B/C Button Accordion Foundations Overview

 

Frequently Asked Questions answered by Course Tutor Dáire Mulhern

What accordion tuning should you get?
The two most common accordion tunings are B/C and C♯/D. B/C is more popular but plenty of players have C♯/D. Examples of well known B/C players are Paddy O’Brien and Joe Burke. Popular C♯/D players are Maritin O’Connor and Sharon Shannon. Another not so well known tuning is D/D♯ which is played by Tony MacMahon.
What is a reed?
A reed is a metal strip attached to a wooden unit. The metal strip vibrates when air pushes it, creating your desired note. The average Irish accordion will have 2-4 reeds per note.
What is the difference between wet and dry tuning?
Dry tuning means all the reeds are tuned very close to perfect pitch. Usually one set of reeds is at perfect pitch and the others are slightly flat or sharp ( a measure of a few cents). Wet tuning means some of the sets of reeds are tuned considerably further away from perfect pitch than a dryly tuned instrument. Typically you still have one set of reeds at perfect pitch but the other sets will be tuned flatter or sharper to achieve the desired wet sound.  
What should I look for in a good accordion?
It’s hard to know exactly what to look for in a good accordion. Everybody’s preferences are different. Variables such as button height, bellow length and air button set up (some are pushed down…others in) are typical examples of what to look out for and what might make the difference to your playing. The weight of the instrument is very important also, some accordions are very heavy and not suitable for the smaller framed individual. The most critical factor is probably tone. Again this is completely unique to an individuals taste. Some people prefer 2-voice accordions, others 3 or 4 voice. Some prefer wet tuning, some dry. If you’re completely new to this and a bit anxious about joining sessions perhaps a 2-voice accordion with a more dry than wet type of tuning would be suitable.
What are some good Irish accordion brands?
There are many brands of Irish accordion available. Some of the best include Kincora, Briggs, Paolo Soprani, Manfrini, Van der Aa, Saltarelle, Hohner and Cairdin & Castagnari.
What's the best Bass/Chord layout?
A good example of an 8-bass/chord layout is as follows:
A/E (Out/In) on the inner top bass/chord buttons closest to the bellows, D/G (Out/In) on the outer top bass/chord buttons closest to the air button. F/C (Out/In) on the inner lower bass/chord buttons closest to the bellows, G/D (Out/In) on the outer lower bass/chord buttons closest to the air button. Personally when it comes to the chord buttons, I would leave the thirds out of the chords. Otherwise there’s the potential for harmonic dissonance/clashing.
One strap or two?
Again this comes down to personal preference. Until a scientific study is done proving that it’s better for your posture I’ll keep playing away with one;-)

 

Detailed questions and discussion on the course can be found in the Community Forum, available to paying members only.

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B/C Accordion Foundations Lessons

Level

The Balllydesmond Polka

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 1

  • C Major
  • Level 1
  • Melody
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This lesson will teach the tune, “The Ballydesmond Polka”. The lesson is broken down into 5 sec…

Polka

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My First Night in America

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 2

  • G Major
  • Level 2
  • Melody
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Cuts and Triplets

Jig

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The Boys Of Bluehill

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 3

  • D Major
  • Level 1
  • Melody
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The hornpipe ‘The Boys of Blue Hill’ will feature in this lesson. The study of cuts and triplet…

Hornpipe

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The Tulla Reel

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 4

  • D Major
  • Level 1
  • Melody
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This lesson will teach ‘The Tulla Reel’. Dáire will continue his study of cuts and triplets.

Reel

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The Red Haired Lass

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 5

  • G Major
  • Level 1
  • Melody
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Dáire will introduce the ornament the ‘roll’ on the accordion

Reel

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Ship in Full Sail

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 6

  • G Major
  • Level 2
  • Melody
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Melodic Variation

Jig

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Dennis Murphy’s Slide

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 7

  • D Major
  • Level 2
  • Melody
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Study of melodic variation

Slide

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Off To California

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 8

  • G Major
  • Level 1
  • Melody
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Continuing study of melodic variation

Hornpipe

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Drowsy Maggie

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 9

  • G Major
  • Level 1
  • Melody
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Ornamentation and variation

Reel

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The Maids of Ardagh

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 10

  • D Major
  • Level 2
  • Melody
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Melodic Variation and Ornamentation

Polka

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The Black Haired Lass

B/C Accordion Foundations Lesson 11

  • D Major
  • Level 2
  • Melody
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Ornamentation

Slip Jig

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