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slawlor

English Hand Position (newbie Question)

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Greetings,

 

I've just received a Jackie English concertina and ran right into what seems to be an unreasonably awkward positioning problem.

 

Gettng my hands into the straps as described and diagramed in the manual, I have to curl my fingers waaaaay back to get to the lowest buttons, so much so that it would actually be easier to press them with the backs of my fingernails than with my fingertips. Is this normal?

 

I only have my thumbs into the straps up to the first joint (not even that far really). I'm wondering about removing the strap and moving it a half inch closer (towards me), but I'm loath to drill a bunch of holes into a brand new instrument, and I don't know if that would harm it in any way.

 

Any advice?

 

Thanks,

Susan

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Gettng my hands into the straps as described and diagramed in the manual, I have to curl my fingers waaaaay back to get to the lowest buttons, so much so that it would actually be easier to press them with the backs of my fingernails than with my fingertips.  Is this normal?

How long are your fingers?

 

What may not be "normal" is finding it awkward to draw the fingers back. "Curl" isn't the word I would use for what I do, so I wonder how much you're bending at each joint. Do you include significant bending of the knuckle where the finger meets the palm? I find that I do, with a certain amount of cocking back at the wrist to pull those knuckles back, and I then find it easy to drive the fingers downward by flexing that "base" knuckle and relaxing the next one. I have no trouble reaching even buttons that are further back... on my 64-button baritone-treble and tenor-treble.

 

Also, the little finger need not be pressed all the way forward in the finger plate.

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Well, now that you mention it, the length of my little finger in particular is probably what's causing the difficulty. My hands are a little on the small side, and in addition, my little fingers are about a half inch shorter than they ought to be.

 

I have given up even trying to use the finger rests, it was too much of a stretch for my poor stunted little fingers (and I'll be needing them free for playing the buttons at some point anyway, right?)

 

I also have wrapped a finger cot around my thumbs to make then a little fatter, even with the thumb straps tightened up all the way, my thumbs kept sliding too far through the straps.

 

Back to practicing...

 

Much thanks,

Susan

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I have given up even trying to use the finger rests,...

That's OK. By just pressing the little finger againt the end of the instrument wherever it's comfortable, you should being able to use it to improve control and stability.

 

...and I'll be needing them free for playing the buttons at some point anyway, right?

Not necessarily. In 30 years of playing I rarely use my little fingers on the buttons, and then only in multi-part arrangements. Never just for melodies, even "melodies" by Bach.

 

I also have wrapped a finger cot around my thumbs to make then a little fatter...

"Finger cot"? Is that one of those rubber thimbles used by people who count sheets of paper (or dollar bills or pound notes)?

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I wasn't being very accurate there, sorry. "Finger cot" in my mind is a generic term for any of several ready made finger bandages, most of which slip over a major portion of the finger.

 

However, to be specific, what I put on my thumb was a gel filled corn wrap (Dr. Scholl's brand, I think), the non-medicated variety. They're basically a small (maybe 1" long) tube of a stretchy fabric with a square (about 3/4" square) of that gel stuff that insoles and such are made of.

 

I've been using them for years to pad and/or fatten my fingers when a) my thumb starts hurting after two of three hours of holding a flute in the air, or B) I am trying to play a low whistle that has holes wider than the diameter of my fingers. They slip on and off easily and can be turned inside out if you want a little more adherence to whatever it is that is in contact with your fingers.

 

Susan

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