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Hand Rest Position


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Hello all,

quick question on hand rest position, and when I say position to be specific I'm talking about anglo, up and down adjustment; as in, if it were sitting on your knee, north, south, up and down adjustment, not nearer or further from the buttons. And, further more, really the left hand side. My right hand is fine - I reach all the buttons I need without difficulty; but on the left it feels like I could really move the rest south and reach the lower notes more easily, and not miss hit them so often.

 

That adjustment (North, South), does anyone else have different placement of their handrests on the left and right sides of their instrument? Discuss.

 

Alan Caffrey.

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Maybe some hand/finger stretching exercises might be an alternative to messing about with your 'tina. Is your span greater on your right hand than your left, and are you right-handed?

 

I say this because my span on my left hand is about a finger's breadth wider than on my right, because I'm left-handed, and also my music teacher at school made us do finger exercises -- touching the little & index fingers in front of & behind the other fingers as quickly as possible.

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I only have problems reaching all the notes if the strap is too tight.Most of the far left hand playing is done with my little finger.

It is not against the law to move your fingers over to for chords, but normally this is not necessary. This is the reason I rest the concertina on my left leg to give me support that end to make chord work and little finger and ring finger runs less difficult.

Al

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That adjustment (North, South), does anyone else have different placement of their handrests on the left and right sides of their instrument? Discuss.

Hi Alan,

 

As with any instrument, the playing position should be comfortable. It can be difficult to describe accurately, so I hope that the attached photos help.

 

The first two photos show the relationship of the handrail to the keyboard. I have both set to the same position.

 

I have my handstraps loose to facilitate movement around the keyboard. The remaining photos are an attempt to show just how loose the straps actually are. For both the right and left hands, I have shown the normal playing (home) position, plus further images with the thumbs withdrawn to enable you to see how the hands are arched against the hand straps and the little fingers gently resting against the fretwork.

 

I play primarily with three fingers on each hand, although I know that many players favour using all four fingers.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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I, on the other hand, cannot let my anglo straps get loose enough to facilitate easy motion all around the keyboard. For me (and a small minority of others) this inflames my carpal tunnel, putting an end to my playing. I instead raise the handle with foam and with some experimentation it works pretty well.

 

You'll many solutions and ways of playing out there.

 

Ken

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Alan,

 

In my experience, the position of the palmrest seems to be very arbitrary from maker to maker. Wheatstone & Lachenal anglos have the palmrest very close to the first row of buttons -- suggesting that the positioning was selected to accommodate people with small hands in Victorian England. No surprise here. Also, the rows of buttons are stacked very close to vertical. Crabbs/Ball Beavons, and Jeffries instead are positioned more comfortably for people with larger hands -- with more space from the palmrest to the first row and the rows of buttons are stacked with more of an angle between rows, and these brands seemed to find great favor in the hands of Irish farmer musicians and the like -- your humble scribe included. I should note that there is even variety in the centering of the palmrest position and this can affect row access too.

 

Another issue is the positioning of the air button on the righthand side of these instruments. Some are positioned much lower on the instrument -- forcing one to bend one's thumb down to reach that button. With my big hands, I most favor the air button position on Crabbs and Jeffries.

 

With that all being said, even these limited choices are not enough to accommodate the variety in peoples' hands. Wally Carroll is making his new concertinas with an adjustable palmrest to deal with these individual differences. He can tell you the limitations of this movement, but it can be set individually for the left and right side of the instrument.

 

The height of the palmrest plays into this issue too. A taller palmrest (1" or more) will ease access to first row buttons even if the palmrest is closer to the first row of buttons than would normally be comfortable with a standard height palmrest (5/8" to 3/4"). Wally can work with you on palmrest height as can Dipper. In fact my Dipper came standard with a taller palmrest. I don't know why, but I'm glad it did. Of course, Colin did have a tracing of my hand and so he knew I had problems with the more traditional setups ala Wheatstone.

 

BTW, I find it difficult to reach the lower lefthand first row buttons, and a slight rotation of the palmrest eases my access to those buttons. But it's a delicate balance. Improve access to the low buttons on the left and you may restrict access to the higher notes near the top of the instrument on that side. Strap tension can either improve or restrict range of motion too. So take your time, try out different combinations, and don't do anything you can't undo.

 

Good luck,

 

Ross Schlabach

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I had problems with RSI in my right arm some years ago and have to be careful. Like Ken Coles, I fit foam over the hand rests of my Morse Anglo and this keeps my wrists straight and relaxed. By doing this I have had few problems.

 

I have small hands and cannot reach the "remote buttons" (E/F, A/Bb on the LH and C#/Bb, A/D on the RH) on the accidental row but I can manage with my ring finger, so playing in that region involves some "finger dancing". As I am a relative beginner, this is taking a little time, but I am getting better all the time.

 

Geoff

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You will see from Peter's Photographs that the back of his hand forms an arch.This is difficult to describe on paper, but this is where a picture is valuable.The strap needs to be fairly loose to enable you to slide your hand about ,but the arching of the hand gives you stability. I have seen an Irish person playing brilliantly using just two fingers,moving his hand back and forth to play the notes.You cannot do this if the strap is clamped on to your hand restricting movement. If it is resting on your knee you are not likely to drop the instrument so loose straps are easy in this position.When playing standing up it can still be achieved but you have to adopt a praying position with your hand with the corner of the concertina resting on your palms.

Al

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I have small hands and cannot reach the "remote buttons" (E/F, A/Bb on the LH and C#/Bb, A/D on the RH) on the accidental row but I can manage with my ring finger, so playing in that region involves some "finger dancing". As I am a relative beginner, this is taking a little time, but I am getting better all the time.

 

Geoff

 

I am glad to hear you say this Geoff. I have wondered about my own hands ever since I started playing the concertina. I assumed my hands were average size, or maybe slightly larger, since I am a big fella, as they say here - over 6 foot and solidly built (my mum's phrase!). I can't reach the more remote buttons with my little finger and have to use some finger dancing too , in order to use my ring finger. I also can only reach the air button with the tip of my thumb, whereas I have seen some players using the knuckle joint of their thumb.

 

I like Meltzer's suggestion for finger exercises, but unfortunately, I can't get my little finger and index finger to touch behind my middle fingers!

 

Nigel

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I have small hands and cannot reach the "remote buttons" (E/F, A/Bb on the LH and C#/Bb, A/D on the RH) on the accidental row but I can manage with my ring finger, so playing in that region involves some "finger dancing". As I am a relative beginner, this is taking a little time, but I am getting better all the time.

 

Geoff

 

I can't get my little finger and index finger to touch behind my middle fingers!

 

Nigel

 

Neither can I

Al

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I like Meltzer's suggestion for finger exercises, but unfortunately, I can't get my little finger and index finger to touch behind my middle fingers!

Hi Nigel,

 

Nigel's (Meltzer) finger exercise was a new one on me.

 

I've used one for many years, and used to do it sub-consiously. One day, at work, my boss, who was in conversation with me, stopped talking and looked down at my hands. My exercise is to put second finger over index finger and ring finger over little finger almost simultaneously, then move the locked fingers outwards.

 

So, I tried Nigel's exercise and found that I could cross index and little fingers behind the other two. Interesting! Maybe that's what years of playing the concertina does for you.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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[ My exercise is to put second finger over index finger and ring finger over little finger almost simultaneously, then move the locked fingers outwards.

 

Regards,

Peter.

 

Can't do that one either!

 

Nigel of the short fingers

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