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Anglo straps


Liz Wager
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I usually play English but my New Year resolution is to master the Anglo .. can anybody give me some hints about how loose or tight the wrist straps should be? (It's so different from snug thumb straps on my English that I feel my hands are slopping about ...

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Often new players want the straps tight to try to get a feeling of control, but that restricts movement and makes it hard to reach some of the buttons.  I did it myself for a while.

 

What seems to work better for me now is to make contact with the instrument in two places with each hand - the side of the thumb and the outer edge of my hand against the hand rest.  I set my straps so I can arch my hand slightly, and create a slight tension in the strap against back of my hand.  Most of the palm of my hand doesn't actually rest against the wooden rest.  This way I can move the ends in and out without slop in the straps, yet a slight change in the arch of my hand creates enough slack to allow me to move to access any hard to reach buttons.  There is a temptation to keep my hands very tense to keep the straps taught, but that is very tiring.  By periodically concentrating on consciously relaxing, I've found after a while that I can reduce the tension in my hands dramatically and still maintain full control.  But I still have to remind myself to relax.

 

None of this came right away.  I started out setting the straps very tight, and have only gradually worked to be come accustomed to the relaxed strap setting described above.  There is a limit of course. When the straps are too loose to create any tension against the back of a fairly relaxed hand, then there is really no control at all!

 

Edit:  Some people also add some padding to the wooden rest to raise the hand slightly.  I've not tried that but it makes sense.  Also, I'm intrigued by the shaped  hand rests offered by a few builders, such as the "ergonomic" hand rests offered as an option by Jake, of Wolverton Concertinas.  I've not tried them, but one of my instruments has a slight relief to the edge of the hand rest where the side of my hand makes contact, and I do find that is more comfortable.

Edited by Tradewinds Ted
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And I started out with the straps too loose, which soon gave me carpal tunnel inflammation. Then I arrived at something very like Tradewinds Ted's position, being very diligent to keep my wrists straight and not flexed. That keeps me out of trouble. Many people aren't even prone to this condition, but a few of us are. I am one of the folks to raise my handrests using foam insulation made for water pipes (I came up with this twenty years ago). The story is here. The one change is that I now use them with the wider part at the bottom (farthest from my thumb). Good luck, pay attention when your body tells you it isn't comfortable.

 

Ken

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From what I know I would say it is good to have 1/4 inch of daylight between your palm and the handle when you pull your hand away from the handle. That would be with average size hands. I know a player with very large gorilla hands and he has a lot more. You would want all your fingers to easily access the respective buttons that they are assigned to push, on all 3 rows, especially your pinkies on the outer lying buttons of each side.

 

 

Richard

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As a relative beginner - on Duet rather than Anglo, but similar principals applying - I too use the foam insulation and 'slacker' straps.  Finger length/joint's length makes a difference.  As someone who could not play a barre chord if my life depended on it ( on the guitar ) because of hand geometry, I find I need to be stood 'off' the rest to get any articulation at the joints.  The trouble is, once I find I am too far off, I lose control of where my hands are on the slack straps, especially for those 'fly-away' notes on the 1st/5th row.

 

I also find that, if not using the foam,  a pair of Altura 'classic'  cycle gloves works well !!  The loose(r) strap grips to the crocheted back and the suede padding on the palm holds to the handle when needed.  They also keep the hands warm for playing when the hands/fingers are cold! 

Altura-Crochet-Short-Finger-Gloves-Short

 

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You need a small amount of slack.  I like mine so that if I pull my thumb down, firmly, towards the side of my hand, it takes all the slack out, but without becoming noticeably tight across the back of the hand.  If they're too tight, you will struggle to reach some of the more remote buttons.

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