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Marking (Color Or Dimple) An Index Button On A Hayden Duet?

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While I'm waiting for my hybrid Hayden, and pondering maybe a few years down the road getting a trad-reed one, I was thinking about some earlier poster who had a button dimpled, I believe the middle (physically) A on each hand of his Hayden. The intent being that it could help "index" the hand if one were to lose track of where one was within the note array.


Does anyone have that feature on their Hayden, or favor it on some other duet or English concertina?


Also though I imagine folks don't really look at their keyboard while playing, I was under the vague impression that some older duets had a different colored button(s) somewhere in the array. I don't know if this is considered too CBA-like in current fashion, but I was pondering whether it'd be cool just for visually making a duet a little more distinct.


If anyone has either a dimpled or textured button on certain note(s), or contrasting colored buttons on a duet, I'd be curious to hear about it.

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The 67-button square Bastari had black buttons for the accidentals. I don't feel the need for any identifying feature on the 46. Although I have gotten "lost" on some of the larger ones, I would like to believe that a little more familiarity with the particular instrument would make it unnecessary there, too.

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Also though I imagine folks don't really look at their keyboard while playing, I was under the vague impression that some older duets had a different colored button(s) somewhere in the array.


I've seen plenty of photos of older ECs and Cranes with the C-naturals coloured red, and sometimes with the sharps and flats coloured black, too. I always got the impression that these were "learners'" instruments - firstly, they were all more basic models, and secondly, beginners do tend to look where to put their fingers, especially for the first note in a piece. Don't we all know that!


Quite frankly, I never missed not having marked buttons on my Crane, even at the beginning. The buttons in their five columns are pretty easy to identify, both visually and haptically. You know what finger a note falls under, and soon you can easily find the appropriate button row without looking.


I can imagine that the Hayden might be different in this respect. If I'm correctly informed, you change key by shifting your "home position" to the left or right, so you don't have a rigid "finger-note" allocation as you do on the Crane. A CBA-style haptic marker might be useful here.




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Possibly not just beginners' instruments. I have a very early Lachenal with beautiful rosewood casework, inlays, gilt thumbscrews, ornately embossed green bellows and thumb straps, and clear and red glass buttons.

Edited by Bill N
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I have small dents in A buttons on both sides of my Elise and on my MIDI Hayden (which is a project in playable but still prototype form, on hold for much too long now...) and I will make them on my in-progress DIY 66 button Hayden as well. It makes finding rest position automatic by just swiping the tops of the keys around the center in one motion (my rest position is as I was to play A minor chord - it is in the center of a keyboard and makes great reference point for all other chords and notes positions). On Elise this was in fact more cruicial on the begining of learning this instrument (and after each modification of handrests/straps/thumb-straps I've made to it) but on my 64 button MIDI it was absolutely necessary to find position in the middle of a tune if for some reason I have to move my left hand from the buttons (e.g. when playing RH solo with vigorous bellows movements).


But after couple of years playing I got used to using also just the keyboard to navigate any Hayden size: both Elise and 46 standard layout can be easily managed, because they only have Bb on the top of a keyboard so you can rely on C buttons to "find your way" mid-tune (for me it is a two step "calibration": set fingers for C major chord then move middle finger one button to the side from G to A and form A minor chord). On larger instrument however, like Wakker H2 (the layout of my MIDI box), having no marked A button makes this a two-step calibration for the right hand (Gmaj->Amin or placing fingers on first row then moving middle finger one octave higher) but a 3 step calibration for the left hand (or 2,5 steps when simultanously changing fingers and moving whole hand from F-G-A position to my resting A minor). So having a dent/mark on As is now just easier and more efficient, especially in the middle of a tune.


For me, relying solely on a handrest/strap/thumb position usually ends with a one-button accuracy (usually in a G-A-D or A-D-E triangles) and since original Hayden keyboard is not mirrored and have a slant this usually means that my hands are not aligned to the same key.


@ John: yes, You're right, there are no rigid finger-note allocations on a Hayden (at least for me, even on instrument as small as Elise) - I play major and minor tunes with different fingerings and because on a Hayden chord shapes are constant you move your hand constantly while playing accompaniment - this makes playing ompah rhytms very easy and steady. Also, it is sometimes imposible to play different melodies in the same key (or even different variations within a single tune) with the same fingerings when playing legato because you'll have to use the same finger on two subsequent notes.

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You need a dimple or something to find your home point on an accordion because you do it after you are strapped in and looking at the bass keyboard directly is awkward. I still look at the end to find where I am for certain on my duets but tilting one end towards you for a quick look isn't exactly difficult. I suspect that's why I have never seen a duet with anything other than all similar keys that I recall; you may be thinking of ECs, the buget ones of them have the accidentals dyed red and black.


With a bone or plastic keyed concertina it would be easy enough to do with a hand drill, with the button in situ, just cut the nose of the drill in and you're done, but a waste of even the small amount of time involved if you ask me. But if you must, why not go for broke? I had an accordion with a paste jewel stuck on to mark the C, what about that?

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Hello Mathew,


This is the first time in my life ever responding to a forum or blog, but I think I can contribue here. I too play a hayden concertina (Peacock). And the instrument is the first concertina pictured on:




If you look at the picture closely, you will note that the C and E buttons are doomed and the others are flat - this for NAVIGATION purposes. The difference in feel is minute, but discernable when one is focused and looking for it.


I have also considered gluing some "diamonds" similar to the what is done on the C chord on the accordian base. These can be found at:




This I have not done, but may consider this in the future.


Hope this helps !

Edited by Noel Ways
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