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Author Topic: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?  (Read 6488 times)

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meltzer

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"Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« on: May 01, 2008, 11:23:29 PM »

Hello all. Been playing the melodeon for *gulp* over 20 years -- Corona II A/D/G and a Hohner Cajun 4-stop. Recently started playing the anglo (about a year ago) (boo! hiss!). But anyway... my good lady has just bought me a declubbed C/F Club III for an anniversary present (what a woman! 8)). I absolutely love the sound of the thing, but.... all those extra buttons!

I'm used to "extra" buttons on the 30 key anglo ("reverses", more chordal possibilities, not that interested in straying far from the home keys) -- but I was wondering how other Club players use theirs. Is it to have access to other keys for playing in, for chords on the right hand, or what? I gently hinted that I might want a C/F because i) why have another version of a box I have already? and ii) I'm interested in exploring the melodeon for song accompaniment.

It's early days on the new box so far -- just getting used to the sound, trying the couplers, going through the sort of English country dance tunes I'm used to playing on the melodeon. But I'd be most interested in exploring the potential of the instrument, because it seems daft not to.

(Interesting forums, by the way -- I've been reading for a while, but thought I'd register to celebrate the new box).

I won't be on the internet again until tomorrow night, btw, so it's not like I'm not interested in what you have to say -- just away from a computer.  ;)
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sCANdanADIAN

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008, 12:05:30 AM »

Big question! ???Does a draw C get put somewhere on these de-clubbed boxes.I couldn't imagine playing without one.

There are a few extra buttons that come in handy right away,mostly pushes.The F#,Bb,and high D pushes are very useful,as are the lowest C draw(on the F-row) and the highest C draw(last button on the C-row,which is how I'll retune the middle rows of my 3-rows).

As I've said before the accidental row should be closer to the chin and the reasons for a draw C# combined with a push Amaj bass mystify me.(the 3-rows have the same problem)

Tango music in D-minor with the LM setting is one of the great joys of the Club box,Not quite Tango but look up my Chamame links on the Club post from a month ago for some video links.It's not me playing though ,I don't have the technology yet.

Chris
« Last Edit: May 02, 2008, 01:54:01 AM by sCANdanADIAN »
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meltzer

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 12:14:34 AM »

Thanks for that, Chris. Don't think there is a draw C on my declubbed box -- but my fragile mind probably couldn't cope with the melodeon, the 30 key anglo AND the club system.  ;)

Never played tango in my life, but D minor is one of my favourite keys (or the near-D minor modal scale that a lot of English traditional songs seem to fit in). Lovely deep, resonant basses on the new box, too. This computer is silent at the moment, but I look forward to listening soon.  8)
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Matthew B

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008, 02:50:28 PM »

Chris,
Interesting to hear your Tango comment.  I've been grappling with "El Choclo" on a IIIM.  LM sounds very nice, and the odd assortment of key changes and accidentals in the tune falls under the fingers quite easily.  Like you, I'm quite used to the draw C.  I think it would be quite a bit harder to navigate the twiddly bits without it.  The left hand seems to be a dead loss for tango, though.  Those honking German basses squash the melody completely. 

As to the original post . . . I'd say yes to all of the above.  More chords, more key options, more fingering possibilities.  There are all sorts of surprises lurking in the club keyboard, like push and pull runs in C and F, Tex-Mex sounding paired note sequences (technical name?), a good chunk of the chromatic scale . . .
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sCANdanADIAN

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2008, 10:11:00 PM »

I've been messing with El Choclo a bit too,I have a bandoneon recording in D-min that really helps with getting the feel right.

The Club's biggest weakness is the overpowering and limited bass,maybe some kind of muffling behind the grille would help.If there are any stradella 48 bass units that will fit right onto the Club III it would be a huge improvement.

Chris
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Nick Hudis

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2008, 09:53:22 AM »

I recently bought a couple of old Hohners, a Club IV in C/F and a Club II Victoria.  Beautiful old instruments with a sound to die for, and much more to my taste than the top notch Italian box I'd  been playing (and a fraction of the cost).  I assumed that I'd get them declubbed and sat down to work out a layout for the helper row.  Conculsion I came to is that you'd be hard pressed to beat the original Club layout if you are looking for flexibility.  End result is that I will probably switch over completely to playing Club style.

The Club system evolved as an different way of expanding the scope of the basic one or two row system.  Like the British Chromatic B/C/C#, it is chromatic throughout the range of the instrument but only on the draw.  It also  fills in several (but not all) of the "gaps" when cross fingering in the home keys on both push and draw.  It also gives you an extra bass/chord without the added weight of a 12 bass.  Added to this you can play up and down the outside row like a conventional melodeon (and on the middle row with only one fingering shift to the outside row).  The thinking behind the Club has something of the design of the bigger Anglo concertinas with a mixture of reversals and accidentals.

the ability to play long smooth passages on the draw is, according to Theo Gibb, reflected in the design of the instruments which have a larger than normal air value to allow you to get the air quickly out of the bellows.

To me the great advantage of the Club is choice:  bouncy, rhythmic playing up and down the rows or smooth cross fingering are both available to suit the tune you are playing.  There is more potential to create non standard harmonies on both the left and right hand.  I came to the melodeon from DADGAD guitar, and find the weird and rich harmonies I like, full of ninths, suspended fourths and major/minor sevenths and drones, are easier to find on the Club.

