Piano Accordion Vs Button Accordion; What Are The Differences?

piano Accordion vs button accordion

The piano accordion vs button accordion rivalry has always existed. Although there are many similarities, a closer inspection will reveal many differences. This article describes the key differences between the piano accordion vs button accordion, including their pros and cons.

How do piano accordion and button accordion differ? The piano accordions have piano keys on the right-hand side (treble side). Button accordions have buttons on the right-hand side. Although the piano accordion is easier to learn, the button accordion is easier to play since the buttons are closer together.

You might be wondering what options are available if you are interested in picking up the accordion or if someone in your family is interested in learning a new instrument.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a piano accordion vs button accordion, and now you’re curious about the differences.

Here’s an informational guide that explains the differences between these two types of music and what features you should look for.

Types of accordions

Accordions there are two main types that you will find:

  1.  button accordions
  2.  piano accordions

In both cases, good and bad aspects really depend on the situation.

Once you learn how the buttons work and what they mean, the button accordion is more accessible to play than a piano accordion simply because the buttons are smaller and closer together.

So you can play multiple intervals and ranges a lot faster and have better fingering options. 

Initially, learning to play a button accordion is much more challenging than learning to play a piano accordion because you must memorize the buttons.

The smaller buttons of the button accordion make it easier to play. With experience, you will be able to cover three octaves with just a single hand, which is not possible with a piano accordion.

It might be easier for you to switch quickly to the same keys on a different instrument if you are already proficient at playing the piano.

The keys of a piano accordion are still memorized, but this is much easier if you already know how to play the piano.

Piano Accordion Vs Button Accordion

Accordions come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors, and aesthetic designs. Piano accordions and button accordions are the two main categories of accordions.

Both instruments can be distinguished by the year they were made, the number of keys, the reeds, and even the material they were made from. 

Here are some of the differences between the two primary accordions:


A piano accordion is straightforward due to the fact that each key represents one note only. The notes are arranged so that the player must move up or down by one step every half-step. In a button accordion, the buttons have a uniform arrangement, and to play one note, one must press the buttons on the row corresponding to that note.

Key Design:

The user can play all the keys of a piano accordion. This is not the case with the button accordion. A button accordion can sometimes have dummy buttons generally used for cosmetic purposes.

Ease of Playing:

It is easier to play far apart notes on a button accordion, so you are less likely to play the wrong notes. A piano accordion player usually needs to practice and be precise because they can mistakenly play white keys that are not part of the note due to their lack of reach.


Piano accordions can have up to 45 notes. But there can be a maximum range of 64 notes in the right-hand register of a button accordion.


Piano accordions are generally larger than button accordions. The keyboard protrudes more than in a buttoned accordion in a piano accordion. However, the small size of the button accordion doesn’t affect its range.


Transposition is difficult on a piano accordion. When a singer is unable to sing in a particular range, this becomes a significant problem. An accordion with duplicate rows allows the player to use the same fingering pattern, making transposition easier.

Fingering Pattern:

In a button accordion, the same fingering pattern can be used to play two different chords. In order to play a chord on a piano accordion, the same technique is required. It is, therefore, easier to learn how to play a button accordion than a piano accordion.


Piano keys have a broader surface area, so playing on a piano accordion is more comfortable. The button accordion player sometimes has to twist their fingers and wrists to press the buttons.

When to use the Piano Accordion?

What makes the Piano accordion one of the most popular instruments?

Firstly, it’s because most people have played the standard piano instrument at some point or are familiar with its functions.

You’ll likely have no trouble playing the piano accordion’s keys even on your first try if this sounds like you.

They share the same keyboard with the piano, strategically positioned on the right-hand side.

However, young players have difficulty reaching specific keys. Therefore, you should wait until you have received some training (self-led/tutor-led) before your first session.

Due to the larger size and more cumbersome nature, professional players find this instrument easy to handle because of their experience and age.

In addition, the instruments have many buttons, which can be confusing for students.

If you wish to learn how to play modern jazz, you should be ready to use the piano accordion, which is often used in such performances. All other types of complex sounds are the same.

Guitar players tend to find the piano accordion easy to learn, another fact unknown to beginners. It should also apply to anyone with experience playing brass instruments.

Therefore, before purchasing this instrument, learn to question yourself honestly. For instance, how familiar am I with other devices? What kind of music will I enjoy listening to?

The key to success is to love what you do, as nothing beats the resilience that comes with passion, especially when you are learning something new.

You should also consider how you will transport the piano instrument, as it is usually more massive than the button accordion.

Do you own a car? Is there anyone who can help you carry it if the need arises? Do you have the physical strength to carry the weight even when you must move from place to place?

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When to use the Button Accordion?

As mentioned earlier, the button accordion came first, followed by the piano accordion. The game mainly uses the bisonoric system, where players only use one or two keys.

The fewer buttons make it easy for beginners to use.

The most popular type of button accordion is the diatonic button accordion, which has only 7 notes plus two.

Consequently, the instrument is also suitable for lively folk performers as well as for fans of traditional music in general.

The instrument is much lighter and smaller than a piano accordion due to its lighter weight and smaller size. Thus, it can be played by younger performers, students, and non-professionals.

Nevertheless, the major disadvantage is that it’s pretty challenging to memorize this instrument, so you should only take it up if you are willing to dedicate more time to training.

I have said that it’s easy to play, but mastering the different buttons isn’t as straightforward as some might think. Be patient.

Even with all this said, it sometimes comes down to personal preference. Nobody can stop them from becoming good, no matter the odds. Some individuals prefer one instrument over the other.

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Thus, even after reading this article, you should do your thing if you still hold the same opinion. You might surprise everyone, including yourself, with what you can accomplish.

Aside from that, I should mention that the piano accordion tends to be more versatile than the button instrument. Its right-hand techniques are easily adapted to other instruments.

You now know which side to look at when versatility counts.

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