Jump to content


Photo

Bony finger syndrome?


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 frogspawn

frogspawn

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 231 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:south-east England

Posted 01 March 2011 - 01:41 PM

Since November I've lost a bit of weight - about 23 lbs. (This was to become more healthy, not because I'm ill.) Just recently I've got the feeling that my fingertips are less well padded and now feel a bit bony when I press the buttons. Has anyone else had this experience?

#2 Ardie

Ardie

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 145 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 March 2011 - 02:32 PM

If not having them yet many of us will in due time get some experience of the kind - loosing weight or not.Getting sore fingertips, or numb fingertips, or deep, sometimes painful impressions from the buttons. The thin and pointed buttons of our concertinas is a mystery from a common ergonomic viewpoint when you compare with other keyboard articles like accordions, telephones, calculators, computers etc which have more comfortable buttons.

#3 Dieppe

Dieppe

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 242 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Playa del Rey, California

Posted 01 March 2011 - 07:35 PM

Since November I've lost a bit of weight - about 23 lbs. (This was to become more healthy, not because I'm ill.) Just recently I've got the feeling that my fingertips are less well padded and now feel a bit bony when I press the buttons. Has anyone else had this experience?


If they aren't Bony, it's possible they could be Ivory... :lol:

Patrick

#4 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1482 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 02 March 2011 - 12:04 AM

Congratulations on your dietary success. Is it possible that your keys are too hard to press (too much return spring pressure) ?

#5 Ardie

Ardie

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 145 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 March 2011 - 01:30 AM

Is it possible that your keys are too hard to press (too much return spring pressure) ?


The normal key return force with concertinas is just a little less than for the piano but compare the pressure( force/area)! Reducing the spring force so much ( say down to 20-30gram)that it significantly changes the pressure will result in malfunction of the action and the uncomfortable touch may now appear when button hits the action board instead of from the springed resistance itself.If there is a problem it is related to the button touch area.

#6 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3898 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Coast of Clare, Ireland

Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:51 AM

The thin and pointed buttons of our concertinas is a mystery from a common ergonomic viewpoint when you compare with other keyboard articles like accordions, telephones, calculators, computers etc which have more comfortable buttons.


I'm reminded of an old post of Jim's, from the Arguing the toss thread :rolleyes: :

...I submit the following (put a tune to it, if you like):

...."Göran's Visit to Limerick" . :)

Some complain that I constantly carp
About buttons "too small" and "too sharp".
But just like Ralph Nader,
I think I'm a crusader,
Which is why I relentlessly harp.


But the only "too sharp" buttons I've come across are on a handful of solid-metal-buttoned instruments by Shakespeare (like one I've just been working on - see photo), or some very late Lachenals with bone or Erinoid buttons, that are highly domed at (seemingly) the same radius as that of the button.

Posted Image

Whereas the more-typical slightly-domed metal buttons of most Wheatstone, Lachenal and later Jeffries instruments are preferred by Irish players for comfort (playing all night!) and rapid articulation (especially of rolls and triplets).

Edited to add photo

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 19 March 2011 - 10:04 AM.


#7 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3898 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Coast of Clare, Ireland

Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:14 AM

Just recently I've got the feeling that my fingertips are less well padded and now feel a bit bony when I press the buttons.


Your avatar seems to show a Lachenal "New Model" Crane duet? They're lovely instruments, but you might find the lighter buttons, more-stable riveted action and softer springing of a Wheatstone easier on your fingers. Under the circumstances - I'd recommend giving one a try.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 19 March 2011 - 10:02 AM.


#8 Ardie

Ardie

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 145 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 22 March 2011 - 12:23 AM


The thin and pointed buttons of our concertinas is a mystery from a common ergonomic viewpoint when you compare with other keyboard articles like accordions, telephones, calculators, computers etc which have more comfortable buttons.


But the only "too sharp" buttons I've come across are on a handful of solid-metal-buttoned instruments by Shakespeare (like one I've just been working on - see photo), or some very late Lachenals with bone or Erinoid buttons, that are highly domed at (seemingly) the same radius as that of the button.

Whereas the more-typical slightly-domed metal buttons of most Wheatstone, Lachenal and later Jeffries instruments are preferred by Irish players for comfort (playing all night!) and rapid articulation (especially of rolls and triplets).


The touch comfort is determined by
1)the key area (compare pianos) and
2)the key profile (compare your Shakespeare photo). You probably have come across flat metal buttons with ca 4mm ( or even less?) diam ( I don't remember from what maker )and you likely will agree that those are "too sharp" also.
(3) the springed resistance
and all 1-3 varies of course so you have to compare one factor at a time.
What players "prefer" depends on what alternatives there are.I wonder if Irish melodeon players would "prefer" having 5mm concertina buttons if they had a choice...?


Just recently I've got the feeling that my fingertips are less well padded and now feel a bit bony when I press the buttons.


Your avatar seems to show a Lachenal "New Model" Crane duet? They're lovely instruments, but you might find the lighter buttons, more-stable riveted action and softer springing of a Wheatstone easier on your fingers. Under the circumstances - I'd recommend giving one a try.


