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Don Taylor

Using the pinkie finger on the ends of a duet

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Alan Day recently posted an excellent rendition of Paul McCann playing Sir Sydney Smith's March on a Crane duet:

https://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?/topic/21187-duet-recordings/page/3/&tab=comments#comment-203602

 

I noticed that Paul keeps his left hand pinkie finger solidly down on the left hand end of the concertina throughout the recording, and that he drops his right hand pinkie on to the right hand end for maybe 30-40% of the time he is playing.

 

I have never tried to do this on my Hayden.  Is this a technique worth adopting, or is it only applicable to a Crane with narrower and deeper rows of buttons?

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I  think  this  may  depend on the shape  of  your  hands, length of fingers  etc.,  as much  as  the  keyboard  type.  I  never  used    my  pinkies  for  stabilising  either  hand position  or  the instrument on  Hayden or  McCann  duets.  When  I  think that  coming  to  Duets  as an  EC  player  it  might have  felt  natural  to  brace my  grip  with  the  pinkies  placed on the ends.

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An excellent rendition indeed!

 

I use my little fingers occasionally to stabilise the instrument when I'm standing up, but in general I use both little fingers too frequently to do so. I can't see any advantage to not using them - it gives you extra options for fingering. I'm a Crane player.

 

On a Hayden, surely you need all four fingers to play a scale?

 

LJ

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On Jeffries Duet, both pinkies can get quite the workout if doing any kind of oompah chording since almost all of the lower left hand bass notes are reached via pinkie.

 

And since the right hand pretty much starts with the middle finger on "c", the pinkie is used for a lot of the higher notes, especially jumping around a lot if needing to reach the high "f#".

 

Which I suppose all this is a good thing since it opens up more opportunities for the other fingers to play complex accompaniments, octaves and "fistfuls of chords". 

 

 

Gary

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57 minutes ago, Little John said:

On a Hayden, surely you need all four fingers to play a scale?

I would for scales, but for playing melodies then some folks use three fingers (David, I think?). 

 

For melodies I sometimes do and sometimes do not - depending upon which note follows.  In any case, the pinkie would be available for holding the end on the RHS most of the time.

 

My left hand pinkie very rarely gets used, if at all.  I suspect I don't use it much because I don't trust it - because I have not used it enough in the past.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Wow!  There are duets and then there are duets.  Different strokes for different folks.  On the JD, given the overlap and it's chromatic nature,  I play anywhere and everywhere I damn well please.  I use a two finger lead either hand or one finger alternating if in the overlap zone or even on one hand to achieve a counterpoint or chord.  I use a floating hand approach.  You need an anchor point somewhere but the further from your noting fingers the better. 

 

Gary, I have to disagree about the lower notes on the JD.

On the 50 button boxes we both have, the lowest notes are toward the index finger side of the hand,  

Edited by wunks
punc.

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3 hours ago, wunks said:

I use a two finger lead either hand or one finger alternating if in the overlap zone or even on one hand to achieve a counterpoint or chord. 

I am not sure that I understand this. 

 

If you want to play c-e-g as a run on the RHS of your Jeffries Duet then what fingers would you use?

image.png.0e493aa3e2ea233565003db0e1a9c3d6.png

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Posted (edited)

I'll use the third finger occasionally but most tunes will accept a hop of one finger or another as a voicing opportunity,  same with the B d f notes which I like to play with one finger even on fast tunes.  Neither of these runs are within the overlap zone of course.  I'll also reach for the bb with the 3d finger as I like to play in F but because I'm using a 2 finger lead it's usually available and hovering in position.  The same is true with the left hand.  I play a lot of melody in the viola range and favor voicing and sparser harmonies over oom-pah so the third finger and pinkie are always at the ready.  On the JD by the way there are many 3 note combinations  on the left side playable as a chord or a slur with one finger.  

I think it's a misconception that more fingers = more speed.  Look what Wes Montgomery can do on guitar with just his thumb!  Or Dock Watson with thumb and one or a flat pick!

Also I recall seeing one of Simon Thoumire's videos talking about two finger lead on EC.

Edited by wunks
more info

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23 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

I would for scales, but for playing melodies then some folks use three fingers (David, I think?).

 

Yeah, I only use my pinkies (on a Hayden) when special situations arise where there is no other option. On the right hand, for playing a non-diatonic sharp note (sharp 1 or sharp 4, for example). On the left hand for holding down a “pedal” bass tone or doubling a bass note an octave below.

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