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plastic caps for small buttons ?


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#1 david fabre

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

I play both a vintage Wheatstone with small metal buttons (diameter 5mm, 3/16'') and a modern Edgley with
larger plastic buttons (diameter 6.5mm, 1/4'').
Although the difference in size is not so large, I do find the latter much more comfortable to play, and I am thinking
of some way to enlarge the size of the buttons on the Wheatstone.
I was thinking of putting some kind of transparent plastic caps on the top of the metal keys, which could do this
without altering too much the appearance of the instrument.
Has anybody done something similar, or has any idea about where to find such things ???
Thanks for suggestions....

#2 Geoffrey Crabb

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:53 PM

I play both a vintage Wheatstone with small metal buttons (diameter 5mm, 3/16'') and a modern Edgley with
larger plastic buttons (diameter 6.5mm, 1/4'').
Although the difference in size is not so large, I do find the latter much more comfortable to play, and I am thinking
of some way to enlarge the size of the buttons on the Wheatstone.
I was thinking of putting some kind of transparent plastic caps on the top of the metal keys, which could do this
without altering too much the appearance of the instrument.
Has anybody done something similar, or has any idea about where to find such things ???
Thanks for suggestions....


Hi David,
This may seem obvious, but If you are able to obtain something suitable, they must be easily removable to allow the concertina top to be removed when required and must not impede button travel.

Geoffrey

#3 Henrik Müller

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:41 AM

...
with
larger plastic buttons (diameter 6.5mm, 1/4'').
Although the difference in size is not so large, I do find the latter much more comfortable to play,
...

No help from here, I am afraid - just a comment:

I've wondered for a long time if people really find the small buttons (e.g., a Jeffries with 4 mm diam) comfortable?

One of the items high on my "want"-list when I built my instrument, was large diameter-buttons - at least as large as on the Stagi miniature that had inspired me to start building: 6 mm.

In the end I settled for 5.5 mm ("Rotring" pencil tops...) since I had another item on list, "metal caps on a wooden body", or at least not solid metal. And they worked very well.

While we are down here in the nitty-gritty... I also feel that there is an optimal curvature of the tip of the buttons, somewhere between completely flat and pure spherical. Another story, probably.

/Henrik

#4 david fabre

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:21 PM

Thanks for the coments.Geoffrey, you are obviously right about the fact that the caps should be easily removable, as those old ladies require to be opended up quite often...I measured a average 4mm height of the puttons when depressed. So the caps would be rather shortDavid

#5 Bill Crossland

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:32 PM

Jurgen Suttner now offers some very nice "bone" buttons of a larger diameter (6mm) with a nice gentle curve on top. The picture attached doesn't really do them justice.

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#6 jrintaha

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:05 AM

No help from here, I am afraid - just a comment:

I've wondered for a long time if people really find the small buttons (e.g., a Jeffries with 4 mm diam) comfortable?

One of the items high on my "want"-list when I built my instrument, was large diameter-buttons - at least as large as on the Stagi miniature that had inspired me to start building: 6 mm.

In the end I settled for 5.5 mm ("Rotring" pencil tops...) since I had another item on list, "metal caps on a wooden body", or at least not solid metal. And they worked very well.

While we are down here in the nitty-gritty... I also feel that there is an optimal curvature of the tip of the buttons, somewhere between completely flat and pure spherical. Another story, probably.

/Henrik


I recently acquired a Wheatstone Duet, which obviously has the Wheatstone domed metal buttons - and they're really really uncomfortable compared to the buttons of the two 20-key Lachenal anglos I have. The other Lachenal, S/N 5088 has slightly larger, almost totally flat buttons than the other, S/N ~100000, which are slightly dome-shaped. But they both feel more comfortable than the Wheatstone, even after two weeks of not touching the Lachenals at all to get used to the Wheatstone. (Yes, the action and reed response are vastly superior in the Wheatstone, but I'd love to have the Lachenal buttons on it...)

Cheers,
Jori

#7 Henrik Müller

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:20 AM

...
The picture attached doesn't really do them justice.

It does indeed!


Interesting, for future thinking...
/Henrik

#8 Geoffrey Crabb

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:11 AM

Just a cheap quick suggestion.


