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Author Topic: BCC# - some thoughts and questions  (Read 2808 times)

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Daddy Long Les

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BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« on: April 29, 2018, 10:24:41 AM »

Hi,

Looking through the "Buy and Sell" the other day I noticed the BCC# Hohner Trichord that Theo is currently selling and my interest was piqued.  It looks like a very interesting instrument with huge potential.  My first thought was concerning the lack of minor chords.  This could of course be partially alleviated by the C/A bass (Am7) and G/E bass (Em7) trick but this wouldn't give you a good solid minor chord if you wanted to play in the keys of A minor or E minor.

I was wondering if the thirds could be taped over on the chords or do these chords reed-share?  Obviously you wouldn't want to take the E out of the C major chord only to lose it from the E major etc.  If the thirds could be taped over then you'd have an instrument that would be much more versatile albeit lacking in any rich major or minor triads.  I guess if just having the tonic and the fifth is good enough for Emmanuel Pariselle then it must be ok!

My next question concerns weight.  I'm not sure how much a Hohner Trichord weighs.  I'm guessing it must be about 9 lbs as my Hohner Compadre (three row/12 basses) weighs about that - possibly a bit more? I sat down with a Paolo Soprani BCC# with full stradella bass the other day and that literally felt like a millstone around my neck so something like that wouldn't be an option for me. 

I guess the Trichord is a good way to find out if BCC# is for you or not without breaking the bank.

I know that George Garside is a big fan of this system and you can't really argue with JK or Jimmy Shand can you?  My other worry is, would it mess up my DG or GC playing?  I used to play a B system CBA and that didn't cause any problems with my melodeon playing as it was completely unisonoric, so totally different .  I wonder if having a treble that is bisonoric and a bass that is unisonoric could mess up my poor old brain!

I'd be very interested to hear from those more knowledgeable than myself so that I can make an informed choice either now or in the future.  The thought of having a fully chromatic right hand really does appeal to me.

Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can give me.

Les
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Theo

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2018, 10:29:33 AM »

Les,  I can answer your question about the chords, but not about playing the BCC#.   In the Hohner Trichord each bass and chord button has its own reeds, there is no sharing, so it's a simple task to close of the thirds in any of the chords.
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Daddy Long Les

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 10:33:06 AM »

Les,  I can answer your question about the chords, but not about playing the BCC#.   In the Hohner Trichord each bass and chord button has its own reeds, there is no sharing, so it's a simple task to close of the thirds in any of the chords.
Thanks Theo, that's really good to know!
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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 10:44:22 AM »

I know that George Garside is a big fan of this system
Is he I never noticed (:)

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 10:51:20 AM »

I think the main benefit of a B/C/C♯ instrument is lost if you don't have Stradella basses. If I ever went back to playing one, it would be for the express purpose of having all keys available in one instrument, and I'd want basses in those keys.
If the Paolo 80 bass and similar are too heavy, look for a 48 bass instrument with 4x12 bass layout. All major and minor chords, and counterbasses so you can play tunes on them.
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Daddy Long Les

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 11:03:20 AM »

I think the main benefit of a B/C/C♯ instrument is lost if you don't have Stradella basses. If I ever went back to playing one, it would be for the express purpose of having all keys available in one instrument, and I'd want basses in those keys.
If the Paolo 80 bass and similar are too heavy, look for a 48 bass instrument with 4x12 bass layout. All major and minor chords, and counterbasses so you can play tunes on them.

Thanks for your insight.  May I ask what made you move away from this system?
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george garside

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2018, 11:11:44 AM »

guess what! I can thoroughly recommend the trichord!


weight 4kg more or less same as a corona.   In practice feels light as a feather as there is far less in and outing than on a 4th apart box if the alternative notes are used to control bellows. 2 of everything exept DGA ( two Bb but in same direction!)

the 'alternatives' also provide much more scope for right hand chords than on a BC box/

12 stradella essential . Small number made with 12 'melodeon' bass to be avoided.

only 5 scales, one being 'on the row' for B,C and C#  ,   provide wherewithal  for playing in 12 keys so genuinely chromatic or to put it another way easily chromatic. eg Ab fingering is the same as G and F# is same but for one button.

