Bass Fingering
#1
I recently bought "The Mighty Accordion" by David DiGiuseppe to improve my bass fingering but I wasn't aware of the fact that there are two methods of fingering ( third finger on root method and fourth finger on root method ) and that without prior instruction I have fallen into third finger on root method whilst this book and CDs are based on fourth finger on root.

Of course if I had known I would not have bought the book as it is too late to change now.

Does anyone else use third finger on root fingering and if so are there any tutor books for this method?
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#2
I started out using 3/2 then heard about 4/3 and tried it for a bit.  Didn't like it much, possibly I've got fat fingers, or it could be the dodgy wrist.
I've also got The Mighty Accordion and I just play from it using whatever finger fits (haven't got far though).

I do try 4/3 occasionally because people like Jo brunenberg use it (as far as I can see on the videos).  What I tend to do is learn a tune using mostly 3/2 and then try to play it using all 4/3 just for the practise. But in general I use 3/2 and 4 when required/easier like playing an alternative bass 2 rows down.

Palmer Hughes uses 3/2, I can't remember if it mentions 4/3, and there is a Palmer Hughes bass book: Melodic Adventures in Bass-Land.
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#3
(19-09-2019, 02:01 PM)wirralaccordion Wrote: I recently bought "The Mighty Accordion" by David DiGiuseppe to improve my bass fingering but I wasn't aware of the fact that there are two methods of fingering ( third finger on root method and fourth finger on root method ) and that without prior instruction I have fallen into third finger on root method whilst this book and CDs are based on fourth finger on root.

Of course if I had known I would not have bought the book as it is too late to change now.

Does anyone else use third finger on root fingering and if so are there any tutor books for this method?

I have used  my 3 (middle finger) for fundamental and counter bass  and my 2 finger for chords for over 60 years without any problems. I was once told by someone in a rather haughty tone that you can always tell some  who is self taught by the method that I was using!!  Funny that as I can do most things and more that people who use the forth finger method can do.  I know that I find bass runs are easier for me than some of my friends who are in the majority these days and therefore do not plays many runs ?
A number of years ago a pal of mine was told to change which he did and never really happy, so, I asked the same teacher and was told that I had it licked and should just keep going the way I was.
 I had an after thought and asked a very competent 3 row button key player should I change my method and he replied "If it was good enough for Louie Cabrelli it is good enough for you!! "  The late Sir Jimmy Shand once said that watching Louie play was like watching a man who had 6 hands! 
Sorry I am unable to advise you reference a tutor. It is all down to practice and working out the best way forward for you. Look at the music and find a fingering that suits you. If needs must you your 5 finger.
Good luck in what ever you decide.
Roy
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#4
In continental Europe, the 4th finger is always used for the root bass note, and the 3rd, middle finger, for the major chord.
The index, 2nd finger, is used for the minor chords, and the 7th chords.

If you choose to use the 3/2 theory, middle finger always for the root bass note, and the 2nd, index, for all the chords (major, minor, 7th), you risk to get slowed down on the fifths bass patterns , eg 4/4 time patterns: alternating C bass + Cmajor chord + G bass + Cmajor chord).
If you want to alternate with 3/2 fingers, you are short in the number of fingers, only 2 fingers available:
I mean: the 3rd finger has to jump from root bass button to fifths bass button (from C to G), that will slow you down...

To use fast and creative bass runs or patterns, you must have at least 3 fingers to do the work.
Using only 2 fingers is not enough, I use all 4 fingers for Stradella bass runs. The pinky finger is also very active when it comes to bass runs on the Stradella bass layout.

Secondly, there is too much work for your index finger to do, the distance to reach the 7th chords row with your index is too great.
You risk forcing the muscle tension between your 3rd and 2nd finger.

The jumps with 4th finger on the root note + 2nd finger on a 7th chord button is more relaxed and easier to reach. The spread between 4th and 2nd finger is double compared to 3rd and 2nd.

Also the alternating basses + 7th chords is faster with 4th (+3rd) and 2nd finger.
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#5
(19-09-2019, 03:34 PM)Glug Wrote: I started out using 3/2 then heard about 4/3 and tried it for a bit.  Didn't like it much, possibly I've got fat fingers, or it could be the dodgy wrist.
I've also got The Mighty Accordion and I just play from it using whatever finger fits (haven't got far though).

