of your order; 'instrument' means any product listed on the Black Diamond Accordions website which we agree to supply to you on these terms and conditions and may include services; 'return authorisation documentation' means the documentation issued by us to you for the return of instruments; 'territory' means the countries of Ireland and the United Kingdom; 'working day' means any day other than a Saturday, a Sunday or a public holiday in the United Kingdom.