12 stradella bass provides bass and major chord for CGDA and something to get by with For F and E

Bill of this parish aadapted  a   hohner student accordion 32 bass end to a trichord and I think details are on here or the linked button box forum. It is something I am thinking of doing myself although th 12 bass  works quite well

Beware there are 2 and 3 voice trichords  and my advice would be to avoid the 2 voice version

there is a youtube  vid of  me playing stronsey waltz and rope waltz on an early trichord in need of fettling.( it is not left handed just the laptop camera got it wrong way round by accident)

As far as playing BCC# and DG I do both in equal quantities  and  have not haad any problems and ther is the little bonus that if you can play a BC(C#) in G you can play a DG in A!

hope this helps

george
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Daddy Long Les

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2018, 11:15:42 AM »

guess what! I can thoroughly recommend the trichord!


weight 4kg more or less same as a corona.   In practice feels light as a feather as there is far less in and outing than on a 4th apart box if the alternative notes are used to control bellows. 2 of everything exept DGA ( two Bb but in same direction!)

the 'alternatives' also provide much more scope for right hand chords than on a BC box/

12 stradella essential . Small number made with 12 'melodeon' bass to be avoided.

only 5 scales, one being 'on the row' for B,C and C#  ,   provide wherewithal  for playing in 12 keys so genuinely chromatic or to put it another way easily chromatic. eg Ab fingering is the same as G and F# is same but for one button.

12 stradella bass provides bass and major chord for CGDA and something to get by with For F and E

Bill of this parish aadapted  a   hohner student accordion 32 bass end to a trichord and I think details are on here or the linked button box forum. It is something I am thinking of doing myself although th 12 bass  works quite well

Beware there are 2 and 3 voice trichords  and my advice would be to avoid the 2 voice version

there is a youtube  vid of  me playing stronsey waltz and rope waltz on an early trichord in need of fettling.( it is not left handed just the laptop camera got it wrong way round by accident)

As far as playing BCC# and DG I do both in equal quantities  and  have not haad any problems and ther is the little bonus that if you can play a BC(C#) in G you can play a DG in A!

hope this helps

george

Thanks George.  Very interesting.  What's the problem with the two voice version then?

Les
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george garside

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2018, 03:15:16 PM »

the two voice doesn't have anything like as powerful musette tuning  .(the 3 voice is mmm)

The two voice sounds much the same as a pokerwork/Erica/double ray so for anyone happy with that sound is ok.  the 3 voice is sounds the same as a double ray delux of which there there are  a nuber of youtube vids.  I am of course referring to the sound of the treble as the 12 stradella bass  will have a different effect to 12 'melodeon' bass

george

« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 10:26:32 PM by george garside »
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JNM SY

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2018, 03:16:28 PM »

After playing an 80 bass P.S. I also started looking for a lighter(bcc#) box with  stradella bass. This is now my favourite box to play.( and cheapest) It is 4.5kilos- about 10lbs and is very easy to play. Converted from CF acc using most of the original reeds. I added 7 extra buttons to the bass side for Bmin,F#min&C#.
This was an experiment and worked out well but rather fiddley and slow to do, but it was a winter project so I was in no rush.
Benefits of the bass side - when you learn a bass line the fingering is the same in any key. On the treble side with tunes learnes over 2 rows,keys E & F have the same fingering - also A & Bflat , and D and Eflat as well as the keys mentioned in an earlier post. Mainly its best to learn how to use all 3 rows to minimise the pushing & pulling. This box is light enough to play tunes on one row also. It is only 2 voice with swing tuning but sounds great and worth the risk as both boxes were cheap and in good condition.
I should add that i,ve had a lot of practice tuning, valves,etc.on old boxes before this.- Result, a light box that is fully chromatic,- give it a go!
P.S. Its much louder than my P.S. Elite3.( and less than half the weight)
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 03:31:32 PM by JNM SY »
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george garside

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2018, 03:46:07 PM »

interesting conversion!  Whilst I agree  about leaning to use all 3 rows  I would recommend anyone new to the BCC# to initially learn  keys of G, D and A using only the two outside rows. The introduce the alternatives  one at a time starting with F# then C# on the inside row. The alternative E and B  will/should have been learned while playing on the outside rows only.

This does not of course apply to anyone competent on a BC box!

The advantage of learning on the outside rows is that the same fingering can then be used on the inside 2 rows  for the 'flat' keys

As the alternatives are slowly introduced  scales using just outside 2 rows and using all 3 rows should  be worked on.

Its actually much easier than it sounds  and  certainly easier than darting all over the place on eg an ADG box for other than the home scales.

