New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK



New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Teriodin » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:15 pm

Hello.

I was born Scottish and raised (mainly) in Hawick in the Borders of Scotland. My Pa-Pa (Grandpa in English) played button and piano accordion, but preferred button.

Unfortunately, his second wife's family 'disposed' of his accordions when he died around 10 years ago so I was unable to get the one he'd promised to me all his life *shrugs*

I could never afford a good accordion so I grew up playing Clarinet and other woodwinds, along with guitar. Recently I had the urge to try buttons again so I had a go with a cheap concertina for a few weeks before deciding I'd rather have the piano keyboard. I never played Piano before, unless you count banging on the keys in my Na-Na's house whilst a child *grins* but the buttons were just going to be too confusing for my old brain. Hence, I bought a medium sized 24 button piano accordion recently and have 'played' it for around 4 hours over the last week.

I am using the Palmer-Hughes books that people said "You can get through the first book in about 2 hours, it's too easy!" and finding that their perspective differs from that of my five left thumbs. :mrgreen: I'm only on the third main tune in the book and still trying to figure out how on earth you keep your left hand in a useful place whilst patting your belly and rubbing your head. It'll come eventually, but I have quite fat finger-ends and fitting two fingers on buttons next to each other is tricky.

I'm not worried about any lack of progress since I'm not doing this for fame or fortune, I just want to play some old Scots and Irish songs and maybe some English Morris or contemporary stuff as the urge takes me. I'm willing to struggle through as a beginner until I can hit the 'Polka' book after doing book 3 of P-H.

The accordion sounds great, but weighs more than I expected.

Thanks for having me! :ch
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Corsaire » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:31 pm

Hi Teriodin - you sound like someone after my own heart ! My background is mostly folky, Irish and Scottish with some English - polkas, reels and strathspeys ! I can get away with most of it on a 72 bass compact (the compact bit means the piano keyboard is a bit shorter than a full sized 72 bass). I have crooked little fingers probably from playing the piano very young, and and can't use them for the bass buttons as I risk hitting the wrong button !

You will get plenty of helpful advice here - there are lots of very knowledgeable folk. I'm not a techie so some of the chat is over my head, but reading the postings has been a huge help to me getting back into playing again.

Have fun ! :)
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Stephen Hawkins » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:58 pm

Teriodin,

A very warm welcome to the forum. I hope you stick around for a long time.

Like Corsaire, I mainly play folk music, though I also enjoy 40's, 50's & 60's music as well.

Familiarity with your instrument will bring its rewards, but don't fret about getting into a strict regime. Playing music should be, first and foremost, a fun experience.

You have not yet described your instrument, and I hope that you will rectify this little oversight in the very near future.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Maren » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:20 am

Hi Teriodin- You've started a noble endeavor! Be patient and you'll soon find the enjoyment exceeds the frustration. Across the pond here in Portland, Oregon, I also began with the Palmer Hughes books some years ago. The technique is good, though the tunes are generally quite dated.

This may be pointing out the obvious, but it easiest to practice the left and right hands separately till you master them, then work on playing them together. That tends to reduce the feeling of patting your belly and rubbing your head.

And it may be worth your while to check the posting "Bad Habits to Watch Out For" viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3988

I think I have most of them.

Also the Teaching & Learning section of this forum is really helpful.

Enjoy!

Best,
Maren
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Teriodin » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:01 pm

"Describe the Instrument" as requested.

It's a Chinese made 24 Bass piano accordion from Gear 4 Music. 32 keys and came with a hardshell case.

Accordion by Gear4music, 24 Bass

Nothing fancy. No registers. No 7th row or counterbass, etc.

It should do me for at least a year while I get to grips with the head patting and belly rubbing *grins* I may even keep it beyond that as just a fun, portable instrument.

It has a great seal on the bellows and is very loud.

Waiting for British Gas to upgrade my meters today, so got it out and was playing some 5 note tunes when I realised the rest of the family were yelling "There's someone at the door!" from upstairs. I was 10 feet from the door and hadn't heard it. :lol:

I'll check out the bad habits list too - thank you.
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby PAE61775 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:18 pm

Hello fellow wrinkly !
I'm just past Glasgow, and also interested in playing Morris tunes.
Maybe you know already, but, there is a web-based source of tunes:
http://abcnotation.com/searchTunes?q=Mo ... =c&o=a&s=0
Let me know how you get on
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Stephen Hawkins » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:16 am

Teriodin,

Thank you for responding to my earlier request for information.

I like your little 24 Bass, and feel sure that it will serve you well. It sounds very nice for a small accordion.

My first accordion was a little 12 Bass Galotta, which I still play occasionally. It was a good instrument on which to develop skills, as I'm sure your new accordion will be.

The Galotta would play most of the simple tunes I wanted to play, but I did "hit the buffers" when I tried more complex tunes. This problem was resolved when I bought a 72 Bass Chanson (Chinese) accordion from a friend of mine. I now feel that I have more than enough keys to tackle any tune I am ever likely to want to play.

My better half and I are members of a Folk Club (and visit several other clubs). I know a chap who owns and plays a battered little 8 Bass accordion, and manages to knock out some pretty impressive tunes on it.

Anyway, all the best to you.

Stephen.
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Teriodin » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:16 am

I have to say, the button spacing on the 12 Bass Galotta looks a lot more accommodating for fat finger ends than my 24 Bass!

The 72 Chanson also looks a nice size. I don't think I'll ever want one of those huge, full keyboard length 120 Bass instruments - my poor old back wouldn't like it.

I'm hoping to be good enough to play in front of non-family members in a year or so, but nothing fancy. I always enjoyed Folk with my guitar and the chance to arrange some of my favourite tunes on an Accordion is something to which I look forward.

Thank you all for the warm welcome,

Connor..
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Soulsaver » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:09 am

Hi Connor, a warm welcome from me, too.
PH Book 1 in an afternoon? Is urban myth or figure of speech - a from-scratch beginner isn't going to get through PH book 1 in a month.. never mind an afternoon..
so now you should feel better...

Are you intending to self teach even with all those good players on your doorstep up there?
[b]Music Game full rules are on the original (first) post in its thread...viewtopic.php?f=12&t=444

Chinese Accordion Manufacturers - list post #1 here viewtopic.php?f=25&t=1584

b]
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Re: New, wrinkly accordionist-to-be from the UK

Postby Happy girl » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:45 am

If you continue to study the PH books, please be aware that it won’t be long before a 120 bass instrument becomes unavoidable. You will soon be expected to play the same tune an octave higher in many pieces, & part of their repertoire is to encourage the student to jump about the octaves.

I'm afraid if you are set on playing the polka in book three, you & your back will need to make choices!

I changed from a 72 to a 120 bass for just that reason; yes, it is a heavy load to pick up in the first instance, but I always play sitting down with good posture with the accordion properly balanced, & I can honestly say the weight is not an issue when I play.

Good quality, comfortable supporting straps are essential too.
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