All the new updated Zydeco/Cajun Accordion information is now on

The old information below will be pulled from the site in a few weeks...




Step One:
Just starting out you need to just learn how to get comfortable with the instrument, so buy an accordion as mentioned below and get atleast one of the good video tapes available.

After you start playing with the instrument if you want to play Cajun style music your in luck because there is a lot of video tapes that do a good job of instruction plus in Southern California we have accordion workshops every few months and if you want to get details on the next workshop please send me your me your email address.

If you want to play Zydeco style... there are not any really good video tapes available currently so your going to need to learn a little Cajun style first and then learn the Zydeco material from either traveling musicians who come through town and give workshops (please send me email to be added to the accordion workshoop mail list) or if your in Southern California I can give you some private lessons, email me at gbenusa @

Buying an accordion:
Of course there are many accordion makers and you will end up paying anywhere from $300-$1000 for a starting accordion. Larry Miller "Bon Cajun Instruments" (337) 779-2456 among others sell these basic models for around $350 plus he can upgrade the buttons on it and tell you some great information on the accordion. Or if you have the budget I would pay another $500 and get a decent instrument.

Great Web Site that explains accordion info:

What key to purchase ? Most of the Zydeco style music is played in B-flat, Most of the Cajun style is played in the key of C. And since most of the instructional material is Cajun I would first buy a Cajun accordion in the Key of C, and then later on purchase a B-flat if you want to play more Zydeco style.

My Experience:
I purchased an Iolite from ebay for $300, then Larry made it a lot more comfortable to play by putting some good quality straps on it and changing the springs which made it much easier to play. If your starting out make sure and get "You Can Play Cajun Accordion" which includes a 50 page book and 60 minute audio tape

Then I purchased a used Gabinelli King accordion from Leroy Thomas who is one of the top Zydeco players in the country. There is a big difference between a $350 Hohner and a $1000 Gabinelli.

Other great info on starting out:

Accordion Workshop (Past)

Who: David Sousa is up for leading the workshop. David has been playing button accordion for 12 years and has been a musician for over 30. David got hooked on zydeco in 1985 after attending a Queen Ida dance, and began playing bass in zydeco bands soon after that. In 1990 he bought his first Cajun accordion and taught himself to play.

More What: Accordion Beginning through More Advanced Techniques in relation to Zydeco playing styles: We can cover the basics of the accordion and learn a basic melody the first hour and then progress to playing a song using intermediate/advanced techniques. If there is a specific song that you would like covered please email me back ?

Techniques covered:
Playing Octaves
Different Playing Positions
Squeezing/Bellows shakes Emphasis
Various Playing Styles
Rhythms and timing of Zydeco music
Basic melody & tablature of Nooney's Zydeco Extravaganza song - Greg w/share

Video reviews: I will bring all the instructional accordion video's I have if your interested in checking them out on their big screen tv.

When: Workshop is from 1-4pm, with optional freebie slow jam at 12pm for those interested

Cost: $15 donation requested. 1/2 the money collected will go toward an Accordion fund to purchase an extra accordion for new folks to play with who don't currently own an accordion. The extra accordion could also go out on "loan" to one of the new folks after the workshop to practice with to see if they take to it enough to buy their own.

Drawing: Will give away a Bon Cajun Accordion T-Shirt

Slow Jam: If your interested in doing a little freebie slow jam at 12pm before the workshop let me know and we can give it a go.

Where: Java Lanes, 3800 East Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, 90804
TAKE THE 405 FWY TO LAKEWOOD, go south 1 mile, turn right at the roundabout, and drive up the hill. Java Lanes is on the left, plenty of parking. Java Lanes Info (562) 597-5558

Map Link:

Accordion: If you need one to use let me know of if you have one your willing to let someone else use please let me know. (619) 857-8409 or gbenusa @

Reservations: Not required but if your planning on going please let me know so I have an idea of the numbers and also incase there are any unforeseen changes you can be notified. 619-857-8409 or gbenusa @

Self directed Lesson w/Accordion

Online Lessons:

Here is a great new web site with Cajun accordion lessons:

The following web site Ganey has is going to start online lessons.

Accordion Manufacturers:

Here is a great web page David Sousa recommended for Accordion Manufacturers

Internet Recommendations:

Cajun Accordion Discussion Group:
Another good group to share Cajun accordion information.

ZydeCoach Message Board - ZydeCoach's message board about anything related to C/Z accordions.

