Stradella Bass Chord Combinations

Chord Combinations on Stradella Basses

Stradella basses have chord buttons for Major, Minor, 7th and Diminished chords. By using these chords in combination with different bass notes you can create other chord types, the most useful being Minor 7th, Major 7th, Half Dim (or m7b5), 9th chords (including b7th) and 6th chords (which I forgot to mention in the video but are on the chart).

Here is a chart showing all the most useful chord combinations relative to a given bass note which I call Tonic or 1. If the image is hard to read you can download and view or print the PDF at the bottom.

Accordion Stradella Bass Chord Combinations

You can download this image as a PDF:

10 thoughts on “Chord Combinations on Stradella Basses”

  1. Hi George

    I’ve just started learning to play a 48 button accordion (I do play the piano & guitar a bit). I’m searching for how to play a few chords on the accordion that don’t appear as bass buttons. These are Bm, B7 (& Bm7), F#m, F#7 (& F#m7), Em7 and C#m7
    I’ve taken a good look at your splendid video and accompanying chart and I’m sure that all the required information is there. However, it’s early days for me and it’s going to take me quite a while to work it out.

    Could you possibly help by giving me specific tips/information on how to play just these particular chords?

    I promise that I will then diligently digest and follow the rest of your very helpful video!

    Many thanks, Ernie

    1. Hi Ernie,
      Good question. The most common 48 bass layout is 6 rows of 8 buttons covering the keys of Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, A and E. From your question I assume you are using one of those. (There are 12 x 4 layouts and even layouts with different key ranges) You can get the minor 7th chords you want: Bm7 is B bass (on the counterbass row behind G) and a D major chord. F#m7 is F# bass and an A major chord. C#m7 is a C# bass and an E major chord. This is the same “trick” in 3 places. These chords will sometimes sound fine replacing a ordinary minor. The plain minor, major and 7th chords are not available but try the bass note you want and the next button toward the ceiling eg. for B minor, major or 7th play B bass and F# bass. this gives you the tonic and fifth of the chord and can sound nice even though the music asks for majors or minors or 7ths! The 7th and minor third notes are available as bass notes so you could add them but basses are low and 3 note chords on them don’t usually sound very good. Lastly of course you can pop in an extra note or two with your right hand if it’s not too busy!

  2. Hi George,

    Many thanks for your speedy and helpful reply. This has got me off to a good start with playing chords other than the basic rows of eight available with single buttons on this 48 button accordion. Your tips do help me understand the structure of the additional chords I want to play at this early stage of learning the instrument. They also give a good launch pad for finding other chords in the future, as I work through your on-line video tutorial. What better way of making use of “lock-down” time!

    Thanks again, all the best and keep well


  3. Hello, George. Great content, the video and the chart are really helpful! There’s only one thing I don’t understand in the chart. How can the dominant chord in the b2 row (Db7 if we’re considering C as the tonic note) result in 1/b5/#5 when combined with the tonic note? Wouldn’t it be b9/11th/7th? Or is there something I misunderstood?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Victor,
      Sorry this reply is so long in coming – You are totally correct and the chart is wrong! 1/b5/#5 should be in the #5 row 7th button (one to the right) and the chord you describe (b9/11th/7th) is so obtuse that I meant to leave that button blank!
      Many thanks for putting me right – I will correct the diagram in due course.

  4. I have been looking everywhere for the exact notes played with each chord button. I have been playing accordion for more than 55 years and never had a need to know this until now- for a project I am working on. I just discovered that the 7th chord row leaves out the fifth in each chord, and now I find your extremely helpful chart! Thank you.

  5. Complimenti!
    Volevo segnalare un piccolo errore:
    l’accordo di Do dim. è stato scritto come 1,b3,b5,no5
    la scrittura esatta è 1,b3,6,nob5
    Un caloroso saluto

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