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Daddy Long Les

Anglo - Pain In Base Of Right Thumb

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I've had my new concertina for about 6 days now. It's a beautiful Frank Edgley Anglo. I love the sound and everything is great except.............

 

Every time I pick it up and play it for about ten minutes I get a very unpleasant pain in the base of my right thumb - kind of a dull ache. I never ever had this problem with my cheap old Hohner D40 anglo. I've tried tightening/loosening my hand straps. I've tried changing the knee on which I place the concertina i.e. changing the static end. I've tried holding my hand further back/further forward.

 

I asked my wife to watch me play and she said she thought my right thumb looked tense compared to my left. Of course it's the right thumb that operates the air button. I've tried not using the air button unless I really have to which I know ultimately is not going to be a solution. The air button is not particularly stiff - in fact it's very responsive. The concertina doesn't seem heavy - probably about the same as my Marcus English.

 

To be honest I'm at a bit of a loss and feeling a bit depressed about it. I am pretty new to the anglo (5 weeks). I never, ever get pain when I play the English. I can play this for ages without any ill effects.

 

Can anyone out there help me? :( :angry:

 

Les

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Getting the problem solved is essential, as the longer the injury lasts, the longer it takes to heal. Others here may have specific experience like yours (I expect they will chime in), and I believe some modifications to the air button appear in some old threads. Adults getting used to concertina for the first time can sometimes overdo without realizing it - that's enthusiasm for you.

 

Ken

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Are you bending the top of your thumb while you play? As if to grip the concertina?

I had pain in my thumbs that went away after I trained myself to keep my thumbs straight.

Initially, I had to make myself little thumb splints to stop myself from bending my thumbs.

 

Don.

 

Added an hour or so later after I posted this reply I revisited concertina.net and right at the top was an advertisement that I have never seen before for "Injury Lawyers of Ontario". Too creepy for me.

Edited by Don Taylor

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Judging from your attached photos, I'm going to make the sometimes dangerous conclusion that you are somewhere near my 69 years. If so or if I'm close, then you may be facing the same problem I'm experiencing. When this pain starting cropping up for me, I addressed the issue with my GP. She felt around my hand carefully and then pressed one place -- giving me an exquisite pain. After I recovered from that, she announced that I was now enjoying the benefits of arthritis! She gave me a prescription that I have yet to fill since so far I have been able to tolerate the pain. And a wet, warm towel provides modest relief. But the more I play, the more I ache.

 

Hope you are not in my shoes!

 

Ross Schlabach

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Hello Les, I have had trouble for years with the thumb joints on both hands due to worn out joints, 53 years manual work, I found the solution was to have a lever fitted with a downward motion to replace the sideway motion you have with the button, it worked for me but yours may be a different problem. Good luck

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More experiments this morning. Definitely less painful if I hold the concertina on my left knee (so left end on left knee) thus making that the static end. I also have this knee raised on a guitarist's foot stool. Even less painful was holding the bellows over the left knee. I know this is frowned upon because of the wear and tear on the bellows but I've seen lots of very experienced, really good players do this. Hey, "needs must when the devil drives"!!

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More experiments this morning. Definitely less painful if I hold the concertina on my left knee (so left end on left knee) thus making that the static end. I also have this knee raised on a guitarist's foot stool. Even less painful was holding the bellows over the left knee. I know this is frowned upon because of the wear and tear on the bellows but I've seen lots of very experienced, really good players do this. Hey, "needs must when the devil drives"!!

 

What about shifting the instrument even more and holding the right end on the left knee?

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I think I recall a similar issue when I first started playing. I was keeping keeping my thumb "at the ready" over the air button, so it was always tensed up in a fairly unnatural position. After a while I became more relaxed and the problem went away.

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