I do try 4/3 occasionally because people like Jo brunenberg use it (as far as I can see on the videos).  What I tend to do is learn a tune using mostly 3/2 and then try to play it using all 4/3 just for the practise. But in general I use 3/2 and 4 when required/easier like playing an alternative bass 2 rows down.

Palmer Hughes uses 3/2, I can't remember if it mentions 4/3, and there is a Palmer Hughes bass book: Melodic Adventures in Bass-Land.

I hadn't noticed that the Palmer Hughes books use 3/2 but that's maybe because I've only got books 3 to 5. The Sedlon books also use 3/2 and so I'll stick with 3/2. Thanks for reminding me.
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#6
(19-09-2019, 10:10 PM)wirralaccordion Wrote:
(19-09-2019, 03:34 PM)Glug Wrote: Palmer Hughes uses 3/2, I can't remember if it mentions 4/3, and there is a Palmer Hughes bass book: Melodic Adventures in Bass-Land.

I hadn't noticed that the Palmer Hughes books use 3/2 but that's maybe because I've only got books 3 to 5. The Sedlon books also use 3/2 and so I'll stick with 3/2. Thanks for reminding me.

The basic division used to be: English speakers ( especially USA) used 3/2, continental Europeans, 4/3.
Palmer Hughes ( being American) used3/2.
I feel this is much like which end of a boiled egg does one begin to eat ( poiny or blunt).
In the end (pun noted) it doesn’t much matter as long as you eat it! Smile
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#7
I I started with 4/3 probably because I started with Anzaghi. My friend uses 3/2. Doesn't seem to bother him, even on faster tunes. I've tried 3/2 but it seems 4/3 is more flexible, especially for 7th and diminished chords and alternating bs with he 5th and 3rd. Good luck!
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#8
It all depends on what you want to achieve with your accordion.
If you want to start playing Stradella bass accordion only as a hobby, the 2/3 bass fingering technique may be sufficient to play easy tunes.

But for young starters with the ambition to become professional accordionists, shouldn't we follow the advice given by professional accordion teachers?

This is a pdf of a German CBA tutor (C-system) with numbers for fingering the Stradella Bass.
It follows the 4/3 method (4th finger or ring finger on the root bass note):
http://www.terrasoft.hu/kultura/kaboca/d...r11471.pdf

In Europe and Russia, the 4th finger is always the starting position for the root note bass button.
This technique has been developed over a time frame of more than 100 years of Stradella Bass accordion playing.

In the USA the Palmer-Hughes method was and still is very dominant, and basically the only widely available accordion method in use.
The influence of the accordion industry lead to a monopoly of this accordion method being advocated.
My question: are there alternatives in the USA for the Palmer-Hughes method? Are there other books available in the shops in the USA? Is there a free choice for accordion teachers to use another accordion bass method book?

Bill Hughes and Willard Palmer came from the world of piano music and teaching. I would like to ask to the members: What accordion method was used by the young teenaged Willard Palmer when he studied accordion?
He was a very good pianist, but what was his accordion curriculum in his early years?

In Europe and Russia, there have been literally thousands of published accordion methods/tutorials in the 19th and 20th century. 
There is a tradition of comparing a large number of method books at conferences in meetings of professional accordion teachers.

In Belgium, every teacher has to follow "pedagogical days" or as we call it "study days" to discuss about didactics, pedagogy, technical teaching matters, etc.

I have never seen a serious German, French, Belgian, Italian or Russian accordion method book who uses the 2/3 Stradella bass fingering.
They all use the 4/3 technique (4th finger on the root bass note, middle finger for the major chords, index finger for the minor chords and 7th chords).

If the USA only uses the 2/3 bass fingering technique, well.. then I think the USA accordion organisations should urgently organise an international accordion conference with their European, Russian or Chinese accordion collegues, and have a conference on this topic.

Because Friedrich Lips once told an audience in a Dutch masterclass, and in his book "The Art of Bayan playing", the fingering technique plays a very important part from the start of accordion study.
And he is right.

I wanted to react to this, not because it is so importat for retired people when they start with accordion. Their ambition is only to have some fun with easy tunes.
But also a lot of young people are reading posts on this accordion forum (from all over the world), and then it is important they get the information from professional accordion teachers.

