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Hayden vs. Wicky keyboard advice/opinions?


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Hi folks. I've been playing around with an "Elise" Hayden from the Concertina Connection for a few weeks now, and I generally like it and find the layout elegant. But, one thing I can't seem to get over (coming from Anglo) is the slant of the keyboard. I gather the reason for the slant is to make jumping up or down an octave less awkward, but for the most part it just causes my fingers to lose track of which row they're on.

 

I see on Mr Wakker's site that his Wicky concertinas are identical to the Haydens but without the slant (I'm aware that non-Wakker Wickys may differ in other ways). Does anyone here with more Hayden/Wicky experience have advice on whether it would be beneficial in the long term to persevere with the Hayden slant? Or just to follow my instinct and opt for Wicky?

 

By the way, I've been watching @Jim Bayliss's excellent videos on YouTube of both Hayden and Wicky (I think?), including one of the most awesome/ridiculous concertinas I've ever seen.

 

 

Edited by Luke Hillman
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  • Luke Hillman changed the title to Hayden vs. Wicky keyboard advice/opinions?

I’ve been playing Haydens with the slant since before anybody ever heard of Wicky (30+ years). I’m perfectly comfortable with it and find the parallel rows on the Beaumont disorienting. I guess it’s just a matter of which one you’re familiar with.

 

BTW, I’m uncomfortable with calling the layout without the slant “Wicky” because it’s clear from the instruction book Wicky published that on his instrument, the left hand buttons were a mirror image of the right, which certainly is not the case with modern instruments called “Wicky.”

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I, too, began on an Elise, and the slanted keyboard wasn't a problem,  but when I picked up a Beaumont I knew within 60 seconds that I preferred a straight alignment.  I ordered a Beaumont on the spot and have never regretted it. 

 

I make extensive use of my little fingers, and the straight keyboard makes it easier for me to do so on the right side, but that's just me. I hope you can find a straight keyboard Hayden to try out so you can see if your hands have a preference. 

 

Happy Hayden-ing! 

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6 hours ago, alex_holden said:

I recently built another variation on the theme. The keyboard rows are straight across, but the hand rests are angled. This was a special request by my client, who seems very pleased with it:

https://www.holdenconcertinas.com/?p=1718

 

That’s really strange. When I first looked at the picture (very pretty, BTW), I assumed I was looking at the left side. The relationship between the hand rest and the buttons looks just like the Hayden specs call for, only with the whole thing turned 30° so that the hand rest is parallel to a side, rather than straddling a corner. Then I counted the buttons and realized this is a right side, so the slant goes the other way from what I’m used to. I hope that’s what your client really wanted.

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50 minutes ago, David Barnert said:

That’s really strange. When I first looked at the picture (very pretty, BTW), I assumed I was looking at the left side. The relationship between the hand rest and the buttons looks just like the Hayden specs call for, only with the whole thing turned 30° so that the hand rest is parallel to a side, rather than straddling a corner. Then I counted the buttons and realized this is a right side, so the slant goes the other way from what I’m used to. I hope that’s what your client really wanted.

 

Yes, it's effectively the opposite of the Hayden slant. I don't play the system myself but it didn't feel awkward to reach any of the buttons.

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7 hours ago, alex_holden said:

I recently built another variation on the theme. The keyboard rows are straight across, but the hand rests are angled. This was a special request by my client, who seems very pleased with it:

https://www.holdenconcertinas.com/?p=1718

That  looks  to  be  a superb  concertina  Alex.    To my mind  the  use of  1/5th  Comma  Meantone    tuning  is  very  desirable  and    be  even  better with  both  G#'s and Ab's,  D# and Eb's.

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1 minute ago, Geoff Wooff said:

That  looks  to  be  a superb  concertina  Alex.    To my mind  the  use of  1/5th  Comma  Meantone    tuning  is  very  desirable  and    be  even  better with  both  G#'s and Ab's,  D# and Eb's.

 

Thanks Geoff! Unfortunately it's always a compromise between instrument size and number of buttons; we didn't want to make it any bigger than 6 1/4" across, and as a result Ab didn't make it onto the keyboard.

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What an impressive piece of work! I can relate to two of the dozens of crafts you are using, as I'm currently polishing and figuring several telescope mirrors: 1) Using ferric chloride to strip old aluminum coating off a mirror that needs refiguring (yes, it is very acidic, and is messy and stains), and 2) polishing glass with Cerium Oxide (for optical work it is embedded, wet, in an old-fashioned pitch lap).

