In the article ”Supporting the concertina” I advocated for the use
of some kind of suspension in order to avoid the load carrying the instrument. The traditional recommendation for the purpose is using a neckstrap, originally a thin cord, but many players instead use a wider camerastrap or similar for better comfort.
I suggested using elastic braces/suspenders for trousers instead by fastening the front ends to the instrument since the neck region is particularly vulnerable for strain problems.
Despite being very practical if you are wearing braces/suspenders anyway this idea of course is not always attractive for various reasons and I have found that a sling over just one shoulder is not a bad alternative (Figure 1). Complete symmetry is the ideal but since some degree of assymmetric management of the bellows will be common anyway…from habits while playing seated or being rather natural when playing Anglo or Duet…I haven’t found this much negative.
You will probably find that the shoulder of the arm responsible for the dominating bellows work should carry the instrument too.
I fasten the ends (A and C) of the braces or the singular strap sling as shown in Figure 1 and 2 on to an intermediate 5-6mm wide leather strap (s) about 200mm long fastened between two not nearby endbolts at (x) and (y) Figure 2. The different insertion angle of the ends motivate the different fixation locations A and C respectively on the strap (s).
If perfect symmetry and greater stability is wanted I have also tried the arrangement according to Figures 3 and 4.
The braces/suspenders are fastened as before with the front ends to the
straps (s) positions A and B while the back ends are loosened from the trousers and fastened in positions C and D on the straps (s). The straps of the braces/suspenders may have to be extra long and their tension has to be choosen carefully.
This later method is advantageous if the braces/suspenders are not used otherwise. The trick then to put on the instrument with its straps is forming a double loop by the slings AB and DC and at first hanging those over the neck with the instrument on and then sticking the arms into the slings AD and BC respectively.
Have a go and try the variants to find out what the relief from the weight of the instrument can do to the freedom of playing more relaxed and to the option to play standing without strain! The ”Supporting…” article is to be found at the site below.
2003 –11 –19 Goran Rahm
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