That's why I would repeat my plea for attracting more professional accordion teachers (from every country in the world) to this forum.
We amateurs are simply not competent enough to monopolize these didactics of accordion teaching.
(Some people  or fresh accordion starters are really looking here on this forum for advice on accordion fingering, if they don't find serious answers, they will not become members of this forum, and look elsewhere for professional information).

We need to read and hear the opinions of the professionals.

In my personal opinion, there is an urgent need for an English translated/written accordion stradella bass method book, under the supervision of conservatory accordion teachers.

This is not a job for amateur pianists or even professional pianists.

Do you know any music conservatories that use piano method books, written by an accordionist??

Accordion method books should be written by conservatory trained accordionists.
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#9
How would you finger the following C# a7 and C maj a7 ? . I use 3/2 and 3/5. . Any thoughts on that ?
Roy.
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#10
I have a possible fingering solution to your specific question. 
But I will respond in the same way F. Lips or other experts would. 

Learning fingering technique on music instruments is about finding longterm solutions. Fingerings that guide you through a music piece from beginning to end. 

A technical fingering number is never an isolated quick fix. 

Easy shortcuts in one bar, can bring you in trouble the next bar.... 

That's why I refuse to answer single isolated questions about fingering technique on CBA or other accordions. 

One needs a global technique. 

That is the lesson in the Art of Bayan Playing by F. Lips or Alexander Dmitriev's article on Positional fingering on the accordion. 

Only live interaction with the accordion teacher sitting next to you, and fysically taking or guiding your hand and fingers, will guarantee you the best results. 

And it depends on what music piece or passage your problem is. 

I could easily answer the question, but you need a teacher who uses a good method book. 
A method with several volumes, at least 200 pages to 500 pages or more. 

A 30 or 40 pages accordion tutor book is not a  serious method, rather a commercial ad to sell you an accordion....
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#11
Stephen,  Thank you your reply. I am very happy with the method that I use to play the Bass on my British Chromatic 3 row Hohner Shand Morino.  I was taught by a very accomplished teacher who played PA and CBA.
He taught me a very simple method of crossing my third finger over my second to achieve the simple Cc Gc  which  comes as second nature to me after some 60 plus years. Big Grin
Many years ago I was given a piece of music which called for the bass rotation which I highlighted in my last post.  I worked hard to get it right and was very proud of my achievement. I told the Band Leader concerned who rather knocked the smile of my face by saying " You daft "B" that is for the Pianist !! "  However I did it and that is all that matters to me.
Keep on posting,
Regards.
Roy.
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#12
I learned the 3/2 bass fingering that was in the "Sedlon Accordion Method".  This was in the '50's when the accordion was very popular and many music stores had accordion lessons.  Most of the people I know, that took accordion lessons, used the "Sedlon Accordion Method" by J.H. Sedlon.  The method consisted a total of 8 books (1-A, 1-B, 2-A . . . 4-B).  I am sure there were other courses, but in the U.S., the Sedlon method was very popular.  I tried to search  the bio of J. H. Sedlon to find his background i.e; professional accordion teacher, pianist, etc., but couldn't find much on his life or background.

John M.
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#13
I also learned a lot from the Sedlon method, online at Duane Schnur's site. When I started out I was pretty clueless (maybe I still am) and took what I could from Sedlon, Palmer Hughes, Anzaghi. I took a few lessons and stuck with the 4/3 method but didn't really have the right attitude for lessons. Maybe it would have helped, I don't know. I just play what I want, adopting from sheet music I find and playing it pretty much my own style. Nobody has thrown a tomato at me yet.
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#14
(19-09-2019, 02:01 PM)wirralaccordion Wrote: I recently bought "The Mighty Accordion" by David DiGiuseppe to improve my bass fingering but I wasn't aware of the fact that there are two methods of fingering ( third finger on root method and fourth finger on root method ) and that without prior instruction I have fallen into third finger on root method whilst this book and CDs are based on fourth finger on root.

Of course if I had known I would not have bought the book as it is too late to change now.

Does anyone else use third finger on root fingering and if so are there any tutor books for this method?

