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U CAN CALL ME AL

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During my Formative Grammar School years I played in a piano accordion band which went by the name of the Sunshine Corner Band. I've recently retired and a bad attack os GAS has prompted me to buy a Roland FR3 accordion. Its capabilities and sound are awesome. I"m still exceedingly slow and out of touch with the keyboard side, strangely I seem to be more comfortable with the Stradella bass after reading all those lead sheets.
It's a bit like flying a 'plane at present due to all the onboard electronics but really enjoying the learning curve.
Jam on the right hand anyone.
 

Andrew Sanders

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Lucky man Al,

When I was a kid a travelling Irishman who worked digging tunnels for sewers lived in his caravan outside our house.
He could play the accordian like crazy. He offered to teach me but being 10 years old and just starting to play guitar I said no.
(In fact I only weighed about four stone and the instrument seemed so big). That's a big regret in my life, I wish I'd taken it up then.
If one is a reasonable pianist would it take much to transfer the skills to accordian?

Hope it brings you much joy.

Andy
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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Hi Andrew,

If you are a reasonable pianist the right hand is a dawdle. Keys on an accordion seem to be far more responsive than a traditional accoustic piano. Buttons on a chromatic treble, even more so. (One scale fits all it is simply a matter of repositioning the hands. Learn a tune in one key reposition play in another! Great for jazz. This almost swayed me to purchase but I bought a keyed version in case I decide to sell ,on as there are more keyboard than button players
The left hand is not as frightening as it seems google Stradella bass and you will see the layout. It all revolves around the circle of fifths ( unless you play free a bass instrument )., The top two rows are fundamentals, single notes, the other four rows give the major , minor, the dominant seven and the diminished chord of the corresponding second row fundamental, once you develop a feel for the position it comes without thinking.
I hope I haven't oversimplified but if you are remotely interested beg borrow but don't steal one and give it a try you may be pleasantly surprised.


This guy could play this in any key by simply moving the left hand up or down and the right hand to the corresponding key position and use the same pattern of movements.

Hope you enjoy

Regards
 
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kevgermany

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Stairische Harmonica next for you Big Al...

Enjoy, I really like the sound of a well played piano accordian.
 

jrintaha

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283
The piano keyboard on the right hand side is tilted 90 degrees, and that makes it surprisingly difficult to play for a pianist / keyboardist. Your entire arm is bent very differently, and the distances between keys are difficult to estimate based on piano feel alone. It feels far less fluent to play than a regular keyboard.

The chromatic button accordion on the other hand facilitates some incredible playing that you just can't do on a piano accordion. (You can play the same note in 3 different octaves at the same time for instance.) Still, the very nice professional Excelsior CBA I have mostly lies in its case gathering dust, and I just pick up my old Soviet Akkord PA whenever I feel like squeezing...

The left-hand stradella bass on the other hand is not so difficult as long as you know your circle of fifths well. Some very simple chords such as sus2 or major add9 are impossible to play on the stradella though, and many chords regularly used in jazz are quite difficult as well.
 

old git

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Two other points from a one time melodeonist (the melodeon plays different note on suck and blow, unlike the accordion but similar to a mouth organ). Isn't the Roland a MIDI instrument so does not have all the reeda and gubbins inside and so four stone weaklings can handle them and the Continental Button accordion comes in 'A', 'B' and 'C' keyboard configurations.

Apologies for being serious.
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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The Roland is not simply a midi instrument although it can be linked to both in/out midi setups. It relies on the bellows for sound just as an acoustic accordion the best standard 'sounds ' are samples real instruments as well as a library of midi.
As for being an instrument for weaklings it weighs in at 8.3 kg (18.5 lbs ?). Give me my Conn bari any day.
 

old git

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The Roland is not simply a midi instrument although it can be linked to both in/out midi setups. It relies on the bellows for sound just as an acoustic accordion the best standard 'sounds ' are samples real instruments as well as a library of midi.
As for being an instrument for weaklings it weighs in at 8.3 kg (18.5 lbs ?). Give me my Conn bari any day.
As most Morris instruments are two row diatonic melodeons and therefore usable in two major and two minor keys, we were very appreciative when sampled and MIDI melodeons appeared as you did not have to possess three or four boxes if you were doing a voice accompaniment gig.

Without all the reeds, selectors and mounts, your Roland is considerably lighter than a 120 with those included.

Apologies for being serious.
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
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454
i just bought an accordion in December, and i'm enjoying learning it, i like the transposability of the Stradella bass system, and i remember enough piano from my childhood to get around the piano keyboard. I thought about C-system CBA (Chromatic Button accordion), since i mostly play french cafe-jazz / gypsy / musette, but opted for the familiarity of the PA (Piano Accordion) and found a nice modern Hohner Bravo 120 in the local pawn shop.
i might try the local pawn shops for a CBA next time i'm visiting France, though ;-)
Warning , be very careful buying second-hand if you don't know accordions,,,
"simple" repairs can be expensive, re-tuning is a skill which needs specialist equipment, and there are a LOT of old piano accordions around in poor condition.
There's always the possibility of doing something beautiful like this:

 
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U CAN CALL ME AL

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Hi Andy,

Is this a saxophonist's GAS disease. I like you considered a continental button treble but decided as I would be buying new a piano keyed accordion as it would probably be a better resale option if my reapplication to the instrument is unsuccessful.
However I am now finding it dificult to choose which to practice. I now practice silently on my Roland when Her Indoors is present and when the cat's away I practice on my sax.

Enjoy
 

llamedos

Senior Member
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My first musical instrument was a piano accordion (bought out of Dad's gratuity in 1946) so I find the 90 degree keyboard orientation quite natural. I have played on and off over the years and always enjoy the experience although I can't claim the same effect on listeners. My current favourite is a fairly ancient Italian model and I have custody of my neighbour's more modern instrument which I find difficult to play because the piano keys are marginally narrower and significantly shorter than those on my Casali. This leads to frustration and bad language and reluctance on my part to make said neighbour an offer on his pride and joy (he's a folky-type fiddle player who used to double on accordion but I suspect he now finds it surplus to requirements) although since he's an accountant by profession he has a rather over-enthusiastic view of its value.

On balance I think I favour the woodwind path but after enjoying Andy's post above I can see the squeeze box being attacked with a duster and pressed into service in the French-cafe-style which I enjoy nostalgically having spent some time in France in the past.

Just goes to show what an eclectic mix one meets in Cafe Saxophone and long may it prosper!!

Dave
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
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283
Warning , be very careful buying second-hand if you don't know accordions,,,
"simple" repairs can be expensive, re-tuning is a skill which needs specialist equipment, and there are a LOT of old piano accordions around in poor condition.
Sound advice, although I disagree on needing specialist equipment for tuning the reeds. You don't actually need anything beyond a tuner or something to generate reference notes with, a scraper, a screwdriver and some pencil and paper. It does, however, require a LOT of patience and practice. Having a tuning bellows you can mount the reed blocks or reeds on speeds up the process considerably, but for fine tuning you really need to put the reed blocks back into the box and squeeze it - the exact tuning depends on the air pressure inside the box.

I'd say half of the second-hand accordions I've encountered have been junk, not worth taking them in even for free unless you needed them for spare parts. It simply takes so much time to even set the reeds properly so you can play both pianissimo and fortissimo - as they're usually not set very well, and then there's the small issue of getting them in tune...

Concertinas, fortunately, usually have just a few dozen reeds (a common 30-button anglo would have 60 reeds), so they can be set and tuned perfectly in very reasonable time.

I actually built a makeshift tuning bellows for a concertina using styrofoam and a bellows I got on ebay for a few pounds. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.
 
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