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Questions About English Concertina


badok88
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Some discussion has taken place on this site regarding fanning of the bellows, or bellowsing where the base of the concertina sits on both knees and are static, the bellows are opened and closed like a fan from the top .I must admit that my one row melodion is more controllable using this method.

Have a look at Adel Fox playing the anglo to give an idea of the style.

Never play a concertina on a trousers pocket that has your keys or loose change in.

If you get a chance listen to one of my English Concertina hero's the late Tommy Elliott for bellows control and miniature playing.

Al

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Some discussion has taken place on this site regarding fanning of the bellows, or bellowsing where the base of the concertina sits on both knees and are static, the bellows are opened and closed like a fan from the top

 

That's how I play, as does Rob Harbron. It's by far the best way to retain complete control over the bellows, in my opinion - it means you need to make more bellow direction changes, but if they're under total control, that doesn't matter.

 

I used to do this by controlling the direction of pressure when closing the bellows - if you press your thumbs down as well as together, then the bottom of the bellows will stay closed (aided slightly by friction of the ends, not the bellows, on the legs), even without any pressure from the fingers on the buttons, or even the little finger on the rest. This prevents the "flap" that you get if you don't do this - which is really audible with pretty much anybody I've heard who plays standing up (including Alistair Anderson, and those who try to demonstrate how much control they have when playing standing up :) ). This is what Rob does, I think.

 

However, I realised a long time ago that strapping the bottom of the bellows together allows you to do this more securely and with less pressure, so that's what I do now all the time - e.g. http://youtu.be/b1VW2HEZzbs I use sticky-backed velcro on the concertina and the strap is the other half of the sticky backed velcro, with the stickiness taken off it by about 15 years of use! For people that worry about wearing the bellows playing like this - after 20 years or so of (probably) more than average playing, I have a little wear on the leather, that is very much still in the cosmetic category. I reckon it would take at least another two or three times as much to start to cause problems - and bellows are, at the end of the day, going to have to be replaced at some point anyway.

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I am right handed, play seated and take all the weight of my Anglo on my right thigh for maximum control and comfort. I guess we all do what comes naturally, but the bellows should surely be totally free at all times from contact with the body. ( Those who play satisfactorily standing must have far stronger shoulders,elbows,wrists and associated muscles than I have ever been blessed with. )

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