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#1 Nanette Hooker

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 07:50 PM

Recently I performed with my band and my friend (who plays Piano Accordion) stood for a couple of pieces of music. Someone took a photo (see here) and it made me realise that I need to play either without music OR stand.

I have decide to try and stand and have tried using a neck cord that I purchased from Concertina Connection a few years ago. I am finding it rather difficult and a few buttons seem have moved slightly. I know I need to practice while standing.

I would appreciate to hear from players who use neck cords. Where purchased? Difficulties, etc.?

#2 Mike Pierceall

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:00 PM

Recently I performed with my band and my friend (who plays Piano Accordion) stood for a couple of pieces of music. Someone took a photo (see here) and it made me realise that I need to play either without music OR stand.

I have decide to try and stand and have tried using a neck cord that I purchased from Concertina Connection a few years ago. I am finding it rather difficult and a few buttons seem have moved slightly. I know I need to practice while standing.

I would appreciate to hear from players who use neck cords. Where purchased? Difficulties, etc.?

You might also try tilting your easel down if that is possible, to allow a better sight line for the audience.

#3 Michael Leitch-Devlin

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 04:59 AM

Recently I performed with my band and my friend (who plays Piano Accordion) stood for a couple of pieces of music. Someone took a photo (see here) and it made me realise that I need to play either without music OR stand.

I have decide to try and stand and have tried using a neck cord that I purchased from Concertina Connection a few years ago. I am finding it rather difficult and a few buttons seem have moved slightly. I know I need to practice while standing.

I would appreciate to hear from players who use neck cords. Where purchased? Difficulties, etc.?

I bought a Lachenal Crane Duet back in January and started to learn to play. I have had problems with the balance of the instrument, with the way it droops forward and down in the asymmetric hand straps. I have been playing with one end on my left leg, which is workable but makes me slouch a lot, and it was never really stable or comfortable.

So I read *all* the advice and suggestions on this forum and elsewhere and... my neck cord arrived from Concertina Connection arrived two hours ago. <_<

Well, it is now attached and adjusted and my goodness, what a difference it makes. The stability and balance problems have vanished. I can reach all the buttons easily and comfortably and even the air button sits right under my thumb (that never happened before). Also my left hand is now much freer for playing and that makes a huge difference too... in fact, both hands feel really relaxed now.

It's early days (well, hours, really... OK minutes if you want to be picky) but I will report back after a few days practise and playing. :rolleyes:

I would like to thank Pauline De Snoo for her excellent video explaining the virtues of a neck cord... it convinced me sufficiently to spend the cash!

(Plus honourable mention to Goran Rahm for the hilarious use of braces/suspenders!) I want to know... did his trousers fall down as he walked away? :blink:

Edited by Michael Leitch-Devlin, 15 April 2009 - 05:07 AM.


#4 Nanette Hooker

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:19 AM

Thanks for all your comments.

I have watched Pauline de Snoo videos and have noticed that you need to hold the instrument away from the body a lot of the time.

I have watched the video of the Seven Elliotts "Sea Shells Have Music" with Tommy Elliott playing the concertina and he plays standing while hold his instrument. He makes it look so easy.

Also I have watched videos of Tomas Novotny (http://www.youtube.com/user/tnovotny1).

From the above examples, I think the neck cord is not really necessary. I have also found that neck chord is very uncomfortable because it cuts into the back of the neck. A shirt with a collar needs to be worn - not suitable clothing in a tropical environment where I live because they are too hot.

I have decided to play while sitting on a high stool and learn to play without sheet music (not sure I have the confidence to do this for a public performance) but I am making a concerted effort. My plan is to build up the strength in my right hand gradually by holding the instrument up off the knee for short periods at first, until my right hand gains more strength.

I have also watched all of Goran's videos on YouTube. I like some of his ideas, I get the impression that he doesn't sell them, but does he suggest making your own straps?

#5 Michael Leitch-Devlin

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:27 AM

Thanks for all your comments.

I have watched Pauline de Snoo videos and have noticed that you need to hold the instrument away from the body a lot of the time.

Yes, I think that is the key as it pulls the top of the concertina backwards, which supplies the balancing that I find essential on a duet. It may not be so critical on an English (but I really can't say, never having tried an EC).

I have watched the video of the Seven Elliotts "Sea Shells Have Music" with Tommy Elliott playing the concertina and he plays standing while hold his instrument. He makes it look so easy.

Do you have a link for that?

