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Non-converter free bass, and compact with cassotto?

The more I consider the pros and cons of each system the more perplexed I become...my decision at the moment still leans towards the CJS layout with two essential notes rather than three cluttered for my own style of playing (not necessarily with the intention of combining but more with the realization I'm less likely the sling in a clashing bum humdinger note with the right hand)
What would benefit me most would be a weekend stay with @Walker , @saundersbp, @stickista, @tcabot, @debra ...this list could be endless...and let them show me the best attributes that they can glean from their choice of system....
That would be a real interesting way to pass a weekend...
 
What would benefit me most would be a weekend stay with @Walker , @saundersbp, @stickista, @tcabot, @debra ...this list could be endless...and let them show me the best attributes that they can glean from their choice of system....
And I'd be delighted to meet up!

What the accordion world doesn't need is yet more systems - it makes production of the instrument more expensive, diffuses (already poor) teaching materials and teachers and pushes it into the eccentric garden shed modification instrument territory. As you say it also perplexes an otherwise sane mind! The most bizarre example of this is modifying stradella accordions to remove the 3rd from chord buttons. If you have a free bass accordion you can play whatever notes you want so its case closed.

To my mind there seems to be some sort of underlying irrational terror behind all this that free bass is really difficult - it simply isn't true in my experience- no harder than the piano or any other decent keyboard instrument, including of course the concertina!
 
The more I consider the pros and cons of each system the more perplexed I become...my decision at the moment still leans towards the CJS layout with two essential notes rather than three cluttered for my own style of playing (not necessarily with the intention of combining but more with the realization I'm less likely the sling in a clashing bum humdinger note with the right hand)
What would benefit me most would be a weekend stay with @Walker , @saundersbp, @stickista, @tcabot, @debra ...this list could be endless...and let them show me the best attributes that they can glean from their choice of system....
That would be a real interesting way to pass a weekend...
When I corresponded with Chiovarelli, he said that he designed it with Barry Harris concepts in mind, so you know where I stand. 😁

 
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Yesterday We went to the Cotati Accordion Festival and I fell in love with this little Ichorn (but had the discipline not to buy.) It was literally the first time I actually tried playing Stradella in roughly 60 years. And I was amazed how easily it came back (even with the tiny buttons), and how intuitive it is if you have basic command of tonal harmony. And considering that for most people, attention really needs to be payed to the melody side, there’s a lot to be said for getting a good accompaniment going on the left without full multitasking.
I really think that thinning out the LH voicings a bit can help make Stradella playing a bit less “Accordion-y”… less clichéd sounding, by letting it be more Impressionistic with shell-type voicings.
 

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The more I consider the pros and cons of each system the more perplexed I become...
Are you actually trying them, or are you looking at them on paper? Big difference, and we all have different requirements and different abilities, so sitting down and trying things (ideally, side by side) is the only way to find out what best suits you personally.

that person is clearly very bright, interested and knowledgeable
I look at it from a completely different angle. :unsure: The more talent one has got, the more he can achieve, and the less important the keyboard becomes.

Whatever you do in life, the outcome is a function of your natural talent and the time that you can invest into the activity. Results of 1hr of practice for an extremely talented person = 10 hours for somebody with very limited talent. And if world-class accordionists practice, say, 6-8 hours a day, a schmuck like me will need to free up 60-80 hours every day to get to the same level. Gifted people would always tell you that hard work & practice is the key, but they often don't realise that their 1hr is not equal to somebody else's' 1 hr.

None of us are going to live forever, so all of us are subject to time constraints.
The lower the talent, the more time you need to invest to get the same result (and the requirement grows exponentially). Any adult reading this message can, in theory, become a chess grandmaster...But almost nobody would have enough free time in their remaining lifespan to achieve it for their talent level, unless they are gifted with exceptional, Bobby Fischer-level talent. That's why an adult starting chess late in life & getting a GM title is almost unheard of. Nothing to do with not being bright, interested or knowledgeable, but everything to do with time.
Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day. It's all about time.