Check out "Adventures in Bass-Land" by John Caruso. It was written back in the '50s in the US, with the assumption that one would've primarily learned the "third on the root" method. It is published by the same company that publishes the Palmer-Hughes method, and one of the tunes from it is even included in Palmer-Hughes. (Note that, while Palmer-Hughes primarily teaches 3-2, it does acknowledge 4-3 and leaves it up to the instructor's discretion.)

That said, "Bass-Land" does shift around, and in some cases uses the 4th finger on the root. An accomplished accordionist should be able to use any finger on any button, depending on the situation, just you might use any finger on any key in the right hand.
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#15
(23-09-2019, 02:06 AM)JeffJetton Wrote: ...An accomplished accordionist should be able to use any finger on any button, depending on the situation, just you might use any finger on any key in the right hand.

Right on Jeff,
There are but 4 fingers useable for bass fingering: how you use them is up to you Smile
It seems 3/2, 4/3 are the chief options but sometimes other fingers need to be brought into play as necessary.
No matter which way you go, there’s always two spare fingers available to be brought into play.
In any case, as Jeff points out, nothing is cast in concrete and variations are always allowed.
I see many posts claiming there’s no rigid right or wrong treble fingering on the plethora of button accordions, so how come there’s de riguer stradella bass fingering?
As I said in another post, seems English speakers generally favour 3/2 whereas continentals 4/3: so what?
( I also notice, English speakers tend to be more flexible and encourage experimentation and tend to be accepting of “ whatever works”, whereas many continentals - Iberians and south-Americans excepted- seem to favour finding and then sticking with “authorities on the subject “!)
The author of “The mighty Accordion “ is probably a continental, and not surprisingly prefers 4/3: no problem! Smile
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#16
In Belgium too, in the 1950s and 1960s, we had these accordion sellers in music shops, that sold you the whole "package":

An accordion + a "method" (30-40 pages, written by some obscure piano or guitar "virtuoso") + 3 free lessons + a beer can and a sauna weekend...

I know these "methods", and have seen them in shops in Brussels and other music shops in Belgium, France, Netherlands, ...
Most of these are, in the best case, written by selfmade musicians who had a few private accordion lessons.
This was also the case for the pop guitar, who hasn't one of those booklets with 3 chord theory "How to learn to play the guitar in one hour"...

It is the old problem of "separation of powers":
The accordion industry and the dealers are responsible for the production, quality control and retail of good accordions.

The teachers are responsible for the teaching, education, ,didactics, methodology, method books, masterclasses, ...

The learners and students are "the people", the voters who demand quality and serious accordion education

The "accordion parliaments" are the accordion organisations, uniting representatives of the parties to discuss and compare the best of practices.

You can not heave a serious music instrument education, if there are major conflicts of interests.

Most accordion starters here are retired people, with a background of decades of piano or guitar education.
I admit that is a solid background to start another music instrument, and with that background, they may think they can progress much faster on their own.

Remember the old African wise proverb about going in the (accordion) jungle:
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

It is dangerous to be tempted to take shortcuts and do some cherrypicking.
You need experienced accordion players to guide you through that jungle.

As a selflearner, you know what you see at the start, but only an experienced teacher knows the whole traject and is working to finishing a long road.

The accordion organisations and "pedagogical study days" for accordion teachers, are also a great help for teachers.
No serious teacher lives on an accordion island, they compare international teaching methods and didactics.

One of the basic principles of the 4/3 theory as a starting position for Stradella bass playing, is a practical one.

For stradella bass playing, only 4 fingers play a role. The thumb is inactive (some avantgarde accordionists also use the thumb, but we mortals, are no exceptional virtuosos, so we leave the thumb of the left hand).

If you hold up your left hand in the air, you see 4 fingers (without the thumb).
Your first intention is to take the middle finger, the longest fingers, as the starting position on the root note, let's say the C bass button.

One of the reasons why we go for the 4/3 method (and not the 3/2 method), is a simple and practical one:
if you put together your ring finger and middle finger, you have exactly 1 finger extra on one side (the little finger) + exactly 1 finger extra on the other side (the index).


So you have 4th+3rd fingers in the center, and at the extremities 1 finger extra.
The little finger is for reaching very fast towards the bottom of your Stradella bass, and your index can jump in a split second towards the top op the Stradella bass layout.


