CBA beginners or experienced players

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CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Stephen » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:03 pm

If you want to play CBA, my advice is: get a unicolour buttons CBA.
In France, most CBAs had a single colour for. all the buttons.

The use of two different colours, eg white and black for diatonic and chromatic music notes, is confusing in a CBA.

In my opinion, starters are better off with a unicolour chromatic buttonboard.

How do other members of this accordion forum feel about this topic?

This idea of a unicolour keyboard can also be used in Janko, Beyreuther, Logicordeon accordions, or Kusserow bandoneons. All of these chromatic layouts.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Geronimo » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:24 pm

For the player, I find colors quite useless. For watching people play, or for guessing the system of an accordion for sale, they are very convenient. For the player, textured buttons are quite more helpful. I am currently annoyed by the texture being mostly masked due to having been climbing a few weeks ago. Once the fingertips peel, I hope to get back the sensitivity required for feeling the crosshatch on the marked buttons instead of having to attempt scratching them with the fingernails in order to tell the difference.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Stephen » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:49 pm

The second year in music school, I have chosen all white CBA buttons and no marked buttons at all. It freed my mind.

Early chromatic button accordions usually had all white buttons.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by maugein96 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:26 pm

I started off with the usual black and white buttons. Most CBAs which end up here in the UK have them. I found them fairly useful in the very early stages, and it wasn't until I bought my third accordion, a French made Cavagnolo, that I had an instrument with mono coloured buttons. By that time I had learned the basics on the treble side and the transition was fairly easy. All of my subsequent accordions are mono coloured, although one of them has those "hatch" markings etched into them, which I find have no real use for at all. Players used to them will no doubt claim they offer an advantage, but I don't bother trying to work out which notes they represent.

A violinist doesn't need frets, which so many players of stringed instruments rely on, so my opinion is that CBA accordionists shouldn't really need any form of "markers" on the treble buttons. There is a lot to be said for trying to stick to the same instrument as far as possible so that the buttons become really familiar. One of my boxes is Italian and the treble buttons are bigger and more widely spaced compared with my French instruments. That does cause one or two issues when I haven't played it for a while.

Daft thing is my left hand looks for the marked buttons on the bass side, but since most instruments have them then there isn't much I can do about that. What I will say is I often find myself groping for those marked bass buttons as a guide when I'm doing a big leap on the bass side, and that split second of searching for a marker often causes me to play the wrong bass button.

I suppose there will be more opinions on this topic.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Geronimo » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:48 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:26 pm
A violinist doesn't need frets, which so many players of stringed instruments rely on, so my opinion is that CBA accordionists shouldn't really need any form of "markers" on the treble buttons.
Have you actually played the violin? There are just four strings and there are fixed playing positions which have a firm relation to certain points on the neck of the violin and you are constantly microadjusting except for the rare double stops (sort of like chords) where the finger pattern precludes individual adjustment and thus needs to be correct from the start. In higher positions, semitones are very very close (closer actually than your fingers). This is totally different from playing CBA where distances are all the same across all rows and columns.

And have you actually played a fretted string instrument? The frets are not markers. They just discretize the tonal range like the buttons on a CBA discretize its tonal range: a CBA is no theremin.

Your opinion is certainly valid and held by a number of players but that justification you picked does not hold water at all.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by maugein96 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:07 pm

Geronimo,

Yes I've played the violin and various fretted instruments, as well as unfretted electric bass, but haven't made any real study of their mechanics.

My comparison was possibly irrelevant, but I didn't know any other way to put it.

I was obliged to leave school at 15 and go to work labouring on building sites, so my ability to communicate in a precise manner is somewhat limited at times.

Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that.
Last edited by maugein96 on Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:22 pm

Hello John,

I think you got your point across rather well, or at least I understood what you were driving at.

