And Here Is Another.

Talk about anything accordion related here
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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by Geronimo » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:48 pm

debra wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:10 pm
Hohner isn't really very interested in accordions any more. They have cheap models made in China and expensive models made by Pigini. Hohner makes many other types of instruments and accessories. I doubt that the "earnings" on accordions are a significant part of Hohner's profits.
It's more like the KHS group makes many other types of instruments that then get labelled with the Hohner brand. I think that was the de facto main mode of operation even before Hohner got into financial trouble and the majority was traded to its outsourced manufacturers, by now the exclusive owners. So its "interest" is what gains value by putting on the "Hohner" brand.

So it's understandable that KHS is more interested in the gains from relabelling products made in Taiwan over those from relabelling products made in Italy. I just don't think they are independent.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:26 pm

Just in the interest of clarity ........... Hohner is no longer a German company. Some people still talk about Hohner having their instruments made in China, as if the original factory has some say over the matter.

The truth, however regrettable it may be, is that Hohner is owned by a Taiwanese Investment Group. (KHS) The Germans have nothing to say or do with quality control, materials, or production values.

The same may now be true with some Italian manufacturers but, until these manufacturers start to be honest with their customers, we can only surmise.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by Geronimo » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:27 pm

Stephen Hawkins wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:26 pm
Just in the interest of clarity ........... Hohner is no longer a German company.
Hohner almost never was a "German company" but publicly traded with owners worldwide. What changed is that first a controlling majority of shares was acquired by the Taiwanese instrument maker KHS in exchange for services rendered and they recently bought up the rest, becoming sole owner and removing Hohner from the stock market.
Some people still talk about Hohner having their instruments made in China, as if the original factory has some say over the matter.

The truth, however regrettable it may be, is that Hohner is owned by a Taiwanese Investment Group. (KHS) The Germans have nothing to say or do with quality control, materials, or production values.
That is as nonsensical as stating that none of the workers of any company have anything to say or do with quality control, materials, or production values. Successful companies make best use of their assets. This does include transferring work and machines to Taiwan under supervision of personnel previously doing production in Germany, a process already started while a lot of the company shares and control was in German hands.

Successful companies don't sacrifice their workers and knowledge without thought of consequence. KHS has been treading pretty lightly. Nevertheless, some skills and knowledge don't transfer all that well.

KHS is, by the way, a large instrument manufacturer (the instruments don't just fall from the trees, you know) and not an investment group. While Hohner is formally owned by HS Investment, this is basically a subsidiary of KHS incorporated in some tax haven (Virgin Islands?). So Hohner is not primarily owned by an investment group but by one the world's largest instrument manufacturers who has created a wholly owned investment group in a tax haven as formal intermediary.

The ugly truth is that the change of ownership was a less fundamental change than the preceding change of manufacturing location that more or less accidentally led to the change of ownership later since KHS did not want to cut themselves off from the "Hohner" themed market for part of their production by letting Hohner go broke and so let themselves be paid in shares instead of money.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by maugein96 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:05 am

The Chinese, being very clever people, only allowed us to borrow their creation of reed blown instruments, and deep down they knew that the more technically advanced nations would ultimately put reeds into such things as "accordions", which sold for a lot of money, That being the case, they decided to remove our entitlement to capitalise on their invention, and began to demonstrate how they could make accordions a whole lot cheaper than western Europeans, who were obsessed with making money, and who were likely to eventually put themselves out of business by charging exorbitant prices in keeping with so-called "Western Capitalist" ideals.

They took stock of the situation and realised that an accordion retailing for 10,000 Euros in western Europe was an unjustified rip-off, so they offered potential customers some half priced options. They never quite got it right, as in China you don't qualify for a 5,000 Euro job unless you can prove you can play it to a professional standard. After it had dawned on them that most western European accordionists were rank amateurs, they decided to offer us accordions for 1000 Euros, as it was their opinion that most of us would never be justified in spending any more, consistent with their perception of our playing abilities.

Whether we agree with that concept or not is really of no consequence, but in respect of other instruments that philosophy is generally sound. Only the top notch players actually "need" top of the range instruments, so why should the accordion be any different?

Regardless of any oriental philosophies it seems that the majority of we accordion players consider ourselves "exceptions to the rule", so we continue to spend exorbitant amounts of money in pursuance of some ideal that baffles our Asian friends.

Here is a reminder of the humble invention which caused thousands of us to take out substantial loans in order to enjoy what we considered to be more sophisticated versions of the same.

Poor guy must be fed up with being asked, "Do you need a light for that thing, or are you going to shoot people with it?"

Enter the sheng, the forerunner of every musical instrument with reeds. Chinese player with no aspirations to be anything else than a street entertainer. Has he got the wrong idea, or have we?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyQZ7sFVb_s

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by Pipemajor » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:32 pm

That's some mouth organ :b

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by maugein96 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:53 pm

Hi Pipemajor,

Yes it sure is. The Chinese must have really big shirt pockets to carry those around.