Worked example: you've got one keyboard where you have 1 fingering pattern for any root note, and another keyboard where you need to learn 12 patterns to cover all root notes. If you have exceptional talent, the extra 12 patterns might be easy to memorise and might require only an extra 50 hours of practice. If your talent is close to zero, these 50 hours become 1000 hours of extra work. If you have a busy full time job, a family, you're trying to keep fit and have a couple other hobbies, these extra 1000 hours easily translate into extra 5 years that you'll need to practice an "inefficient" keyboard to reach the same level, as you'd achieve on the "efficient" keyboard in a year.
 
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Worked example: you've got one keyboard where you have 1 fingering pattern for any root note, and another keyboard where you need to learn 12 patterns to cover all root notes. If you have exceptional talent, the extra 12 patterns might be easy to memorise and might require only an extra 50 hours of practice. If your talent is close to zero, these 50 hours become 1000 hours of extra work. If you have a busy full time job, a family, you're trying to keep fit and have a couple other hobbies, these extra 1000 hours easily translate into extra 5 years that you'll need to practice an "inefficient" keyboard to reach the same level, as you'd achieve on the "efficient" keyboard in a year.
Having studied the piano from a very early age I never considered that it was very difficult because you have to learn 12 patterns to cover all root notes... but indeed you do and for many that can be daunting. But what makes it difficult for the most patterns is not the 12 patterns but the different role played by the black keys because of their position, shape and size. You cannot use your thumb easily on the black keys and that makes music using a lot of black keys difficult.
When I started playing CBA people told me that (as I have a 5 row accordion) I needed to learn just one pattern and could then play in any key. But the reality is that you really need to learn everything on the first 3 rows, so you need to learn three patterns (one for each row a scale starts on). That is already considerably less than learning 12 patterns... But what helped me the most on CBA is that the role of the keys is independent of whether they are black or white. The only thing that matters is what row they are on.
I recently worked on a Kravtsov accordion. I feels like a rather odd system. It's like PA, with the E-F and B-C width eliminated so as to put all black keys next to each other without gap. I though you could play in any key with the same fingering, but really you cannot. It is simply odd. It was good to get to know the system (as I was tuning the accordion) and to learn that I should not be recommending it to anyone...
In the end I think that what matters the most by far is what you start learning as a child. Everything you learn as a child is easy (like child's play) and everything you learn as an adult (even more so as you get older and older) becomes increasingly difficult with age.
We're going increasingly off-topic again in this thread... except that the crux is that it doesn't matter what system an accordion uses, the thing that matters most is what you learned first, and the younger the better. There are accordions with CBA both left and right (and no Stradella) but whether that is easy or not depends much more on when you start learning it than on whether it is intrinsically better/easier or not.
 
that it doesn't matter what system an accordion uses, the thing that matters most is what you learned first, and the younger the better
This is the bit where I have a completely different perspective: what about adult learners? Or musicians picking up a squeezebox as a second instrument? Accordions are not popular these days (at all). They are even less popular with children. More often than not, it's only when one accumulates enough grey hair that he decides to succumb to the siren's call of the squeezebox. And by this point it's too late for the old dog to learn too many new tricks.

@Walker Doesn't matter if I want to play Bach's Organ works or not - that's way beyond my capabilities. I'd be happy with a convincing rendition of Mary had a little lamb. But the time/outcome principle applies to everyone at every level.

Is it possible to run a marathon in shoes that are one size too small? Yes.
But if I had to cover 26 miles, I'd want to be wearing the most comfortable shoes. And I'd cycle it.
 
I'd be happy with a convincing rendition of Mary had a little lamb.

Tell me about it! I'd also be happy with an accordion that emits midge repellent as I play and a mic that isn't affected by the wind. Was recording by the river at 7am this morning, life's very tough. Still, we'll get there buddy!
 
Is it possible to run a marathon in shoes that are one size too small? Yes.
Your comment reminded me of the Australian farmer, Cliff Young , who would run ( and win) marathons in gum boots!😄
See here:
(This is worth a read as he is a one of a kind character: one of nature's singularities!🙂)
 
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@ tcabot: "And by this point it's too late for the old dog to learn too many new tricks."