In the 3/2 theory (= the middle finger on the root bass button).
When you hold up your left hand, and put together 3rd + 2nd finger, you loose that simple numerical and practical balance:
you have 2 extra fingers to reach the bottom side of the Stradella bass layout (your little finger + your ring finger), but you have ZERO fingers left to cover the top buttons of your Stradella bass and major thirds basses rows.

So it is a choice of:
1 finger + 2 fingers + 1 finger (= the 4/3 "continental" method)

or the uneven distribution of:
2 fingers + 2 fingers + 0  (= the 3/2 method)


The 4/3 method is more flexible. Because you have on both sides an extra finger to reach far for those jumps.

With 3/2 you have an extra finger for your bottom, but you get into trouble for the top side of the Stradella layout.


Maybe it feels a bit awkward in the beginning to use the 4th finger for the root bass button, but modern accordion teachers know why they take the 4th finger to start on the root bass note.


Of cours, if you play polyphonic passages on a Stradella bass (I'm not talking about free bass III manual), you move your hand, and all 4 fingers will have to play on all grades of the scale.

I did not say that your 3rd finger never touches the root bass note ! Of course very often when moving your hand, when playing runs and scales, your 3rd finger can play eg the C bass button in the key of C.

As Jeff says, all 4 active fingers of the left hand must move around the Stradella bass layout.
You need all 4 active fingers of the left hand to play the Stradella bass in a creative way.
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#17
This is an example from an "old school" Russian bayan method book in pdf.
It's the 232 pages A. Onegin bayan tutor book, published in 1964 in Moscow.
I have photocopies at home, given to me by a female C-system accordion teacher. At conservatory, accordion students used to play fragments from old Russian accordion repertoire books.

http://iodnt.ru/images/orkestrliteratura...%D0%B5.pdf

Школа игры на баяне

This is only for B-system players. It has lots of fingering numbers written above the staff.

You will be pleased to see that, in this "old school" Russian bayan book, he also uses the 3/2 Stradella bass fingering.

But then, this is an outdated book. In the past this method book was widely available in the soviet accordion schools.

In Belgium we played everything in this book with 4/3 root bass fingering.
Modern Russian accordion method books have also the 4/3. (The modern tutorials will still be under copywright, so I think they will not be online)
And with 5 fingers right hand side.

Maybe some of the members can find more pdfs with Russian bayan method books on this website?
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#18
(23-09-2019, 05:55 AM)Dingo40 Wrote: The author of “The mighty Accordion “ is probably a continental, and not surprisingly prefers 4/3: no problem! Smile

Actually he's from the states. Go figure. Smile 

My theory is that 3/2 was common back in the days when the primary consumers of new accordions (and thus accordion lessons) were those who were A) quite young and B) lacking in musical experience. Focusing on the fingers that already had some strength and independence makes a bit of sense, I suppose.

But nowadays, I just don't see the merit in it. There's nothing wrong with it--some of my favorite accordionists are/were staunch 3-2 players. But I feel like 4/3 gives you several advantages at the cost of perhaps a bit more effort getting used to it.

And my own students--most of whom are either adults or have experience playing another instrument, or both--have no problem picking it up.
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#19
That is also my experience:
"... 4/3 gives you several advantages at the cost of perhaps a bit more effort getting used to it."

That extra effort is minimal, I would add, after a few weeks, it feels natural to use the 4th (ring) finger on the root bass note.

When new accordion beginners hold up their left hand and stretch their fingers, they see the middle finger is the longest finger.
So they tend to put down the middle finger on the root bass note.

And thàt is the moment when the accordion teacher intervenes, and puts your ring finger on the root bass note for a starter position :-)
Because the teacher knows the dangers in the "accordion jungle", he or she knows what's waiting behind the corners or trees.
Could be a butterfly, or it could be lion... Next could be some easy grips or bars, or some tricky parts waiting...

Everyone playing music instruments knows preparing for the next bar or the next music notes to play, is even more important than focusing on fingering the music notes you are playing at that particular moment.
It's a chain of events, relations between music notes. So the teacher thinks about a logical chain of fingering sequences that he or she can prepare for the accordion student.

Anyway, there is no single magical abracadabra solution in fingering, that can be used for all music pieces on the stradella bass.

Specific dynamics and accents in a music piece can ask for a different fingering solution, or the number of changes in time signatures in a music piece may also have an influence.
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