How can "lighter buttons" and a "more-stable riveted action" be easier on the fingers? Does a Wheatstone generally have "softer springing"?

#9 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3898 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Coast of Clare, Ireland

Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:34 AM

The touch comfort is determined by
1)the key area (compare pianos) and
2)the key profile (compare your Shakespeare photo). You probably have come across flat metal buttons with ca 4mm ( or even less?) diam ( I don't remember from what maker )and you likely will agree that those are "too sharp" also.
(3) the springed resistance
and all 1-3 varies of course so you have to compare one factor at a time.


But you're still ignoring the very significant issue of inertia (a matter of basic physics) regarding the mass of the buttons, which was discussed at great length with you (in your previous incarnation) by Richard Morse, Paul Groff, Jim Lucas and others in the thread Concertina Buttons Materials and Design in January 2004, and at other (previous) times... :unsure:

To understand it, let's compare tapping with your finger on

1) a plastic or wooden-cored, metal-capped button
2) a hollow all-metal one
3) a solid metal one

to kicking

1) a football,
2) a glass fishing-net float of the same size
3) a solid ten-pin bowling ball


Would your foot notice a difference? Of course it would, that's inertia! :rolleyes:



... the more-typical slightly-domed metal buttons of most Wheatstone, Lachenal and later Jeffries instruments are preferred by Irish players for comfort (playing all night!) and rapid articulation (especially of rolls and triplets).

What players "prefer" depends on what alternatives there are.I wonder if Irish melodeon players would "prefer" having 5mm concertina buttons if they had a choice...?


Correct me if I'm wrong (as I'm sure you will), but I think you mean Irish (two-row) button-accordion players, rather than (one-row) melodeon players? In which case they have developed particular styles on their instrument that require large buttons which are almost flush with the keyboard - but what does that have to do with Irish concertina playing? :huh:


How can "lighter buttons" and a "more-stable riveted action" be easier on the fingers? Does a Wheatstone generally have "softer springing"?


As a concertina repairer for the past 40 years (as you well know, having visited me when I was still in London), and someone who has adjusted the actions of instruments for some very fastidious players, I can assure you that (from that very practical perspective) "lighter buttons" and a "more-stable riveted action" make it possible to use lighter springing, and that the combined effect of those factors is noticeably easier on the fingers of both myself and my customers. :)

That's why I suggested frogspawn (who started this thread) should try a Wheatstone, to see if it might help with their "bony finger syndrome."

#10 Ardie

Ardie

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 145 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:59 PM


The touch comfort is determined by
1)the key area (compare pianos) and
2)the key profile (compare your Shakespeare photo). You probably have come across flat metal buttons with ca 4mm ( or even less?) diam ( I don't remember from what maker )and you likely will agree that those are "too sharp" also.
(3) the springed resistance
and all 1-3 varies of course so you have to compare one factor at a time.


But you're still ignoring the very significant issue of inertia (a matter of basic physics) regarding the mass of the buttons


Well..."ignoring" if you like saying so... since it normally has very little significance, if any at all.See later below
Talking about "touch comfort" there should strictly be a separation between static and dynamic conditions.That is why I put (3) in brackets since 1) and 2)are static (and constant) factors ( material and structure should be added to make it more complete ) while (3) the springed resistance and let's add (4)inertia are dynamic factors only.(4) might be included in (3) and if considering the inertia the mass of the pads should not be forgotten either.

To understand it, let's compare tapping with your finger on

1) a plastic or wooden-cored, metal-capped button
2) a hollow all-metal one
3) a solid metal one

to kicking

1) a football,
2) a glass fishing-net float of the same size
3) a solid ten-pin bowling ball


Would your foot notice a difference? Of course it would, that's inertia! :rolleyes:


I'm afraid your example is not very adequate in the present situation. The weight of concertina buttons varies between (ca): all bone/plastic (0,5g), composed wood/plastic and metal capped (1,3g), hollow metal (2g), solid metal (2,5g). A football is (450g), a bowling ball (3-8kg). I don't know what a fishing-net float might be (1kg?) . Anyway - the possible significance of the "inertia" with our concertina buttons (0,5g-2,5g) must be related to the circumstance that we constantly are working against the springed resistance of 50-100g. To make your comparison more understandable you might put your football, float and bowling ball each one into sacks with rice ( 20-50kg or so..) kicking the whole sacks off...

