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frogspawn

Holding A Crane Duet While Standing

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I quite like the idea of a single strap from the right hand end and round your right shoulder only, though, it's the only arrangement suggested that avoids complicating the bellows movement. Easy enough to put on too.

 

 

I tried this at home - it slips off my shoulders. However, One strap going from concertina's left end over the left shoulder, crossing the back and under right urmpit into and underneath right concertina end - superb results! Easy to put in, on and off, centers Concertina's right end in the middle of stomack(belly, spare tire, 6 pack), leaves bellows free from rubing and bellows movements are not complicated at all. Instrument is super secure, steady.

I'll make some photos of this too. My camera battery was down.

 

 

That sounds good, a lot like the way you run a guitar strap if I'm reading this correctly.

 

You are reading this correctly.

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OK, done deal.

I made a little movie about me putting the straps.

The quality is low to minimize the load, so don't make your Quicktime window too big.

It's here

Edited by m3838

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OK, done deal.

I made a little movie about me putting the straps.

The quality is low to minimize the load, so don't make your Quicktime window too big.

It's here

 

 

thats good I like it. I'm going to make my own and give it a try. It looks very comfortable, now you don't have to put your concertina down to drink your beer!

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Just this weekend gone, at the Deal Maritime Folk Festival, I had the privilege of attending a 'bellows' workshop given by John Kirkpatrick, and the subject of 'holding' came up. This was in relation to the Anglo, but given the similar hand-strap arrangement, the same issues apply.

 

The usual suggestions (and warnings) about resting the ends and/or the bellows arose, as did mention of neck straps, but John doesn't resort to either of these - he holds the Anglo in the air. He didn't, however, have any magical formula. He stressed that playing squeezeboxes of any kind was an awkward physical, and, at times, painful, experience and he had the 'bumps' (literally) to prove it.

 

He had tried the Anglo in various positions, starting with the high position where the bars are supported on the heels of the hand, but the 'tina ends up in front of your face and isn't much good for singing. He wasn't conscious of the position he uses now so I'll have to see him again in concert to find out!

 

I find this immensely reassuring. Although a brilliant squeezebox player, John is very much a singer-player and thus exactly the sort of performer I'd aspire to emulate (very humbly of course). He demonstrates that holding a 'tina in the air is both possible and, for singing, desirable (IMO).

 

Holding must be a problem with many musical instruments not rigidly clamped in position. Take the tin whistle, for example. Sometimes your fingers are hardly on it but somehow the very momentum of the fingers being moved to play it contribute to its stability, and I think something similar happens with a 'tina. I find myself throwing it about especially to reach the outer columns on a Crane Duet, then you sort of catch it as your hand changes position again. It's essentially juggling, with the 'tina momentarily suspended in mid-air. The more you practice the easier, the more accurate and the less conscious this becomes.

 

The more I think about it the more apt the juggling analogy seems to me to be, and it's a very different approach from anchoring.

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I've come to the conclusion that both Peter and Percy Honri used their little fingers braced on the fretwork as well as their thumbs to stabilise their big duets, so they only played with 3 fingers most of the time, perhaps bringing the little fingers into play only when pushed.

 

People play 3 fingered with Englishes, why not duets? I've already made a great effort to learn to use my whole hand and I'm not about to give up a finger, so all this means is I now have a legit excuse to play on my knee.

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I've come to the conclusion that both Peter and Percy Honri used their little fingers braced on the fretwork as well as their thumbs to stabilise their big duets, so they only played with 3 fingers most of the time, perhaps bringing the little fingers into play only when pushed.

 

 

Dirge: Very interesting! But, perhaps, like John Kirkpatrick, they had very long fingers?

 

I already wrap my thumbs around the straps and handles, and I've now tried putting my little finger (at least on my left hand) into contact with the fretwork, but I find that rather restricting on my other fingers and not, on balance, any benefit.

 

Richard

Edited by frogspawn

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I've come to the conclusion that both Peter and Percy Honri used their little fingers braced on the fretwork as well as their thumbs to stabilise their big duets, so they only played with 3 fingers most of the time, perhaps bringing the little fingers into play only when pushed.

 

 

Dirge: Very interesting! But, perhaps, like John Kirkpatrick, they had very long fingers?

 

I already wrap my thumbs around the straps and handles, and I've now tried putting my little finger (at least on my left hand) into contact with the fretwork, but I find that rather restricting on my other fingers and not, on balance, any benefit.

 

Richard

Don't think it's the same as JK, Richard, they were playing 9" wide instruments with twice the buttons to cover. Much easier to manage a smaller, lighter instrument where you don't need to turn your hand much to cover the keyboard.

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Time for a reappraisal...

 

I don't like messing with screws on an antique machine, but as a (slowly) developing player I've found that hand-strap tightness needs to be reviewed periodically, especially as I play standing-up with the 'tina held in mid-air.

 

After a couple of years of just playing tunes on the right hand only, I'm now very keen to work some songs up to performance level, and this is going to involve bringing in the left hand in one way or another.

 

Despite my earlier optimistic concept of relatively loose straps, I have found the ends 'twisting around' once I tried to do something more extensive on the left and especially when I trying to reach the outer left column. I needed more anchorage so decided to tighten the left-hand strap while leaving the right one looser. This seems to make sense if only because there are more buttons on the right requiring greater reach, but I'd be interested to hear from other Crane players as to relative left-right tightness. Of course, if you rest the 'tina on a knee, then maybe you anchor the right rather than the left.

 

(Another aspect of playing in the air is that I pull/squeeze the bellows symetrically rather than by moving one end.)

 

Any comments?

 

Richard

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Time for a reappraisal...

 

I don't like messing with screws on an antique machine, but as a (slowly) developing player I've found that hand-strap tightness needs to be reviewed periodically, especially as I play standing-up with the 'tina held in mid-air.

 

Definitely review strap tightness! According to my Crane tutor, beginners need tighter straps, more advanced players (who utilise more of the buttons, and have overcome the phobia of dropping the instrument) need looser straps.

 

... I'd be interested to hear from other Crane players as to relative left-right tightness. Of course, if you rest the 'tina on a knee, then maybe you anchor the right rather than the left.

 

(Another aspect of playing in the air is that I pull/squeeze the bellows symetrically rather than by moving one end.)

 

Any comments?

 

I rest the left side of both Anglo and Crane on my leg when playing seated. My right hand pumps, works the air button and plays treble. Dunno why - just happened! The straps are equally tight left and right.

 

I find strap stiffness an important factor. I've replaced the old, thin, pliable straps on my Crane with new, thick, stiff ones adjusted to the same length, and have experienced a great improvement in ease of fingering, both standing and sitting.

 

I sometimes think that the ideal straps would be ones made of sheet metal with a soft covering, e.g. thin leather. This would make the weight of the concertina bear on the knuckles of the index fingers, without pulling the hands in towards the buttons. This should give the fingers greater freedom of movement than even stiff leather straps.

 

Cheers,

John

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