John Kirkpatrick  once said to me that the BCC# system is totally illogical   I replied  that it  is logically illogical!!

george ;)
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JNM SY

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2018, 06:08:55 PM »

Totally agree with everything you said, I should have said- EVENTUALLY learn to use all three rows . -  "introduce the alternatives  one at a time starting with F# then C# on the inside row."
I found these alternatives usually one key at a time, mostly because the bellows ended up too far open or closed- then discovered pairs of notes in the opposite direction eg. C# (inside row) - B ( outside row) pushing,-  instead  of pulling C#-B on the outside and middle rows.( key of A major). The lower octave F# is also very handy for fast tunes in D.
So you slowly become familier with the alternatives one key at a time.
The reward is only one box required for any key.
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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2018, 10:59:05 PM »

If you're used to little 2 row 8 bass instruments seek out a Trichord first - they were traditionally considered the learner's instrument, after all.  And I'd not pass up a Trichord II if it comes along - you might be a long time waiting for a III to show up, and if it's a vertiable sea monster of wetness you might not be interested in the first place - were these things tuned in tremolo ecossaise = 30 cents of musette?  I've untaped the MM reeds of my Gaelic IVS only a couple of times, that super soggy MMM sound is just too much for me.

And frankly, if you really want to shove a full size B/C/C# around like it's a Pokerwork on steroids, hit the gym, these things are just huge blocks of mass, any way you look at them.  Sure you can play them light and avail yourself as much as you can of alternate notes and keep the bellows shut as possible, but you still need a bit of muscle mass to manipulate the thing, and you're going to need to be a bit of a bruiser to really crank on one like Will Starr.  This is just part of the tradition, which is something I've just come to accept, that I've figured out - the Great Highland Bagpipe takes a bit of power to make sound too, and upright basses need to be hard on the fingers to get a full sound out of, to just cite a couple of other instruments that you need to get used to.

I've gone back to my ADG Corona IIIR, which you can play like a PA accordion if so inclined, contrary to what George seems to be implying in re: which system has the most potential for runs of notes in one direction.  I'm thinking it would be fun to put the reeds from my Trichord II into the Corona's bass...
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george garside

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2018, 09:04:48 AM »

its each to his own but I much prefer the ''super soggy''  to the  ''liquidised flatulantic'' noise made by dry tuning!

I find the 4 stop one row , which I like a lot, requires the most physical effort on the bellwos particularly when in 4 speed mode. On the other hand the gaelic while being a heavy box  with the very good reed response that mine has  requires less effort probably due to relatively small bellows movement pushing a lot of air through the reeds. The gaelic is indeed heavy by melodeon standards but no more so than a similar size  piano box  and the effect of the weight on my arthritic shoulders is greatly reduced by using posh wide padded straps  and resting the bottom of the treble end on my knee.

The most important thing to get the hang of with a BCC# is the use of the alternative buttons to both ease what  could be tricky fingering and bellowing on a BC    to enable a phrase or maybe a few bars to be played out followed by a similar amount of in!

John Kirkpatrick  has a technique all of his own  and which is quite different to mainstream (Scottish/Irish) BCC# playing.  It requires a great deal of expertise and a great deal of energy and is  truly wonderful.

george



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Jesse Smith

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2018, 01:51:51 PM »

John Kirkpatrick  has a technique all of his own  and which is quite different to mainstream (Scottish/Irish) BCC# playing.  It requires a great deal of expertise and a great deal of energy and is  truly wonderful.
On his website there is an old article where he basically encourages seeking out bellows reversals intentionally as much as possible to maximize the push/pull bounce. Is it fair to say he generally plays it like a one row melodeon that has the advantages of being able to play in any key and with the full Stradella bass? And of course the multiple rows make right hand chording easier as well, especially when accompanying singing.
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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2018, 06:45:25 PM »

as Anahata observes above, the only good argument for B/C/C# is the relative (comapred to B/C) ease of playing a melody in any key.  Once you add in a stradella bass and a third voice, as KLR suggests, you've got a monster on your knee, and it's not really a push-pull box in the sense that a Pokerwork is.  The bellows dynamics that are useful and beneficial on a 2-row box become an encumbrance on a 3-row.   

If you're going to play a 3 voice 3-row with a stradella left hand you'll probably use as many note reversals as possible to avoid bellows changes, losing much of the melodeon-ness along the way. 

