Jump to content


Photo

English Thumb Screws...err...straps


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 hpinson

hpinson

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 25 September 2003 - 11:53 PM

Hi, I've been meaning to post this image for a while. The thumb straps on my English wore out, and since no replacements were readily available in New Mexico, I took what was left of them apart, with the idea to make some new ones.

Like everything else in an English concertina, these things are surprisingly complicated. They are some sort of Oragami project it seems. Mapping them helped, and it's tricky to fold in all the right directions.

The biggest problem I had was finding really thin leather locally; and I ended up using some thin pigskin from Tandy. Not thin enough however...and since I've seen some book-binding hobby catalogs that seem to have the right stuff, 1mm or less thick.

Anyway, I hope this is of use to someone who needs new thumb straps, and wants to try making them.

Attached Images

  • thumbstrap_template.gif


#2 Chris Timson

Chris Timson

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3490 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bradford on Avon

Posted 26 September 2003 - 05:55 AM

Nice one. This is the sort of thing I would love to see go in the wiki, for easy retrieval when needed.

Chris

#3 d.elliott

d.elliott

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1205 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

Posted 26 September 2003 - 10:23 AM

Don't forget that thumb straps have a linen or fabric lining, or in-fill

Dare I say: see the Concertina Maintenance Manual withou getting shot at?

Dave

#4 hpinson

hpinson

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 26 September 2003 - 10:44 AM

Hi Chris. Where is the Wiki? I did not know there was one.

Hi Dave.

>> Infill

Yes, that's what I meant by "Internal Reinforcement Strap". I probably could clarify this in the diagram.

I've been meaning to buy your book. Can I purchase it directly from you?

The Sherline mill just arrived. B)

-- Harlow Pinson
hpinson@indepthl.com

#5 goran rahm

goran rahm

    Chatty concertinist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 283 posts

Posted 30 September 2003 - 11:04 PM

"Dare I say: see the Concertina Maintenance Manual withou getting shot at?
Dave "

Goran:No gunfire from my part Dave...it is 'your own business' and you are quite open with it.... (what I use to object against is when people sometimes energetically promote 'others business' ...maybe not being conscious about the complex hidden implications....)

Another matter ( if *I* dare say....) is that the original type of thumbstraps in my view are not particularly good at all but there is a variety of them.....some fairly good...some pretty useless...it depends a lot on the individual needs, method of playing and type of instrument however. Considering:

1) The thumbstraps are usually 'wrongly' located (eccentric, or not offering a balanced position)
2) IF you aim for optimal flexibility, fingering 'liberty' and note range - AND do not care much about bellows(=tone) control - the thumbstraps could be thin, lean and flexible as they mostly are...
3) If on the other side you aim for optimal tonal control, or do energetic bellows-work, then stability of the thumb/instrument connection is essential and the thumbstraps ought to be thicker,wider and steadier to be purposeful
4) The thumbstrap 'concept' is not ( or seldom) a very good solution by itself and mostly some additional supporting 'handle' ought to be used...NOT the fingerplate however which is a complete failure....(except IF used as it was meant...'resting' 3rd AND 4th fingers there and 'playing' only with 1st and 2nd!!)

My own thumbstraps are about 5mm thick (with a hard cardboard 'sceleton' and fairly soft felt polstering inside), 30-35mm wide (stabilizing the end joint of the tumb) and are not flexible at all but I bend them to an oval shaped hole so that the thumb...still stable...can be held at an angle to the endplate. The best had been if the endplate was angled itself but we don't have that option....and I have often relocated the thumbstraps into a better position (but I don't recommend drilling new holes in original endplates for that purpose)

Goran

#6 hpinson

hpinson

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 01 October 2003 - 09:52 AM

I should note that this diagram is of Lachnael thumbstraps-- a 'Tutor' model. I have no idea if this design would apply to other makers, though it would certainly work if emulating a stock configuration. No doubt it can be improved on, and Goram has given details of doing so, here and elsewhere. This thing certainly makes my thumbs hurt, pretty quickly too, thus the 'thumbscrew' reference.

Harlow Pinson
hpinson@indepthl.com

#7 JimLucas

JimLucas

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10127 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Denmark

Posted 01 October 2003 - 01:50 PM

Göran:

4) The thumbstrap 'concept' is not ( or seldom) a very good solution by itself and mostly some additional supporting 'handle' ought to be used...NOT the fingerplate however which is a complete failure....(except IF used as it was meant...'resting' 3rd AND 4th fingers there and 'playing' only with 1st and 2nd!!)