Geoff

#9 Dirge

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:24 PM

I recently acquired a Wheatstone Duet, which obviously has the Wheatstone domed metal buttons - and they're really really uncomfortable compared to the buttons of the two 20-key Lachenal anglos I have. The other Lachenal, S/N 5088 has slightly larger, almost totally flat buttons than the other, S/N ~100000, which are slightly dome-shaped. But they both feel more comfortable than the Wheatstone, even after two weeks of not touching the Lachenals at all to get used to the Wheatstone. (Yes, the action and reed response are vastly superior in the Wheatstone, but I'd love to have the Lachenal buttons on it...)

Cheers,
Jori


They're not uncomfortable; you must be pressing too hard or the springs must be too heavy.

#10 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:13 PM



I recently acquired a Wheatstone Duet, which obviously has the Wheatstone domed metal buttons - and they're really really uncomfortable compared to the buttons of the two 20-key Lachenal anglos I have. The other Lachenal, S/N 5088 has slightly larger, almost totally flat buttons than the other, S/N ~100000, which are slightly dome-shaped. But they both feel more comfortable than the Wheatstone, even after two weeks of not touching the Lachenals at all to get used to the Wheatstone. (Yes, the action and reed response are vastly superior in the Wheatstone, but I'd love to have the Lachenal buttons on it...)

Cheers,
Jori


They're not uncomfortable; you must be pressing too hard or the springs must be too heavy.




I entirely agree Dirge.

I have been playing on these normal sized Buttons for 4O years and often for many hours at a time. The longest music session that I recall lasted for 14 hours... after which I will admit to having sore hands, but I regularly play in a dance band where 5 to 6 hours of hard playing would constitute an evening's work and I have no complaints. It is all a matter of what you get used to. :)

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 02 May 2012 - 03:15 PM.


#11 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:16 AM

To clarify a couple of points in my last post, so as not to appear too negative about the discomfort encountered with small button sizes:

"It is all a matter of what you get used to."
When I started playing the Duet about a year ago, after having played the English for many years, I noticed some tenderness in my little fingers which I had not used so much when playing the English. In fact I still do get slightly sore on my right little finger and realise that I use that the least on the English for some reason, perhaps the tunes or the keys that I am playing in do not call for it to be used very often. I am, however, getting used to it.. my little fingers are toughening up.

The idea of having larger diameter buttons, which would undoubtably be more comfortable, might work well on an Anglo or a Hayden Duet but on an English or Maccann (or Crane)Duet there could be a problem. This problem, as I see it, is that because of the arrangement of these keyboards with their vertical rows , a certain amount of space between buttons is desirable so as to avoid the inadvertant touching of an adjacent note. In single note playing this is not normally a problem but when making chords, especially widely spaced chords where some fingers will not be able to hit a button square on, due to hand position, then the gap between the buttons can get 'used up'.

So, whilst a larger diameter button will be more comfortable , the amount of the increase would be quite limited on these relatively compact keyboards.
Mind the Gap!

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 05 May 2012 - 10:21 AM.


#12 JimLucas

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:12 PM

Jurgen Suttner now offers some very nice "bone" buttons of a larger diameter (6mm) with a nice gentle curve on top. The picture attached doesn't really do them justice.

The trouble with that solution is that the holes for all the buttons would have to be enlarged. Not an overwhelming task, perhaps, but also not a trivial one. Furthermore, it would not be reversible if David (or some future owner) decided subsequently that they would rather have it with the original buttons.

On the other hand, I don't know how difficult it would be to make the sort of caps David has in mind. From former discussions here I do know that many individuals (though not myself) prefer the somewhat larger buttons, so if such caps are feasible, perhaps it would be worthwhile for someone (Concertina Spares?) to commission a batch large enough to result in a cheap per-unit cost and then make them generally available for sale?

Edited by JimLucas, 05 May 2012 - 03:14 PM.


#13 david fabre

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:04 PM

Thanks to allI think i'll try something like what geoffrey suggests.I'll give news if i end up somewhereDavid

#14 JimLucas

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:37 PM

I think i'll try something like what geoffrey suggests.

Yes, that does look useful.

(I only just now looked at his document, as lately I've been having issues with MS Word.)




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