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How can I learn to accompany guitar music?


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I'm a complete beginner on the 30 button Anglo, and am working my way through Gary Coover's 123 book. The reason I'm learning is a bit unusual - I'm a drummer in a folk-punk band and would love to be able to add some new textures to our sound!


So I've got lots of songs and the guitar chords for them, but I'm really struggling to put them on the concertina. At the back of Gary's book there are helpful chord charts, but there are some that aren't there, such as F# major.


So far I've just been playing long slow 2-3 button chords on the left hand. Is there a more interesting way to approach this? These are fast folky tunes, but I struggle to move the bellows quick enough!


Many thanks for any ideas, help, or inspiration, and excuse my ignorance of music theory and this instrument!

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Firstly I’d think about trying rhythmic stabs instead of long slow chords to see if that works. Long slow chords can be good too of course.  If you’re a drummer you’ll already be on the case rhythm wise - try playing it like a drum in that sense 


Secondly, try just playing a couple of notes from the chord instead of all three.  Try playing one of the notes in the right hand to see what that’s like. 

Have a play around and try some unexpected notes and see if they sound interesting.  (If you want to play around at home instead of a rehearsal, record the song and play over the top of it. Try recording yourself too and see what sounds good


One of the great things about punk related stuff is that you can play around and be expressive and don’t have to be afraid of trying unusual things. Have a play!


For F# why not play just F# and A# together (you could add the F#  on the right too) 

Edited by Kathryn Wheeler
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When playing chords on the concertina, the third is frequently left out, so concertinists tend to do a good deal of accompaniment with power chords. That has the additional benefit that you do not need to distinguish between minor and major chords! 😉 

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