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Hillsider

Hand Position/strap Tightness On Anglo

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My default hand position is to have both palms resting on the hexagonal sides of the instrument but after a while this is uncomfortable as the sides cut into my palms. I wondered whether I have the straps too loose or should they be tight to keep the palms off the sides completely.

 

Grateful for any thoughts - Thanks

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I can't rest my palms on the anglo sides for a different reason - it is the classic position (wrists flexed back while using fingers) to create/aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition a small proportion of the population is prone to. I had my straps too loose and was bracing the concertina with my wrists as a result. My current position is meant to (or is obsessed with) keeping my wrists as straight as possible. (Things are at the point where I meet folks using my foam pad solution described on the linked page. I ask where they got it, and they say, "On the web somewhere." Whereupon I grin and introduce myself!)

 

Your optimal playing position may vary.

 

Ken

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I'm guessing you play Anglo since my palms don't touch at all when playing EC. If you have an Anglo and you have large hands, raising the handrest to 1" or so can help. I play with the left end on my left leg, with straps fairly loose, so the bottom of my palms only lightly touch the ends and sometimes not at all. I keep the straps loose enough to be able to just barely insert the fingers of the other hand in between the strap, hand and handrest - but not while playing of course! "Bracing" is not a word that comes to mind - my hands stay fairly loose and limber since I play in the harmonic style and need to reach lots of notes and chords. Is there something in the design of your concertina that has sharp edges? If so, you might be gripping it too tightly, or might need to try a different instrument.

 

Gary

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Gary. Yes it's an Anglo

 

Ken. Many thanks for that link. I think that your description of "bracing" is spot on and reflects what I am doing in fact. Does your modification result in your wrists being "lifted" so that the palms of your hands cannot reach the sides of the concertina?

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My default hand position is to have both palms resting on the hexagonal sides of the instrument but after a while this is uncomfortable as the sides cut into my palms. I wondered whether I have the straps too loose or should they be tight to keep the palms off the sides completely.

 

Grateful for any thoughts - Thanks

 

I think it depends on whether you want to play standing up or not. Playing standing up requires an additional balance technique which can take a while to learn and the amount of tightness in the strap is then quite important. I personally prefer a lower rest, 16mm or so, since my lower palms then nestle the corner nicely and keep things stable, but I guess everybody will have their own preferences. When you start to play standing up, it can be quite discouraging at first because you start hitting the wrong buttons and feel you're going backwards, but just stick with it - a few minutes every time you practice and you'll be surprised how quickly you get the hang of it. I tried several different appendages at first to try to make it easier, but after a while I got rid of them all :-)

 

Hope this helps,

 

Adrian

 

PS. I did have a friend who developed an allergic reaction to nickel and his palms used to get a terrible rash from playing. He stuck pads underneath the corner to insulate his sweaty palms from the nickel. I hope you've not got something like this?

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Well I have just followed the "Coles Modification" and it certainly seems to have done the trick. My palms have been lifted from the corner of the sides and indeed it has aligned the wrists in a straighter position. I think there will need to be an adjustment in the way I open and close the bellows because I was doing that by" bracing" against the corners.

 

Many thanks again.

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My position is a little more flexible since that photo essay 12 years (!) ago, since I'm more sensitive to managing how I move my hands. In general my palms are not on the ends, but I can shift so they are on there a little. Depends on the style I'm playing, I'm not too conscious of it now.

 

But I do now realize all the teachers I've had tended toward a straight wrist, except one who had such large arms that I'm sure his carpal tunnel is very roomy. I could never play with my wrists flopping around like he does!

 

Enjoy,

Ken

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I gave up the flute partly due to a nickel allergy, so it's a wooden concertina for me, I think. One trick from the flute that I would suggest (as long as it doesn't do any damage) was that it helped to paint clear nail varnish to cover the bits of metal that touched skin. It's not actually the nickel that you are allergic to apparently, rather the chemicals that are used to plate them. Gold and silver are usually OK as they are electroplated. So it might be chemical plating that's the friend's problem, rather than nickel as such.

 

Clear nail varnish is a lot cheaper than gold plating. :)

Edited by Strigulino

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It's not an allergy that was my problem. Rather it was the physical discomfort caused by me bracing using the bottom part of my palm. It's been solved using Ken's foam method by lifting my palms.

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I can't rest my palms on the anglo sides for a different reason - it is the classic position (wrists flexed back while using fingers) to create/aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition a small proportion of the population is prone to. I had my straps too loose and was bracing the concertina with my wrists as a result. My current position is meant to (or is obsessed with) keeping my wrists as straight as possible. (Things are at the point where I meet folks using my foam pad solution described on the linked page. I ask where they got it, and they say, "On the web somewhere." Whereupon I grin and introduce myself!)

 

Your optimal playing position may vary.

 

Ken

 

heh .. I developed this exact solution independently after falling in love with a Dipper with curved handles at the Button Box .. my only problem is I'm always losing the foam pieces. And I was scolded by Betram Levy for using a crutch ;)

 

I've now got a couple of 3D Printers and I'm playing around with printing replacement handles for my Edgely ;)

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Not to put Frank in a spot, but have you considered asking him to make a custom height handle set? I've found instrument makers to be receptive to such requests in years past and the charges for custom height handles to be very reasonable. Of course, I can see the novelty of using a 3-D printer too...

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Or make your own, they're not exactly complex things, or pack up the ones you've got with one or more layers of, say, 1/4" ply (perhaps worth doing anyway to see if it helps and how much is best before diving in properly.)

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In the essay I cited, I mentioned adding raised handles to a custom order. Well...let's just say makers can be mavericks; that particular concertina when it arrived, had standard handles...so guess how I adapted it for playing! OTOH, Dana Johnson did make me a set of custom raised handles for my Kensington and I am now used to them, no foam needed.

 

Accomplished player/teachers are welcome to their opinions, such as the one quoted above. A crutch is something some of us use to make the difference between walking and being stuck in a wheelchair (i.e., unable to play concertina at all, which is where I was before I came up with it), so I guess a crutch is what it is for me. Absolutely no apologies here.

 

Ken

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