I'm interested in learning to play. How critical is reading music and what are the best sources for learning? I live in California/Idaho so not likely to find someone nearby to learn in person. Books/on-line most likely will be the way. I've ordered Big Nick's to start. Thanks to anyone for some feedback.
Welcome to your cajun accordion journey!
Big Nicks DVDs are a great way to start. Steve Riley has a couple, as does Dirk Powell.
Reading music is not a big part of playing Cajun accordion. There is almost nothing written down, and what is written down is often so oversimplified as to be nearly useless for learning the important nuances.
Cajun accordion is an aural tradition, so strengthen and rely on learning to play by ear. One thing that helps greatly with playing by ear are apps like The Amazing Slowdowner, and Anytune Pro.
Thanks for the information David. I'm hoping to take the plunge soon. Have also ordered a Steve Riley DVD in addition to a Big Nick's. My next decision is which accordion to go with. I'm sure everyone has their preferences and I would like to hear everyone's thoughts if they have the time.
welcome to the world of cajun accordion Rick. you are on you way there, get in touch with John Doucet,337 886 5377. he builds really decent accordions for a decent price. good quality and play well. i own one and it plays better and better every time that i pick it up. good luck with your journey and have fun cause that's what its all about.
good luck, C.J.Cron
To start the DVD course of Big Nick and Dirk Powell are very good.
When I start, I use the video(VHS) of Dirk Powell, a booklet and LP of Allie Young and had lessons of Wim Nagtegaal in the Netherlands.
I bought a few years ago a program to make TABS for the one row accordion.
Tabledit is the name of the program and it also usefull for many other instruments.
I made TABS for about 45 songs with Tabledit.
It's not easy to put the right groove in the songs and it's a must to listen to
Cajun Music as much as possible to get it the right way.
With link#2 you can find the files and the programs to play the songs.
There is a free program TEFview to play the songs at the speed you want.
You can find it under Cajun Accordion / Introduction, TEFview, Downloadsongs
Thanks for all the advice. Obviously, lots to learn but all the help I get is appreciated.
I went the Big Nick route and listened to a ton of You Tube videos. It's coming along but not as fast as I would like. I started out with old $100 Hohner Ebay air leakers and stuck with them until I ran across an Acadian I really couldn't afford but oh well, I bought it and that was certainly the biggest improvement in my playing. Made things so much more enjoyable.
Good luck to you and keep on squeezing.
Thanks Jeff. Likely, I will seek a quality accordion to start as that seems to be the advice of others as well. I hear the Acadian maker, believe his name is Marc Savoy, is not an easy person to deal with and not sure what that means. I am easy so maybe that helps lol. I know many like the Acadian and Martins. I haven't heard any negatives regarding Junior Martin. I've read about Tim Reed and some of the earlier issues with his accordion but that was a long time ago so perhaps they are much better now. Another person on the forum mentioned John Doucet's accordions. Not sure if any of these people have accordions available or what a waiting list looks like. I'd like to deal with a maker directly as that realtionship helps any follow-up issues I may have. Anyway, thanks for your feedback and I welcome any other thoughts reading a good accordion to go with.
I have two Martins (C and Bb,)Falcon(D)and also a Italian Castagnari(D):-)
All very fine instruments but the Louisiana made fit more for Cajun music.
Unfortunately Mr Randy Falcon passed away and he gave his knowledge and craftmanship to other young builders.
Nowadays Rusty Sanner built two key accordions which were invented by Mr Randy Falcon.
Rusty also built fine 4 stoppers Cajun accordions.
My Louisiana made accordions were all three used when I bought them.
I met Mr Marc Savoy a several times and in my opinion he's a nice man.
His accordions are also lovely instruments to play on and I didn't have one,
because they were no available at the moment I was searching for an accordion.
Just like many things the price of accordions are now higher than years ago.
Other builders I know : Jude Moreau, Toby Cormier, André Michot and Graig Vincent.
Mr Larry Miller was a builder(Bon Tee) too in the past , but I don't know if he or
his grandson(s) still doing it. Maybe Blake Miller knows that.
Link#2 gives some more information about builders.
