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Which 'freebass' layout?

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My Fr4x seems to have multiple different freebass layouts for the bass side. I've never played freebass but would like to learn but I don't want to learn them all and it would be nice if whatever I do learn was transferable to a 'real' freebass accordion.
So, what would be the best (ie, most common) layout to learn.
The options from the manual seem to be:
Minor 3rd
Bajan
Fifth
N. Europe
Finnish
 

JIM D.

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"Fifth" is the most found on Accordions imported to the US. Originally called the converter bass found first on Titano & Victoria Accordions
has the most music found here for it.
 

debra

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Since you appear to be from the USA and you probably have a piano keyboard there are two options you could try: Fifth or N. Europe. Fifth, or "quint convertor" or "Palmer" replicates what standard bass does on the other rows: base notes remain the same, the next two rows repeat this one octave higher and the final two rows repeat this again one octave higher. An example of a famous player who uses this is Richard Galliano, which is all the more rare as he plays (C-system) button accordion. The other system, which you call "N. Europe" is a mirrored version of a C-system keyboard. So it is chromatic, and offers a larger range of notes than the 36 of the quint convertor.
 

dunlustin

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I believe the most common Freebass in Europe is (for now) with 'C' on row 1 ( repeat on row 4 ) which is 'minor third' but am happy to be corrected.
An added advantage: this is the same as most C system button accordions so while learning Freebass you would also discover CBA fingering.
You might want to think about reference buttons (dimpled) so as not to get lost - F and C would be usual
The Fifth system will likely give the easiest way in - as Paul says it is the Stradella bass pattern repeated over 2 * 2 more rows and you already use that fingering. Although more modest, 3 octaves in the LH is a pretty good start. Same comment for reference buttons - as for your Stradella.
A difference between Bayan and Minor third: Bayan has lowest notes nearest the floor - Minor third nearest the chin.
Some say the Bayan was the original design and that was switched in Europe to avoid patent issues. Who knows?
 

Brian K W Lightowler

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I personally favour the quint layout which has the overriding advantage that the same notes are to a large extent overlaid across the both stradella and FB on a converter. In all music and particularly classical genres, the LH should be a combination of bass notes and harmony triads. The quint converter enables switching between the 2 modes during a particular piece even for a couple of bars, enabling seamless deployment of both single note runs and chords. With the chromatic FB systems either the European or upside down Russian there is an awkward relocation of the LH, such that on my c-system, I have to use either FB or stradella in a given piece; can't cope with both as relocation introduces another potential inaccuracy, though that may be overcome by a few 000 hours of practise. For me I think not using both phases on the fly throws away a versatility and attraction of the converter. Regarding the range, amongst my menagerie of instruments, I have a 160 bass quint which has the potential for 4 octaves (actually more than the 45 note RH on this instrument). However I've never seen a Roland with a 160 bass so accept the point about fewer notes, though having the option of more duplicates in a logical musical layout in 4ths and 5ths is a compensation especially changing keys. Another eponymous label for quints is "GR" applied by the Petosa brand made by Zero Sette, now incorporated into Bugari. This is a nod to Anthony Galla Rini, the late American celebrity accordionist and exponent of the quint who, similar to Palmer, likely had a marketing connection with some of the US distributors. In the search for the holy grail, I've handled several systems but on balance by far the most useful, comfortable and for me most effective, versatile and therefore most rewarding musically is the quint converter PA (even though I'm not American).
 

saundersbp

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I thought someone would have responded to Brian's great contribution, but given they didn't.....I'll vote for differently for C system freebass especially where RH and LH are mirror image. With this you get many more notes in a more compact space and my brain (which is a bit on the ambidextrous side) likes the symmetry. I mostly practice classical music and very little of this is LH doing a combination of bass notes and harmony triads but rather polyphonic (where both hands share a degree of melodic parity). I think this sort of classical music (especially in 2 part polyphony) in particular sounds fantastic on the accordion and hearing it for the first time made me think 'I want to do that too!'

The quint system I'm certain is great too with its own advantages for a certain genre and you can't knock anything played by the senior generation of sublime musicians like Richard Galliano. But, I do notice what classical music these senior musicians avoid playing and what the younger generation excel at. Perhaps the simple advantage in C system is that scales are dead easy by comparison. Get a complete beginner to practice the first five notes of any scale on both systems: one falls under the hand in the way the hand works naturally whereas the stradella fifth layout is to my hand a real mess to play a scale on: up, down, stretch here etc. ouch! If you have a Roland then perhaps you can try and see which feels most natural to your hand.
 
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debra

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I thought someone would have responded to Brian's great contribution, but given they didn't.....I'll vote for differently for C system freebass especially where RH and LH are mirror image. With this you get many more notes in a more compact space and my brain (which is a bit on the ambidextrous side) likes the symmetry. I mostly practice classical music and very little of this is LH doing a combination of bass notes and harmony triads but rather polyphonic (where both hands share a degree of melodic parity). I think this sort of classical music (especially in 2 part polyphony) in particular sounds fantastic on the accordion and hearing it for the first time made me think 'I want to do that too!'

The quint system I'm certain is great too with its own advantages for a certain genre and you can't knock anything played by the senior generation of sublime musicians like Richard Galliano. But, I do notice what classical music these senior musicians avoid playing and what the younger generation excel at. Perhaps the simple advantage in C system is that scales are dead easy by comparison. Get a complete beginner to practice the first five notes of any scale on both systems: one falls under the hand in the way the hand works naturally whereas the stradella fifth layout is to my hand a real mess to play a scale on: up, down, stretch here etc. ouch! If you have a Roland then perhaps you can try and see which feels most natural to your hand.
My wife and I play C system and we have the mirrored C system melody bass.
At the time we started with melody bass (back when we still played PA) we didn't even know about a quint convertor. We might have given that a go, but now of course we are not going to change.
Brian solved the "more notes" issue with an 8 row version (4 octaves). But I have seen such an accordion (there was one in the Victoria showroom) and it's a beast: very large and heavy.
In Europe most people play either PA or C system with mirrored C system melody bass, or they play B system with Russian (non-mirrored) B system melody bass. A mirrored B system melody bass was more popular in the past but the Russian system seems to have taken over.
 

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