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Tuning one-row Hohner

Hi! I'm a Swedish folk fiddler who recently discovered and got completely enchanted (obsessed?) by the Cajun music tradition, and Cajun accordion music in particular. I started to learn some from Youtube playing on a four stop out of tune HA-114C. I'm about to have it tuned by a professional who does any tuning as long as he gets the deviation from 12TET in cents.

I let him tune my Hohner 1040 C earlier based upon this system and I like the result:

Note Scale note Ratio Cents from 12TET
F......4.......4/3.....−2 (but I made it +5)

This time I plan to base the tuning on the key of G instead of C, but still keep a nice C chord. (I really like the tunes in G played on C accordions) That would result in this scheme:
Note Scale n. Cents
A.......2........+4 (Negotiable)
G.......8....... 0

I like the sound of a high minor 7th, so i'm thinking about making it at +10 instead of -4 (As a "just" minor would be). It would also help making a better sounding F chord.

What are your experiences of different tunings? Would this be a good idea? Of course I understand its also a matter of personal taste.

Regards from Sweden,

(I just heard on the Swedish radio about the floodings, my thoughts to you all who are affected)

Re: Tuning one-row Hohner

Are you wanting to play Cajun music and have it sound Cajun ?

Your tuning schedule does not seem to be compatible .

Why not play 12TET and add a little bit of tremolo for the second middle reed and when you play close the second reed to sound almost "Cajun" and then open that reed for all other music.

Do you know the music of Markku LePisto from Finland ?

Re: Tuning one-row Hohner


Tuning the A flat on a C box seems off to me.

In a nutshell, cajun tuning on a C box would have the Bs and the Es -15 cents and the Fs +15 cents (from equal tempered tuning). However, if you play a lot in F (or third position), the sharpened Fs would be a problem so you may want to keep them at 0, or anywhere in between for a compromise.

Then the amount of tremolo is another question. I like a couple cents difference between the two M reeds. Even as little as 1 or 2 cents seems to fatten up the tone.

Re: Tuning one-row Hohner


That is known as "difference" tuning and does in fact give the impression of a louder, fuller sound.
Two single reeds in unison sound lifeless and not necessarily louder or more distinct.

And 1 -2 cents apart is not discernible by most human ears.. in other words you really can't put your finger on it but it's there.

Good call.

Re: Tuning one-row Hohner

Thanks for your reply.

Tuning the A flat turned out really fine om my Hohner 1040, as long as I play in the key of C. But as you can see on my second chart the A this time will be +4 cent, as I plan to play mostly in G, and I think it will work fine. I consider to make the F +15 as you wrote. It gives a nice slightly sharpened lowered 7th in G. (I now see I used the wrong term "minor 7th" in my first post).

As for the wetness, I plan to make it 5 cent by the middle C. I believe that these industrially produced Hohner reeds don't really sound so good tuned dry as for example the handmade Italian reeds do.


Re: Tuning one-row Hohner

Thanks for your reply.
Yes I'll play Cajun music, but tuning a one-row accordion in just 3rds and 5ths (and sometimes high 4ths) is suitable for any kind of music IMO, as long as you don't play along with other 12TET tuned instruments. My question was specifically about the tuning of A and F.

I just checked Lepistö out, seems to be a great musician, thanks for the tip.


Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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