How Do I Choose the Best Beginner’s Accordion?

Choosing the right beginner’s accordion can be difficult because there are so many different types of accordions with different tuning systems and key and button layouts. The types of music the student wants to play, his or her previous musical experience, and the musical contexts in which the accordion will be played are all factors to consider. Size and weight should also be taken into account, especially in the case of children and small adults. Accordion teachers and online accordion enthusiast forums can be helpful in locating the best beginner’s accordion for your needs.

The two most common configurations for accordions are unisonic and bisonic. A unisonic accordion produces the same tones regardless of bellows movement direction, whereas bisonic accordions produce two different tones depending on bellows movement direction. Another fundamental difference is whether the accordion is diatonically or chromatically tuned. Because it can produce all of the sharp and flat notes within its range, a chromatic accordion is considered a more versatile instrument. Chromatic accordions are more difficult to master, whereas diatonic instruments are better for melodically simple folk music.

There are many different configurations of diatonic accordions, which can be roughly classified the number of button rows and the tuning relationships between the rows. Two full button rows are tuned a fourth apart on Italian diatonics, a popular beginner’s accordion. They usually have a third partial row of sharps and flats that blend well with the diatonic scales of the accordion. Three-, four-, and five-row diatonic accordions are also available, with a variety of tuning systems.

The number of treble buttons on a chromatic accordion can range from 20 to dozens, and the number of bass buttons can range from 12 to 160. Although less musically versatile, a beginner’s accordion with fewer buttons may be a better choice, as most students are able to play simple tunes more quickly, keeping them motivated. The B and C systems refer to the two most common key and button layouts. For difficult classical and tango repertoires, many advanced players prefer the B system. The C system is thought to be a simpler configuration for playing simple melodies with bass accompaniment, making it a better option for a beginner’s accordion.

The bass button layout on piano accordions with the Stradella bass system is consistent. They have become very popular among both advanced and beginning accordionists because the accordionist can play various models and makes of piano accordions without having to learn new fingering techniques. The number of bass buttons and treble keys varies a lot, just like with chromatic accordions. Based on the student’s prior music knowledge and musical preferences, an accordion teacher can assist in determining which model is best.