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Q: Cordovox accordion ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Cordovox accordion
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: luigi1-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 04 Jul 2002 05:18 PDT
Expires: 03 Aug 2002 05:18 PDT
Question ID: 36468
whereis or was the cordovox accordion made and where can one obtain
information about the history etc?
Subject: Re: Cordovox accordion
Answered By: lot-ga on 04 Jul 2002 08:05 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello luigi1-ga,

The Cordovox name was owned by Chicago Musical Instruments, or CMI, so
Cordovox has it roots in Chicago, unfortunately is not available new
today. However there are a few still available used, though most of
them have been upgraded to MIDI or have been modified in someway.

“They were owned by Chicago Music. The president of the company was
named Berlin. His son-in-law
Bill Lehman was the compant rep on the East coast. He brought the
first chordovox to my studio I
believe in 1961 or 62. It was a demonstrator and the only was used to
take orders. I "coerced"
him to leave it and I was told that I was the first one to have a
Chordovox. Even though it was
"developed"  by  Lowery/Chicago Music (owned Lowery) the innovator was
a person named Kurt. From
what I understand he was "shafted" by CMI. He then went to Bell
accordion and developed the
Duovox. It was better than the Chordovox, simply because it had a
better accordion. IMHO

Ralph Stricker”

author: Ralph Stricker

“...The entire set-up came in a number of models over the years, but
always consisted of;
==A) an accordian which
incuded electronic key contacts and control switching, along with
acoustic mic elements,
==B) a generator which is in essence an organ generator and amplifier
==C) a speaker cabinet, and 
==D) a swell pedal and assorted (large) umbilical cables.”

Very popular with Polka band players.  In later years the generator
and speaker were in the same cabinet after they went to solid-state.
M.Matterson Newsgroups: alt.guitar.amps Date: 1996/10/19 


The Cordovox appears to have made it’s mark in history but wasn’t a
big success.
“The cordovox never really caught on. It's haunting sound was soon
supplanted by Bob Moog's invention, the Moog. This infinitely hipper
instrument didn't require the musician to squeeze it, caper about, or
wink, as every accordion player I've ever had the misfortune to see
has done. “

“Another crisis, however, was looming on the horizon. This time it was
not connected to economic or war factors. Musical tastes changed
forever during the 1960s. A more rhythmic style of music began to
replace the older melodic style. Elvis Presley followed by the Beatles
and the Rolling Stones become the new idols for the modern youth.
Several entrepreneurs of the Marche region managed, during these
years, to adapt their factories to the production of modern, more
fashionable musical instruments such as electric guitars and
keyboards. Unfortunately a large number of small family run businesses
took the brunt of the crisis. Between 1960 and 1963 seventeen closures
took place. It was therefore inevitable that attempts had to be made
to incorporate new technology to the accordion.
In 1962, a Farfisa technical team led by Gianfelice Fugazza, with the
collaboration of the accordion virtuoso Gervasio Marcosignori put the
first transistors into the accordion. The outcome was the "Cordovox",
an instrument with plenty of potential, not out of place with the
modern music of the day. But to promote the accordion as a modern
musical instrument, the industry would have needed a different
strategy. A list of factors impeded the accordion becoming a
fashionable instrument; in those years, the entrepreneurs were often
divided over how best to promote the accordion, inspirational
accordion players never became role models as the artists were often
more interested in demonstrating the instrument than being concerned
with musical integrity. Furthermore very little attention was paid to
the arrival of the television as an important vehicle to promote the
instrument, while music schools were still anchored to old teaching
author: Director, International Museum of Accordion Castelfidardo


.”As the technology of synthesised sound is changing so quickly,
electronic instruments rapidly become obsolete. However, a MIDI
accordion can always upgrade to the latest in sound technology without
having to change the accordion itself. This is because you only need
to update the MIDI sound generator (the 'slave'), not the MIDI
accordion (the 'controller'). This is a huge advantage over the older
electronic (cordovox style) accordions, where the whole instrument
needed upgrading and the old accordion devalued. “
Mike Timoney was one artist who used the Cordovox to great effect
while it was in fashion and had an album titled “The Astonishing Sound
of the Cordovox”

“In 1971 this must have been quite a novelty. The cordovox was some
sort of electronic accordion. But, today, its three-and-a-half octave
keyboard has departed to the same obscure resting place as the
mellotron and the ondes-martenot. Mike Timoney was a child prodigy on
the squeezebox. Born in Manchester in 1944, by 1958 he'd won the All
Britain Junior Accordion Championship and at the age of 18 he was
leading his own quartet on the luxury liner Queen Mary. The '70s found
Mike slogging it out on the Northern club circuit. Where is he now? A
search of the internet has drawn a blank.
The choice of tunes on this LP is eclectic but familiar. André Popp's
Love Is Blue nestles alongside Stranger On The Shore and Ronnie
Binge's Elizabethan Serenade. I'd guess the synthesizer soon put paid
to the cordovox. Big Cheese Rating: 5/10”