I am tinkering at the moment with schemes to tweak the bottom end of the instrument to fill out the cross fingering gaps.  On a C/F box this would give a  low pushed B and D.  Love to find a neat way to get a pushed B in the middle range somewhere on the helper row.  This would compromise chromaticism.  I'm also looking at a really weird idea to squeeze and extra chord out the left hand.  Will post on these ideas sometime, as they be intrigue players of conventional boxes.

Maybe one could take this too far.  The next logical step might be one of those enormous great 33 button Clubs (and a small mortgage), but then why not just switch to a continental chromatic accordion?
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meltzer

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2008, 12:57:20 PM »

it is chromatic throughout the range of the instrument but only on the draw.

*penny drops* That's very helpful.  8)

I had another go last night. (I'm not one for long practice sessions -- I'd rather do 2 lots of 20 minutes rather than 40 at once. Plus I need to keep my hand in on the anglo). And I'm loving those basses. They're a lot fuller and a lot smoother than on my other melodeons, so the possibilities for creating those big "suspended"-sounding chords by combining different notes and chords (and playing two chords at once) is intriguing. I'm moving out of my melodeon comfort-zone a bit, by starting to figure out song accompaniments rather than sticking to those well-tried English country dance tunes.

Edited to add: a bass coupler would be handy to take the thirds out of the chords, but you can't have everything, can you?  ;)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 12:58:58 PM by meltzer »
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Matthew B

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2008, 02:30:04 PM »

Some clubs have a couple of switches on the bass end, which will thin out the chords and the bass notes a bit (http://tinyurl.com/6ne3x2), these show up on some of the IIIMs, and many of the big Overture and Morino models.  I'm still waiting for one of those to show up in a second-hand shop for $150!
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EeeJay

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2008, 04:15:09 PM »

I am tinkering at the moment with schemes to tweak the bottom end of the instrument to fill out the cross fingering gaps.  On a C/F box this would give a  low pushed B and D.  Love to find a neat way to get a pushed B in the middle range somewhere on the helper row.  This would compromise chromaticism.  I'm also looking at a really weird idea to squeeze and extra chord out the left hand.  Will post on these ideas sometime, as they be intrigue players of conventional boxes.

This reminds me of a link to a German repairer/dealer I ran across a while back - http://www.akkordeon-maurer.de/ - who seems to have a few club system boxes for sale/renovation.

Some of the older, bigger Club models (I would guess pre WW2 or just after) seem to have been designed so there is enough empty reed block space to potentially accommodate a longer half row. Take this internal shot of a Club IIIBS as an example (it also shows the huge air valve):-

This row extention idea seems to have been realised on this machine, a Club IV (using original replacement parts one would presume), with an inner row of 10 buttons. Here's a photo of the innards where one can see the redundant spaces on the inner reed block are filled in.

I'd guess it isn't an easy operation, with a few 'scrappers' needed to swipe spare parts/reeds from, but it seems feasible...

Ed J
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 07:34:32 PM by EeeJay »
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Matthew B

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2008, 04:55:21 PM »

Gilbert of the Reyes accordion forum (http://www.reyesforum.com/) has a pinned post on the "Accordion Brands/Models" bit of the site that describes adding an extra button or two to a Corona.  It looks possible, but not tempting.  There is much talk of precision machining, failure, and breakage.  This aside, if I recall correctly the insides of some club boxes would allow for such tinkering.  On later models some parts, such as the first and second row pallet leavers all have the shape needed to accommodate extra third row pallets (they have a kink in them to dodge around the third row buttons, even if those buttons aren't actually there). 

But by the time you're contemplating these types of changes it seems that it might be easier to have a three-row either made or re-tuned to the club system.  In which case you could add a stradella bass as well.  And some switches.  And your name in rhinestones.  I think a couple of the Italian makers already offer such options (Dino Baffetti?). 

Sadly, the club box would then become as costly as any "normal" melodeon, rather than the Secret Mystery Oddity Bargain Box (hereafter "SMOBB") that it currently is. 
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Waltham

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2008, 05:26:34 PM »

Like the British Chromatic B/C/C#, it is chromatic throughout the range of the instrument but only on the draw. 
Since we B/C/C# players are a pedantic lot I'm compelled to point out that it's not chromatic in either direction on its own, there's no G on the draw.
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Nick Hudis

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Re: "Extra" buttons -- how do you use yours?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2008, 07:43:22 PM »

Waltham:  Thanks for clarifying the layout of the B/C/C#.  I think this and the Club are two parallel approaches to expanding the basic melodeon.

As far as adding extra buttons to the Club.  That is more than I had in mind.  I was thinking of just swopping a few notes around here and there.  I really like the idea of retuning a stradella bass 3 row as a Club.  The 33 button Clubs would serve as a model, but that is after the Club IV is rennovated..... maybe tune the Club II down to Bb/Eb ........ then a nice little Lilliput for holidays.......

Seriously though, I'd love to hear from any folks out there who are playing Clubs in their original layout.  First time I looked at  club layout as a novice two row player I nearly went cross eyed.  when I got my hands on one and started to poke around it made so much sense.
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Nick
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