FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Tex-Mex Conjunto/Norteño Accordion Forum

GENERAL QUESTIONS
1.
Who owns this site?
2.
Is there a message board moderator?
3.
Is there a mission statement?
4.
Who can post messages?
5.
Why do I have to register?
6. Is there a message archive?



FOR BEGINNERS
1.
Where should I start?



ACCORDION TABS
1.
Where can I find song tabs for the accordion?
2. How do you read the tabs?
3.
Who invented the TAB method?
4.
Who writes the TABs?
5.
Can I play a GCF tab on my EAD, FBbEb, ADG accordion?
6.
Is this the only method of tabbing for the accordion?
7.
Are there any tabs for the Piano Accordion?
8. How do you tab/read tabs for the PA?
9. Why don't you use notes?
10. How do I access files that use the 'ñ' character?



ACCORDIONS
1. What are the various key configurations for the button accordion?
2.
What accordion key should I buy?
3. What keys can I play on a GCF? FBE? EAD? ADG?
4. Can I get my accordion tuned like <insert your favorite conjunto here>?
5.
What are the various ways/styles of tuning an accordion?
6.
Do you play the bass buttons?
7. How do you remove the bass reed blocks?
8. Is there a recommended maintenance schedule for accordions?
9. What is the layout of the notes on the treble side of my 3-row accordion?
10. What is the layout of the notes on the bass side of my 3-row accordion?
11. What are the frequencies of the notes on my 3-row accordion?
12. What is the purpose of the switches on an accordion?


 
MUSIC THEORY
1.
What are scales?
2.
What are chords?
3.
How do you build scales?
4.
How do you build chords?
5.
How can I learn the scales?
6. What are the minor scales?
7. What is a chord progression?



ARTICLES ON THE ACCORDION
1.
Where are the articles?



MISC TECHNICAL QUESTIONS
1.
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2.
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3.
How do I mic my accordion?





GENERAL QUESTIONS
1.
Who owns this site?
The Tex-Mex / Conjunto / Norteño Open Forum is owned by Gilbert Reyes of Reyes Accordions.

2.
Is there a message board moderator?
Yes, messages found to be offensive will be removed.

3.
Is there a mission statement?
Yes, here is the mission statement.

4.
Who can post messages?
Anyone with an interest in accordions can post messages to the forum.  Please feel free to write messages concerning music, accordions, accordion repair, accordion tabs, etc...

5.
Why do I have to register?
To hold users accountable for the content of their posts.  This helps keep an orderly forum.

6. Is there a message archive?
There is no permanent archive.  However, you can read past messages by browsing through pages 2 & 3, of the Open Forum.  The quantity of messages usually covers the past 30 days, depending on the level of activity.  Posted song TABs are archived at Paco's Page.




FOR BEGINNERS
1.
Where should I start?
You should start by reading this FAQ completely for a boatload of useful information.




ACCORDION TABS
1.
Where can I find song tabs for the accordion?
Song tabs for the accordion are archived at Paco's Page.  This is a cumulative list of all the tabs shared in the Open Forum and it is updated about once a month.  For the bajosexto or guitar, you can find TABs at ATAME.

2.
How do you read the tabs?
This article authored by 'drjoe' will tell you how to read tabs.  Here is a Spanish version of the article.

3. Who invented the TAB method?
The Tab method was developed by Dr. Joseph Colizoli "Dr Joe" from Bellevue, Ohio. He has been an active participant on the Reyes forum from the beginning. Reyes Accordions wants to thank Dr Joe for this invaluable contribution that gives people from around the world the ability to understand how to play the three-row button accordion in a very simple and easy to understand format.

4.
Who writes the TABs?
The tabs are written and posted by forum participants.

5.
Can I play a GCF tab on my EAD, FBbEb, ADG accordion?
Depends...there is a lot of overlap between the various accordions. But in order for you to be able to interchange accordions, you have to make sure the key of the song is playable in both accordions. For example, the key of G is readily playable in GCF boxes as well as ADG boxes. However, the key of A, is rather difficult and incomplete on the GCF box!

In general, these are the basic major keys for each accordion:
GCF: G, C, F, D, Bb
EAD: E, A, D, B, G
FBE: F, Bb, Eb, C, Ab
ADG: A, D, G, E, C

In order for you to play a song that is tabbed for a particular accordion on a different box, you must first convert, or “transpose,” EACH individual step of the tab to make sure you are still playing the same notes on the second accordion.  To do this, you must know which musical note each button corresponds to on the different accordion boxes.  A program like Paco’s Sr. Maestro will clearly help you identify these without having to memorize them!

Say, for example, the first step of a tab for a GCF is F3C6.  These two buttons correspond to the notes G-B, and now you want to play this on the ADG box. Well, the notes G-B corresponds to D45 on the ADG box. Hence, instead of playing F3C6 as you would on the GCF box, on the ADG box you’d have to play D45!

