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Here is a post from Glenn on our old forum.  I kept it becuase it has great info on tuning.


Posted by Glenn on 9/18/2003, 5:58 am

Here is how I've understood it and in layman's terms.. I admit that this all can be wrong! : Conjunto, asordinada, ronca voz, jazz tuning are all names that were coined bassed on the perceptions of how the listener heard a particular tuning very much associated with hearing a famous player tuned that way. Don Valerio was to first to innovate here in conjunto music.


The tunings vary in degrees of their radicalness...with CONJUNTO being slighty drier than standard 440 tuning. This means reeds are grated/scratched to a certain degree a certain spot to reach a higher vibration per second. Texas conjuntos and tejano groups generally like this drier sound as opposed to the wet ( slower vibrating reeds ) sound of the Norteno accordions ( Los Tigres on Hohner.. and Ramon Ayala etc. on Gabbanelli ). So conjunto tuning is basically drier..and that's all. ( i.e. Joel Guzman on his Baffetti has that ).


Here it gets tricky for me : some people use the the terms ronco voz and asordinada interchangeably . I understood ronco voz was the Valerio Longoria style ( flatter, more metallic, hoarser sounding )..and asordinada as more of a Tony de La Rosa or even Dos Gilbertos style ( less flat, still dry, bit less metallic sounding) . This style involves changing cerain reed positions and tuning drier as well. Interesting enough some of these reeds I've checked out were not in tune.. meaning.. that they were purposely out of tune..( i.e. out of tune on the pull and in tune on the push )..meaning that a) makes it hard to play with other musicians.. b) probably suited only for Conjunto music and for the ears of that listening community.. I think you can hear this on some of Don Valerio's recordings.. slightly off..but sounding very cool.. ( they say los tigres do the same thing vocally...bending a bit over the edge off key.. )


Jazz tuning is a little more cut and dried: first three reeds in each row are changed. Instead of the original reeds.. they use the same note but with bandoneon reed combination. The two reeds for each note sound two octaves apart, whereas the remaining reeds are tuned buzz at the same level and sound as if it were one reed.. this is referred to as unison tuning: one octave apart. The problem is that you lose volume when dry tuning especially on higher notes.


This again is one way of thinking of them: Conjunto = slightly drier. Ronco/Asordinada: flatter and undergoing reed switching..and can be from less to more flat..or "hoarse" sounding. and Jazz: bandoneon tuning on first three buttons of each row.. and very dry..unison tuning ( drier than conjunto )..on the remaining buttons. Hope this contributes to the debate, now matter how unscientific it might sound ! What matters is if we like what we is all relative. I'm learning more each day..I'm sure Mr. Moreno can fill us in on it better.




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Gold Member
Posts: 347

i second you gilbert ,it is great info about tuning! 


what if we make a chart of all different  type of tuning and bands that have that tuning .




garcia bros.-- dry

ramon ayala --stock tuning?

steve jordan --jazz


didn't somebody do  this already a while  back?




Platinum Member
Posts: 892

"slightly drier than 440 tuning"


just a comment about this...


440 is the number of vibrations per second of an A reed... one reed.


Degrees of dry or wetness only come into play when you are talking about more than one reed.



-SO if you have one reed vibrating at 440.. it cannot be drier or wetter it can only be 440.  If you tuned this reed lower.. say to 439  it is not drier .. it is flat.  If you tuned this one reed to 441  it is  sharp  not wetter.


So back to two reeds.  Let's tune one to 440 pitch and the other reed to 440 pitch. This is dry tuning..or unison tuning.  If one reed is 440 and the other

3 cents ( 3/100ths ) higher  it is wetter  not "wet" in terms of what we are used to hearing as "wet" but wetter.  Any second reed pitched higher than the fixed reed is wetter..


Degrees of wetness are called different names to different cultures, players, and tuners.  IE  one persons swing may be another persons wet and so on


In my next post I will list the common names and approximate increases in value for those tunings...


Also.. here is another tricky area of tuning.


There are many ways of tuning.. baiscally "just" tuning and tempered tunings.. and under those categories there are others..

as in "7 limit just" ,, 19 limit just"  or   "12 TET" tuning which is the most common 12 tone equal tempered.. and then there is mean tone  1/4 comma and so on


This has NOTHING to do with degrees of wetness or drynes.. this has to do with the rlationship of one tone to the next tones in a scale


Example. Cajun tuning  and 1 reed.  this is JUST tuning and involves flatting and sharping certain notes.. remeber this is one reed..  then the second (middle) reed is tuned exactly the same.. so this would be  DRY  JUST tuning.. Cajuns like to call this CAJUN tuning but dates back hundreds of years to the mathemetician Pythagorus.. so not Cajun. but used by Cajuns

So take the same tuning and make the scond reed slightly wetter by 7 centas.. now you have Just tuning SWING tuned or Wet if you prefer.


