Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

A friend of mine made an offer I can’t refuse. Not a fantastic offer but one my wife could tolerate so I’m getting a Serenellini 233 B/C. Now I have to learn how to play it. Does anyone have any recommendations for any particular artist/course etc. There’s a few here: http://buttonbox.com/instruction-button-accordion.html but I need some guidance from those in the know. I have never played a box. Any kind of box. Piano - sure, so at least there is some muscle control available but alas, I’m diving into this experience raw and untested. Just to make it more interesting, in 16 days, my surgeon is going to remove three bones from my right hand because the wrist has collapsed (ah, the wonders of getting older, so many things start to fail…). Should be interesting. New instrument. Salvaged hand. A desire to get to some level of ability before I collapse from old age. It’s all good. Really it is.

Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

You have a nice wife. You’re lucky!

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Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

The Damien Connolly book is very good.

Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

Yes you are nuts. The box is a demanding instrument.

If you want to get a to a decent standard, a serious commitment of time and effort is required, and if you’re up for that, I’d say get all the instruction material you can afford and glean whatever you can from it. Be self-taught, but take advice. Don’t take what any teacher says as gospel but sift, try, and find out what suits you. That’s would be my approach anyway.

Before you spend lots of money on tutorials though, try for a week or two and decide whether you like the instrument and whether you have the time to put in. If you don’t, resign yourself to being able to punch out a couple of waltzes and polkas - or sell the box on immediately and spend no more time on it. 🙂

Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

‘The Box’ is a decent tutorial. It shows a layout of your keyboard. It shows what notes is on the two rows and what note you can get on each button, press and draw. The basic notes in music being ABCDEFGD. The Sharp Notes can come later. If you watch at tutorial for the button box on UTube be careful. I was watching a tutorial for the accordion on UTube recently and realised he was working with a C#D box but he hadn’t mentioned the tuning of the box which should have been the first thing to tell a beginner . That could be very misleading to a beginner using a B/C. Start with learning your Scales in the Keys of C… G and D in that order. The other scales in A… E and F will follow on eventually. I’m assuming you know what a scale is but just in case it’s Doh Ray Mee Fa So La Tee Doh….Go to it and good luck….

Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

Year 233 BC?!? That’s a real antic! Is it still playable? ;)))

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Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

Oh my. I had the same doubts when I took the plunge. You need a teacher, not a dvd or youtube. Given that you are in the wilds of AZ, go with Skype lessons. John Whelan is one who does this; look him up on the facebooks.

Do what Free Reed said in the meantime, but noodling around will only take you so far. As with any instrument, there are some mysteries that it will take you a while to unravel. Someone watching you play will shortcut that process and save you some pain and sorrow, not to mention physical pain because of bad technique.

I had a week of classes at a summer school, and then sporadic lessons over the last year. Just started to take it out for a few sedate jigs at sessions (and for a few spectacular train wrecks). It’s helpful to take up new instruments so that you remember how it feels to be a beginner…

Stiamh is right; it is a demanding instrument. But it is a bunch of fun to play.

Enjoy the journey. You are not nuts.

Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

Ordered "The Box" and the John Williams’ dvd. That ought to be enough to keep me completely confused for a couple of months or so.

Re: Buying a button box! I must be nuts…

Woo-hoo! After our various conversations too, you’ve gone and been and done it!
I started with "The Box", trying to self-teach, but found going for lessons much more helpful, and yes, I did start with learning scales, as Free Reed has suggested: it helps to familarise yourself with what button does which!
Presumably your right hand will be out of action for at least some time after your surgery, but hope you heal fast.
The other thing my teacher told me about learning to play B/C was that left hand comes a lot later (and he was right!): concentrate on getting the tunes with the right first.
But just enjoy it, and hope you get to grips with this beast of an instrument!
You may find other tips on www.melodeon.net, but go for the threads that are specifically about B/C boxes (not so many) or you WILL get confused!