Also I have watched videos of Tomas Novotny (http://www.youtube.com/user/tnovotny1).

Mmmm, I like those. :)

From the above examples, I think the neck cord is not really necessary. I have also found that neck chord is very uncomfortable because it cuts into the back of the neck. A shirt with a collar needs to be worn - not suitable clothing in a tropical environment where I live because they are too hot.

I can understand that. My cord is not as thin as PdS's example, it is about 1cm wide (and it is so long it goes double), but it isn't exactly comfortable on the back of the neck. I may do a little handiwork with a bit of soft leather and a craft knife to give it a more user-friendly feel. ;)

I have decided to play while sitting on a high stool and learn to play without sheet music (not sure I have the confidence to do this for a public performance) but I am making a concerted effort. My plan is to build up the strength in my right hand gradually by holding the instrument up off the knee for short periods at first, until my right hand gains more strength.

I used to be in a choir that did entire evening concerts without sheet music... everything from memory! It was terrifying at first but I soon learned to memorise and the difference it made to the performance was well worth the effort.
For the 'tina I practise with sheet music and then I close my eyes and try it again. When I falter I take a peek, close 'em again and carry on. When I can get all the way through I cover the sheet and play it again. Then I play something else and then... yes you guessed... play the first piece again. I learn fast that way. Confidence builds very rapidly after the first couple of pieces are memorised.

I have also watched all of Goran's videos on YouTube. I like some of his ideas, I get the impression that he doesn't sell them, but does he suggest making your own straps?

Goran's videos are quite entertaining, and I think he has his tongue firmly in his cheek a lot of the time. Goran didn't convince me but Pauline did.

#6 m3838

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:27 PM

Goran's videos are quite entertaining, and I think he has his tongue firmly in his cheek a lot of the time. Goran didn't convince me but Pauline did.


If you want to develop upper trapezius fatique, or tension in lower cervical area (bottom of the neck), screw your thumbs for good - by all means, use neck cord.
Well, how come Pauline doesn't have any problems? Doesn't she? Or doesn't attribute them to the cord? Goram's handle allows to play with much more dynamic variations, just compare Pauline's professional playing and Goram's amateur: Goram's playing has much more life in tone, although perhaps less finess in rhythm and choice of accents. Don't forget, that the weight pulling at your shoulders is not equal to the weight of the instrument. It's ten times more, because you pull down with your arms. Add weight of your arms plus the force of your pushing - and you have good size accordion on your chest, cutting into your shoulders with thin neck cord. It is outright irresponsible to recommend such atrocious device, when there are at least three alternatives, the first one is recommended by none other, but Charles Wheatstone. Most famous players didn't use neck choker, why should you?
If you absolutely have to be original, and don't want to work to make Goran's handle, take a look at this 30 minutes work worth contraption?
Hope it will solve your problem without wrecking your neck and thumbs.

#7 Henrik Müller

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:41 AM

Yup. Sit down -
/Henrik

#8 Michael Leitch-Devlin

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:12 AM

Goran's videos are quite entertaining, and I think he has his tongue firmly in his cheek a lot of the time. Goran didn't convince me but Pauline did.


If you want to develop upper trapezius fatique, or tension in lower cervical area (bottom of the neck), screw your thumbs for good - by all means, use neck cord.
Well, how come Pauline doesn't have any problems? Doesn't she? Or doesn't attribute them to the cord? Goram's handle allows to play with much more dynamic variations, just compare Pauline's professional playing and Goram's amateur: Goram's playing has much more life in tone, although perhaps less finess in rhythm and choice of accents. Don't forget, that the weight pulling at your shoulders is not equal to the weight of the instrument. It's ten times more, because you pull down with your arms. Add weight of your arms plus the force of your pushing - and you have good size accordion on your chest, cutting into your shoulders with thin neck cord. It is outright irresponsible to recommend such atrocious device, when there are at least three alternatives, the first one is recommended by none other, but Charles Wheatstone. Most famous players didn't use neck choker, why should you?
If you absolutely have to be original, and don't want to work to make Goran's handle, take a look at this 30 minutes work worth contraption?
Hope it will solve your problem without wrecking your neck and thumbs.