SO some of this raunchy tuning you hear in some Tex Mex Conjunto boxes may simply be  Just tuning and dry..


I know a little about this but not as much as I would like.. All I can tell you is that  it matters little what the names are for the types of tunings.. it all comes down to math  and perhaps a little magic on the part of some tuners..


 One other "note"  bandoneon tuning.. while their is a "bandoneon" tuning used in Argentina.. when we are talking about Bandoneon tuning as in El Parche's  boxes we are talking  instead of two clarinet reeds.. ( as in Hohner coronas)  we are talking one clarinet reed and one basson ( low) reed in the same reed plate..  or octave reeds..  that's all

and this has nothing to do with how the box is actually tuned...

you could have bandoneon reed blocks and wet tuning .. or dry tuning etc


Platinum Member
Posts: 892



Odd you should mention  one reed  5 cents low and one reed 5 cents high


This assuming two middle (clarinet) reeds  like on a Hohner


The "old" way the Quebec players tuned was exactly that.. 5 cents low and 5 cents high


I had that done on a custom made single row Quebec box.  WHile it sounds good for Quebec playing when the accordion is the ONLY instrument iot sounds really bad when you play with other people who have instrumments tuned to standard a 440


That would be a 10 cent differece and you would have a fair amount of tremolo but   it does not balance out to 440...

I would not do it..


As to your other question.. I dont understand..

explain that a little more




Lets say you tune your accordion to 441 or 442  ...( many europeans do this and it is common on harmonicas like Lee Oskar)


and you have two reeds..

If you tune both reeds to 441  with no added cents.. just simple "unison" tuning..  the box is still tuned "dry"  it may be pitched sharp at 441 or  442  but it is still dry


In another thread ( in General)  talking about tuning there was a word used...

"vibration"....  they were talking about various tunings and whether tuning reeds apart woukld cause "vibration"....  all reeds vibrate when they are played.. but  I believe they could have used the word "tremolo"  this describes the difference in one reed tuned against another as in

 less tremolo or more tremolo.. and here is where you get into wet or dry

no tremolo.. dry  lots of tremolo.. wet and various places in between




Platinum Member
Posts: 892



Let's see if I uinderstand


the accordion is octave reeded on the outer row first 4

middle row and inner row first three


all the reed sets are dry tuned


the owner wants a more "brilliant" sound


I assume he means tremolo...


This is only an observation and not consider to be fact or from the bible


A Jazz reeded ( octave reeded) box is something like El PArche uses..


I also believe Jazz reeded boxes that are called Jazz tuned are DRy tuned.

unless someone else has other info...


I am beginning to think that your customer is not sure what he wants..

I don;t know what he wants


If two reeds are tuned the same they will be louder ( in many cases) but many not have the "brilliance" you are talking about..


If by Brilliance he means more tremolo.. then  why the octave reeds


And yes a box tuned dead dry on one end and tremolo on the other may not sound right...


But into the area of actual physical tuning.. not my expertise.. I have a lot of info but when it gets down to translating what someone wants and getting it onto the reeds.. that is beyond my scope.


Also keep in mind that tuning to "cents" is not entirel7y a right thing to do


what we are talking about is really beats per second..

and a set of reeds on the low octave tuned to   10 cents will have diifferent beats per second than 2 or three octaves up for the same note..


what you are trying to do is balance the beats per second

the easiest way to talk about that is in cents..


but where on the keyboard do you start with your 5 cents or ten cents and how do you  modify it from there?  than is where the genius of human tuners comes is not always by the numbers.


It can be by the numbers if you are talking one reed.. then you simply plug in the formula.. ( the standard being 12 TET )  and go from there

now you go to that next set of reeds and that is where the situation gets complex...


I would first try to find out just what sound your customer is looking for.. WHo does he want to sound like ?


I'll see what I can do about getting you some better information...


meantime send me a private message



and we can discuss some of the specifics there and not bore everyone with particulars..


General info here is good..and the more info the better..

but for a specific circumstance.. send me a message





Posts: 57
In your opinion what type of tuning does Juan Villareal have? would it be wet semy dry? how would I go about explaining this to an italian local tuner?

Thanks you very much for your help

Elite Member
Posts: 1,145
From what I have heard of J Villareal's recordings.. it sounds like normal factory Gabbanelli tuning..which is considered Wet.

He usually plays a 4 row .. and those are two reeds per note like a 3 register box, from what I understand.

I suggest you compare it to a factory tuned Gabbanelli.

Good luck.. G.

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