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Author Topic: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)  (Read 12180 times)

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ganderbox

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2009, 05:46:04 PM »


Having begun playing two-row boxes and having converted exclusively now to three-row boxes, I wish I had begun on a three-row.

But when you started playing, would you have known what sort of 3 row you would eventually want to play? Even if you had started on a 3 row, say an A/D/G, you would still have some learning and relearning to do to play your customised Benny.

Surely playing a 3 row which consists of a D/G plus another row (whether it's accidentals or an A row) doesn't mean you have to unlearn the patterns you learnt on a 2 row, it just means you have more options, and therefore more to learn to build on what you already know. At least if you start on a 2 row it's less daunting, and when you come to get a 3 row (if you do), you will have some idea of what you want it to do to allow you to progress in your chosen direction.

You may even decide that you don't actually want a three-row at all!!
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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2009, 10:41:44 PM »

My experience is that a 2 row is a better place to start.
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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2009, 11:15:06 PM »

I've just thought of a couple of other factors which may help (or confuse) you further.

Firstly, think about your own previous experience of playing music, should you have any.  If you're already accustomed to playing a chromatic instrument, I think you're likely to miss the extra notes an extra row can provide.  Maybe I'm an odd case, but I started 'needing' a step up from my two-row after only a couple of months from starting (on my first 'proper' melodeon, at least).  Thinking back, it seemed easier to have the 'missing' notes available from outset, rather than finding ways of getting around their absence.  There again, maybe I was being over-ambitious in terms of what I was expecting to play?  Or maybe it was just an early onset of MAD?  On the other hand, I suspect someone for whom the box is their first instrument is less likely to think like this.

As far as differing techniques goes, there didn't seem much difference in terms of basic technique when moving to a 2 row to a 2.5 row.  Sure, there were more possibilities, but the basic approach remained the same.  I suspect that if I moved to a 3 row of the "2 row + accidentals" type, the situation would be much the same, also.  I'd still fundamentally think of it as having two main rows on which to play.  On the other hand, when I've watched some videos of Mexican and German players who use multi-row instruments as standard (not of the " + accidentals" type), they seem to use a fingering technique that seems fundamentally tailored to that sort of instrument, with lots of crossing of all available rows even when playing straightforward keys.  To play in this way, I'm assuming that it would be essential to start with such an instrument from the outset.

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Medleyitis

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2009, 11:38:41 PM »

Theo, ganderbox, Bob, and LeFonque: Thank you again for your additional thoughts on this. The consensus has now shifted slightly to an equilibirum as a result, but you all make very goods points in favor of both 2-row and 3-row. If it were possible to learn both systems at a time (as an absolute beginner), perhaps that might be the way to go. If I could afford to buy one of each, that is...
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Medleyitis

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2009, 11:44:37 PM »

The way it see it the C gives you a nice drone you can use - because it doesn't really fit with all the notes you get a nice dissonance which automatically resolves its self when you hit a note which harmonises more pleasingly with C. The C chord (CEG) works over any of those notes - you have lots of G pushes where you can use it.

Prime example - play 'Rose Tree' in G (you need a low B to play it in the lower octave) and when it comes back to the G note in the 3rd bar hit the C on the push.

Also, where you have an F note on the push (often G row first button) it means you can use the C chord over the F note when playing in the key of C or Am (try it starting on the pull C or A on the G row), or just as a passing chord for any tunes which use the F as a chromatic note.

The push F chord on a DG can also be used to good effect with the club system as it gives you a Dm chord on the push with the D bass and F chord. Swings and roundabouts as with any melodeon layout.

Aha! Thank you, LJC, I knew there had to be an angle to it! Of course! A dissonant drone that, by the book, wouldn't be called for, but in the hands of a diatonic player, at the right moment, would still sound interesting. Now, finally, the "C bass (D/G box) and F bass (G/c box) on the push" puzzle makes some sense. Thanks again.
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Medleyitis

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2009, 11:56:23 PM »

I've just thought of a couple of other factors which may help (or confuse) you further.

Firstly, think about your own previous experience of playing music, should you have any.  If you're already accustomed to playing a chromatic instrument, I think you're likely to miss the extra notes an extra row can provide.  Maybe I'm an odd case, but I started 'needing' a step up from my two-row after only a couple of months from starting (on my first 'proper' melodeon, at least).  Thinking back, it seemed easier to have the 'missing' notes available from outset, rather than finding ways of getting around their absence.  There again, maybe I was being over-ambitious in terms of what I was expecting to play?  Or maybe it was just an early onset of MAD?  On the other hand, I suspect someone for whom the box is their first instrument is less likely to think like this.