My opinion -- and experience -- is quite the opposite of what Göran claims. Just so folks know that this is still a debatable point, not an established "fact".

#8 JimLucas

JimLucas

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10127 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Denmark

Posted 01 October 2003 - 02:06 PM

I should note that this diagram is of Lachnael thumbstraps-- a 'Tutor' model.
[...]
This thing certainly makes my thumbs hurt, pretty quickly too, thus the 'thumbscrew' reference.

First of all, the "tutor model" or "student model" -- generally claimed to be distinguished by colors and letter stamps on the buttons -- is a myth. I understand that during a certain period this was common practice on instruments of all qualities, and is not at all a mark of a "cheap" instrument, while many low-end models from later years weren't so marked.

Secondly, if your thumbstraps are original construction and your thumbs hurt, I would suspect that you are holding the instrument improperly or you need to develop your thumb muscles, or both.

My personal recommendation is that the instrument should be *gripped* lightly between the thumb (in the loop) and the little finger. This is a natural use of the thumb, while extending the thumbs upward to "hang" the instrument from them is unnatural, putting unusual tension on weak muscles.

Also, my experience is that shoving the thumb into the loop up to its base greatly reduces control of the instrument, and my personal preference is that the thumb not go into the loop beyond the first joint, and for the loop to be snug around the thumb in that position.

I know that there are others with other recommendations, so I suggest you try my way and see whether it helps you. And if they detail their own ideas, you should do the same with those, then decide what's best for you.

#9 David Barnert

David Barnert

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3051 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Albany, NY, USA

Posted 01 October 2003 - 04:21 PM

My opinion -- and experience -- is quite the opposite of what Göran claims.  Just so folks know that this is still a debatable point, not an established "fact".

Uh-Oh!! :o

Is this the start of the first Jim/Göran mega-debate since the new forum was introduced? Until now, they'd been keeping out of each other's threads.

;)

#10 goran rahm

goran rahm

    Chatty concertinist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 283 posts

Posted 01 October 2003 - 10:18 PM

Jim:"Secondly, if your thumbstraps are original construction and your thumbs hurt, I would suspect that you are holding the instrument improperly or you need to develop your thumb muscles, or both."

Goran:Absolutely there is NO reason to "suspect" that the instrument is held "improperly" particularly since you don't *know* how its IS held!!
The fact that Jim Lucas is satisfied with it ( or something else) I'm afraid does not indicate that others should be but facts related to general conditions according to mechanical, anatomical, physiological knowledge are expected being fruitful for conclusions regarding what is 'proper' for the majority of users.

Jim:"My personal recommendation is that the instrument should be *gripped* lightly between the thumb (in the loop) and the little finger. This is a natural use of the thumb,"

Goran:Sorry needing to say so again ....but when giving general public recommendations I do not think it is very thoughtful to base them merely on personal experience. I have tried many times without success to inspire you Jim to learn more about the mechanics and physiology involved in your "grip" in this case and I do not expect you to bother now either. ....anyway....the "grip" may suit *you* and it *may* suit someone else but please do not recommend it on mistakingly 'ergonomic' grounds. If you don't care what I say in the matter keep in mind that the "grip" was abondoned by the foremost concertina tutors 150 years ago.....and has remained so by most later tutors as well.....

Jim:".... while extending the thumbs upward to "hang" the instrument from them is unnatural, putting unusual tension on weak muscles."

Goran:Agreeable....:-)

Jim:"Also, my experience is that shoving the thumb into the loop up to its base greatly reduces control of the instrument, and my personal preference is that the thumb not go into the loop beyond the first joint, and for the loop to be snug around the thumb in that position."

Goran:Again...such recomendations are useless if being general...like I said before it is all depending on WHAT you wish to achieve and without individual analysis they are contraproductive maybe even harmful.
WHAT "control"?? of note range or tone - of button work or bellows work?? You can't optimize both at the same time and without choosing which your 'recommendations' make no sense!

Jim:"I know that there are others with other recommendations, so I suggest you try my way and see whether it helps you. And if they detail their own ideas, you should do the same with those, then decide what's best for you. "

Goran:Someone asking for advise ( I think noone did in this case...except for how to make the straps...) has probably "tried" already...individual advise ought ot be based on knowledge about individual conditions....general advise on established general conditions.....

#11 JimLucas

JimLucas

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10127 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Denmark

Posted 02 October 2003 - 02:31 AM

Göran, we disagree. I will *not* turn this into another public *argument*.

