Reading TABs in English by Dr Joe

The TAB method was developed by the Forum members to facilitate sharing of information about playing the diatonic button box. Many of us are without teachers, or musical ears, and the TAB method allows for self education and 'ear' development; using the TABs, in association with the recorded music, one begins to relate what is being heard to the button positions on the instrument.

There are 2 methods used for TABing; buttons and notes. To follow a note TAB one needs to know the note positons on the acordeon and play accordingly. The button method requires no prior knowledge.
The button method is very simple to learn and to use.

FIRST: We have 3 rows: G C and F, starting outside and moving in towards the bellows.
The buttons are numbered 1 through 10, 1-11, and 1-10 starting from your nose down to your feet.

SECOND: A button is identified by row and number; C10, 10th button in 2nd row! F1, 1st button in 3rd row.

THIRD: For each button there are 2 notes: one note pushing in and one note pulling out the bellows. Most of our playing is pulling, so we indicate that by just notating the buttons, without any special markings. Pushing in requires this notation ( ), parenthesis to distinguish it from pulling out the bellows.

Playing out; G3 G4 G5
Playing in; (G3) (G4) (G5)
Playing; in-out-in = (G3) G4 (G5)

FOURTH: To simplify TABing, we can often avoid repeating symbols etc.

Examples: G3.4.5 for G3 G4 G5 = G3.G4.G5
(G3.C3.G5.6) for (G3) (C3) (G5) (G6)
F3C6x4 for F3C6.F3C6.F3C6.F3C6

FIFTH: A 'space', or '.', means RELEASE that button and play the next button(s).
SIXTH: If the LETTER (G C F) does not change the next numbered button remains in the SAME row!

SEVENTH: When 2, or more, buttons are played simultaneously, no '.' , or space, exists between the numbers:

Example: (G23) (G2345) (4567) F3C6 F4C7 F3C6F7

EIGHTH: TABs are usually arranged by phrases, adornos or pasaditas. Sometimes in a run of buttons you may see ~ or * ; G2~.C2.G3.*C3.G4
This is to help with the ritmo and means C2 G3 G4 are all played at one (and the same) speed, then G2~ should be held a little longer and *C3 should be played shorter, or staccato.

Ninth: A TAB can be played on any Tono acordeon, and it will sound good. Remember, G-C-F just means 1st-2nd-3rd row. Yet, most of the TABs, to match the recordings, require the appropiate box; usually Sol. However, there are some TABs, in the archive, for FA and MI boxes and this info is given as part of the TAB text. And, there are some purists among us who will use E-A-D, F-Bb-Eb for indicating 1-2-3 row when those boxes are used on the recordings.

Unfortunately, there is NO EASY METHOD to convert a TAB between boxes while remaining in the original KEY.

This is all one needs to know to use the TABs. Especially, if one already knows the the ritmo of the song, or has a recording to listen to for help with the ritmo.

There are TABs that include time values and these are explained in the TABs of those songs.

Keep squeezin',