You may do some more calculations. Pick an extreme example: Let's assume that we use a solid metal button (2,5g) and that we 'play' with a speed of 1800 notes/min.The acceleration force will be ca 25 gcm/sec x sec.Nobody plays that fast however. If you try to do a 6/8 jig fast enough to set a Guinness book record maybe you get up to 600 notes/min. Considering the difference between a Wheatstone 1,3g button and a Lachenal solid metal 2,4g button the related difference brings the relative force difference down instead of 25 to ca 4 ( first 1/3 and then 1/2 of that) which shall be related to the springed resistance of 50-100g. This means that in such an extreme situation the button "inertia" may be resonsible for 5-10 % of the total effort. Mostly our senses can not discriminate a weight difference less than 10% but I will not reject the possibility that some very sensitive players may do it and if some do say that they can I don't speak against that although I haven't detected any difference myself so I remain a bit sceptical. A controlled blind test ought to be done to let us know more. The result may come out as confusing as when wine experts now and then are tried in public blind tests...
Anyway - for ordinary playing the difference related to button weight ought to be negligable. Even when comparing a bone/plastic button (0,5g)with a solid metal one (2,5g) the relative influence just means 7-15% instead of 5-10% in the example above.



... the more-typical slightly-domed metal buttons of most Wheatstone, Lachenal and later Jeffries instruments are preferred by Irish players for comfort (playing all night!) and rapid articulation (especially of rolls and triplets).

What players "prefer" depends on what alternatives there are.I wonder if Irish melodeon players would "prefer" having 5mm concertina buttons if they had a choice...?


Correct me if I'm wrong (as I'm sure you will), but I think you mean Irish (two-row) button-accordion players, rather than (one-row) melodeon players? In which case they have developed particular styles on their instrument that require large buttons which are almost flush with the keyboard - but what does that have to do with Irish concertina playing? :huh:


Buttons on one-row and two-row ( and three-row) melodeons/accordions are roughly the same are they not? 10-12mm compared to (4)5-6mm Anglo buttons. If you would play the same Irish tune on either one of them what would be more comfortable for the fingers if all alternatives were available? Would all the "Irish" players "prefer" having 5mm buttons on every instrument at free choice? Is really the larger size of buttons on "Irish button-accordions" choosen because the "particular styles...require large buttons"? What about German or British or Italian button-accordion players? Computer users?

How can "lighter buttons" and a "more-stable riveted action" be easier on the fingers? Does a Wheatstone generally have "softer springing"?


As a concertina repairer for the past 40 years ..I can assure you that (from that very practical perspective) "lighter buttons" and a "more-stable riveted action" make it possible to use lighter springing, and that the combined effect of those factors is noticeably easier on the fingers of both myself and my customers. :)


A much lighter springing (say a reduction by 30-50%) no doubt "is noticeably easier on the fingers" and means a lot for the touch feeling. That might correspond to a reduction by 20-40g while a change to lighter buttons may only count for at most 4(4-6,5)g as I said above. I doubt however that a "more-stable riveted action make it possible to use a lighter springing". Why? This should be an issue for another topic maybe. "Combined effect" -Have you reconstructed many instruments with a complete change of buttons, actions and springing?

That's why I suggested frogspawn (who started this thread) should try a Wheatstone, to see if it might help with their "bony finger syndrome."


Have you measured the springing "weight" of many instruments? I checked a few Lachenals and Wheatstones and could not find any significant differences ( a variation 50-90g but not related to the makes).That is why I asked. The only instruments with considerably lighter springing were a couple of 1860s trebles (30g) but they have much smaller pad holes as well which means that a lighter spring force is tolerated.

#11 shelly0312

shelly0312

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 287 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:SE wisconsin USA

Posted 23 April 2011 - 10:19 PM

I could only wish for such a syndrome.........Michelle

#12 Ardie

Ardie

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 145 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 April 2011 - 04:17 PM

.. I can assure you that (from that very practical perspective) "lighter buttons" and a "more-stable riveted action" make it possible to use lighter springing, and that the combined effect of those factors is noticeably easier on the fingers of both myself and my customers.

That's why I suggested frogspawn (who started this thread) should try a Wheatstone, to see if it might help with their "bony finger syndrome."


Summing up some factors which affect the comfort when touching and hitting the concertina keys we may find
1. Static conditions
1.1 Key material 1.2 Material structure 1.3 Key diameter 1.4 Key profile
2. Dynamic conditions
2.1 Springed resistance 2.2 Combined mass of moving parts including the key
3. Player related conditions
3.1 Body mass. Subcutaneous fat 3.2 Age. Tissue elasticity 3.3 Sensitivity 3.4 Sensibility.Health disorders

With the common instrument constructions what can be done to improve comfort seems to be using a large key diameter and a flat profile with no sharp edges. If the key has a diameter of 10+mm a concave profile may be preferrable.The springed resistance better be in the lower range but the construction usually admits little variation for good function and it is important that a low springed resistance does not mean that when hitting the key it strikes into the action board without efficient damping.
Reducing the springed resistance probably is not a rational measure in most cases and the importance of lighter keys is expected to be negligable except possibly in extremely fast playing (but I regard this as unlikely too)

The importance of key diameter and profile may be illustrated by two players in the early 70s who complained about tenderness, numbness and unpleasant impressions in the fingertips after playing. One of them had stopped playing entirely because of the problems. After we replaced the common 5mm domed keys with 6mm flat keys with slightly rounded edges both players took up using their instruments again and the dyscomfort went away.
Of course individual playing habits also to a great deal determine in what extent these problems may appear.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users