Chromatic Button Accordion



  • lastkiwilastkiwi New ZealandNew
    Posts: 3
    I forgot to mention the Accordion I have.
    It is one of those shoet fat models built in the 60's by I. Busilacchio.
    These were considered to be a Rolls Royce of accordions by many & is certainly a beautifully made instrument. Hand reeds 4 voices in treble & 5 in Bass. 11 treble registers [ 3 are master] 3 bass registers. 120 bass
    It has a good note range on the treble going down to B & up to C# which gives 51 notes as opposed to my Piano Acc. with 41.
    What they have done to keep this Accordion short is to have 6 sets of treble reed blocks instead of the usual 4 but this has made the box deeper .
    This has also given it a good resonating shape & so the accordion just vibrates in my hands. Fantastic instrument. Get one if you can.
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 271
    A couple of months ago, I took the plunge (again) and picked up a Hohner 72 bass CBA. I'm having a much better time with it than I did with the last CBA I tried. I understand the keyboard layout much better and have really been having fun figuring out a few tunes on it.

    I would eventually like to be more than just a dabbler, though, and feel like a few pointers might help me to avoid developing bad habits. Does anyone know where to find instruction books? I'd like to get better at finger crossings, knowing when to use the outside rows, and a few other technical things like that.
  • brandoneonbrandoneon Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France✭✭✭
    Posts: 171
    check out the books in this link: ... :52&FAM=42
    Medard Ferrero is good, as is Manu Maugain. The Galliano pere/fils book is nice too.
    Oscar Music is in France, but I've ordered from them before and had a good experience.
    good luck!
  • andoatagnandoatagn Northampton, MAProdigy
    Posts: 134
    Hey Folks:
    I stumbled across this newly revived thread and thought I would mention that Dutch accordionist Gert Wantenaar will be on staff at Django in June this year, including all of Django Camp.

    When we were discussing the possibility of him joining us this year I asked whether he played piano or button accordion. (I've learned that much about the instrument over the last few years). He says he is comfortable on both...may be a good resource for those of you exploring the options.

    Hope you can join us!

  • ViejoVatoViejoVato New
    Posts: 80
    Whew ....
    Hard to believe that it's been 4 years since I last posted here ... anyway I've kept up the guitar all this time and it is as they say "the first 30 years are the hardest". But I';ve also kept up my accordion interest. I got another Hohner Club, this one is the III M model. It's great advantage over the IIB model is that there are 5 register buttons to use different combinations of reeds. You can select just the treble note, the treble note with it's mussette companion reed, the bass note, the bass note and the treble note or all 3. Using the register buttons it's possible to play a complete 4 octave chromatic run from F to F. I also removed everything on the bass side to make it lighter. It's a very light weight and responsive instrument. I can still get most chords needed on the treble side including the diminshed and augmented.
    While it will not make a good solo instrument without the bass side, I just wanted something that I could use on 'Minor Swing' etc ina group setting.
    I'm also a 'Wuss' as my son loves to point out and I could not stand up with a 120 bass system strapped on and play comfortably.... I love my lightweight hohner IIIM
    to each his own ... just sitting late at night and selecting only the bass register and leaning my ear close to the grill and then fishing for the right notes .... Ah sweet bliss ...

    "I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way"
    my granny 'Meme' Foster circa 1998 at age 102
    Django Jerry Jam - home grown GJ & Dead Ahead pickin'
  • colorado_hickcolorado_hick Hotchkiss Colorado✭✭
    Posts: 25
    Hopefully this post is not to stale...

    I recently got a petosa 5-row c-system that I am happy with. Is there any guides that would help me get the fingering right on the scales? I am sure someone has figured that sort of thing out before. The previous links in this thread are mostly broken now. I am also wondering if there is any technique to pumping the bellows, or is it just whatever works for you. Is there anyone out there who would do an on-line lesson via skype?

