What would be the most popular melodeon tuning? Probably D/G, C/F or maybe G/C, depending on whether you ask in the UK, the Netherlands or France.
So which one should you pick?
Well, if your intention is to play in a session (or a band), then you should consider sticking to the popular melodeon tunings used in the particular style of music you want to play. Otherwise you won’t be able to join in any jam sessions. After all, there’s usually good reason those melodeon tunings are so popular. For example, fiddle players like to play in the keys of D and G (and related). Not only does it sound better – due to open strings that can resonate or be used for double stops – it’s also much easier to play in those keys.
If, however, you enjoy a lone tune by the fireside every now and then (as I myself do), or you want to accompany your singing, then it’s worthwhile to revisit some different tunings, like Eb/Bb:
Take for example the D/G melodeon, you might not have noticed, but it is actually tuned very high in pitch. In fact, among the commonly available melodeon tunings, D/G is the highest one:
G/C < A/D < Bb/Eb < C/F < D/G
(lower < higher)
If you prefer a more mellow, low accordion sound, then you should take a look at the other end of the scale, starting from G/C. As for the singing, let’s say you own a G/C accordion and you find it hard to sing along. It’s just a bit too low for your voice. One remedy could be to play the same tune on an A/D accordion instead. The melody will sound one note higher and will hopefully match your voice now.
So what do I prefer? My own favorite melodeon tuning is located in the golden middle. I have re-discovered this sound ever since I heard Ollie King play so wonderfully on his clubbed Erika in Bb/Eb,