worldwide Balilla shortage
December 2, 2012 5:46 AM   Subscribe

Do I have the only Balilla accordion in the world?

I just bought an accordion with the brand name "Balilla" on it. Searching online for information about it, the only results that Google came up with were ads for the very accordion that I just bought. There's a lot online about Balilla guitars, but no accordions. Do you know anything about this? Do I have the only Balilla accordion in the world?
posted by crazylegs to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Someone else had the same problem, but it was a saxophone. I know this isn't very helpful.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:53 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming you bought it used? Any idea how old it is? Are there any other markings on it, like where it was made?

I'm not finding much about Balilla guitars - this Toronto craigslist ad (here) is about it.

Just in case the ad goes away, it's a black semi-hollow electric, 335-shaped with bolt-on neck, supposedly '63, with the sort of obviously cheap hardware & electronics common on 60's & 70's imports. Made in Italy decal. Also mentions that this is the only one the seller has ever heard of.

Tons of companies have taken a whack at exporting to the lucrative North American musical instrument market over the years, often under brand names different from the ones used in their home countries. And some of these brand names, even today, are only really marketed to wholesalers & distributors, so there's little or no online presence - they don't really care if the general public has access to info about their products.

So, adding up the Toronto guitar listing and insectosaurus' link, I'd guess "Balilla" is a long-gone brand name used on some Italian manufacturer's instruments for the Canadian market, that never got the initial sales and/or number of surviving instruments to generate the critical mass needed to create an online fanbase.

Doesn't mean it's not a good instrument, though.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:04 AM on December 2, 2012

Are you sure it says "Balilla"? Photo?
posted by latkes at 10:08 PM on December 2, 2012

Maybe contact this Italian company and see if they used to make accordions?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:05 AM on December 3, 2012

A lot of accordion companies in Italy made accordions under different names for dealers and stores. You will find "Silvertone" accordions that were sold by Sears, I have seen Selmer accordions too. Often instruments were sold by music schools and were badged with the school name, Menni-Ketti, Enrico Roselli, and Sylvania to name a few. It is nearly impossible to figure out who made it.
If it says Made in Italy it was most likely made in the area around Castelfidardo.
posted by boilermonster at 6:07 PM on December 10, 2012

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