I was going through several boxes of accordion sheet music when I stumbled across this. I had seen several dual keyboard accordions on eBay and elsewhere over the years , but never a book on one.
Max Luttbeg was a wrestler from Russia who later went on to play the accordion on the vaudeville circuit. He later gave up on the system and came up with a freebase button system with 36 buttons but it is not clear how this was laid out.
The book dates from 1935 but a little research seems to imply the the first one built by Soprani was from 1931. Apparently only about 12 were built and not all by the same company.
From the pictures you can see that a second strap inside the bass strap has been added to give more control and keep the hand in one place.
Since you only have about two octaves on the left you have a shifter bar that allows you to shift up for chords (second image). Depending on what you play I think you might have needed this more than was convenient.
The book also has a pullout by Edd Clark for a "Model A" that was a compact version with 25 keys on the right and 14 on the lefty and was called the "duo-organ" and he explains that this setup makes it possible to play piano music as it was written.
This type of left hand keyboard is an idea that has come and gone several times ,and seems to make sense but in reality is pretty hard to master and does not bring any real benefit over the systems being used currently. Versions of accordions have been made with a inner row of bass buttons in the pattern of the black keys of a piano to simulate the black keys ,and a row of white buttons for the white keys , this has been in use for many years on a small number of ethnic instruments in Serbia and but has never really caught on elsewhere.
The Luttbeg Accordion
6/20/2018 06:45:11 am
Thank you for sharing the interesting facts about this old accordion book. I had no idea that left handed keyboards for the accordion has come and gone. I am looking into getting an accordion soon. It is important that when I get it, I can truly appreciate what it is worth.
11/13/2018 11:02:24 am
Thank you for posting this - Max is my Great Grandfather. We all hear stories about his kraftwerk but, unfortunately, no one in the family possesses one of his accordions. He was apparently a rather unusual and wonderful person.
12/26/2021 06:30:38 pm
I have one green mother of pearl luttbeg by soprani italy if interested you can contact me at 1(309)868-9350
12/27/2021 10:49:00 am
These show up from time to time on E-bay. I saw one in the museum in Tula Russia when I was there.
11/30/2020 08:02:19 pm
Hello, I own one of these accordions and looking to sell it, but I don't know what it's worth. Does anyone know what its worth? Thanks
2/23/2022 02:57:19 am
Hi Chelsea, have you got more information on your Soprani Luttbeg Accordion? I do have one from my mother but I have not information about it at all. Thank you.
2/23/2022 02:48:12 am
I am in progress to sell my mothers accordeon and I just found your website about it. It is a Soprani Luttbeg with both sides piano keys. If you have more information about it, please let me know.
3/9/2022 09:14:59 pm
This is a very informative—edifying article to all. Thanks a lot! Continue to post!
1/1/2023 02:05:06 pm
I have a Max Luttbeg St Louis Accordion.
2/21/2023 02:28:41 pm
I'd love to be able to download a Copy of this handy dandy Luttbeg Accordion Method Book in a PDF Format so I could study it even more.
2/22/2023 09:40:51 pm
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I am Kimric Smythe owner and operator of Smythe's Accordion and general all around tinkerer.