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Giving advice to a new player to the concertina is like asking for directions: Everyone knows the best way to get there but most everyone's directions are different. 

Look at the buttons. Don't look at the buttons.

Place it on your right knee. Place it on your left knee. Hold it up. Elbows in. 

Thumb straps tight. Thumb straps loose.

Learn by ear. Learn to read ABC or music notation.

Yeah, it is a lot to take in. So I say if you are new to the concertina and want to play, start playing. Pick a tune out and see how your body places itself as you play. Always seek out help from different players for ideas and suggestions to see what works for you. Attend sessions. Watch. Listen. Learn. And take some organized lessons either in a group or privately. 


I teach the English system using musical notation. I know Anglo teachers who use ABC notation as well. For the most basic beginner I will often use a fingering placed below each note to assist.

Below are fingering notation I made for the EC and ABC charts for an Anglo (from thesession.org) for the reel Harlequin Aire. Both assist the player with bellow direction and fingering. Practice and learning the tune will eventually displace the need to constantly refer to these charts. 

ABC Harlequin Air.jpg


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If you can provide me a map of each note to a finger number, I can easily automatically generate this kind of tablature in my ABC tools, much like I do for Anglo Concertina, B/C, and C#/D Box, and Bamboo flute fingering tab.  

I'd first implement it as a standalone utility like this one that preceded add the feature to the main ABC Tool itself:


The utility injects B/C box tab into existing ABC.  This feature is now in the ABC Tools.

It can deal with a injecting a single tune or hundreds of tunes in a tunebook all at once, and produces output ABC with the tablature injected into the ABC.

I'm not exaggerating to say that it would literally take less than an hour to build a new utility for English Concertina finger tablature given the note to finger map.

Here's another example, this one a fiddle note fiddle finger use ABC tablature injection solution, using the same underlying system, just with a custom map, took I think an hour to create starting from one of my other utilities:





Edited by Michael Eskin
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When I started learning the EC, I marked up scores (in standard notation) with the fingering (L1x, L1, L2, L3 etc). But I quickly outgrew it, and I have a most a dozen tunes marked up that way (plus the odd bit of complex cross-fingering still). It helps that I could already read notation as a singer, of course.


I see tablature on the EC as like a toddler furniture-surfing -- an essential stage while you are trying to learn lots of different things at once, but one you grow out of sooner or later. Doing away with it is an important landmark in your progress from absolute beginner to post-beginner. (Maybe you need to come back to it as you get to more complex music with frequent cross-fingering, but I haven't got there yet.)


As a teacher, you need (I humbly suggest) to assist your students in the early stages with whatever simple aids are necessary but also help to wean them onto standard notation when they can cope with it. It sounds from your post like you're doing it right.

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