The "spoof" Chinese theory in my previous post was centred around the fact that we have now reached the stage where the average accordionist has no real clue or guarantee where all or any of the component parts of his/her particular instrument were made or assembled. That being the case, is it maybe now time we just accepted that accordions are being successfully made in various countries, and we can all make whatever choice we wish? Nobody reading the relevant posts on the forum is ever likely to buy a Chinese made accordion in the belief that it was made in Italy.

Come to think of it, I don't recognise the make of that sheng, and I'm starting to wonder if it might be a cheap copy that was made somewhere in Europe.

I'm considering ordering a takeaway, but membership of the forum has made my choice very difficult. I can't make up my mind whether to splash out on an expensive Italian, or save a bit and just get a cheap Chinese. This has been made all the worse by the fact that I've seen the same van (truck) delivering identical looking vegetables to both restaurants!

Sheng fui to you all!

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by debra » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:19 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:53 pm
...
The "spoof" Chinese theory in my previous post was centred around the fact that we have now reached the stage where the average accordionist has no real clue or guarantee where all or any of the component parts of his/her particular instrument were made or assembled. That being the case, is it maybe now time we just accepted that accordions are being successfully made in various countries, and we can all make whatever choice we wish? Nobody reading the relevant posts on the forum is ever likely to buy a Chinese made accordion in the belief that it was made in Italy.
...
Accordion parts and materials have strange origins and follow strange paths. I learned that Celluloid for instance is made in China, then processed in Italy, and even Russian accordion/bayan makers get their Celluloid from Italy and not directly from China. I'm pretty sure that a lot of things like buttons and other small parts are made in China or other cheap-labor countries. Besides the Italian craftsmanship in assembling accordions the Italians also still make the wooden boxes, bellows, reeds and other vital parts. Chinese accordions still lag behind in the quality of reeds and the craftsmanship is also lacking, resulting in mechanics that do not operate as smoothly as good Italian mechanics.

Regarding believing an accordion was made in Italy the Chinese are trying quite hard to make it sound like accordions are Italian. The E.Soprani is just one example of reusing Italian names, and often nice Italian names or words are used to give an Italian impression, think for instance of "Scarlatti" (among many others). The fact that Italian accordions contain many visible parts made in China makes it increasingly harder to optically distinguish Italian from Chinese accordions.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by maugein96 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:22 pm

Paul,

It is a bit of a minefield, as you describe it.

I would be curious to learn who is actually falling for the Chinese tendency to use Italian sounding brand names.

The established Italian manufactured brands are just about household names to anybody who is interested in the accordion, at least in Europe.

If I were a Scottish accordion wholesale agent or retailer, knowingly passing off Chinese made instruments as Italian, I could be prosecuted under our Trading Standards regulations. I might also be liable for prosecution under criminal law for operating a "fraudulent scheme" (known as Pecuniary Advantage by Deception in English Law). However, I would only commit a crime if I were to charge the customer a higher price than the maker's recommended retail price in my country, by deceiving the customer that the accordion had been made in Italy. As usual, no crime would be committed unless I had made a financial gain by an element of fraud. In the event I was charged and decided to plead "not guilty" then the prosecution would need to supply an expert witness to prove that Chinese made accordions were inferior to Italian made ones. I know there may be several takers for that one from members, but I can almost guarantee that faced with that obstacle, the prosecution would simply drop the case. I would seriously doubt whether there are more than a handful of expert witnesses in the world who would be judged competent enough to comment on the quality of accordion manufacture, to a standard sufficient to allow a judge to make a legal decision. Given that any expert witness in such a case would require to have comprehensive knowledge of the materials and manufacturing processes carried out in both Italy and China, the words "needle" and "haystack" spring to mind. The fact that the witness would also have to be fluent in English, means you could maybe make that ten haystacks.

Therefore it appears that any accordion which is known to comprise component parts from more than one country, could justifiably be marketed under any brand name whatsoever. The "maker" who chooses an Italian brand name is doing nothing wrong at all, in the legal sense.

Every new accordion should come with some sort of documentation which will at least confirm the country who exported it. If no such documentation exists and/or you are in any doubt whatsoever, walk away fast!
Last edited by maugein96 on Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:27 pm

Hello Paul,

In a much earlier post on a similar matter, I told the forum that I had seen shipping manifests which clearly showed that celluloid was being shipped from South Korea to Italy, via Vietnam.

My problem, then as now, is that some people continue to cling to the notion that their favourite brand of accordion is still wholly manufactured in Europe.

Without being political, globalisation will always find the very cheapest way to manufacture and market consumer goods. If we cannot recognise this simple fact, we are extremely naïve.

Members of this forum think of the accordion as a piece of mechanical artistry, but international corporations see only £ & $ signs. They will manipulate every end of the market to squeeze out the maximum profit.