Really?
I've just had a year of learning, beginning at Zero music theory and first acquaintance with an accordion.
I asked my teacher as to my progress over the 10 lessons so far taken - about the same as a 10 year old over a year's training, he said.
So, at over 80 years old I'm progressing at least as quickly as a youngster.
There are, however physical restraints and a plethora of distractions which reduce the time that I dedicate to learning, but that can also be said of any young person approaching puberty.
Individuals vary greatly in their abilities and learning in advanced age is no exception: In a local newspaper there was a story of a Ballet dancer/choreographer who was designing new performances and studying indigenous dance to do so - at 105 years old.
I will be unlikely to even live that long, but I shall keep challenging myself with new ideas, concepts and autodidactery ( I can even invent new words ) for as long as I am able. Resting on my laurels has never been a consideration for me.

So, get to it, young fella ;)
 
This is the bit where I have a completely different perspective: what about adult learners? Or musicians picking up a squeezebox as a second instrument? Accordions are not popular these days (at all). They are even less popular with children. More often than not, it's only when one accumulates enough grey hair that he decides to succumb to the siren's call of the squeezebox. And by this point it's too late for the old dog to learn too many new tricks.
...
Musicians picking up a new (different) instrument can get reasonably good at it, albeit with a lot of effort.
My wife and I were reasonably good on the PA and then started on CBA past mid-life (over 50). It took us 5 to 6 years to be able to play what we could play on PA before, and now after about 14 years we are getting better still, but for some things the CBA still doesn't feel as natural as the PA did. As a child I did 5 years of piano before starting on the piano-accordion, and to this day my accordion playing still suffers from the "hammer" technique I learned with the piano.
I have also seen my share of adults past mid-life starting to learn music from scratch. Sorry for those of you who feel greatly encouraged by positive comments from teachers (and maybe also family and friends) but in many cases that is more encouragement than truthful assessment. The reality is that "teaching an old dog new tricks" is an uphill battle. I have known people who started at a later age (retired) and practiced for upwards of 8 hours a day, and initially it went from zero to a reasonable beginners level, then they got better and better at playing but worse and worse at understanding and playing the correct rhythm and in the end if something had to be played correctly it could not have any measure starting with a rest, it preferably had 1 note per measure or 1 note per beat, nothing else. They could perform solo and sound great, as long as you did not tryi to figure out what possible key signature the piece might have... And for some these weird symbols that look like a b or # never became natural enough to actually do that these symbols mean while playing...
So if you are really comfortable playing what you play, think hard and long before considering switching to a different instrument, like from an accordion with Stradella to one with only melody bass on the lefthand side. Learning it is very likely going to be a serious struggle.
Sorry that I very likely offended some of you with this honest assessment of what I have seen over and over again.
 
I have also seen my share of adults past mid-life starting to learn music from scratch. Sorry for those of you who feel greatly encouraged by positive comments from teachers (and maybe also family and friends) but in many cases that is more encouragement than truthful assessment. The reality is that "teaching an old dog new tricks" is an uphill battle.
I'm not past mid-life yet but free bass accordion is the first instrument I've taken seriously and put time into and it's definitely an uphill battle! The learning and improving is all part of the fun. I do wish I'd had the opportunity to learn as a child though, unfortunately I was put off by an accordionist telling me how expensive the bellows are to repair (which I now know is one of the least likely things to break...)
 
