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Halifax

Hand straps: snug or loose? (Morse Anglo)

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Well, I like my hand straps pretty snug.

I have friends who's straps are looser, but they have to brace their hands with their pinky fingers and I need my pinkies available --- especially on the left for that f#.

They aren't so tight that they restrict my range of motion, and I'll be honest, I'm not at the point where I'm using many of the buttons on the third row or on the very low or very high end, but when I do, it seems to work okay.

 

When I say snug, I mean I used a nail set to punch another two holes in the wrist straps that came with the Morse. Also, my hands are smallish.

 

Can anyone think of any reason why snug straps are not a great idea over the long term?

 

Christine

Edited by Halifax

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Hi Christine; no-one is biting here so I'll just say there are as many opinions on hand strap tension as there are concertina players, possibly more !

              And probably as many players who like them  loose as there are ones who like then snug.

For myself, I like like part of my hand to be snug ( around the thumb area) and the rest loose.....and can do this with an english style thumb strap on an anglo.

 Robin

     

              

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I like to keep my straps very snug as it gives the right balance between an anchor for my hands and the arch to get around the keyboard.  My hand feels the rail more near the little finger end, and the strap more on the forfeinger end, if that makes any sense.   I have seen great players with "looser" straps, but on close viewing of their hand position they are arching in such a way that at least a part of the hand is anchored firmly and the rest is held down by the strap.  For at least a nano second between notes  all our fingers are up in the air.  The concertina has to be stablized by either wasting a finger or using the base of your hand.   The flat of your hand  may not make contact with the rail all the time, or at least mine doesn't. I need some arching in there to reach around the buttons.  I have two good concertinas and find the one with tighter straps gives me more stability. Just pay attention to what your fingers tell you.  If you are experiencing any pain consider if there are any issues regarding the straps.  Though pain can come for different reasons. I recently had a lot of finger pain after I learned a Angela Carrberry and Martin Quinn set.  In that case I realized It was because I was trying to duplicate the banjo triplets too specifically and began to hone in to the accordion instead.  So pain can come from multiple sources.  So, in answering your question from my limited experience, if you can reach everything you want and don't have any pain you are likely fine.

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My experience - and I've had it confirmed by a few others in the Forum - is that, as a beginner on the Anglo, you tend to want the straps snug, but as you become more accustomed to it, you want to slack them off a bit. Perhaps this is because you use the bass and treble ends more frequently as you progress.

 

As I see it, bellows reversal is an important factor in a bisonoric concertina. That means that we must be able to change from press to draw and back with no "slop" in between.

That in turn means that some part of the hand must always be in contact with some part of the end (for the press), and the handstrap must always be in contact with the back of the hand (for the draw). That would seem to indicate a need for snug straps.

However, on the other hand, we need to give the fingers freedom of movement to reach all the buttons comfortably. And that indicates a need for looser straps.

The only way I can see to escape this dilemma is what most experienced players seem to do: arch the hand so that the heel of the hand and thumb are against the end, while the back of the hand is braced against the strap. This way, the knuckles are not trapped between strap and handrest, and can move freely.

 

As to control of the instrument, I find that snugness is less important than the quality of the straps. I get best control when the straps are of thick, broad, and above all stiff leather. Thin, pliable straps have to be set snug to hold the instrument up steadily.

 

Cheers,

John

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I don't know well about the anglo but recently I began to take some lessons with a bandonion teacher and she told me that bandonion players used to let a space of about one finger between the top of the hand and the straps. And I noticed that it was what I already did with my hayden duet.

Didie

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14 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

My experience - and I've had it confirmed by a few others in the Forum - is that, as a beginner on the Anglo, you tend to want the straps snug, but as you become more accustomed to it, you want to slack them off a bit. Perhaps this is because you use the bass and treble ends more frequently as you progress.

 

As I see it, bellows reversal is an important factor in a bisonoric concertina. That means that we must be able to change from press to draw and back with no "slop" in between.

That in turn means that some part of the hand must always be in contact with some part of the end (for the press), and the handstrap must always be in contact with the back of the hand (for the draw). That would seem to indicate a need for snug straps.

However, on the other hand, we need to give the fingers freedom of movement to reach all the buttons comfortably. And that indicates a need for looser straps.

The only way I can see to escape this dilemma is what most experienced players seem to do: arch the hand so that the heel of the hand and thumb are against the end, while the back of the hand is braced against the strap. This way, the knuckles are not trapped between strap and handrest, and can move freely.

 

As to control of the instrument, I find that snugness is less important than the quality of the straps. I get best control when the straps are of thick, broad, and above all stiff leather. Thin, pliable straps have to be set snug to hold the instrument up steadily.

 

Cheers,

John

I just made a new set for my duet from old belt leather that is much thicker and stiffer than the old.  There's a marked improvement in control, however I'm having trouble keeping my pants up.😅

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Can I think of a reason snug straps are a bad idea? In a word, no.  If you can reach all those buttons comfortably, that should be excellent. 

"Loose" may not actually describe some straps that do not hold the hand snugly against the hand rest. There's a centimeter or so between most of my palm and the hand rest, but the natural arched position of my hand places the back of my hand securely against the strap to open the bellows easily.  I suspect that your friend who uses his/her fifth finger to play is using it to take up slack between the back of the hand and the strap which wouldn't work for me. 

 

I wondered about that space between my palm and the hand rest and so I built taller rests for my Morse Beaumont to see if a better fit would improve my control. I created hand rests which accurately matched the contour of my palm and provided uniform contact with both the hand rest and the strap. It didn't work.  Control of the bellows was not improved, and it was also harder to reach the buttons farthest from the hand rest, so the stock rests are back in place.

 

While this set-up could be called "loose" on the palm side, the strap side is snug.  For me, too snug makes it hard to curl my fingers comfortably to play the row nearest the hand rest - once this is easy to reach I have the strap just right. 

 

Edited by W3DW
Correct typing

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I have mine just loose enough that I can reposition my hands to reach the more distant buttons.  I can then adjust the tension in two ways:

  1. By arching my hands slightly so that the strap is braced by the pressure on the palm rest, and the pressure of the back of my hand against the strap.
  2. By gripping the strap between my thumb and the side of my forefinger.

I always play with my instrument resting on my lap or, if standing up, on one thigh.  If you want to play standing up, then I think you need slightly tighter straps, and you may also need to brace the bass end of the box with your left pinky finger.  That is a problem for me with some of my favourite "go to" accompaniments.

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As always, y'all have been generous with your knowledge/opinions/expertise. The big takaway is that snug straps are okay, that one can reduce the need for a bracing pinkie by resting the bellows on a thigh, that I may want to loosen them as I progress, and that Wunks should either get a new belt, or start wearing yoga pants.

Thanks again!

Best,

Christine

 

 

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2 hours ago, Halifax said:

As always, y'all have been generous with your knowledge/opinions/expertise. The big takaway is that snug straps are okay, that one can reduce the need for a bracing pinkie by resting the bellows on a thigh, that I may want to loosen them as I progress, and that Wunks should either get a new belt, or start wearing yoga pants.

Thanks again!

Best,

Christine

 

 

Belt it is then.  Headed for the thrift shop A.S.A.P.!  😏

  • Haha 1

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