Jump to content


Photo

opening the bellows


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:21 AM

I am starting as a concertina player and I notice that I get pain in my hands, especially the right one which is opening the bellows. After a while I see my 3rd finger is ending on the finger rest to help the 4th..
I find it quite hard to pull, and I wonder if this is normal, my Jackie is new and has only 6 bellows. Very much work to open it completly... I also may do it wrong..?

#2 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2097 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:01 AM

I am starting as a concertina player and I notice that I get pain in my hands, especially the right one which is opening the bellows. After a while I see my 3rd finger is ending on the finger rest to help the 4th..
I find it quite hard to pull, and I wonder if this is normal, my Jackie is new and has only 6 bellows. Very much work to open it completly... I also may do it wrong..?



It really should not be that much hard work... unless you are doing something really daft like trying to open the bellows without pressing a key or two.
Perhaps your 'new' instrument is a little bit stiff and will become easier after a time. However, try this;

Hold the concertina with one hand and lift it up and let it dangle vertically, then press several keys so that the weight of the lower end will let the bellows expand and notes to play. The bellows should open quite easily with the weight of the suspended end and the gravitational pull. If this does not happen then I would suggest that the bellows is just too stiff and this will cause you to be using far more energy than is needed to make your music.

If when you are playing normally you let your hands fall outwards in a circular motion around your wrists, as if to turn your hands from being verticle to being 'open palmed'.. the weight of your hands doing this should produce enough pull on the bellows to play some notes.
I have never played a Jackie so really I do not know how much power is needed but I cannot imagine that Wim Wakker would have designed an instrument for begginers that was heavy work to play.

#3 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:35 AM

Thanks for your answer Geoff.
I did as you said, the box is opening very slowly to about 10 cm wide. This what I can easily open when I play, afterward it needs efforts. Then I guess it is as you said that the bellows are stiff, and hopefully they will go smoother with playing. Or do you know any other way to get this faster?

Edited by Nisse, 26 February 2012 - 07:36 AM.


#4 Johanna

Johanna

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 129 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Maryland, US

Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:10 AM

I think that what you're describing is normal. At least, I tried the same test on my Jack (which has been played a lot) and the bellows opened to 12, maybe 13 cm. I can open it more if I really pull on it, but usually I don't (unless I need to fit in a few more notes at the end of a phrase before I change bellows direction).

#5 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2097 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:12 AM

I suggest that, if this bothers you, try contacting Wim Wakker about it. Other that that I think you should work within the 10 cm zone for now and see if it loosens up a little further as time goes on. You could also try stretching the bellows out to a fairly full extent and somehow blocking it in this open position over night and see if that makes a difference.
The usual way of making a bellows is when it is in the fully open position. After construction is complete and the glue is set and dry then it is compressed and left for a good while to settle into its closed position.

A bellows that is too soft at the beginging of its life can become too floppy with plenty of use.

One tip for the debutante player of the English is to try to play with all four fingers.. perhaps not particularly ascribing each finger to a row of buttons but incorporating the use of the little finger when you can. This helps strengthen that finger and prepare it for future use when more complex chords are required. It will also help to gain control of the instrument in the sense of using the thumbs to do most of the pushing and pulling.

#6 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:08 AM

OK, I tried to open it fully and let it stay open between each time I can play. It helps already.
Johanna, when I play only on the 10 cm it is too short to finish the musical sentence... Still playing quite slowly ;)

Playing with 4 fingers, erh :blink: ... at the moment I struggle trying to get the 3rd one in action. I will keep the idea in mind though... B)

#7 Reed Bellows

Reed Bellows

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Further from Old Blighty than I'd rather be

Posted 27 February 2012 - 10:19 AM

I am starting as a concertina player and I notice that I get pain in my hands, especially the right one which is opening the bellows. After a while I see my 3rd finger is ending on the finger rest to help the 4th..
I find it quite hard to pull, and I wonder if this is normal, my Jackie is new and has only 6 bellows. Very much work to open it completly... I also may do it wrong..?


I have never played a Jackie so really I do not know how much power is needed but I cannot imagine that Wim Wakker would have designed an instrument for begginers that was heavy work to play.


From my own experience with my Jackie, I do feel that the bellows are quite a bit stiff, but I suspect that with regular play and practice that they will 'break-in' and become easier to maneuver.

Prior to my purchase, I searched the c.net forums for as much information on the Jackie as I could, and the common (occasionally subtext) consensus was that this box is a bit tough, but once you master the knack it makes playing other EC's seem like a piece of p... I mean, cake. ;)

I would classify the Jack/Jackie as a 'beginner-learner' EC because it's a bit tougher to work than a true vintage or high-end concertina, so by the time you're ready for a quality instrument, your hands are well-trained to make the best use of it, and so playing becomes easier.

Keep at it, Nisse!

#8 Johanna

Johanna

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 129 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Maryland, US

Posted 27 February 2012 - 03:53 PM

OK, I tried to open it fully and let it stay open between each time I can play. It helps already.
Johanna, when I play only on the 10 cm it is too short to finish the musical sentence... Still playing quite slowly ;)

Playing with 4 fingers, erh :blink: ... at the moment I struggle trying to get the 3rd one in action. I will keep the idea in mind though... B)


Well, you can change bellows direction more often, or you can learn to play faster. :) The bellows will loosen up with time, but probably not by very much.

Keep in mind, when you see pictures of other concertinas with the bellows opened very wide, that the Jackie is a lot bigger than they are. On a smaller instrument, you have to open the bellows wider to hold the same amount of air.

It's OK if you're not ready to play with 4 fingers. But you should try taking your little fingers off the finger rests, even if only for a second or two. As I said before, your little fingers should not be supporting the weight of the concertina - and they definitely should not be helping to pull on the bellows. But other than that, it doesn't sound to me like you're doing anything wrong.

#9 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 27 February 2012 - 05:25 PM

thanks for your answers Reed bellows and Johanna,
I did as Geoff told me, keeping the bellows open over night. It helped a little :D, I expect playing to be more confortable after a while. And it will probably make it possible for fingers 3 and 4 to try themselves too ;)




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users