Musicians picking up a new (different) instrument can get reasonably good at it, albeit with a lot of effort.
My wife and I were reasonably good on the PA and then started on CBA past mid-life (over 50). It took us 5 to 6 years to be able to play what we could play on PA before, and now after about 14 years we are getting better still, but for some things the CBA still doesn't feel as natural as the PA did. As a child I did 5 years of piano before starting on the piano-accordion, and to this day my accordion playing still suffers from the "hammer" technique I learned with the piano.
I have also seen my share of adults past mid-life starting to learn music from scratch. Sorry for those of you who feel greatly encouraged by positive comments from teachers (and maybe also family and friends) but in many cases that is more encouragement than truthful assessment. The reality is that "teaching an old dog new tricks" is an uphill battle. I have known people who started at a later age (retired) and practiced for upwards of 8 hours a day, and initially it went from zero to a reasonable beginners level, then they got better and better at playing but worse and worse at understanding and playing the correct rhythm and in the end if something had to be played correctly it could not have any measure starting with a rest, it preferably had 1 note per measure or 1 note per beat, nothing else. They could perform solo and sound great, as long as you did not tryi to figure out what possible key signature the piece might have... And for some these weird symbols that look like a b or # never became natural enough to actually do that these symbols mean while playing...
So if you are really comfortable playing what you play, think hard and long before considering switching to a different instrument, like from an accordion with Stradella to one with only melody bass on the lefthand side. Learning it is very likely going to be a serious struggle.
Sorry that I very likely offended some of you with this honest assessment of what I have seen over and over again.

You don’t know my teacher!
He’s a hard nosed multi instrumentalist, ex-Air Traffic Controller, a commercial pilot instructor, and small farmer with it.
No mucking about with this bloke!
 
Musicians picking up a new (different) instrument can get reasonably good at it, albeit with a lot of effort.
My wife and I were reasonably good on the PA and then started on CBA past mid-life (over 50). It took us 5 to 6 years to be able to play what we could play on PA before, and now after about 14 years we are getting better still, but for some things the CBA still doesn't feel as natural as the PA did. As a child I did 5 years of piano before starting on the piano-accordion, and to this day my accordion playing still suffers from the "hammer" technique I learned with the piano.
I have also seen my share of adults past mid-life starting to learn music from scratch. Sorry for those of you who feel greatly encouraged by positive comments from teachers (and maybe also family and friends) but in many cases that is more encouragement than truthful assessment. The reality is that "teaching an old dog new tricks" is an uphill battle. I have known people who started at a later age (retired) and practiced for upwards of 8 hours a day, and initially it went from zero to a reasonable beginners level, then they got better and better at playing but worse and worse at understanding and playing the correct rhythm and in the end if something had to be played correctly it could not have any measure starting with a rest, it preferably had 1 note per measure or 1 note per beat, nothing else. They could perform solo and sound great, as long as you did not tryi to figure out what possible key signature the piece might have... And for some these weird symbols that look like a b or # never became natural enough to actually do that these symbols mean while playing...
So if you are really comfortable playing what you play, think hard and long before considering switching to a different instrument, like from an accordion with Stradella to one with only melody bass on the lefthand side. Learning it is very likely going to be a serious struggle.
Sorry that I very likely offended some of you with this honest assessment of what I have seen over and over again.
Over my 72 year lifespan, I’ve played PA, guitar, Chapman Stick, piano, and now (after a 25 year hiatus for a work life) Accordina and Free bass CBA. As an improvisor, I’ve found each instrument to be easier to learn than the one before it. Indeed I’m a far better player and improvisor than I’ve ever been. But the reason is that what Ive gotten better at is “music”, not necessarily any particular physical skills (Indeed, entropy is starting to take its toll. 😕) Taking 2 years of tonal theory and formal ear training really really helped (as well as being blessed with good ears), as did the lucky coincidence of discovering a conceptual jazz framework that fit CBA like a glove.
My wife took up violin in her late 50s and is heavily involved with an enormous FB group of ‘adult learners’, and the struggles I’ve seen in that world are really daunting. (Your observations about time and listening are spot on.) Their challenge revolves around subtly and very granular adjustments, while ours has more to do with complexity. My respect for violinists has grown enormously since watching her voyage.
 
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Cool! This yours?
Here’s a link to the layout, for those interested.
But it seems almost as weird than traditional bando layout. (except that at least its the same in and out.) Chromatic along the verticals? That doesn’t seem useful.
But hey, what do I know. Here’s a midi concertini with kusserow layout (by a former student of Kusserow himself.

 
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Just arrived a few hours ago. Early 1930s Alfred Arnold :love:
Really wanted to try one.
 
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