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Thumb / lower arm pain - holding the English concertina


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#1 StephenTx

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:06 PM

I just finished reading the post from back in 2010 regarding thumb/lower arm pain. As a newbie (July, 2011) but one who is spending considerable time playing, I am experiencing the pain described by others. I am in the 60 group and have not had any arthritis problems?? But at this age I do realize we all have it to some extent. I am wondering if anyone has come across new treatments/remedies? In previous discussions the recommendations have been for anti inflammatory, massage, acupuncture, rest, soaks etc. Anything new out there.

I play the English and I am wondering about what is the best way to hold the concertina via the thumb straps. Should you keep your fingers so that only a third or so is in the strap or should you insert your fingers all the way. What are the relative advantages of each as I have seen accomplished players using both.
Stephen Texas

#2 Reed Bellows

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:31 PM

I play the English and I am wondering about what is the best way to hold the concertina via the thumb straps. Should you keep your fingers so that only a third or so is in the strap or should you insert your fingers all the way. What are the relative advantages of each as I have seen accomplished players using both.


I have my thumbs inserted to the first knuckle; that gives me the best bellows control and finger flexibility. I'm still a newbie so I have the pinky guards on, but as I progress with hand strength I'll probably remove those as well.

#3 chris

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:46 AM

If you rest one end of the concertina on one of your knees you shouldn't need to take much weight with your thumbs - just moving the bellows in and out.
If you wish to play standing up then you may want to consider wrist straps or a neck strap to take some of the weight
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#4 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:58 AM

Stephen,
some of this positioning thing will depend on your hand shape but I put my thumbs in the straps as far as they will go and then pivot my hands and fingers in an arc around the thumbs so as to reach all the keys. My little fingers sometimes start in the Rests but they move about with the others and are often used to play the keys.

After 40 years of this I do not suffer hand pains from playing, well perhaps the first day of a music festival when I have been playing for 10 or more hours but that is like one's legs after the first day of a walking holiday. I'm also in the 60's decade.

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 20 February 2012 - 11:02 AM.


#5 StephenTx

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:11 AM

Stephen,
some of this positioning thing will depend on your hand shape but I put my thumbs in the straps as far as they will go and then pivot my hands and fingers in an arc around the thumbs so as to reach all the keys. My little fingers sometimes start in the Rests but they move about with the others and are often used to play the keys.

After 40 years of this I do not suffer hand pains from playing, well perhaps the first day of a music festival when I have been playing for 10 or more hours but that is like one's legs after the first day of a walking holiday. I'm also in the 60's decade.

Geoff.

Geoff, I am going to give that a try as it does make anatomic sense in taking pressure off the thumbs. What feels strange at this point however is it puts my fingers further up (obviously) and some adjustments to reach the notes below the strap.
Thank you.

#6 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:13 PM

Yes this will take some strain off the thumbs. The length of the side walls on the little finger Rests means that you can still use them as support when changing hand angle to play the lower keys. If you are using notes from the lower end and further up the scale at the same time them you might need to be tucking in finger(s) under your palms to reach down to the low keys whilst keeping a more regular hand position for comfortable playing of the upper notes.
This why the keyboard of an EC needs to be in very good condition, so that keys will work nicely when they are operated by a finger coming at a very flat angle to the key's axis.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 20 February 2012 - 03:14 PM.





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