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Irish Box Bass Playing

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GUEST,Dazbo 25 Nov 04 - 08:34 AM
Leadfingers 25 Nov 04 - 08:42 AM
GUEST 25 Nov 04 - 09:12 AM
treewind 25 Nov 04 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Toenails John 25 Nov 04 - 02:21 PM
HiHo_Silver 25 Nov 04 - 02:43 PM
The Fooles Troupe 25 Nov 04 - 08:34 PM
buttonbox 26 Nov 04 - 07:46 AM
buttonbox 27 Nov 04 - 05:00 AM
Moleskin Joe 27 Nov 04 - 11:01 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 04 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Mark Cantor 17 Dec 04 - 07:17 PM
buttonbox 18 Dec 04 - 01:42 PM
Leadfingers 18 Dec 04 - 08:38 PM
buttonbox 19 Dec 04 - 11:55 AM
GUEST 27 Nov 12 - 06:32 AM
The Sandman 27 Nov 12 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,grahamoxxx 29 Jul 17 - 03:42 PM
Tattie Bogle 30 Jul 17 - 05:27 AM
GUEST 30 Jul 17 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 30 Jul 17 - 12:46 PM
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Subject: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST,Dazbo
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 08:34 AM

I'm a keen player of a D/G melodeon, mainly of English tunes, and generally I play a bass note or chord on each beat of the music. I keep reading about players of Irish boxes (for example C/C#, B/C etc.) hardly playing the basses. I've not seen or watched some play in this style and was wondering if any players of these type of boxes out there could give a quick precis of what they do with thier left hands.

Cheers,

Darren


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 08:42 AM

NOT being a Box Basher , I cant give details ,but from my experience the Irish players tend to just play the melody , as a lot of the time the Basses dont work in the key they are playing in - Thats with the NON D_G Boxes of course .


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 09:12 AM

Leadfingers,

Yes I keep hearing that they leave the basses alone as the basses tend not to fit most tunes they play but wanted some info from the horses mouth. I was wondering how much use they got from the basses and whether any 'Irish' players had removed the bass reeds completely (as I've heard Tex-Mex accordion players do).


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: treewind
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 09:19 AM

At least one Irish button accordion player, when asked that question, said he had no idea what went on "over there"

I've read that their use is occasional chords for flavouring, rather like the regulators on Uilleann pipes. And just as many pipers don't bother with the regulators at all, so it is with box players and the basses - definitely an optional extra.

It's true that the basses (even when retuned in some way for D/G ) don't fit well with the RHS of a BC, C/C#, C#/D or similar box, and anyway a steady on-the-beat oompah rhythm just isn't right for Irish music.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST,Toenails John
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 02:21 PM

I always found my left hand invaluble while playing the box For holding ciggarettes, drinking, making gestures at obnoxious people, paying for drink, all can be done mid tune, at the expence of a note or 2 (honest) But not the bass!!

Only joking, here's my experience, up untill 96 I used to compete in Fleadh Ceoil Na hEireann on the box, one rule being: The bass should be played in time and tune with the melody, which i always thought utter crap, It was this that threw me while competing, as i can play fairly well, but when concntrating on a strict 1 2 1 2 bass fingering, it just f***ed the whole thing up so here is my theory:

I use the bass to emphasise certain notes or bars within the tune, or otherwise not at all, this is the way i like to play, and it sounds good to me, and it sounds good to others! I think Unless your playing strict dance or ceili music, this formal or regimental as i see it backing on the bass notes is not required,

However, there are those that do play that way, and to them i say, all well and good, every man to his own.

Just remember no matter how you play, if you play an excellent tune,
the audience will say, what a brilliant tune, NOT what a briliant bit of bass playing

Comprende my theory.....
Bye bye! :o)


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 02:43 PM

The subject is pretty well covered in the previous messages. Here for what it's worth: I play three row button accordion and when playing a melody on all three rows I have very little difficulty playing a simple bass accompiment. That being said most of the button accordion players from Newfoundland and my area do not play the bass.   This works very well when playing with a group. However, leaves the music rather shallow when playing solo. They Use the left hand to only minulipate the bellows and air valve. I have on occassion removed the bass blocks which allows the bass buttons to be used as air valves and which some players insist make the instrument more versitile and easier to play fast tunes on.
New Cajun accordions, that I have seen, as a rule does not have bass blocks.