Ok, I hear what you say, however...
  • I am NOT playing an English, I am playing a Duet. (Key Point)... and the mechanics are different.
  • So the weight is not on my thumbs, it is nicely supported on my hands by the hand-strap... not too different from Goram's hand-support. (Which I think is quite sensible).
  • Consequentially, my cord will do my thumbs no harm at all... they don't take any load. I can waggle them around and even scratch my nose, if required. ;)
  • As the weight is fully supported on my hands, my hands are NOT pulling down and the weight on the cord feels less than the weight of the instrument.
  • A quick calculation from the angle of the cord and positions of hand bar and cord fixings confirm that the tension in the cord should not exceed the instrument weight, given that my hands take the actual weight.
  • The cord tension serves only to prevent the instrument rotating.
  • As the instrument can not rotate, my wrists do not get strained from twisting to follow the instrument round. My wrists are nice and straight now and all the buttons sit naturally under my fingers.
  • NOTE: All of this applies only to a duet (and maybe an Anglo)
  • My neck cord isn't all that thin (unlike Pauline's) and I intend to widen it where it goes round my neck for total comfort.
  • I am not recommending anything, I am just sharing my experience of using a neck cord on a Duet. And my experience so far is very positive. :)
  • The only issue I have had is that my left hand complained for the first day or so, but that is because it now has to take half the instrument weight (before it supported nothing, as the left end was on my left leg). This confirms that my hands are now supporting the weight properly and tells me that my left hand was getting lazy.
  • As a side effect my left hand is much freer and I find I can play better as a result. I think that has to be good, don't you?
So to summarise, on a duet, neck cords do not wreck thumbs and are quite gentle on the neck.
I really can't comment on how a neck cord would work on an English as I don't play one. I defer to your experience with that.

#9 Michael Leitch-Devlin

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:15 AM

Yup. Sit down -
/Henrik

:Sighs deeply: ... but I want to play standing up. Sitting down doesn't achieve that. :P

#10 Nanette Hooker

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:25 AM

I have watched the video of the Seven Elliotts "Sea Shell Have Music" with Tommy Elliott playing the concertina and he plays standing while he holds up his instrument. He makes it look so easy.

Do you have a link for that?


Go to the British Pathe site here and do a search for "elliots"

#11 Michael Leitch-Devlin

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:45 AM

I have watched the video of the Seven Elliotts "Sea Shell Have Music" with Tommy Elliott playing the concertina and he plays standing while he holds up his instrument. He makes it look so easy.

Do you have a link for that?


Go to the British Pathe site here and do a search for "elliots"

Wow, words fail me!

#12 m3838

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 07:12 PM

I am NOT playing an English, I am playing a Duet. (Key Point)... and the mechanics are different.

It doesn't make any difference, actually.

So the weight is not on my thumbs, it is nicely supported on my hands by the hand-strap... not too different from Goram's hand-support. (Which I think is quite sensible).

It's not about thumbs, it's about a neck.


As the weight is fully supported on my hands, my hands are NOT pulling down and the weight on the cord feels less than the weight of the instrument.

It's impossible. If you use the strap, than you must pull down with your hands, and this pull is very powerful, even with very little effort.
If you don't pull at all, than the neck strap makes little sense. It does make sense, but little.

A quick calculation from the angle of the cord and positions of hand bar and cord fixings confirm that the tension in the cord should not exceed the instrument weight, given that my hands take the actual weight.

I think this calculation doesn't take into account action of propriocepting (sp?) muscles. These muscles are toned to make sure you are in control of your limbs and feel where they are. They sort of lock your arms in chose position. That pull can be rather powerful and outdo weight of concertina 10:1.

The cord tension serves only to prevent the instrument rotating.

That may work, I guess. I never attempted playing standing and think that it's a matter of habit. I have seen people playing Anglo standing, without any cords, with no visible rotation of the instrument. But it may work for you.


NOTE: All of this applies only to a duet (and maybe an Anglo)

Look above, neck or shoulder straps make no difference between concertina types, ergonomics are similar.

My neck cord isn't all that thin (unlike Pauline's) and I intend to widen it where it goes round my neck for total comfort.

Then it's not a cord, it's a strap, no? A "cord has it's definition (at least in my mind).

I am not recommending anything, I am just sharing my experience of using a neck cord on a Duet. And my experience so far is very positive. :)

In which case I congratulate you, but wish you to be vigilant and aware. I think it doesn't matter if the strap is thin or wide. If it's going over the neck, it's potentially dangerous, because it pulls at servical vertebrae. You don't want any disc herniation, do you? Nor you wan to mess with Brachial Plexus by pulling at muscles that it comes in between. If any medical doctors or physical therapists reading this, can you step in? I think it's important topic and many people are on their way to injury.
Keep in mind that the injury may manifest itself long after you stopped using neck strap. You may do a little damage and have no symptoms. Then your grandchild hugs you by the neck and "ouch", there you go. Am I wrong?