The future for European accordion manufacturers looks decidedly bleak. We have all witnessed the demise of some Italian makers, and this trend will continue to gather pace. I am not happy about this state of affairs, but the writing is on the wall and cannot be ignored.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:41 pm

Hi John,

You make a valid point regarding British Law. There is nothing to stop retailers from having instruments labelled or badged with Italian or German sounding names.

I have no serious objection to this practice, providing that I am made fully aware of the instruments true origin. My only Chinese accordion is a Chanson, and the name suggests a French origin. Of course I knew it was Chinese before I bought it, and no-one tried to tell me any different.

The real problem has been, at least as I see it, the European makers which have lied by omission. This deliberate failure to act honestly is appalling.

Kind Regards, Old Scout.

Stephen.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:07 am

The Spanish car firm SEAT make their Ibiza model in Catalunya, and the Toledo in the Czech Republic.

Why is the Ibiza not made on the island of the same name? Easy, because there are no car factories there.

Why is the Toledo made in the Czech Republic? Because if they made them in Spain the purchase price would be too high, and they couldn't sell them.

The Altea, also made in Catalunya, shares component parts with some Audi, Volkswagen, and Skoda vehicles, thereby saving on construction costs.

The Toledo and Altea are still branded and sold as SEAT, despite any geographical or component liberties that may have been taken.

As Stephen says, it's all about where and how you can get the most profit out of anything. The country of origin is of little or no importance except in relation to cost.

OK, cars are not a satisfactory comparison with accordions, but accordions are not immune from precisely the same cost saving tactics utilised by the major car manufacturers, as we are all finding out by the day.

My little car proudly displays the badge of the old established UK maker "Vauxhall" on the front grille. Shame it's just a re-badged German Opel Corsa that was made in Zaragoza in Spain.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:32 am

Stephen Hawkins wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:41 pm
Hi John,

You make a valid point regarding British Law. There is nothing to stop retailers from having instruments labelled or badged with Italian or German sounding names.

I have no serious objection to this practice, providing that I am made fully aware of the instruments true origin. My only Chinese accordion is a Chanson, and the name suggests a French origin. Of course I knew it was Chinese before I bought it, and no-one tried to tell me any different.

The real problem has been, at least as I see it, the European makers which have lied by omission. This deliberate failure to act honestly is appalling.

Kind Regards, Old Scout.

Stephen.
Stephen,

Crimes agains "morality" are the bane of society, but these days are so numerous as to be an unfortunate fact of life that no legal system in the world was ever geared up to cope with (IMHO).

You'll know as well as I do that "lying by omission" is one of the most well perfected sales techniques the world over, and it is unfortunately up to the potential buyer to interrogate the retailer until he/she is satisfied to part with any cash.

With regard to Trading Standards, I purchased a weatherproof all weather jacket online from a UK retailer a few years ago, based on the description of the item and accompanying photographs, which showed a brand name suggesting the jacket had been made in Ireland. When the jacket arrived it actually bore the brand name of a well known Yorkshire clothing retailer, and I could have bought it at various UK outlets for about £10 less than I paid for it. All told I was about £20 down due to the carriage costs. I tried to contact the retailer in the south of England to discuss the matter, but on every occasion I made telephone contact the shop owner was "away". I never bothered with e-mails for that reason.

Our friendly people at Trading Standards agreed that the retailer had misled me, but there were so many instances of items being sold under the "wrong" brand, that unless the goods were not fit for purpose they would not be able to take formal action against the retailer. They did say they would send out a letter of caution to the retailer concerned, and that should have been the last of I heard of the matter. Oh no it wasn't. I now receive junk mail from the retailer concerned every other day, despite our new internet "privacy" laws, presumably in retaliation for reporting him to Trading Standards.

If I'm ever down his way I might just throw a brick through his window, and if I get caught I'll just tell them to knock £20 off any damages I'm due him.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by Geronimo » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:37 am

Well, living in the countryside, the most annoying Chinese imports I have to contend with these days are pheasants. Stupid croaking vermin bred because they are easier dropped off and subsequently found again for killing than, say, partridges.

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Re: And Here Is Another.

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:02 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:37 am
Well, living in the countryside, the most annoying Chinese imports I have to contend with these days are pheasants. Stupid croaking vermin bred because they are easier dropped off and subsequently found again for killing than, say, partridges.
They also make a hell of a mess of windscreens. A colleague of mine had two come through his bus windscreen at the same time and one landed on his lap. On the very next journey he hit and killed a deer, another very frequent casualty in the rural area where I live. His record was still intact when I retired two years ago.

On average we would lose two bus windscreens every week due to pheasant strikes. I've killed hundreds of them, but never lost a (bus) windscreen yet. However, I did lose my car windscreen and nearside wiper to a pheasant some years ago.

Badgers tend to make the loudest noise when you hit them, and I once arrived at Galashiels Bus Station with the top half a dead fox stuck to the front grille, and the rear half wrapped around the rear axle. I had no idea I had hit it, and it probably had no idea it had been hit either. The passengers (and garage fitters) were not amused!

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