Pictures of our last workshop will be posted in 48 hours at…

Books for reference:

"You can play Cajun Accordion" By Larry Miller
This was a very good book for me starting out that shows the different keys and what notes they play, it has the tablature for several songs including "J'AI Passe Devant Ta Porte" and gives detailed information on how to play songs using octaves. One place you can get this from is Floyds Records in Ville Platte, Louisiana at… or 1-800-738-8668

" Ye Yaille, Chere", Raymond Francois book recommended by David Sousa, "with lyrics and music for many, many essential Cajun songs, plus stories, photos, background info, etc. There are some other books, but these are the most important, and could be considered standard required reading for anyone interested in Cajun music."

Cajun Music, A Reflection of a People
Ann Savoys book with Lyrics and music

Video Info:

"Traditional Cajun Accordion" - For Beginners. This is a very good video that slows down the speed for a beginner. Many of the others including the new Gospel Accordion to Marc are definitely more intermediate level video's where this video is for the first time player plus it goes into some more intermediate level material as well. Taught by Joe Rogers, designed to take the beginner beyond the basics and onto an intermediate level of playing (120 Minutes!) and can be found many places like Button Box Video's at 413-549-0171.
I didn't know anything about this video till Gary Huggins pointed it out...gracias :)

Traditional Cajun Accordion - Beginner by Joe Rogers
Designed to take the beginner beyond the basics and on to an intermediate level of playing (120 minutes).... $39.95

"Learn to Play Cajun Accordion" by Dirk Powell.
This is a very good video as Dirk does a good job of slowing down his playing for the folks. For beginners I would highly recommend this video or the video listed above. Dirk also has an intermediate/Advanced level video

The Gospel Accordion to Marc, Volume I
I just got this video, it looks interesting that it slows down the playing and keeps the pitch going although changed a little bit which is a nice enhancement compared to many instructional video's that don't slow down the playing very well making it difficult to try and pick up the keys being pressed. Marc has other videos available as well but I think this is the only one that slows his playing down to a nice slow speed. You can get this directly from Savoy Music Center at or 337-457-9563 or from Floyds Records at or or 1-800-738-8668

Beginning Zydeco and Cajun Button Accordion
This video by Evo Bluestein also goes through the basics and covers several songs but does not slow them down as well as Marc's video listed above. Although its "Zydeco" its not the Keith Frank style Zydeco that I want to play… its more of a bluesy style that's ok but not "new" Zydeco that I love. Know one makes a video that covers that stuff yet…

Software Info:

The Amazing Slowdowner
This software for the Mac or PC is able to slow a piece of music from your CD drive or a file up to 400% without change of pitch or lose of quality. Able to A-B and loop any portion of the music. EQ and pitch adjustment also.
You can download a free demo version, which works on the first 2 tracks of any CD or pay for the full version that does not have this limitation

Transkriber Software
This software slows down the music without changing the pitch in realtime. This product maybe better than The Amazing Slowdowner although there isn't a free demo version.
there is a big discussion about this product on the Internet Cajun / Zydeco news group of (go to the list and find the topic about "slowing down CD's"


99 Year Waltz: Basic Level

Love Bridge Waltz: Basic Level
Below the "5" is a push and the "6`" is a pull.
Play 2 Times:
5 6` 7` 6` 6 7`
6 7` 7 6 7` 7
5 6` 7` 6` 6 7`
6 7` 7 7` 6` 5` 5
Play 2 Times:
6` 5` 5 5` 6` 5
7` 7` 8 7` 7` 8

Tablature for Basic Geno Delafose, Je Va's Jamais La Voir Encore, from La Chanson Perdue Album
5 5' 6 5' 5 5' 5 4 5 5' 5 4 3
5 5' 6 5' 5 5' 5 4 5 5' 5 4 3'
5 5' 6 5' 5 5' 5 4 5 5' 5 4 3
4 5 5' 5 4 3' 3' 3 3

Tablature for Zydeco Extravaganza - Zydeco Force
6' 3' 6' 5' 5 4 4     6' 3' 6' 5' 5 4
    7' 7'        5 5        7' 7'        5

Gary Kaluzny's Tablature Web Site - Great source for basic tablature for Cajun/Zydeco Songs:

Basic Accordion Key Information:

Basic keys of a single row
"C"                or         "Bb"          Accordion

Push / Pull            Push/Pull
1. E - G                     D - F
2. G - B                     F - A
3. C - D                     Bb - C
4. E - F                      D - Eb
5. G - A                     F - G
6. C - B                     Bb - A
7. E - D                     D - C
8. G - F                      F - Eb
9. C - A                     Bb - G
10. E - B                    D - A

Information gathered by Greg Benusa with additions from David Sousa

Copyright© 2001 Greg Benusa



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