Thank you, GbH, you've raised a very interesting point. I do have some experience playing a chromatic instrument (from when I was a boy), and as such, I would not be learning to play a 2-row or 3-row from a totally blank slate, so to speak. If anything, in the back of my mind, I've been wondering whether my previous experience might be as much of a hindrance as a help. In that sense, who knows, I may find myself missing the extra notes of a third row as you did, or perhaps not. But it's certainly food for thought. One thing I am sure of, though, whether a 2-row or 3-row, I am very much looking forward to learning either system. I envy you experienced players who know your way around either system!

Thanks again to all of you for your support!
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george garside

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2009, 08:58:42 AM »

[ ).

[/quote]

 

I agree with Theo on this. Having begun playing two-row boxes and having converted exclusively now to three-row boxes, I wish I had begun on a three-row. Although I played cross-row style from the start, the pattern of notes on the D and G rows became so deeply ingrained that when I transferred to three-row boxes it took me years to adjust to the patterns that would enable me to make adequate use of the third row.
[/quote]

This problem just does not occur when progrogressing from BC to BCC#  - the 3rd row just makes tricky bits easier ( and also means you can play in the flat keys without any furthur learning!  I can never see the logic in a a3 row DG plus odds & sods either stick to a simple light DG or consider the chromatic boxes.

george ;D
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Owen Woods

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2009, 02:05:21 PM »


Thank you, GbH, you've raised a very interesting point. I do have some experience playing a chromatic instrument (from when I was a boy), and as such, I would not be learning to play a 2-row or 3-row from a totally blank slate, so to speak. If anything, in the back of my mind, I've been wondering whether my previous experience might be as much of a hindrance as a help. In that sense, who knows, I may find myself missing the extra notes of a third row as you did, or perhaps not. But it's certainly food for thought. One thing I am sure of, though, whether a 2-row or 3-row, I am very much looking forward to learning either system. I envy you experienced players who know your way around either system!

Thanks again to all of you for your support!

It depends on who you are and what music you will be playing and in what context. For playing Morris, in ceilidhs or in sessions a D/G box is not actually that limiting. I can understand why people play a 2.5 or a three row odds and sods, as it improves fluency playing in the main keys and expands what keys you can play in easily in a few directions (i.e. makes playing in A,E,B,C a lot easier). If you feel the need to play in other keys (which of course aren't played in the vast majority of sessions) then you need a chromatic, probably a BCC#.

Over the past few years, if it helps, my dream box has varied massively. I've kept on playing and being happy playing my D/G though ;D
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bagaspuds

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2009, 04:40:15 PM »

damien connelly in fairfield ct has written a book with a dvd which is exceptional
for the beginner on BC and you can find him at www.damienconnolly.com
Also, check out www.chiffandfipple.com and look in the message board section for
the forum section under free reeds for a lot of good info.
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Medleyitis

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2009, 06:22:20 AM »


This problem just does not occur when progrogressing from BC to BCC#  - the 3rd row just makes tricky bits easier ( and also means you can play in the flat keys without any furthur learning!  I can never see the logic in a a3 row DG plus odds & sods either stick to a simple light DG or consider the chromatic boxes.

george ;D

Thanks for weighing in, George. From the get-go, I've been fairly sure that it'll be either a 2-row or a 3-row, not a 2.5 or 3 with odds and sods.


It depends on who you are and what music you will be playing and in what context. For playing Morris, in ceilidhs or in sessions a D/G box is not actually that limiting. I can understand why people play a 2.5 or a three row odds and sods, as it improves fluency playing in the main keys and expands what keys you can play in easily in a few directions (i.e. makes playing in A,E,B,C a lot easier). If you feel the need to play in other keys (which of course aren't played in the vast majority of sessions) then you need a chromatic, probably a BCC#.

Over the past few years, if it helps, my dream box has varied massively. I've kept on playing and being happy playing my D/G though ;D

Thanks, ukebert. Rest assured, I don't think I'll want or need to play in any keys other than the comfort zone that'll be found on my future 2 or 3 row box!

damien connelly in fairfield ct has written a book with a dvd which is exceptional
for the beginner on BC and you can find him at www.damienconnolly.com
Also, check out www.chiffandfipple.com and look in the message board section for
the forum section under free reeds for a lot of good info.

