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Where should an air button be?


LDT
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Question: I've noticed air button is on the left for melodeon but right for anglo concertina (do other types have air buttons?)

And I wondered is there a reason the concertina air button is on the right? Could it be put on the left.

The reason I ask this is because I find the air button being on the LH easier then on the RH, as I swap between instruments. And always find that the hardest bit of the swap is I've used to the air button of one and changing to the other.

 

Has anyone ever experimented with the air button on the LH side?

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Question: I've noticed air button is on the left for melodeon but right for anglo concertina (do other types have air buttons?)

And I wondered is there a reason the concertina air button is on the right? Could it be put on the left.

The reason I ask this is because I find the air button being on the LH easier then on the RH, as I swap between instruments. And always find that the hardest bit of the swap is I've used to the air button of one and changing to the other.

 

Has anyone ever experimented with the air button on the LH side?

 

which then begs the question - why not at both ends? not being an Anglo player I ask (in innocence!) would it be an advantage to be able to use an air button at either end, would there be a benefit in having the choice during a tune?

chris

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Question: I've noticed air button is on the left for melodeon but right for anglo concertina (do other types have air buttons?)

And I wondered is there a reason the concertina air button is on the right? Could it be put on the left.

The reason I ask this is because I find the air button being on the LH easier then on the RH, as I swap between instruments. And always find that the hardest bit of the swap is I've used to the air button of one and changing to the other.

 

Has anyone ever experimented with the air button on the LH side?

 

which then begs the question - why not at both ends? not being an Anglo player I ask (in innocence!) would it be an advantage to be able to use an air button at either end, would there be a benefit in having the choice during a tune?

chris

 

Where air buttons exist on concertinas (excluding "bowing" valves!), the custom is to have them on the right. I'm guessing that Anglos were the first to have them, and there is a case to be made that on English/Duet systems, they are a "nice to have", rather than "needed".

 

On the Anglo, it's air button under the right thumb, drone button (if it exists) under the left thumb.

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They're on the RH in a duet too. I suspect the reason is that bass reeds are much bigger than treble ones so it's easier to find room for an air valve in the rh because the bass side is full. (Dunno what the English boys excuse is)

 

 

 

As to your problem; well you bought a melodion...

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Question: I've noticed air button is on the left for melodeon but right for anglo concertina (do other types have air buttons?)

And I wondered is there a reason the concertina air button is on the right? Could it be put on the left.

The reason I ask this is because I find the air button being on the LH easier then on the RH, as I swap between instruments. And always find that the hardest bit of the swap is I've used to the air button of one and changing to the other.

 

Has anyone ever experimented with the air button on the LH side?

 

which then begs the question - why not at both ends? not being an Anglo player I ask (in innocence!) would it be an advantage to be able to use an air button at either end, would there be a benefit in having the choice during a tune?

chris

 

Where air buttons exist on concertinas (excluding "bowing" valves!), the custom is to have them on the right. I'm guessing that Anglos were the first to have them, and there is a case to be made that on English/Duet systems, they are a "nice to have", rather than "needed".

 

On the Anglo, it's air button under the right thumb, drone button (if it exists) under the left thumb.

 

Ah but why is it the custom? Who decided that was the correct way?

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Ah but why is it the custom? Who decided that was the correct way?

You would probably need to look at early patent details, to see whether the logic, or reason, is given.

 

Bear in mind, also, that in those far off days, most people were right-handed (naturally, or through teaching), which might have been the deciding factor. Or ..... , as Dirge has touched on the subject, the longest reeds in an Anglo are on the left, leaving more room in the right-hand reedpan for an air button.

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I find my right thumb (right hand in general) isn't as flexible as my left (and the knuckles click more). But then I blame my un-ergonmic set up at work for that...and the cold.

 

But maybe that's just me then that thinks LH airbutton would be a good idea?

Edited by LDT
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Two of my concertinas have left-hand thumb buttons (for notes), and I find it more awkward to use these than the right-hand air button. I'm right-handed.

 

On melodeon, you couldn't operate an air button with your right hand, it has to go on the left. Also, the right-hand end of the instrument is taken up with reed blocks, there's more room in the left for the air valve. However it's easier to operate on a melodeon. Firstly, there's less hand movement within the strap, so it's easier to reach, and secondly on most melodeons (although not all) it is controlled by a downward motion rather than by pushing in.

 

There has been some discussion about the way the air button on an anglo is pushed in rather than down, which seems to be less ergonomic. Geoff Crabb has come up with an ingenious design which works both ways.

 

Finally, bear in mind that especially on cheaper examples of both anglo and melodeon the air button may not be placed in the ideal position, especially if you have small hands.

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Anglo player I ask (in innocence!) would it be an advantage to be able to use an air button at either end, would there be a benefit in having the choice during a tune?

chris

I had Colin Dipper put a left hand as well as right hand air release on an anglo. The reason was I (and he)could see no good reason not to, and it helped when playing for Morris to take big gulps of air (it was a Bb/F).It was on a 30 keyed instrument. I now play a 38 keyed instrument and in truth don't miss it as an air release key but find it essential as a thumb button ie plays a note.

Ah but why is it the custom? Who decided that was the correct way?

Excellent question. I've mentioned here before the melodeon type air release that Geoff Crabb makes ( he calls it a wind valve).When you get over the fact it's not traditional or customary or whatever ,it's brilliant..............a more natural movement of the thumb and to me at least an obvious improvement of the instrument.

This same mind-set also has applied to the layout issue.....but this is for Alan Day's thread.

Regards

Robin

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My 1915 Wheatstone EC has metal ends which are slotted on both sides for air levers. When I got the concertina in 1982, the RH air lever had been removed and the air hole plugged. There was no air hole on the left side. I had a new air lever made and mounted on the right side. But as noted above, on the EC an air release is a convenience, not a necessity.

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Hey LDT

 

On page 5 of his tutor, "The Irish Concertina", the excellent player Mick Bramich discloses that he has an air button installed on the left side of his concertina for the same reason that you've described---his difficulty in transition from button box to concertina.

 

Send it to a skilled concertina technician and get it done. :-)

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Hey LDT

 

On page 5 of his tutor, "The Irish Concertina", the excellent player Mick Bramich discloses that he has an air button installed on the left side of his concertina for the same reason that you've described---his difficulty in transition from button box to concertina.

 

Send it to a skilled concertina technician and get it done. :-)

 

If I were to commission a new Anglo I think I would specify an air button under each thumb, to double the available capacity for those inevitable emergency gulps for air or bellows movements. It would be available on stand-by .... at modest extra cost I would guess. Rod

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Ah but why is it the custom? Who decided that was the correct way?

I don't know that anybody decided it was "correct". "Reasonable" or "comfortable", maybe.

 

As to "who", maybe Stephen Chambers can tell us? Did Uhlig's original of what we now call an "anglo concertina" have an air button? If so, was it in the "current" location? If so, then he's our man. In any case, there's a 20-button German concertina pictured in this article, which indicates that by about 1855 that placement of an air button was in use. Following those photos are photos of three other "anglos", two English made and one German made, all of which have essentially the same location for the air release but a rather different mechanism.

 

But as to why it was put there, I'm not aware that any of the early makers left notes on how they made decisions about such details, so I suspect we'll just have to accept not knowing.

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