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About W3DW

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    Advanced Member

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Happily playing a Hayden-system Beaumont from the Button Box.
  • Location
    Georgia, USA

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  1. Again, Steve, what has been changed and improved?
  2. Little John wrote: "I don't rest my whole hand on the rest; only the back edge (little finger side) of the palm. The thumb side of the palm is about 1/2" above the rest and the thumb curls in to grip and tension the strap. So without altering the handrest you can curl your fingers comfortably over the buttons and play with the tip." This is how I am playing as well - my hand touches the hand rest only slightly below the little finger knuckle. My hand is primarily stabilized by the base of my hand on the fretwork and the back of my hand on the strap. And Anglo-Irishman wrote: "At one point, I did try raising the handrests on my Anglo and Duet (in a temporary and reversible manner) and making the straps a bit tighter, but being tied down a bit farther from the buttons wasn't as good (for me, at least) as being closer and free to move about." I, too, tried to raise the hand rest following the contour of my palm, but found that nicely curled fingers were not helpful for me if I didn't have the freedom to move my hand up and down my duet's rows. But you may find it helpful and removable pipe foam is quick and cheap! Daniel
  3. My early experience was the same as yours - a snug strap was secure, but limited my fingers and nice rounded fingers reached the buttons better but made the instrument feel insecure. Over time, the loose-strap insecurity lessened and I lengthened the strap several times. I think that I now support the instrument by extending my wrist gently against the strap, taking up the slack of the extra space I've created. My fingers assume the naturally curled position of my hand at rest. If you had set my straps as I now wear them and handed me my concertina when I was just starting out and said "There - that's perfect", I'd have thought you were nuts! Let your hand position evolve. Your flat-hand position will, in all likelihood evolve toward a more flexed-finger position, but only you can judge what will eventually suit you. Enjoy the journey! Daniel
  4. "Big changes at Stagi" is, of course, great news - good starter instruments encourage new players. What specific changes have been made to bring about this improvement, Steve? What has been done to make the action quicker?
  5. At the St. Louis Tionól nearly two decades ago I took a first-evening workshop with a title something like "Irish Dance for Session Musicians". Besides teaching a few basic steps to non-dancers and having a good laugh as well, it demonstrated to us that jigs and reels are dance music that was initially intended to be played at a lively but survivable tempo.
  6. And assuming that it is possible to completely prevent even one drop of rain or condensation from contacting the concertina, what are the consequences of playing in 100% humidity?
  7. My forebearers are arthritic, and I'm no exception. I've played guitar and mandolin (and lots of other things!) since my early teens, and the arthritis at the base of my thumbs - only an an annoyance now - might make playing fretted instruments impractical in the future. Solution? Learn Hayden concertina! All I need to do is waggle my fingers a bit using rather little force and few complex motions, and with that I anticipate a fruitful musical dotage. I recently encountered a delightful EC and found that if I use wrist straps I don't infuriate my thumbs, so another fine musical challenge awaits me. Will these squeeze boxes vibrate my hands to greater musical longevity? I hope so - I'd like to accompany you on guitar in some future year. Daniel
  8. But, Wolf, how would I carry the mandolin and guitar cases! I'm looking for the proper fittings to attach a shoulder strap to my strong, secure concertina case. When I consider all the abuse my various hard cases have absorbed over the decades, I put the convenience of a double-concertina soft case aside.
  9. I had both carpal tunnels released in the mid '80s and couldn't be happier with the results. Of course, rest (including rest enforced by a splint), ice and NSAIDs came first. My neurologist told me the weight loss can eliminate CTS in larger folks - he himself controlled his CTS that way. My surgeon used intervenous regional anesthesia which allowed me to watch the procedure! Daniel
  10. It has disappeared from the BB site. I'm hoping you grabbed it, David - that way I'm sure to hear it. Daniel
  11. "I have looked at the layout of the basic SA Triumph, hoping they were on to something, but saw how haphazzard the notes were." This was my observation as well, and for this reason I chose a "large" 52 key Hayden, specifically a Morse Beaumont. It's schema is entirely regular and fully chromatic and allows playing in Eb and Ab, though not with the convenience of the simple pattern which is common the keys of A, Bb, C, D, E (almost), F, and G whose scales all follow the exact same pattern. The largest available Hayden, from the Concertina Connection, extends the unified basic scale pattern to Ab and Eb, and removes the "almost" from E. Since the Hayden system is quite recent, there aren't fine historical instruments available as for McCann and Craine/Triumph, and hybred construction is common until you reach the very finest levels of Haydendom. And, of course, the irregular fingering patterns of the older systems hasn't prevented the duet players of the last century from doing exactly what you plan to accomplish! Daniel
  12. Start with blue painter's masking take that leaves no residue and peels off easily, and apply it to the outside. Cover any areas that seem harsh or too loud while being played. You can cover quite a bit of the fretwork, and if you overdo it, the tone will announce the fact. It seems that by closing some of the fretwork the sound is obliged to bounce around more decreasing the output energy, and it seems to attenuate higher frequencies more. If you find a tape pattern you like, you can make a pattern from it and cut an internal baffle of a non porous material - I used a black colored manilla file folder because there was very little space available. Using a soft material to absorb sound is a useful strategy and can be used for both the manilla file area (to make the paper less reflective) and over the open areas if it does not restrict the already reduced air flow too much. And you can always drape a sweater over your hands and concertina!
  13. A pianist would find an EC to have a familiar pattern since the two central vertical columns on both sides are "white keys" with the outside columns providing the "black keys" adjacent to the appropriate white key. A Crane duet follows this pattern in its own way. Also, all the duets and anglos have the higher notes on the right side and lower notes for the left hand, a familiar pattern to pianists as well. However, I think that similarity to the piano is less important to your choice of instrument than choosing one that suits what you wish to play. For myself, I wanted to play melody and harmony together and chose a Hayden duet to accomplish that goal. It's button pattern is logical, but not at all similar to the piano, however I found it quicker to learn than the more piano-like EC. Listen to all the concertina types, and try to play them as well. We all seem to adapt to new instruments differently, and you'll see which one speaks to you. Enjoy the search! Daniel
  14. Can I think of a reason snug straps are a bad idea? In a word, no. If you can reach all those buttons comfortably, that should be excellent. "Loose" may not actually describe some straps that do not hold the hand snugly against the hand rest. There's a centimeter or so between most of my palm and the hand rest, but the natural arched position of my hand places the back of my hand securely against the strap to open the bellows easily. I suspect that your friend who uses his/her fifth finger to play is using it to take up slack between the back of the hand and the strap which wouldn't work for me. I wondered about that space between my palm and the hand rest and so I built taller rests for my Morse Beaumont to see if a better fit would improve my control. I created hand rests which accurately matched the contour of my palm and provided uniform contact with both the hand rest and the strap. It didn't work. Control of the bellows was not improved, and it was also harder to reach the buttons farthest from the hand rest, so the stock rests are back in place. While this set-up could be called "loose" on the palm side, the strap side is snug. For me, too snug makes it hard to curl my fingers comfortably to play the row nearest the hand rest - once this is easy to reach I have the strap just right.
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