Sometimes it's good to see that other's have the same problem. I ran into this exact thing. Everything I first tried to learn was on the C end, when I finally swam out to the G end, it opened up a whole new world. With no prior music experience other than listening, I am still trying to understand all the terminology being used around here. It also seems much easier to play on the G end to me for some reason. Now I'm trying to figure out how some go back and forth, mainly as embellishments I guess.
Wilson Savoy's DVD Cajun Rythms and Improvisation has a section on keys on the Cajun accordion. It is a fun DVD.
The first tune I learned to play on the accordion was
in "F" on a "C" accordion. A little strange, but I think it was because it took me forever to figure it out on the harmonica. When I finally got my hands on an accordion, it just seemed the song that I migrated to .
Last night I sat in with a jam session group of 4 fiddlers, 1 banjo picker, and 1 guitar picker. They were considerate of the new guy and let me lead off with Eunice 2-step, JCD, 99 yr waltz, Je Passe, etc. and they were able to follow and chime in on C and G. But, when they started out on some Bluegrass and Celtic stuff in D on the fiddle, I could not find an accordion note to save my life. So, the question is, can you play in D on a C box, and if so, how? Just starting on the D button led to lots of sour sounds.
As a side note, one of the guys had an Irish (actually Italian)two-row button box that was diatonic and could play in D, as well as sharps and flats. It just didn't have the volume of the La Capitaine, though.
The D scale (on a C box) has a flat 3rd and flat 7th. Pretty cool for blues stuff (like Pine Grove Blues), but if your playing an Irish reel or polka, you're kinda up a creek. I play with an Irsh pub band, and can't think of anything off the top of my head that work work. Maybe some of the modal stuff might work where the progression is D C D C etc., but even then, I just pick up the fiddle.
Yep, this is a good chance to get some needed fiddle help from some guys who can really show and tell in a relaxed way. Or, may just buy a cheapie 3-row that can cover the entire scale. Thanks for the input, Steve.
3 row is a good idea for such situations. I have a GCF ( thanks, Glenn ) which I wanted to try Tex Mex, but when they play Irish stuff in the pubs, it's a whole lot easier to have the full G scale, and the wet tuning sounds better ( to me ) for that stuff. I have a Bon Cajun in D, but, at a pinch, you can play D on the G row.
Guitarists have an easy life - only one instrument to tote!
Unless you want to get into Irish system playing (C#/D or B/C), which requires a brain transplant, an A-D-G three-row would cover the notes you need almost all the time for Irish or Quebec music.
Although I don't think that tuning is out there in the cheap models like the Hohner Panther. I played a Panther not long ago and thought the action and bellows were decent even if the sound was a bit anemic.
This is posted on the Hohner website:
New for 2007
This is a three row diatonic accordion available in Bright Violet, Bright Orange, Bright Yellow, Red, Black and White. The finish is a matte paint similar to the Panther accordion but comes with an adjustable bass strap, a gig bag and a set of straps. It is offered in ADG, GCF FBbEb and BbEbAb key combinations. Retail $799.95
and this model would take care of the light tone of the two reed models...
El Rey del Vallenato
...an economy three row instrument with three sets of reeds. It is finished the same as the Compadre and is offered in the same colors. The key combinations are:ADG, GCF, FBbEb and BbEbAb The El Rey comes with a gig bag, shoulder straps and also has an adjustable bass strap. $995.95
A two row DG Pokerwork would do the trick as well and be a bit louder than the three rows. A is played up the 5th on the D row, but the basses are eliminated.
Dale - those instruments look like some good fun for the not-quite-ready-for-pro player. I looked at the brochure *.pdf for the "new for 2007" stuff, and zydeco enthusiasts should be aware that the 3 reeds on the El Rey Del Vallenato are all mid-range, so you won't get that low honk you might desire.
Plenty of Celtic music is played on MMM boxes though...it's a matter of taste for sure.
Since I am new new to the accordion, I play most of the banjo, fiddle, and guitar tunes I know in C. This helps me learn the fingering. I also try to play the A and G key tunes I know in G and can usually get by if I play an A note instead of the F natural.
Unfortunatly this does not work if I play with the group because they play mostly in the fiddle keys of D or A.
My plan is to get good enough and then buy a D box for playing in D and A. At my current rate I will have plenty of time to save up the money.
Good luck and have fun.