  • brandoneonbrandoneon Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France✭✭✭
    Posts: 171
    Congratulations on your new accordion! Guidelines are a little hard to give on the chromatic accordion, especially via text messages like this, but maybe I can offer some advice that will point you in the right direction.
    Fingering: Due to the way the buttons are arranged and their small size, your personal hand shape is a great influence on fingering. There are some rough guidelines, but you need to find what's comfortable for you. Look again at the first post on this topic, Cuimean found a great web page call The Cipher. The examples show where the tones are for different scales, but not what fingering to use. To start you off, I would play the major scale pattern they show (with tonic in the bottom row) as:
    1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3. This is with the scale ascending, and 1=your thumb. If you want to play 2 or more octaves, change the last '3' to your thumb.
    This is not how everybody plays a major scale, but you can try it and see if it works for you. One trick to finding a good hand position is to let your arm freely dangle and see how your hand is relaxed, then try to keep this general hand shape at the keyboard - the hand should be sort of 'cupped'. The point is you don't want to have a tense hand or locked wrist. And fingerings should fall naturally under your fingers - if something is making you twist your hand and contort your fingers, find a different way to play the passage. One other word of advice here: don't get in the habit of supporting your hand by resting your thumb on the side of the keyboard - you need to play with that thumb!
    Bellows: The movement of the bellows should be timed to the musical passage you are playing. You may have noticed that you can't hold a note while changing bellows direction. Try to allot equal amounts of time to each bellows direction (e.g. 4 measures each direction), and time it so that you don't cut a musical phrase when you change direction. Aside from this, players try to time the bellows direction so that technically challenging phrases occur when the bellows open - it's just easier like this.
    Lessons: This is very important to find someone who can help you with the button accordion, since it's not very present in the US compared to the piano accordion. Probably the best player in the US is a French guy named Julien Labro. He mentioned to me once that he was open to doing skype lessons. I guess you can find him through myspace. Otherwise just try to watch a lot of youtube videos of players like Richard Galliano to see their posture/how they hold their hands, etc.
    More advanced stuff: If you really want to dig in to fingering and exercises, there's a link that I posted early in this topic for Oscar Music, a French company. You can order from them Manu Maugain's 'Exercices Techniques Gammes Et Arpèges'. It's in French, but everything is layed out for you.
    Another consideration: it's good to initially play within 3 adjacent rows, as this reinforces the guitar-like nature of the button accordion (the ability to play the same pattern in different keys). But keep in mind that for any scale/phrase/etc. that there are 3 different positions to play this on the keyboard. This is alluded to in the Cipher page where they show 3 different ways to play the same major scale (for example they present a scale which either starts on the bottom, middle, or top row of a 3-row bracket).

    Hope this answers your questions, and most importantly ... enjoy yourself!
  • colorado_hickcolorado_hick Hotchkiss Colorado✭✭
    Posts: 25
    That helps a lot. Thanks for the pointers!!!

    What about minor scales? What seems to work for me is 1-2-1-2-3-1-2-3 but i do not know if I am starting a bad habit by using my thumb so much.

    Now to see if I can tackle"Sleigh Ride" in time for the holidays...
  • mewssmewss New
    Posts: 1
    hi colorado_hick, if you live in colorado there is a button accordion instructor at yma music just north of denver. Also, in CO springs these people offer lessons, but they also do it over skype: not sure if they teach button accordion.

    For everyone else, I was interested in getting a button accordion as well. But I am having a difficult time deciding between type B and C. Is there any argument for one vs. the other? Are there any differences between bayans and CBAs? I understand that the 7th rows on the bass side are shifted up a row, though I don't understand the purpose of this... Is there anything else that differs? I saw some bayans for sale on ebay, but it seems like the only affordable full size one is made by Orfei, does anybody know if this is a reputable company?
  • brandoneonbrandoneon Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France✭✭✭
    Posts: 171
    Hi mewss,

    I've only played a C system so I can't say which is better. The 'cipher' link at the start of this thread shows comparisons of the 2 systems, in terms of how the notes are layed out. Just looking at it, my first reaction is that the B system would force one's hand into an awkward position to play a chromatic scale. But I guess this depends on what you get used to; more importantly, if you can find a teacher in one or the other system, go with that one! If you have an iPhone or iPod touch you can buy an app called Accordio which turns the screen into a CBA; you can even choose between B and C systems, so this could help you make your decision.

    I'm not aware of what distinguishes a bayan from other CBAs, but I guess there must be some differences. It's possible that bayans you see for sale may have a chromatic arrangement of buttons on the bass side (with no chords), as opposed to the Stradella system you're probably accustomed to. And I'm not sure about this, but real bayans may have their notes ascend as your hand moves UP the keyboard (as opposed to how the C system works).

    You'll mainly find the dominant 7th chords in the 6th row in French-style accordions (Cavagnolo, Accordiola, Maugein, Piermaria, etc.). In these accordions the 7th chord is actually formed differently. For example, take G7: in "normal" accordions the chord is formed by G,B,F. In contrast, "French" accordions form the chord with B,D,F. This effectively allows the dismissal of the diminished chord row; in "French" accordions you can passibly play a diminished chord with D bass + G7 chord. This is fine for most situations, but there are a couple bass + chord combinations that don't work as well as in "normal" accordions. But in general, most CBAs you see that have Stradella bass should have both 7th and dim chord rows.

    I haven't heard of Orfei, and at the risk of writing off any country's attempts at producing accordions, I would say that it's a safe bet to stick to accordions manufactured in Italy, Germany, or France.

    Good luck!
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