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MOVE beyond the written Accordion bass style

There are a lot of opportunities for the accordion player – to “PLUMP” up the bass line. Add an additional bass note, go to 8th note patterns, add a small bass run into new section, etc.

Here is a great exercise and a few reminders – to help you when you EXPLORE what is COOL SOUNDING!

Interpreting Music (the Bass Line): as it should be played on the Left Hand of the Accordion

There is a distinct way that an accordionist READS the left hand notes – that is seldom explained in Accordion Method Books. Read the ideas below -then practice the exercised in this link…..

Link – Bassing for Plumping

  1. The Quarter note that is WRITTEN for the Bass – is NOT to be played as a Quarter note. It is to be played like an 8th note followed by an 8th note rest.
  2. If the right hand is legato – hold the quarter note well past the 8th note bass and chord
  3. The only time a bass is held for the entire Quarter note value is during a bass solo or a walking bass line – and then it is not played legato – it is still separated from the following note (for percussive effect).
  4. Think of your bass like a BASS DRUM – it is impossible for the drummer to play a LONG bass drum note! The bass pedal has to swing back and then re-hit the drum.
  5. Bass styles vary – like in a Waltz – you want a strong bass – but do not slur it to next chord.
  6. ALTERNATING basses – on Major chords you play the bass for the given chord – then – the next bass should be the 5th of that chord (the bass above it.
  7. ALTERNATING 7th chords – ALWAYS play the 5th (the bass above it) FIRST – then the bass for the given chord.
  8. Don’t forget – whatever the style you play for bass and chord – it is to emulate the percussion section of a band. Most CRITICAL – LISTEN to the ORIGINAL SONG on You Tube – Listen to the Bass line movement and rhythm!
  9. Know your substitute Chords – when you see multiple symbols for chord cues – you read the FIRST SYMBOL for the accordion chord.
    1. Play Major Chord for these cues – CM, CM7, C6, C
    2. Play Minor Chord for these cues – Cm, Cm7
    3. Play 7th Chord for these cues – C7, C9 or C11
    4. 6th or M6th Chords – Play the Counterbass below or go to the minor and play third for bass: ie. C6 – PLAY Am/C or CM/A
    5. Designated Bass Note – Cm/Eb – when you see a slash – the note following the slash is the bass tone to be played
  10. KNOW YOUR SCALE FINGERING – for the left hand! (Practice “Bass Scale Exercises)
  11. AND – if you are WALKING the bass into the next measure – walk the scale tones of the next measure’s chord key signature! i.e – walking CM to GM – don’t forget to play F# – if the walk has a F, and walking CM to FM – don’t forget the Bb – if the walk has a B.
  12. Learn how to play Basses ONLY – avoid playing the chords! This will facilitate you to play more “movement” in the right hand. (Exactly what this workshop is designed to teach you!
  13. “Shotgun” – SECRET – (See last page of LINK ABOVE) there is a shortcut to a bass pattern used commonly. When you see a Chromatic pattern to your basses – like CM to C#dim to Dm or G7/D – here is a trick!
  • Play CM like Normal
  • GO UP CHROMATICALLY to the sharp of the bass (in counterbass row – 3 up) with 3rd finger
  • The Dim WILL NOT be C#dim – you will play Gdim/D instead (Always the dim chord of the bass above where you started)
  • This will put your fingers in the correct position to return to the next bass – which is usually the 3rd note in the chromatic (C-C#-D). I nicknamed this position the SHOTGUN – because of the index finger resembling “cocking the trigger” KNOW YOUR SCALE FINGERING – for the left hand! (Practice “Bass Scale Exercises)

AND – if you are WALKING the bass into the next measure – walk the scale tones of the next measure’s chord key signature! i.e – walking CM to GM – don’t forget to play F# – if the walk has a F, and walking CM to FM – don’t forget the Bb – if the walk has a B.

Remember – in your car and on your stereo – you NEVER TURN UP THE TREBLE – it is the BASS you turn up! – SOO TURN UP YOUR BASS STYLES!!!

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