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How to Play Accordion Bass Chords

Learn how to play accordion bass chords from musician / Broadway actress Katrina Yaukey in this Howcast video.


Let's talk about the left hand.

What are these buttons over here, and what do they do?

It can be really intimidating when you're first looking at an accordion.

How do you figure out what to push, and where to go?

First of all, most accordions, when you pick them up usually it's a really good idea to stand in front of a mirror so that you can see what's going on with this hand over here.

And usually there will be a divot on certain buttons on the accordion.

For example, if you can see where I'm pointing right here, there's a divot on the C.

Actually it's a gem on this accordion.

Not all accordions have gems, but this one does.

This is the C, and if you'll notice I'm playing in, we're going to think in the vertical sense for the rows, I'm playing in what would be the second row.

The first row would be the row closest to the bellows of the accordion.

The second row would be what's called the fundamental base row.

And again, here's a C, and the fundamental base row right underneath the gem.

In the row closet to the bellows, we have what's called the counter base row which is a major third above that base note.

So, an E with regard to the C.

Moving diagonally up the accordion and away from that base note row you have a major chord row, a minor chord row, a dominant seventh chord row, and a diminished chord row.

What's really cool about the left hand of the accordion is that it's set up in something that we call the circle of fifths.

Moving in a vertical sense again in the accordion if you move up, again this is my C, if I move up one row we go to a G.

Following the circle of fifths up, a D, an A, and an E.

So that's moving up in terms of sharps in the circle of fifths.

Now the other way, moving down on the accordion, moves in fourths, again moving into the flat keys.

So you have a C, F, B flat, E flat, A flat.

Now because it's set up in the circle of fifths you have everything you need just at your fingertips, a short space away from one another.

So to play a major scale, and again if you watch my fingers I don't have to go very far to find those keys.

The left hand of the accordion is pretty cool.

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