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Hey there,

I'm a musician who's been playing a concertina for 5 years. My 30 button is a not so expensive but decent concertina. After this time i feel like an ungrade is due. As i have larger hands i always dreamed of a bigger concertina, in size and more buttons. Something my hands can be comfortable with.

So i messaged Steve Dickenson and after explaining my wants he suggested that an 7 1/4 might be more to my liking. And it has 50 buttons which i would be delighted to have. As i play folk music with people who have a preference for f sharp major and all other keys that the 30 can obviously do but just lacks the bass for when I'm comping. So with these buttons im hoping to have a bass note for each chord and pump up my mids and highs aswell.

That's why I'm here, for choosing the placement of the notes. Can anyone please help me with this? Ive done out many diagrams already but I immagine that someone on this sight knows how to help me.  I'm trying to keep my current c/g and just add around that to make it even more comfortable in different keys with melodies and chords. Send me an email and I'll send images of the instrument that has been proposed.

Thank you 

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Kim, I Too have big hands and find Lachenal and Wheatstone concertinas generally too small for my hands. But Crabb, Ball Beavon and Jeffries concertinas work just fine. Surprisingly, the sizes of these three brands is usually about 1/4" smaller across than the Lachenal and Wheatstones, but the button layout on the Crabbs, etc are more open. This is what helps with big hands, not the overall size of the instrument. In fact I am more comfortable playing my Jeffries than a Wheatstone sized concertina. So unless your hands are really much bigger than my "farmers hands", concertina size is not the issue. Now, if you are sure you want lots of extra buttons, then size can be an issue.

Edited by RP3
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In this case the button layout refers to the spacing and placement of the buttons which, in the Jeffries pattern is more fanned out than the more horizontally compact Wheatstone layout.  Your question sounded like you wanted to know what notes those 20 extra buttons should have.  If Steve has done one of these 50 button instruments before, I’d ask him how it had been organized.  You can probably find layouts for 48 button anglos and that will give you a better idea how they are best organized.  With that extended a layout, you are not likely to be lacking for alternative fingerings or chord possibilities.  HOWEVER, if button spacing is your problem or over close placement of the inner row, 50 buttons may end up filling up a 7-1/4 instrument as much as 30 does in a 6-1/4. Make sure Steve knows what your issues are so he can accommodate them.  
Dana

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I wasn't aware that Steve made instruments which were 7 1/4" across the flats - unless you're referring to an octagonal instruments but even those (on the C Wheatstone website) are only 6 3/4" across the flats and only have 40 buttons?

 

Is this is a vintage instrument of some kind perhaps?  I'd love to see pictures - e mail is alex at westlord dot co dot uk.

 

I've a 47 key vintage Wheatstone which is 6 1/2" AF - that's pretty big and certainly feels bigger than a standard Jeffries

 

Alex West

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I would just caution, a 30 button C/G has 60 reeds. A 50 button concertina would have 100 reeds. That is an awful lot of extra weight to be pushing in and pulling out for a night's playing. I play a somewhat occasional B flat session and I have a 4 row A flat / E flat concertina. I can tell you that you would definitely know that you have been playing a heavier instrument.

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If you can do with 30 buttons, the spacing on a 30 button Jeffries, or a modern maker following that pattern, is very nice. I have long fingers, and while I can get used to a Wheatstone and manage fine with it, I feel very comfortable on my Jeffries with 30 bone buttons. 

 

However watch at Liam O'Brien play his Wheatstone. He's a big lad! 

 

There's also a lot to be said about the height of your palm rest. That may have a bigger impact on comfort than button spacing alone. 

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On 8/12/2020 at 1:27 AM, John, Wexford said:

I would just caution, a 30 button C/G has 60 reeds. A 50 button concertina would have 100 reeds. That is an awful lot of extra weight to be pushing in and pulling out for a night's playing. I play a somewhat occasional B flat session and I have a 4 row A flat / E flat concertina. I can tell you that you would definitely know that you have been playing a heavier instrument

Interesting..i wouldn't of thought of the difficulty in that regard..do you not think you'd just get used to that ? Not to be boastful but I'm fairly strong.. used to do gym work and all that as a younger fellow. Surly I'd just adapt to the instrument over time

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Hi Kim,

 

I was just relating my experience with a 4-row, low-pitched concertina.

 

You could very well adapt to the instrument over time, particularly with your previous experience of gym work, but if you choose to go down this route, and it doesn't work out, there is not a lot you can do to reduce the weight of your concertina.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

You may want to consider the position and shape of the hand rests, height, width, distance from the buttons/keys, etc. I believe that Frank Edgley has designed an adjustable hand rest and others have experimented with ergonomic hand rests. To me, the saddest posts on the Buy/Sell forum are from people selling their instruments due to arthritis. It breaks my heart every time. 

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A higher handrest of 1" is probably the easiest and cheapest way of making the buttons more accessible for larger hands. I've done this with all my Anglos and Duets and it works wonders.

 

As others have noted, a larger instrument will be heavier and that's not necessarily a good thing.

 

As for arthritis, the Anglo is probably the best instrument for that condition (which I have a severe case of) since the range of motion and finger bending is much less than other instruments, and being diatonic you get the added efficiency of two notes for one button.

 

Gary

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I Have modified instruments to help people with large hands, lengthening the palm rests a little, raising their height and moving them back a bit away from the buttons. By combing all three actions it did not take too much change in any one axis to make a difference.

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I have arthritis on my left hand. Sometimes it's painful to play. A set of "upgrade" handrests help tremendously. In the photo below, the highest point of the handrests is about 1", the lowest is about 0.5".

 

 

CustomedHandrests.jpg

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