If you want to play readily in any key with a full left hand accompaniment, why not cut to the chase and get a small CBA?  No note reversals to worry about, and (especially if its a 5-row) there's a lot fewer scale patterns to learn before you can play and accompany a tune right across the chromatic compass.

If you're not bothered about a left hand, get a 2 voice B/C and put a bit of time in on it - its treble keyboard is fully chromatic.  However, after having learned and then almost forgotten D/G before taking up B/C fifteen years ago, I now find that occasionally playing a D/G box messes up my fingers for a while.  Learning B/C or B/C/C# may have the same effect on your D/G playing.

Good luck in any case
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Daddy Long Les

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2018, 08:29:05 PM »

as Anahata observes above, the only good argument for B/C/C# is the relative (comapred to B/C) ease of playing a melody in any key.  Once you add in a stradella bass and a third voice, as KLR suggests, you've got a monster on your knee, and it's not really a push-pull box in the sense that a Pokerwork is.  The bellows dynamics that are useful and beneficial on a 2-row box become an encumbrance on a 3-row.   

If you're going to play a 3 voice 3-row with a stradella left hand you'll probably use as many note reversals as possible to avoid bellows changes, losing much of the melodeon-ness along the way. 

If you want to play readily in any key with a full left hand accompaniment, why not cut to the chase and get a small CBA?  No note reversals to worry about, and (especially if its a 5-row) there's a lot fewer scale patterns to learn before you can play and accompany a tune right across the chromatic compass.

If you're not bothered about a left hand, get a 2 voice B/C and put a bit of time in on it - its treble keyboard is fully chromatic.  However, after having learned and then almost forgotten D/G before taking up B/C fifteen years ago, I now find that occasionally playing a D/G box messes up my fingers for a while.  Learning B/C or B/C/C# may have the same effect on your D/G playing.

Good luck in any case

Thanks for all this information.  I did mention in my original post that I used to play the B system CBA.  It was a 60 bass so not huge but still a bit of a weight.  I'm sure in the right hands these instruments are wonderful but I didn't enjoy it as much as the melodeon.  It is the in/out nature of the melodeon that I particularly enjoy.  I'll probably wait for a 48 bass BCC# to crop up and give it a try.  Nothing ventured...........
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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2018, 11:14:59 PM »

So Les, did you give up on the CBA B system? I was following along on your YouTube tutorial videos and then nothing. You actually inspired me to pick up a B system myself. As you said, nothing ventured . . .

Mark
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Daddy Long Les

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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2018, 07:43:46 AM »

So Les, did you give up on the CBA B system? I was following along on your YouTube tutorial videos and then nothing. You actually inspired me to pick up a B system myself. As you said, nothing ventured . . .

Mark

Yes, I gave up on the CBA a couple of years ago.  It was just sitting on the shelf and every time I looked at it I simply didn't feel inspired to pick it up and play - not like I do with the melodeon.  I haven't completely banished the idea of having another go though!!
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Re: BCC# - some thoughts and questions
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2018, 10:05:21 AM »

So Les, did you give up on the CBA B system? I was following along on your YouTube tutorial videos and then nothing. You actually inspired me to pick up a B system myself. As you said, nothing ventured . . .

Mark

Yes, I gave up on the CBA a couple of years ago.  It was just sitting on the shelf and every time I looked at it I simply didn't feel inspired to pick it up and play - not like I do with the melodeon.  I haven't completely banished the idea of having another go though!!

I feel much the same about the continental in that in comparison with melodeon and other so called diatonic systems  the lack of challenge  makes it less than challenging!  The CBA is however   the most sensible box of all - but I must be less than sensible!

Les, you missed a good 48 bass casali BCC# on gumtree last week.  'Twas mine and it sold within a week.  If you go for a casali the later ones with the grille the same colour as the body seem better than the earlier ones with the tin grille.  I sold it  because I was not using it having bought a very nice 96 bass 4 voice hohner gaelic off Brandon Mcphee.

With decent straps the gaeilic does not feel all that much heavier than the casali when playing seated (7.3k with wide padded straps)  It also needs much less bellows travel  particularly if playing like for like 3 voice whilst having the option of bringing in the low reedset. The number of bass reedsets can also be reduced with a coupler.

Trichords are  a very good choice to learn the BCC#/stradella system and I still have the one I started on 50 years ago  and which is definitely not for sale

 both gaelics  and trichords are more readlily available than  48 bass casalis

george
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