“Cordovox accordions (CG-2 through CG-7 series, can't say for sure
about models after the CG-6/7) were made by Scandalli. Organ section
was by 'Lowrey'. US distributor was CMI (Chicago Musical Instruments
at that time, which became Norlin Industries). Bell manufactured a
'Cordovox'-like instrument but it was called the 'Duovox'. Good luck
getting any Cordovox parts, especially for the CG-6/7 and prior
CG-6/7 went into manufacture during 1972 and began export to the US
during 1973; 1974 for Canada - they had trouble getting CSA (Canadian
Standards Association - electrical) approval. The CG-6/7 went out of
production in 1975, I believe, and the entire 'Cordovox' company went
down in the late 70s or early 80s. Although many of the solid state
components are replaceable with substitutions, there is no
substitution for that massive 120 wire cable (made by Bell telephone)
which has been
unavailable for years and years. (Hint: if you have a cable problem
involving broken wires, many of the 120 wires found in the cable are
unused - see schematic). The 'Leslie' tone cabinets (models CL-10 and
CL-20) were made by Leslie and, with the exception of the name plate
and some cosmetics”
author: Ray Vaughan 

1 - well... you know the Cordovox accordions are only
3 reed right hand units, which severely limits
the potential useability of the instrument... even if you have two,
and swap the piccolo with a second clarinette reed-block for different
gigs/seasons (as I used to do)

if a MIDI accordion is gonna be your main instrument,
then considering anything less than a 4 reed
is gonna put you at a severe disadvantage...

2 - the c-vox boxes have plastic keys... they do not
age well, many show pebbling from sweat and
acid, they are not standing the test of time

3 - Cheap reeds in most of them... only the
ones marked "hand made reeds" on the back
with the tone chamber really cut it, and those reeds
weren't that great either. Show me a c-vox that has
held it's tuning well over the years.

4 - the boxes are overweight, and you will never
be able to get rid of the cable connector
and the mile of copper under it.
Even if you remove all possible electronics

exception 1 - some late model c-voxes had an Excelsior
as an option. Chances are you'll never see one of these.

exception 2 - since the key contacts are in place,
an experimenter could more easily do-it-hisself
depending on the type of MIDI kit, as opposed
to a just plain 4/5 recent vintage used box”
author: “venturer”

“First solid state Cordovox units were the CG5 (L-M-H reeds)and 5V/M
(M for musette - L-M-M Reeds) and the CG4 (L-M-H)and 4M (L-M-M). CG5
claimed to have 'better' reeds and tone chamber. Also, the CG5 had
white bass buttons. They both had the emblem 'Super V' on the grille.

The Cordovox system went from a 3-piece unit called the CG2 (L-M-H
only) consisting of accordion, tube tone generator, and tube amplifier
to a 2-piece system (accordion, integrated solid state tone generator
amplifier). Major problem with the CG 4/5 series was the bass output
from the 15" woofer had a tendency to rattle electonic components
loose inside the cabinet leading to assosrted forms of disaster. In
the vibration tended to cause the tuning potentiometers to move,
leading to an internally out-of-tune instrument. Internal heat
build-up was also a problem. The back of the unit was a door that
could be opened for service and some players used the instrument with
that door open to dissipate heat and lessen the vibration effect on
the tuning pots.

The biggest problem, however, was weight. The accordion was heavy and
the generator/amp was ridiculous in both weight and size.

Next, Cordovox went to the CG6 and CG7 series with the accordions
being the same as the CG4 and CG5, but with modifications to the
electronics. In this series, Cordovox elected to return to a 3-piece
(accordion, solid state tone generator, solid state amplifier). This
rectified the problems described above, but with 2 12" speakers in the
amp, the bass reproduction was lacking tonally, especially if you
engaged the 16' bass. The instrument's tuning (electronic) was much
more reliable and the added percussion (harmonic, not drums)
improvements were significant. They upped the amps output to 200 watts
RMS. Now, instead of having one large, heavy box to carry around (as
with the CG4/5) you had 2: the tone generator wasn't that bad, but the
amp was heavy, as evidenced by the fact they put 3 handles on it. They
include some separate outputs to enabling one to patch into another
amp for bass, or into a Leslie combo pre-amp. Cordovox recognised this
amp problem and brought out a preamp/power supply unit that enabled
the user
to plug into any amp.

There are probably other differences that escape my memory. I didn't
bother with these after the CG7.

Remember the advertising that claimed you could play in comfort using
the "Cordovox stool" (drummer's throne)? How about the Cordovox
Leslie(Leslie CL10 and CL20 units made by Leslie for Cordovox and
And how about the covers - they were cheap, eh?

author: “Frank”


Search Strategy:
cordovox, accordion
I hope that provides you with enough information,
kind regards,

Clarification of Answer by lot-ga on 04 Jul 2002 09:56 PDT
Hello luigi1-ga,

from further research I believe they were actually made in Italy, 
but cannot say for sure as I cannot verify that fact 100%.

regards lot-ga
luigi1-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
good information regarding a lost subject.

There are no comments at this time.

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