Best way to learn bass buttons?
#1
I'm new to accordion, how would I go about trying to learn the bass buttons so I can play songs? It's tough when you can't look at the keys, like you can with an omnichord qchord.
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#2
(16-08-2019, 04:33 AM)Trainwreck Wrote: I'm new to accordion, how would I go about trying to learn the bass buttons so I can play songs? It's tough when you can't look at the keys, like you can with an omnichord qchord.

I got the basics of left hand technique from the Palmer Hughes accordion course books. I found it helped to have a plasticised copy of the bass diagram attached in a visible spot to the music stand just below the music itself, and -at first- to sit in front of my wife’s dressing table with the mirror adjusted in   such a way that I could clearly see the bass buttons.
The rest is plenty of practice.
After a while, it becomes second nature!
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#3
I used Palmer Hughes and a shaving mirror angled to see the bass.

My layout reference was a printout of this:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c..._chart.svg

Fairly soon the indents/hashes on the buttons (C, E, Ab, etc) will be enough to know where you are.
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#4
My accordion only has one button that is indented, and that is middle C. Are there accordions with more buttons indented?
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#5
(16-08-2019, 05:38 PM)Trainwreck Wrote: My accordion only has one button that is indented, and that is middle C. Are there accordions with more buttons indented?

Yes, possibly. My accordion only has an indentation on middle C as has all the other accordions I’ve had the pleasure of messing with. I have, however, added jewels to E and Eb (I know this is unusual but that’s the way I like it. Most put the jewel on Ab instead). This is especially useful on 120 bass for now you have other markers to guide your finger. A 72 bass, not so much for the buttons don’t go much further. Perhaps only 2 buttons more to F# and Db (1 button if you put the jewel on Ab).
Cordially, Tony
Artisto, Italian, LMM, 41/120, PA
Warning: Only speaks/understands American English
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#6
Yep, sorry I was being a bit loose with 'indented'.

My (1959) Hohner Lucia 96 bass has an indented C and '#' grooves scored into the bass buttons 4 stops either side.
I'm fairly sure that's a common situation, but I haven't tried a 120 bass yet.
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#7
(16-08-2019, 05:38 PM)Trainwreck Wrote: My accordion only has one button that is indented, and that is middle C. Are there accordions with more buttons indented?

The majority of accordions come with only the fundamental “C” bass button indented by the manufacturer. However, button indenting is a reasonably DIY option, and I have described the procedure at some length in an earlier post  (posted on Friday December 21st, 2018)Smile
My own attitude is that at least the fundamental C and the fourth buttons up (E) and down ( Ab) from it also shoul all be indented as aids to navigating the bass board!
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#8
Palmer-Hughes Adventures in Bassland.
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#9
I put a small drop of my daughter's nail polish on the E and Ab fundamental buttons. That way it is reversible and I can pick the colors, sparkly pink is always good!

You can start out with simple 3 chord songs to get the feel of the bass and alternating basses. Try the songs in different keys, and new 3 or 4 chord songs in different keys. Don't worry too much about the big jumps right away, it's an acquired skill that will come in time. Just have some fun playing songs you like and you'll be adding bigger jumps before you know it!
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#10
In Anzaghi he suggests using sealing wax to mark the bass fundamentals. Sealing wax is a rather unusual commodity these days, so I tried hot melt glue. It works quite well, and once you’ve got used to it you can knock it off quite easily.
Elderly teenager still experimenting with music of all descriptions.  I may not please anyone else, but I’m long past caring about that.
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#11
Of course their’s that old joke about how to get to Carnage Hall that applies here as well. Practice, practice, practice.
Cordially, Tony
Artisto, Italian, LMM, 41/120, PA
Warning: Only speaks/understands American English
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#12
I have recently started to learn to play the piano accordion and can highly recommend book 1a of the Sedlon Method. Use of the bass is introduced from the start in a simple and straightforward manner, with exercises for the left hand only and as an accompaniment to tunes.
Having never looked at the bass buttons or the keyboard, I initially concentrated on finding my way by touch and sound. At this stage of my learning, for tunes in C, F and G, my reference points are the indentation on the bass C fundamental and locating the root of those keys with each finger of my right hand.

Kind regards, Ian.
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#13
(22-08-2019, 05:34 PM)mitchnc Wrote: Palmer-Hughes Adventures in Bassland.

I also recommend this book. It exercises your bass hand with easily recognizable tunes instead of just seemingly random notes. I, for one, have always responded better to tunes rather than just exercises
Cordially, Tony
Artisto, Italian, LMM, 41/120, PA
Warning: Only speaks/understands American English
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#14
Photo 
This works for me. Teil II.


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#15
(23-08-2019, 01:26 PM)Paul vdV Wrote: This works for me. Teil II.

Agree with Paul. 
The Curt Mahr accordion methods are very good to develop your bass playing technique. 

In Belgium, the 3 volume Curt Mahr books with stradella bass arrangements of the Carl Czerny piano etudes are obligatory in public music schools.
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#16
(16-08-2019, 04:33 AM)Trainwreck Wrote: I'm new to accordion, how would I go about trying to learn the bass buttons so I can play songs? It's tough when you can't look at the keys, like you can with an omnichord qchord.

I believe no one here has mentioned this book: Mastery of the Basses by Norm Zeller. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you have the time and stamina for serious practice, it will get you to where you want to go.

Good luck!
Petosa AM-1100 LMMH, Borsini “Lars Ek Nostalgic” LMMM, Nunziola LMMH, all PA dry tuned
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#17
I agree that the best way to learn the basses is by working your way through a structured, well-organized method book. Palmer-Hughes is the go-to around here, but the Galliano method book is great too. Seldon will work perfectly fine also if that's what you've got.

I don't know if you ever formally learned to touch-type, but when I learned they started you out on the "home row" of the typewriter with just a couple of keys. Once you practice and learn those, they add a few more keys until you've got all of asdf/jkl; and the space bar. Then a few of the ones where you have to shift a finger over are included, and so on.

Point being, you don't sit down and learn the whole stinkin' keyboard. :-) Same with the accordion bass: Learn a few buttons and then slowly move outward from there. A good method book will walk you through that.

P.S. Oh, and while the indented C-bass button (the "innie") is pretty much universal, having "outies" on the Ab and E is relatively new. I feel like I mostly only see it on accordions that were made from about the '60s forward. Don't think I've ever seen a modern (made in last couple decades) accordion that doesn't have the outies. They're basically standard now.
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