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 08:34 PM

Toenails John

as a Piano Accordion player, I agree with your basic principle. Players (of either type of squeeze-box) who do the 'formal thing' all tend to end up sounding the same, and all the tunes end up sounding the same too! BTW, I don't play just 'Irish Music'...

When I appeared at the Toowoomba Accordion Festival and did my 'Walk-up' segment, one very nice old gentleman made quite a fuss of me by publicly saying that (since I didn't do 'Omm-pah' style bass) I had invented a new style of playing the instrument... :-)

One other trick I use, and it can't work so well on a diatonic box which has different pitches for each direction, is just a drone (or a rhythmic vamp) with either the chord or chord and bass buttons, or just a combination of bass buttons as an accompaniment to the tune. Sometimes, if you 'bellows shake' while doing that, it can suit some tunes too. Depends on the tune, some tunes do benefit from the 'Omm-pah' style...

It's like the old saying 'If you have only a hammer, all the world looks like a nail'...

Robin


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: buttonbox
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 07:46 AM

I agree with most of whats been said in this thread. It is virtually impossible to drive a rhythm on the bass end of a semitone box, i.e. Bc cc# C#d etc. The bass can be used to ornament the odd treble note to great effect. A great deal of 'bass rhythm' can be generated by techniques such as pulsing the bellows and playing in a stacato fashion - fidlers etc manage it without a separate bass section.

The simple answer for those who prefer the chromaticness of a semitone box but want decent bass accompaniment is to move onto a 3 row BCC# British Chromatic system with accordion bass (as played by Jimmy shand, John Kirkpatrick etc etc) the right hand fingering is easier than on the 2 row box and a greater range of right hand chords can be played.
There may be one or two 2 row Bc boxes around with 12 accordion bass - hohner did a 12 accordion bass double ray delux but I havnt seen one for a long time.

I am in the process of writing a comprehensive tutor book covering both the 2 row BC and also dealing comprehensively with the 3 row BCC#.
I would be grateful for any commentys/ideas etc as to what to put in and what to leave out so that the book really does meat the needs of players and would be players.


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: buttonbox
Date: 27 Nov 04 - 05:00 AM

anybody interested in a comprehensive BC aaand BCC# tutor book


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: Moleskin Joe
Date: 27 Nov 04 - 11:01 AM

I would be very interested in such a book. At present there is only the very basic David Hanrahan book.


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:15 PM

Don't underestimate the possibilities of the bass in Irish accordion! As mentioned by others, the piping-style intermittant drone and chording for emphasis can be very powerful and lend itself to intense rhythms. Creates great emotion for airs, too. The left hand shouldn't be an afterthought. Each to his own, I agree, but too bad more players aren't using the left. Most modern Irish accordions are built with a left hand that has the music in mind. Guitars and other chordal instruments can obviously clash with the accordion bass, and then there's the tendency for guitars to put a regular beat to the whole thing, so alot of players don't use the bass. One alternative if you find the basic bass set-up too restrictive is the John Williams 12-Bass system. Maybe controversial, but it's really useful! Same note push/pull except for C/F. An extra useful chord or two. Opens up the left side to some really great inventions!


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST,Mark Cantor
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:17 PM

Sorry, didn't mean to be anonymous in the above posting.


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: buttonbox
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 01:42 PM

new bc comprehensive BC tutor available 2005. will also cover BCC# 3 row system. If you would like more info when ready conact me now via mudcat personal massage system

cheers
bb


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 08:38 PM

Mudcat Personal Massage system ?? As Shakespeare said "Theres the Rub"


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: buttonbox
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 11:55 AM

all depends whose doing the rubbing!