 

Ken

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40 minutes ago, Ken_Coles said:

What an impressive piece of work! I can relate to two of the dozens of crafts you are using, as I'm currently polishing and figuring several telescope mirrors: 1) Using ferric chloride to strip old aluminum coating off a mirror that needs refiguring (yes, it is very acidic, and is messy and stains), and 2) polishing glass with Cerium Oxide (for optical work it is embedded, wet, in an old-fashioned pitch lap).

 

Thanks Ken! The telescope work sounds interesting.

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11 hours ago, alex_holden said:

I recently built another variation on the theme. The keyboard rows are straight across, but the hand rests are angled. This was a special request by my client, who seems very pleased with it:

https://www.holdenconcertinas.com/?p=1718

Angling the handrests like that puts the buttons likely to be played by the little fingers closer to the handrests rather than further away as on a Hayden.

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Thanks everyone.

 

@dabbler—I hadn't noticed that the Beaumont doesn't have the slant. I think it'll be easy enough for me to track down one of those and give it a test drive.

 

@alex_holden, that is a pretty box. I was actually just musing on the possibility of adding thumb loops to my Anglo to make it easier to play standing up, and I feel validated to know at least one other person has done it! Also enjoyed reading about your process for creating the raised ends. And I actually used the same ferric chloride etching process in one of my (alas, non-concertina) projects: pic1 pic2

Edited by Luke Hillman
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4 hours ago, Luke Hillman said:

 

@alex_holden, that is a pretty box. I was actually just musing on the possibility of adding thumb loops to my Anglo to make it easier to play standing up, and I feel validated to know at least one other person has done it! Also enjoyed reading about your process for creating the raised ends. And I actually used the same ferric chloride etching process in one of my (alas, non-concertina) projects: pic1 pic2

 

Thanks Luke! Interesting keyboard. You might consider just adding a thumb strap to one side, leaving the other thumb unrestricted for pressing the air button. I believe Colin Dipper did that on his Franglo instruments.

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I have nothing to add to everything that I wrote 18 years ago, (see link above).  The advantages of Hayden specification over the "parallel"  arrangement  becomes more apparent, when playing more complex music, on the larger instruments. 

I must say that I have never seen any reason why makers could not make the fretting of the ends in such a way that the handles could be fixed in several different ways.  Wheatstone  made  Duet Concertinas with the uncut part of the fretting below the handles in an "infinity" pattern.  This would allow the handles to be attached in an infinite number of different ways !

 

Inventor.

       

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi!
Hope all you  are safe, and enjoying the summer?

Indeed. I am the proud owner of Holden #7 concertina?. It is an awfully especial instrument. I am delighted of holding It in my hands, watch its aesthetic and hear its sound. Also I feel confident to say I think a piece of Alex's soul does rest under the oak tree next to mine. Thank you very much Alex!!!

Concerning slant and holding design. I can now talk about my impressions.

The first thing I'd point out is that the quality of the instrument does have strong influence on the holdind requirements. Those of you having tried a Stagi Hayden or similar instrument, would have experienced the hard- to- play buttons and the strong to play bellows.

Nothing compared the smoothness and supple when playing  Holden #7!!. This smoothness does almost entirely help to avoid  tension in my Hand, forearm and thumb finger. As consequence, the hand and fingers are more relaxed and buttons can be reached more easily.

I have nothing against the slant. I read a lot of posts about this topic, and I carefully took into account all comments I found. I can understand the advantages @inventorpointed out. And I am almost convinced that in a small sized , high quality instrument, both slanted and parallel rails would work nicely (the button spacement in the Hayden keyboard strongly helps at this concern) .  And, I agree Inventor's consideration about there could be margin to fine adjust the hand rest position, to match specific playing requirements.

That said. The holding system I finally designed tried to match both my playing style and hand size (medium-small). All comments and suggerences I received from C.net Duet player members were  considered. And I built a dummy keyboard that strongly helped me to test a lot of holding  options.

Well. As a result, my feeling about holding design in Holden #7 is....I  just feel nothing!?.

My hands do fit the hand/strap system in a fully natural , free way. I inmediately do forget both straps and bloks...,  and simply I play with total control and confort. I reach easily all buttons and I use pinkies regularly. Thus, everything is just right to me ?.
In addition, even the system was not optimized to play stand Up..., I still can play standing Up...(certain practice is needed yo get used to, though) and I do confess I like It veeeery much!.

I would happily answer any speficic question about this holding system, either in this post or by PM.

Kind regards!
Isra

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