Thanks, bagaspuds, for the tip and the links. To the extent I was planning on learning Irish tunes, it would be on a D/G, A/D/G, G/C, or G/C/F and not on a B/C box. I've been the Gaelic-American Club in Fairfield, though, on their live music nights! They look at me funny when I order a Budweiser instead of a Guinness, though!  (:)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2009, 11:33:54 AM by Theo »
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Wurdal

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2009, 10:36:31 PM »

In an ideal world I would have started learning the B/C/C# box at an early age with lessons and hopefully I would have been a virtuoso at a relatively young age! Like probably lots of other people on this forum I picked up the melodeon at the age of 32 having messed around with guitar for a number of years. Looking at this with my limited musical knowledge and in the context of the British Isles I would make the following points (which might just reflect my experience and have no great validity).

1. The B/C/C# box is fully chromatic. It has a piano accordion bass layout. You can play a melody line and the appropriate bass. It has the push pull characteristics of the melodeon. On the other hand this layout seems to be the preserve of Scottish musicians and I wonder about the availability of tutors or written instruction manuals for this layout elsewhere. There might be developments that I do not know about.

2. The B/C box is also chromatic and Irish players produce stunning music on it. However for me the beauty of playing the melodeon is the ability to produce a melody with a chords. In short I don't just want a melody instrument.

3. The D/G box is limited in the keys it can play in  and also in the chords that are available. However I think that it is more intuitive to the late developer. It is easier to knock out tunes with a chord accompaniment in a shorter space of time. There is are good basic self tutors available as well as a lot of other players to tap into. There is also a wealth of music which is playable on this instrument which would keep the average player going for a lifetime and this can cover English, Irish, Scottish, Northumbrian music and more in the keys of A, D and G.

Quite often there is a lot of debate on this forum about diatonic vs. chromatic. However some important questions are not to do with how the box is set up. Some of the important issues can be what age are you when you take up the instrument? How much practice do you intend to put in per day? What sort of music do you want to play? Does it have to be in the genuine style or will you be happy just playing the tunes (in your own style)? Are you happy playing in a limited number of keys (but with an almost unlimited number of tunes available to you)?

As someone who has played for around 25 years (with interventions from life) I realise the amount of time and effort put in to reach a moderate level which I think is sometimes underestimated. For the late starter I would probably go with the D/G.

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Medleyitis

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2009, 04:35:15 AM »

Thank you, mackem, for taking the time to share your thoughts not only in favor of D/G but on other related systems as well. Coming from a chromatic instrument background already (well, in my boyhood at least), my intention now is not necessarily to get as chromatic as possible, but rather to learn a new (new for me, that is) and challenging way to play traditional folk music of various kinds. And so, as such, I don't think I would be leaning towards a B/C or B/C/C# setup. For the kind of music I have in mind, a D/G, A/D/G, G/C, G/C/F would pretty much do the trick. Being in my mid-middle age years, I am definitely a late starter in this, but I'd like to think I will be appreciating all the more whatever level of proficiency I reach. I'm looking forward to it! Thanks again for your time, thoughts, and support. Much obliged.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2009, 09:53:58 AM »

.....For the kind of music I have in mind, a D/G, A/D/G, G/C, G/C/F would pretty much do the trick.
I would hazard a guess quite a proportion of the music you have in mind will be in the keys of D and G with rare excursions into A. On a G/C or G/C/F box playing in D is definitely not so easy and A is even more awkward.

So that leaves your choices being either a two-row D/G or a three-row A/D/G.
The three-row box will be heavier, more expensive and possibly harder to obtain than the equivalent quality two-row D/G.
So - once again, go for the two-row D/G. It is relatively light, small and manageable. You will learn heaps on it and should you eventually feel the need to upgrade to a three-row box, you can do that later.

Quote
Being in my mid-middle age years, I am definitely a late starter in this, but I'd like to think I will be appreciating all the more whatever level of proficiency I reach. I'm looking forward to it! Thanks again for your time, thoughts, and support. Much obliged.
You've had a lot of advice, most of which is pointing you towards the two-row D/G. I'd say that the time for questions is just about over. Now it's time for action. Go get yourself a box. A Hohner pokerwork would be a good choice, but there are other makes too. But please don't get a Scarlatti. Others might disagree with me, but in my experience they are cheap and nasty and only suitable for firewood.
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Bob Ellis

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2009, 02:18:41 PM »

So that leaves your choices being either a two-row D/G or a three-row A/D/G.
The three-row box will be heavier, more expensive and possibly harder to obtain than the equivalent quality two-row D/G.

