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Moira

English bellowsing axis

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I'm working with the tutorial that comes with the Jackie EC, which instructs that when fanning the bellows, the lower front edge is the side that should stay closed. I tried to do it this way, but the awkward angle caused a great deal of stress to my thumbs and pinkies. Pulling forward on the thumbs made it hard to keep them in the straps, which led me to compensate by pushing hard with my pinkies into the curved ends of the plates.

 

Seeking some relief, I tried keeping the bottom edge closed instead, and it made a world of difference! I can play as long as I want now without discomfort and with no need for my pinkies. The bellows practically work themselves.

 

Of course I think it's good to be able to practice longer, but am I setting myself up for problems later by using the bottom axis instead of the front axis?

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I'm working with the tutorial that comes with the Jackie EC, which instructs that when fanning the bellows, the lower front edge is the side that should stay closed. I tried to do it this way, but the awkward angle caused a great deal of stress to my thumbs and pinkies. Pulling forward on the thumbs made it hard to keep them in the straps, which led me to compensate by pushing hard with my pinkies into the curved ends of the plates.

 

Seeking some relief, I tried keeping the bottom edge closed instead, and it made a world of difference! I can play as long as I want now without discomfort and with no need for my pinkies. The bellows practically work themselves.

 

Of course I think it's good to be able to practice longer, but am I setting myself up for problems later by using the bottom axis instead of the front axis?

My own technique for working the bellows is quite different from your description, as I try to keep the ends of the concertina as much as possible parallel to each other and "fan" the bellows as little as possible, so I'm probably not the best person to advise you, but...

 

Danny Chapman (known here as ratface) not only fans the bellows by keeping the bottom of the bellows closed, he uses a velcroed strap to assist him, and he's an exceptional player. His videos on YouTube are well worth watching. So no, I don't think that technique will cause you problems in either the short or long term. Don't give it up if it works well for you.

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Hi Moira,

 

Yes, I've just discovered this in Wim's book and only just grasped what he means. I have very long fingers, so for me this is working and definitely making a positive difference to my playing. Having said that, if you've found something that works for you then that's fine.

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