Prior to playing the accordion, my instrument was the Clarinet. I know little or nothing about fretted instruments, but I still believe your point was clearly made.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by xocd » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:23 pm

I don't look at the keyboard. The color of the buttons is irrelevant. I do depend on the texture of the Cs and Fs. There are players who can play without looking and without textured buttons!
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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Geronimo » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:36 pm

xocd wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:23 pm
I don't look at the keyboard. The color of the buttons is irrelevant. I do depend on the texture of the Cs and Fs. There are players who can play without looking and without textured buttons!
Sure, that ends up the smallest common denominator you have to deal with anyway unless you have only a single instrument. It does make regaining your footing when you get lost and/or are basically playing from score sheet harder. Also annoying if you don't hear yourself in an orchestra situation (and don't want to play extra loud because of not being sure you are right).

Piano accordion is quite less ambiguous in that respect.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by debra » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:19 am

xocd wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:23 pm
I don't look at the keyboard. The color of the buttons is irrelevant. I do depend on the texture of the Cs and Fs. There are players who can play without looking and without textured buttons!
This sums up the essence nicely. The color of the buttons is irrelevant for the player because as a player you never look at the keyboard. (A good PA player also never looks at the keyboard and even a good piano player will very also very rarely or never look at te keyboard.) The textured buttons however are very useful for knowing exactly where you are, especially when you switch between instruments. (On the same instrument they are less useful as your hand and arm "memory" learns where which buttons are: they never move.) What I therefore find the greatest difficulty is that for some strange reason Hohner decided to mark A, C# and G# while most others have marked C and F. And in the melody bass Hohner did mark C and F (or sometimes just C). That my Hohner has all white buttons and the others have white and black doesn't matter at all to me.

For buying/selling an accordion the colors are helpful. On a popular market place in the Netherlands (marktplaats.nl) many sellers neglect to mention whether an instrument is C or B system and when it has buttons all in the same color it is impossible to tell which system it is. (90% chance an old box is B system though...)
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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by losthobos » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:29 am

Makes no difference...its up to you to chose wether you peek or not....
I have both....but absurdly the one with the cross hatch feel keys on is also the one with black and white keys...
I will say the marked keys are handy when I'm working with other musicians who may ask what certain notes are being played and I can easily look and tell them.....otherwise I often don't know the names myself...just the sounds...
Two quotes...
Bruce Lee....Don't think ....feel...
Harry Hussey....Don't look....listen....
Right or wrong make it strong...when in doubt miss it out...

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Anyanka » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:48 am

I prefer having black & white buttons (both my CBAs have them), although I don't look at them while playing. The Pigini has textured F & C buttons for orientation, but the little Amati does not, so I do sometimes use the b&w patterns to get my starting place esp when we use an unusual key (it's my Morris box, so mostly played in G, Em and D). I don't think it held me up any when I switched from piano accordion...

It's also useful for explaining the instrument to people.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by TomBR » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:13 am

Given the choice I'd have unicolour buttons and tactile markings rather than coloured buttons.


There's also the "stealth" option of unicolour buttons with dots on the top edge for those that like visual markings, but don't want it to be obvious!

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Geronimo » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:17 am

debra wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:19 am
The textured buttons however are very useful for knowing exactly where you are, especially when you switch between instruments. (On the same instrument they are less useful as your hand and arm "memory" learns where which buttons are: they never move.) What I therefore find the greatest difficulty is that for some strange reason Hohner decided to mark A, C# and G# while most others have marked C and F.
C, D, and G on my Artiste and I have seen other Hohner C systems doing likewise. But not universally so. C, D, G are at least sort-of common. And I'd have understood C E A♭ in analogy with the marked buttons on Stradella.

And yes, in MIII I have C and F.
For buying/selling an accordion the colors are helpful. On a popular market place in the Netherlands (marktplaats.nl) many sellers neglect to mention whether an instrument is C or B system and when it has buttons all in the same color it is impossible to tell which system it is. (90% chance an old box is B system though...)
When there are cross-hatched buttons and the photographs are good enough that one can recognize them, the way the cross-hatches are staggered between first and fourth row is a reliable indicator (not for telling Finnish from C system but then the Finnish are always colored in my experience).