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 12 - 06:32 AM

I play a Hohner GCF box. I found the above advice interesting as the melodeon bass is unique and I personally prefer to use the bass's as a drone. A word of warning don't listen to piano box players talking about diatonic bass because they havn't got a clue and play stradela bass. The late Sir Jimmy Shand employed a double bass player for his
left hand
Andy Bryce MacPhee
Scotland


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Nov 12 - 05:11 PM

would you be related to Andy MacPhee Bryce?


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST,grahamoxxx
Date: 29 Jul 17 - 03:42 PM

The basses on a D/G melodeon are simple. You have a G row with matching G bass/chord button which changes to D when the bellows are pulled instead of pushing. Hit the basses in time with the rhythm then when you know it will sound wrong you change to the C button to complete the 3-chord trick.

On a B/C box you can do exactly the same if you play in the key of C; however as most tunes you may wish to play are in D and G you have to adopt a different technique:

On a standard factory B/C box your pair of basses (note and chord) are G push/D pull, C push/G pull, E push/A pull, and F push/F pull. The bass that is glarlingly missing is D push, and this can be attained by getting the F push retuned (you won't need it anyway!)

The technique used is to play a bass that harmonises with the first note of the bar. eg. G note + G push bass, B note and G pull bass, C note and C bass, F# note and D push bass, A note (last before a G note to finish a piece of music in the key of G) can use either an A bass, or a D pull bass to create a cadence before the final G tonic note.

Sounds complicated but you can very quickly pair up the bass and front end notes without even thinking about it.

Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Jul 17 - 05:27 AM

My Saltarelle B/C box has what melodeon.net describes as the "modern" set-up, so I DO have a D on the push (along with the F on the pull.) and very useful it is! The "classic" set-up has another C on the push instead of that D, much less convenient. Hadn't heard of having 2 Fs together. The chord that I don't have and comes into a lot of tunes is Bm. Of course you can have any combination you like if you so choose to get your box modified.
I can now do quite a lot of chord playing for tunes in G or D, having both push and pull buttons for both: as predicted by my tutor, "that will come a lot later - maybe 5 years". And I do love using the basses alone as drones: will do that for some pipe tunes (if no piper about!)
Also if there a lot of melody players in a session, but little bass/rhythm stuff going on, it is possible to just play left hand only in tunes that work with the "three-chord trick", CFG, GCD, DGA, ADE, etc.
I also use left-hand block chords only to accompany myself singing.
And as a side issue and a promo for B/C boxes:
1. there are lots of R-hand chords you can construct, e.g Bb on the pull,
2. provided you know where all your buttons are and know your scales, you can play in any key. Eb anyone?
3. Lovely mellow low right hand notes, down to C below middle C, and the B below that ( "the foghorn"!)


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 17 - 09:48 AM

Lack of compatible bass notes on a B/C box really doesn't matter! Many Irish players play the 'wrong' basses on semitone tuned instruments - it's only percussion anyway so if you don't overdo it, nobody will notice, especially if your right hand is up to scratch!
If you must have compatible chords, why not play Irish tunes on a GD box- most tunes are quite possible, as well as many of the rolls & runs inherent to Irish music, especially if you have a customized box to suit your requirements.
Even more so if you have a 2 and a half row, with a few extra notes of your own choice.
It's still more limited than a chromatic box, but the built in bounce of the melodeon style more than compensates, I think?
Anyway, great Irish music can be played on a ten key, one-row melodeon with NO extra notes - go and listen to PJ Hernon or Johnny Connolly.
Again- about 'Irish' bass playing - in 1965 I had the same puzzlement about how it worked as Dazbo in 2004 above, so I asked a very competent box player to explain the left hand on his two row box.
Tim Lyons did just that- he said 'I don't know, I look the other way'- a method I have used for over 50 years now....


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Subject: RE: Irish Box Bass Playing
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 30 Jul 17 - 12:46 PM

Makes me think of the story Jackie Daly always tells about when Joe Burke came up to him before a concert and said 'Jackie, Jackie, my bass doesn't seem to be working!' 'But Joe, you can use one of the others' Jackie replied (or so he does in the story anyway).


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