Edited by m3838, 11 May 2009 - 07:16 PM.


#13 Rod

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 01:04 PM

I am NOT playing an English, I am playing a Duet. (Key Point)... and the mechanics are different.

It doesn't make any difference, actually.

So the weight is not on my thumbs, it is nicely supported on my hands by the hand-strap... not too different from Goram's hand-support. (Which I think is quite sensible).

It's not about thumbs, it's about a neck.


As the weight is fully supported on my hands, my hands are NOT pulling down and the weight on the cord feels less than the weight of the instrument.

It's impossible. If you use the strap, than you must pull down with your hands, and this pull is very powerful, even with very little effort.
If you don't pull at all, than the neck strap makes little sense. It does make sense, but little.

A quick calculation from the angle of the cord and positions of hand bar and cord fixings confirm that the tension in the cord should not exceed the instrument weight, given that my hands take the actual weight.

I think this calculation doesn't take into account action of propriocepting (sp?) muscles. These muscles are toned to make sure you are in control of your limbs and feel where they are. They sort of lock your arms in chose position. That pull can be rather powerful and outdo weight of concertina 10:1.

The cord tension serves only to prevent the instrument rotating.

That may work, I guess. I never attempted playing standing and think that it's a matter of habit. I have seen people playing Anglo standing, without any cords, with no visible rotation of the instrument. But it may work for you.


NOTE: All of this applies only to a duet (and maybe an Anglo)

Look above, neck or shoulder straps make no difference between concertina types, ergonomics are similar.

My neck cord isn't all that thin (unlike Pauline's) and I intend to widen it where it goes round my neck for total comfort.

Then it's not a cord, it's a strap, no? A "cord has it's definition (at least in my mind).

I am not recommending anything, I am just sharing my experience of using a neck cord on a Duet. And my experience so far is very positive. :)

In which case I congratulate you, but wish you to be vigilant and aware. I think it doesn't matter if the strap is thin or wide. If it's going over the neck, it's potentially dangerous, because it pulls at servical vertebrae. You don't want any disc herniation, do you? Nor you wan to mess with Brachial Plexus by pulling at muscles that it comes in between. If any medical doctors or physical therapists reading this, can you step in? I think it's important topic and many people are on their way to injury.
Keep in mind that the injury may manifest itself long after you stopped using neck strap. You may do a little damage and have no symptoms. Then your grandchild hugs you by the neck and "ouch", there you go. Am I wrong?


If a Concertina neck strap is lkely to cause significant injury to neck vertebrae there must be no end of Saxophonists out there who are dicing with death.

#14 JimLucas

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:21 PM

If a Concertina neck strap is lkely to cause significant injury to neck vertebrae there must be no end of Saxophonists out there who are dicing with death.

If that's the purpose of neck straps, then I can see why most bodhran players don't bother with them. :ph34r:



#15 Hereward

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:58 PM

If a Concertina neck strap is lkely to cause significant injury to neck vertebrae there must be no end of Saxophonists out there who are dicing with death.

If that's the purpose of neck straps, then I can see why most bodhran players don't bother with them. :ph34r:


Bodhran players are usually causing this pain themselves...

Ian

#16 m3838

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:39 PM

If a Concertina neck strap is lkely to cause significant injury to neck vertebrae there must be no end of Saxophonists out there who are dicing with death.


Many complain to finger/hand/wrist pain and guess where the problem is? But most will take aspirin. Does it mean aspirin is better than good ergonomics?
It includes saxophone players. But you do as you pleased, of course.

Edited by m3838, 12 May 2009 - 10:15 PM.


#17 Rod

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 01:30 AM

I have watched the video of the Seven Elliotts "Sea Shell Have Music" with Tommy Elliott playing the concertina and he plays standing while he holds up his instrument. He makes it look so easy.

Do you have a link for that?


Go to the British Pathe site here and do a search for "elliots"

Wow, words fail me!


Didn't Elliott play the Miniature Concertina ?......which must weigh far less than other other instruments.

#18 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 06:52 AM

Didn't Elliott play the Miniature Concertina ?......which must weigh far less than other other instruments.

Ummm, only when he wasn't playing a full-size concertina, or myriad other instruments... :unsure:




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