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Stephen » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:49 pm

And why are there no black buttons on the stradella bass side or the free bass side?

Left hand, all unicolour or monocolour buttons...
How do we explain this to starters?

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Geronimo » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:02 pm

Stephen wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:49 pm
And why are there no black buttons on the stradella bass side or the free bass side?

Left hand, all unicolour or monocolour buttons...
How do we explain this to starters?
Take a look at typical Russian CBAs. You'll find some listed on Ebay at any time. They do have white&black buttons on the Stradella bass side and, well, let's say that it's not my look. The counterbass row does not exactly help. And I'd be very surprised if anybody found this helpful since those are mostly just large white and black areas without significant orientation help in between. At least the patterns on the treble side are obviously related to scales and you can play a C major scale looking at the buttons reasonably reliably.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by maugein96 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:29 pm

Was a time when you could tell 4 row B system from C system by the button configuration as shown on this B system played by the Belgian Willy Staquet. Verchuren also played B system accordions with the same button configuration. Seems that they were made so that the buttons at the top and bottom of the outside row weren't duplicated in the 4th row.
220px-WILLY_STAQUET.jpg
220px-WILLY_STAQUET.jpg (20.44 KiB) Viewed 808 times
Sorry, but I've never been able to post a link to a photo without the image itself appearing in the post.

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Geronimo » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:51 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:29 pm
Was a time when you could tell 4 row B system from C system by the button configuration as shown on this B system played by the Belgian Willy Staquet. Verchuren also played B system accordions with the same button configuration. Seems that they were made so that the buttons at the top and bottom of the outside row weren't duplicated in the 4th row.

220px-WILLY_STAQUET.jpg

Sorry, but I've never been able to post a link to a photo without the image itself appearing in the post.
This arrangement doesn't even make sense. The lowest treble note would presumably sit at the top corner of the button field. If we are talking about a B system, the next higher semitone does not have a button anywhere because the next diagonal only has two buttons.

I have seen accordions where the arrangement made it possible to distinguish C system from B system: those are asymmetric, and exactly because the fourth row has the same length as the first row but is staggered in relation to it. My own Morino button accordions have a longer fourth row than the first row, having one additional note in the fourth row (on C system, the lowest pitch, on B system, the highest). In my case, I rather cherish my fourth-row-only low A and have fingerings particularly to accommodate it.

Now the accordion in your picture will be of the B system diagonal kind (though I am not sure B is in the outer row) but not because of its (symmetric and thus indecisive) treble keyboard but mainly because it has a Belgian bass (which is 3+3, runs downwards in direction of increasing sharps, and has chords and basses displaced by one column).

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Alan Sharkis » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:11 pm

Would you like to hear something from a piano-accordion student?

1. We're trained not to look at the treble keyboard.
2. The latest trend in PA design is to make all the keys black or some other color or pattern. Take a look at some of the
G. Verde models and others and you'll see what I mean.

The experience of playing many instruments, for maximum efficiency, is supposed to be tactile, not visual. (Never mind that I cheat sometimes :D )

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Re: CBA beginners or experienced players

Post by Morne » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:04 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:02 pm
Stephen wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:49 pm
And why are there no black buttons on the stradella bass side or the free bass side?

Left hand, all unicolour or monocolour buttons...
How do we explain this to starters?
Take a look at typical Russian CBAs. You'll find some listed on Ebay at any time. They do have white&black buttons on the Stradella bass side and, well, let's say that it's not my look. The counterbass row does not exactly help. And I'd be very surprised if anybody found this helpful since those are mostly just large white and black areas without significant orientation help in between. At least the patterns on the treble side are obviously related to scales and you can play a C major scale looking at the buttons reasonably reliably.
Some beginners free bass bayans have this on the bass side:
Баян Юность 2.jpg
I wonder whether this colouring wasn't perhaps meant for the teacher in order to quickly see what the student is pressing. Otherwise this can only be useful when you look at a mirror.

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