While I agree with Steve that starting with a D/G two-row and then moving on to a three-row if you feel the need/desire at a later date is a sensible way to go, the weight of a three-row box should not be much of an issue as there are some good small (and therefore light) three-row boxes around, of which the Castagnari Benny is a good example.
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Theo

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2009, 02:57:33 PM »

So that leaves your choices being either a two-row D/G or a three-row A/D/G.
The three-row box will be heavier, more expensive and possibly harder to obtain than the equivalent quality two-row D/G.

While I agree with Steve that starting with a D/G two-row and then moving on to a three-row if you feel the need/desire at a later date is a sensible way to go, the weight of a three-row box should not be much of an issue as there are some good small (and therefore light) three-row boxes around, of which the Castagnari Benny is a good example.

And there is the three row Hohner Compadre, remarkable value for money, and cheaper than the Hohner two rows.
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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2009, 02:59:58 PM »

For the kind of music I have in mind, a D/G, A/D/G, G/C, G/C/F would pretty much do the trick. Being in my mid-middle age years, I am definitely a late starter in this, but I'd like to think I will be appreciating all the more whatever level of proficiency I reach.
I am in a very similar situation: I've already have a B/C box, a C Cajun box and for about a month a C/G accordion. Definitely my favorite is the "Quint-box". The B/C did not work for me. My next accordion will be definitely an A/D/G (my only dilemma is two- or three-voice). I prefer cross-row playing and I think an A/D/G gives much more possibility to avoid heavy push-pull sequences when playing tunes upto speed. Miki
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Medleyitis

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2009, 05:20:21 PM »

My thanks again to Steve, Bob, Theo, and Miklos, for your latest feedback, support, and encouragement. It is very much appreciated.


You've had a lot of advice...I'd say that the time for questions is just about over. Now it's time for action. Go get yourself a box.


Amen to that! I was beginning to think the very same thing! Thanks again to everyone who has weighed in since I first posted.
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Andy in Vermont

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2009, 02:48:47 PM »

I prefer cross-row playing and I think an A/D/G gives much more possibility to avoid heavy push-pull sequences when playing tunes upto speed.

As a player of both 3-row and one-row boxes in a style in which speed is a major element, I think that this "speed" reason for cross-rowing (or using multi-row boxes) only applies for beginners -- once you have worked on press/draw bellows technique, you should be able to play "up to speed" on one row.  There are good reasons to play cross-row (chords and smoothness among them), but when speed is the issue, my concern is that a beginner may cut him-or-herself off from learning better bellows/air-button technique -- playing on one-row with determination and grit should provide excellent lessons in this.  If you have doubts about playing press/draw quickly on one row, then don't just take my word for it: Listen to some Quebecois players -- I recommend Raynald Ouellet's excellent solo album; or check out Brendan Begley if Irish playing is your aim.
-Andy
P.S. as for the original poster, I think that A/D/G would be an excellent choice.

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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #38 on: October 20, 2009, 03:07:42 PM »

A little detail which I have found a bit puzzling in the beginning is the fact, that - for example - a G/C/F 3-row accordeon
is in fact a 2-row C/F accordeon extended with a G row and additional 4 basses instead of a 2-row G/C extended with a F row
A  D/G/C 3 row would be nice, but I have never seen such a thing ...

An A/D/G is nice, you can play it like a 2-row D/G
but for those who are used to G/C there is no 3-row equivalent like an A/D/G for D/G players,
or a G/C/F for C/F.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 03:22:34 PM by michik »
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Re: A neophyte asks: 2 row vs. 3 row (advantages/disadvantages)
« Reply #39 on: October 20, 2009, 05:45:00 PM »

I think that the reason why you don't get D/G/C tunings might be something to do with the pitch.
If the G & C rows were in normal G/C pitch, the D row would be very low. If the D & G rows were in D/G pitch, the C row would be very squeeky.
If you think of the keys used for A/D/Gs and G/C/Fs, they cover the whole range of pitches used in the more popular tunings, ie the G on the outside row of a G/C being the lowest, and the G on the inside row of a D/G being the highest.

When I got my G/C + accidentals, I had a moment when I thought I should have got a G/C/F, but then I realized that you miss out on some of the basses which are so nice when you're playing G/C.

It would be nice if you could design a box that was like a G/C and a D/G stuck together, but I'm not sure how you would do it.
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