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I'm planning to put my name on the waiting list soon with Mr. Wakker for one of his W-2 concertinas, but thought I'd post here first just in case anyone is thinking of selling one. Thank you!

 

Steven
in Seattle, WA

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Are you sure you want a W-2 rather than an H-2? Have you tried both arrangements? I much prefer my Wheatstone Hayden (46 buttons, slanted) to the Morse Beaumont (52 buttons, parallel).

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I'm not sure about very much in this life! 🙂 I presently play a Concertina Connection Peacock that's in the parallel style, so I thought I'd stick with it since I'm used to it. I've heard reports from some players that the slant on the Hayden keyboard makes some of the outlying buttons difficult to reach, and my hands aren't terribly big to begin with. If you have a moment, I'd be interested to know how you've found the slant helpful!

 

-steven

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A reasonable question, and I don’t have a well-thought-out answer. It’s just that I’ve been playing with the slant for over 30 years, now, and when I try an instrument with the parallel arrangement, I feel like I have to curl my ring and pinkie fingers so much that I can’t press the buttons as efficiently. I don’t know why the same isn’t true of my index and middle fingers on a slanted instrument.

 

I guess my advice is not “get one with a slant,” but “try them both before making a decision.” Good luck with whatever you decide on.

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Thank you! I very much appreciate your thoughts, as I haven't tried many instruments. I played Anglo for about ten years, and tried out a few makes during that time, but in terms of duets, I've so far only played a Concertina Connection Elise and my Peacock.

 

-s

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If I remember correctly, the Elise has the slant. So perhaps you have all the information you need.

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I started on slanted, went to parallel (W2 and Beaumont) without any trouble at all, and recently started playing slanted again,  also with minimal problems, just that some of the little finger placing  is a little more difficult if I'm stretching - my finger doesn't know where to go.   All of the other fingers instinctively know where to go on both.    I prefer the parallel, but only slightly.     I haven't found that switching between the 2 layouts has has been a big deal. 

 

Joy

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I am amused with this question since last months, because I am in the Alex Holden’s list for a new Hayden duet, thus I have to decide between slant or parallel design.

I am taking into account:

-         The opinion from duet players. Thank you Joy, David, Didie and other people for your opinions!.

-         The comments of Bryan Hayden (there is another thread where this question is raised out)

-         The comments of concertina makers (it seems the majority of new Wakker hayden orders ask for parallel design).

-         My (limited) own experience with duets, as only have tryed my Stagy Hayden

 

To be brief, my preliminar conclusions are:

-       -  Probably slant benefits a better reaching of some keys, and perhaps some arrange of chords, but parallel could have similar effect with different keys/chords. My current feeling with the Stagi slant (even having different feaures that hayden does, finally it is a slant type) are: I can not reach the first buttons in the upper left row with my left pinky finger,  and I have to extend (probably more than would make a confortable playing) both my right ring and pinky fingers to reach the higher-pitch keys in the upper right rows.

-       -  As I conclude, It is not a dramatic decission, because finnally you will have to fiddle with the limitations of one or another disposition.

-      -   I think the preferences for one or another disposition would be highly a matter of personal taste, the size of hands (mine are small) and the type of music mostly played (I like different styles, but mainly like irish/scottish music).

Thus, I thing it is necessary to try with both sistems to reach your own conclusion.😜
 I have builded two very basic end prototypes (left and right, with cardboard, plywood, litle silicon bars, etc) with same dimensions and same keyboard’s specifications as will be in the final instrument. In these prototypes I can locate the keybords and handrails in any position and/or slant I want . So I can get a very rough idea of what is my feeling with different dispositions of them.

By the moment… parallel wins… but the game continues😊 .

(a question I am thinking about is which disposition  would also benefit a more natural position of the hand (aligned whith the arm??), as (at least for me) when playing sited my arm doesn't form a right angle, but one slightly minor, so perhaps a slight slant could favor maintaining a more natural alignment hand/arm)

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1 hour ago, Isel said:

... I can not reach the first buttons in the upper left row with my left pinky finger,  and I have to extend (probably more than would make a confortable playing) both my right ring and pinky fingers to reach the higher-pitch keys in the upper right rows.

 

Some people on some systems seem to prefer not to use their little fingers (pinkies). I play Crane and was inclined that way at first (probably because I came to it from the English), but in the end found it was much better to train myself to use my little fingers. Looking at the note chart for the Hayden I don't see how you could play a scale smoothly without using your little finger - there's always a point where it requires four buttons consecutively in the same row. So if I were thinking to play a Hayden I'd go for the layout that allowed easy use of all four fingers.

 

LJ

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just as a side note: when I took up the EC I immediately decided, without any knowledge of what was supposed to be the „normal“ approach, to rotate the (hexagonal) instrument by 60 degrees, and added harmony soon applying all four fingers (for obvious reasons the thumb is not available).

 

I reckon my harmonic/chordal playing would simply not happen when holding the instrument parallel. Therefore I can very well imagine, despite my lack of experience with the Hayden system, that a slant might make sense in order to optimise positioning of the fingers.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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Isel

 

Alex is a very creative and innovative maker, perhaps you could ask him to design an adjustable hand rest that can be swiveled and locked between at least the two main angles used in Hayden concertinas.  The simplest way to do this would be to design the scroll work so that two sets of screw holes could be provided and still look good whichever pair (parallel or slant) was in use.  I can imagine more mechanically elaborate solutions.

 

Personally I prefer parallel hand rests and I do use my pinkie fingers, but I have large hands and can reach where I need to reach.  For me, height of the rest is also important, maybe more important than the angle.  I can use the Hayden slant hand rest on an Elise but I could not get along with the stock low hand rest and had to make myself some taller hand rests.

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1 hour ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

... I can very well imagine ... that a slant might make sense in order to optimise positioning of the fingers.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

A slant that brought the buttons closer to the little finger would do that, but the Hayden slant does the opposite - it takes the buttons nearest the little finger furthest away.

 

LJ

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I believe what I have reported does the same, will check later (as I’m in the garden for some quieter Sunday works right now).

 

All the best - 🐺

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 My apologies for misspelling your name, little pinkie. Although some times you seem really pinky:rolleyes:

Yes John, I do use my pinkies a lot, thus a non-confortable keyboard difficults playing some fast passages with my right hand. The height of the rest has influence as well ( I have things more clear at this concern).

 

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Thank you Don for your suggestion. Whether I were not sure at final, one option could be that you propose. 

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1 hour ago, Isel said:

The height of the rest has influence as well ( I have things more clear at this concern).

 

 

I suggested I might need a taller hand rest on my new Alex Holden instrument. In the end it is the same height as the old one and it doesn't matter. I think the shorter button travel achieves the same effect as having a taller rest. In any event, this new instrument is extremely easy to play.

 

[Pinky / pinkie - I don't think it matters. In either case the plural would be "pinkies" by the curiosities of the English language!]

 

LJ

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2 hours ago, Little John said:

I think the shorter button travel achieves the same effect as having a taller rest.

Well pointed out John!... I am thinking about this in relation to the case of having raised ends...

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