I do, however, suggest that people consider our different advice -- and the evidence or statements we provide in support of them, -- and make up their own minds. I do also recommend experimentation on their part, which -- in addition to consulting with other concertina players -- is how I came to my conclusions.

Edited by JimLucas, 02 October 2003 - 02:32 AM.


#12 Lester Bailey

Lester Bailey

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 369 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Leafy Bucks, England

Posted 02 October 2003 - 04:35 AM

Goran:Someone asking for advise ( I think noone did in this case...except for how to make the straps...) has probably "tried" already...individual advise ought ot be based on knowledge about individual conditions....general advise on established general conditions.....

If you believe in the above why do you keep giving Goran's advice to all and sundry which states catagorically that we must have handles and the established way of holding a concertina is wrong. For example

1) The thumbstraps are usually 'wrongly' located (eccentric, or not offering a balanced position)
2) IF you aim for optimal flexibility, fingering 'liberty' and note range - AND do not care much about bellows(=tone) control - the thumbstraps could be thin, lean and flexible as they mostly are...
3) If on the other side you aim for optimal tonal control, or do energetic bellows-work, then stability of the thumb/instrument connection is essential and the thumbstraps ought to be thicker,wider and steadier to be purposeful
4) The thumbstrap 'concept' is not ( or seldom) a very good solution by itself and mostly some additional supporting 'handle' ought to be used...NOT the fingerplate however which is a complete failure....(except IF used as it was meant...'resting' 3rd AND 4th fingers there and 'playing' only with 1st and 2nd!!)



#13 goran rahm

goran rahm

    Chatty concertinist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 283 posts

Posted 02 October 2003 - 12:47 PM

Lester:"If you believe in the above why do you keep giving Goran's advice to all and sundry which states catagorically that we must have handles and the established way of holding a concertina is wrong. For example...."

Goran:Lester, informing about various things usually is not what is meant by "giving advice". If I present information about the health hazards of smoking I am not 'giving advice' how to smoke or stop smoking.
Furthermore what you say above simply is not correct...either you have not read or understood what I have said or you are intentionally describing it wrongly....sad in both cases. On the contrary - in every article I have in various words underlined that several individual and occasional circumstances in the end guide what is most useful and that there is NO generally superior or ideal technique or method.
This does not exclude that there are some facts to consider.....I don't say you 'must' do so either....but disregarding facts sometimes is not regarded as the path to wisdom.....

#14 Lester Bailey

Lester Bailey

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 369 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Leafy Bucks, England

Posted 02 October 2003 - 04:40 PM

I should have followed Jim's example and not got involved.

#15 hpinson

hpinson

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 03 October 2003 - 10:12 PM

My thumbs are second in strength only to Popeye's (eyes eats me spinich). And they still hurt. Perhaps it is my non-opposable thumbs?

I'm afraid I side with Goran on this... it just somehow don't seem natural.

I see there is an Ergonomics disussion now. As 'ol Hank the first said, "Move it on over...."

:D

Edited by hpinson, 03 October 2003 - 10:13 PM.


#16 Michael Darnton

Michael Darnton

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 07 October 2003 - 09:35 PM

Putting my thumb in it--I initially found it debilitating to try to hold the thing up with my thumbs. Ultimately, letting it hang on its own, my hands pointed down 45 degrees, with my thumbs in just enough not to loose the concertina, and just the tips of my little fingers in the hooks works just fine. It's no work, easy on the thumbs which are just hangers, not much else, mobile, and works for me. Probably it's horrible technique, but it works.

#17 goran rahm

goran rahm

    Chatty concertinist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 283 posts

Posted 09 October 2003 - 12:20 PM

Michael:"Putting my thumb in it--I initially found it debilitating to try to hold the thing up with my thumbs. Ultimately, letting it hang on its own, my hands pointed down 45 degrees, with my thumbs in just enough not to loose the concertina, and just the tips of my little fingers in the hooks works just fine. It's no work, easy on the thumbs which are just hangers, not much else, mobile, and works for me. Probably it's horrible technique, but it works."

Goran:Not very horrible at all....I did the same at an early stage and still prefer having the instrument low (while standing) in this position. In this position the bellows movements are stable in two dimensions (since with the common eccentric location of the thumbstrap hanging like this gives balance) ....while when having forearms horisontal unstable in all three.....some improvement....
The position *may* be stable enough to admit even fairly good 'four finger technique' without additional means while the horisontal forearm position demands some more support lilke neck- or shoulderstrap.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users