Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion



Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion

Postby Dublinesque » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:43 am

Does anyone know why Roland v-accordions have somewhat different bass register switches to what is commonly found on accordions?

According to a few sources (such as this 1979 article by Donald Balestrieri), there are up to seven bass register switches on an accordion. While I imagine that there have been other experiments over time, the standard set of registers on a Stradella bass are:
Soprano: 2’
Alto: 2’, 4’
Tenor 2’, 4’, 8’
Master: 2’, 4’, 8-4’, 8’, 16’
Soft bass: 8-4’, 8’, 16’
Soft tenor: 4’, 8’
Bass/Alto: 2’, 4’, 16’

In all cases—except Soprano—two or more reed banks are sounding, from the high pitched soprano (2') reeds to the low bass (16') with the alto (4'), contralto (8-4') and tenor (8') ones in between. Only the contralto reed bank duplicates pitches from its neighbours.

(Jargon issue: In Balestrieri's article, the terms soprano, alto and tenor are confusingly used for both individual reed banks and register switches that use multiple reed banks)

In contrast, the Roland v-accordion seems to have its own set of register switches for Stradella bass (not counting its separate ability to work as a free bass). Four of them are the same but three of them are different.

Roland v-accordion register switches have soprano (2'), tenor (2', 4', 8'), master (2', 4', 8-4', 8, 16') and soft bass (8-4', 8', 16') options, which are as standard.

But Roland's also have stand alone alto (4') and contralto (8-4') registers, and a bass soprano (2', 16') combination instead of the regular options.

I am well aware that v-accordions are not quite the same thing as acoustic instruments. But I am just wondering if there is any particular logic to the unusual Roland bass registers. Are these bass options more common in another country? Or does it favour a type of music? Or does it reflect some technicality in how the Roland mimics the bass reed bank sounds? Or did they just decide it sounded better?

I'm just curious.
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Re: Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion

Postby JerryPH » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:23 am

Short of asking the designers, I kind of doubt that anyone here would know why, but in a way, it is not a very important point, because unlike an acoustic, we can reprogram them to be pretty much anything we want (at least we can on the 8X, which is what I own). :)
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Re: Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion

Postby Dublinesque » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:00 pm

I have a Fr-1xb and I think I could probably reprogramme the registers too, although I guess lots of people stick with the default settings; or maybe it's just me. ;-)

I'm interested in the trade-offs in the v-accordion between sticking with tradition versus experimenting with new options never before tried in accordions (including all the earlier electronic hybrids). After all, why stick with only seven bass register switches in a v-acccordion? Why not have all the seven basic ones and add three? Do you miss having the default bass registers? I imagine only the soprano-bass one would really sound different from the traditional soprano-alto-bass option.

BTW, can the programming of the 8x allow you to reprogramme a row of basses as augmented chords rather than, say, the diminished row?
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Re: Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion

Postby JerryPH » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:50 pm

In answer to your question about the augmented chords, I could be wrong, but I don't think so. In terms of programming I think they let you choose from like 5 freebass variations, 10 drum sets, hundreds of accordion and thousands of orchestral and sound effect sounds, and the top row of bass/chord buttons can serve as bass/chords that rarely ever get used or you can map them to an additional 6 bass registers. ;)

There is nothing wrong about being traditional, the vast majority of accordionists are, but the few that want to venture in to other realms are amply rewarded by what is out there now.

Do I miss not having the traditional bass registers? No, not at all, because I may have 7 registers, but based on the set, I can have 1400 variations in the accordion, and an unlimited number of other variations in batches of 1400 X 7 bass registers on a USB stick that I could load from at will, and again, that's not even using that top row of bass/chord buttons as extra registers!
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Re: Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion

Postby Glenn » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:44 am

Jerry is right. You cannot program the individual chord voicing from the ones provided by Roland. The voicing change if you set up your bass to be 3x3 instead of the more common 2x4 but other than that no. I have never really considered the default register set as unusual as I never thought there was a "standard" . I tend to go by feel and sound and not consider what the combination actually is on my accordions. The ability to program the bass register and alter the virtual reed set/type/quality/octave/reverb/key-click etc. more than compensates.


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Re: Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion

Postby Dublinesque » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:15 pm

Thank you both. I must play around more with the settings. :)

I enjoy playing with my Roland Fr-1xb and I think they did a great job in combining decent accordion sets of sounds with a whole lot of versatility around orchestral sounds and drum sounds. Yet, they constrained themselves to the accordion Stradella bass and free bass for no mechanical reason. If they just tweaked the software they could allow the accordion to take another leap, in the same way as when the first free bass and convertor accordions were made. There is no reason why a v-accordion bass could not be rejigged to allow any chord whatsoever to be sounded, including augmented chords, jazz chords, etc. Maybe they will do so in future version of the operating system. ;)
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Re: Bass Registers on a Roland V-Accordion

Postby Glenn » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:11 am

A bit like alternate timings on a guitar. Not a bad idea but I do think you would need a dedicated external programmer to do that as there are not just 6 strings as on a guitar. By the way, the others chord types are achievable by the right combinations of bass and chords on the Stradella. Maybe not "pure" from a theoretical point of view but with the theoretical approach music gets pushed aside for technology which normally ends in disappointment.


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