Thanks for the great information. I made contact with Marc Savoy via email and he responded immediately and invited me to have a phone conservation with him. I made an attempt to contact Junior Martin via email but the one listed on his website didn’t work. The other makers you listed are also possible sources so will try to find their contact info. As you mentioned, finding availability is certainly a factor but I’m willing to wait a bit if needed though I’m eager to get started. Thanks again for your help.
Correction to my previous comments. User error regarding Martin Accordian's email address. The one on his website should work.
I had a wonderful conversation with Marc Savoy today. He was more than helpful regarding my learning process for the accordion and providing me with sources and other means of moving forward in learning to play the accordion. It was a pleasure talking to him. I love there are people like him as well as others on this forum that have the passion for helping newcomers into the cajun accordion world.
Be sure to check out Chris Miller's videos on YouTube. In addition to a lot of excellent solo renditions of Cajun classics, he has a couple of great multi-part tutorials for beginners. I learned my first Cajun tune on accordion from his "Lovebridge Waltz" tutorial (website link below).
I did not buy my Acadian new so I had no dealings with Marc Savoy BUT I did email him to see if he could identify the model of my accordion and tell me it's age. The response was immediate and we had a very good conversation online and he was very helpful and cordial.
He was a really nice person to talk with, I would not hesitate to do business with him.
Others may have had a different experience but this is my 2 cents.
Learn to play the scale using octaves. Dirk Powell explains this and demonstrates on his tape. Play it up and down. Always practice this first last and always. Listen to the music. YouTube is a Godsend. Eventually you will be able to hear a Cajun song and play the tune using octaves automatically. Learn the embellishments that make the music sound Cajun and or Zydeco. Triplets are key. Wilson Savoy explains how to do these on his tapes.
Most importantly have fun and enjoy the ride.
Thanks Johnny Ace for great advice. I have Dirk Powell’s dvds coming. Not familiar will Wilson Savoy’s tapes. Are there specific lessons available? Source? Obviously there is a lot to learn and although information is out there one needs the help from those of you in the forums. I live in the West so don’t have live sources I can go to for instruction.
Wilson did a Cajun accordion instruction video that was very helpful and entertaining. It was done 10-15 years ago. Go to his website and see if it is available. He has unfinished productions including one on Wayne Toups.
I thing the title of his instruction tape is Cajun Accordion Stules or something similar.
Couldn’t find Wilson Savoy’s website. I think it is or was almenapictures.com. His DVD sounds interesting but not sure how to get.
"Cajun Rhythm and Improvisation" a DVD by Wilson Savoy. Produced by Almena Pictures.
The DVD doesn’t seem to be available anymore and also Almena Picture/ Productions doesn’t appear exist any longer. Too bad as it seemed to be a popular DVD.
Rick, you can try to ask Wilson himself.
You can mail him with the contact data of the Pine leaf Boys.
If you want a butt jointed accordeon go with Savoy, Martin or Miller.
For a step up in design and workmanship
Try mitered corner boxes from Jude Moreau, John Doucet.. and I am sure there are others who care about such workmanship details.
I prefer Older (50s) Hohner HA114
Castagnari from Italy (have owned several) simply outstanding.
Melodie Quebec (don't personally like the maker but the boxes are exquisite)
Jeff, you're right about Castagnari which is beautifull built, but the reeds are all standing up :blush:
My Falcon has also mitered corners and Rusty Sanner built also accordions with mitered corners because he learned a lot from the late Mr Randy Falcon.
Even my leak old Hohner in low G has mitered corners.
For me it's not a big deal, because I play my Martins Juniors with the same pleasure as the Falcon or the Castagnari :blush:
The Savoys and Millers I was obliged to play on , are also very fine instruments :blush:
Maybe it's time for The Mitered Corner Two Step :joy: :joy: :joy:
I only pay accordions with butt joints. They sound better.
Play, not pay. Don't know if the Globe has butt joints.
No where in a quality accordeon will you see a butt joint.
It is a cost cutter and time saver for the lazy or inept.
You will never see a butt joint in any type of woodworking in Japan.
I saw a lot of butts in Japan at the sento public bath...