Keep in mind that sometimes the scales are not complete on one box, so the transpositioning may not be perfect. For example, if you are playing D7A9 on the ADG box, these buttons correspond to e-g#. Now, if you want to play this on the GCF, but even though the GCF has an e at F6, there is no g# available. Hence, this is an example of why the key of A is not entirely playable on the GCF box.

Alternatively, and in order to avoid the work that goes into transposing a tab, you could play the song with exactly the same finger positionings on a different accordion than that for which the tab was written for. This, however, will change the key of the song from the original version. For example, if the song is in the key of C on the GCF, it would be in the key of: A on the EAD, Bb on the FBE, or D on the ADG

6.
Is this the only method of tabbing for the accordion?
No, the TAB method developed by 'drjoe' is just one of many possibilities.  Another possibility, for example, would be to use notes rather than button positions.  This, however, has been the method adopted by the Open Forum participants for its ease of use and convenience.  It is perfect for the beginner as it requires no knowledge of music.

7.
Are there any tabs for the Piano Accordion?
Yes, though not as many as for the button accordion.  The TABs written for the piano accordion are labelled with the letters 'PA' at the end of the song name.

8. How do you tab/read tabs for the PA?
Coming soon.

9. Why don't you use notes?
Notes can be slightly more confusing, especially for the beginner.  The current tabbing method is very explicit.  For example, F3 means F3, and no other button.  Notes, however, can be slightly more vague.  The 'G' note, can be F3 on a GCF accordion, or it could be (C5) or (G5).

10. How do I access files that use the 'ñ' character?
Tab filenames that use the 'ñ' may not be readable to some browsers.  Here is a workaround:
1. right-click over the TAB link
2. select "Copy link location" or "Copy shortcut"
3. paste the web address in your browser's URL window
4. replace the 'ñ' with '%f1'




ACCORDIONS
1. What are the various key configurations for the button accordion?
The most common key configurations are (in no particular order):
  • G-C-F or  SOL
  • E-A-D or MI
  • F-Bb-Eb or FA
  • A-D-G or LA

2.
What accordion key should I buy?
This is a matter of personal preference.  If you want to play songs just like your favorite band, buy the accordion(s) that they use.  The GCF accordion is the most common in terms of availability, however the most widely used key config in Norteño music is FBbEb.

Eventually you'll get the itch to sing the songs that you play on your accordion.  You should consider what keys your voice can adapt to.

3. What keys can I play on a GCF? EAD? FBbEb? ADG?
Here is a list off keys that can be easily played on different key configurations:
  • G-C-F: D, G, C, F, Bb
  • E-A-D: B, E, A, D, G
  • F-Bb-Eb: C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab
  • A-D-G: E, A, D, G, C

4. Can I get my accordion tuned like <insert your favorite conjunto here>?
Check out the Accordion Repair section for contact information on various accordion tuners.

5.
What are the various ways/styles of tuning an accordion?
Coming soon.

6.
Do you play the bass buttons?
Some music genres do use the basses.  However, for Norteño/ Conjunto music, the bass buttons are generally not used.  In fact, many accordionists choose to remove the bass reed blocks to reduce the weight of the accordion.  The removal also provides extra air release outlets for the bellows, which in turn helps to pull or push the bellows more quickly.

7. How do you remove the bass reed blocks?
Coming soon.

8. Is there a recommended maintenance schedule for accordions?
Coming soon.

9. What is the layout of the notes on the treble side of my 3-row accordion?
Check out the Chords and Scales: Diagrams section for JPEGs of the layout of the notes.  You can also use Paco’s Sr. Maestro application to see the layout of the notes.

10. What is the layout of the notes on the bass side of my 3-row accordion?
Check out the Bass Button Layout document by John Jennings.

11. What are the frequencies of the notes on my 3-row accordion?
Check out these documents by John Jennings:

 

12. What is the purpose of the switches on an accordion?
Check out this document by Paco: Accordion Switches



 
MUSIC THEORY
1.
What are scales?
Coming soon.

2.
What are chords?
See this article by 'drjoe': Chords: Introduction.

3.
How do you build scales?
See this article by 'paco': How are major scales built.

4.
How do you build chords?
See this article by 'Russ': Chord Construction: Theory

5.
How can I learn the scales?
There is a Windows software application called Señor Maestro that can show you the scales for various keys in various formats.

6. What are minor scales?
See this article by 'paco': How are major scales built.

7. What is a chord progression?
'Chord progression' refers to the sequence of chords used in a musical piece.  Most Conjunto and Norteño music uses the following chord progression:
  • I - V - IV (commonly referred to as 1ra, 2da, 3ra)

Two other chord progressions often used in Conjunto and Norteño music for boleros are:

  • I - vi - ii - V
  • I - vi - IV - V

The two above progressions are also known as 'circulos'.



 
ARTICLES ON THE ACCORDION
1.
Where are the articles?
Coming soon.




 
MISC TECHNICAL QUESTIONS
1.
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2.
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3.
How do I mic my accordion?
See this article by Aaron Sanchez (skweezboxmaniac).







Site maintained by: Francisco (Paco) Rios