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How Loose/tight Are The Straps On Your Anglo?


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Hi all,

 

I play with the straps on my Anglo fairly snug, but noticed that County Clare player Martha Clancy (whom I'm currently having lessons with) has her concertina straps pretty loose.

 

Any preference either way for your own instruments?

 

Cheers

Morgana :)

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The biggest mistake I made in my first year of playing the Anglo was to have the straps too tight. I ended up hurting my hand - the doctor thought that I had probably fractured a bone.

 

Since then I have had my straps fairly loose and things have been a lot better. There tends to be 1/2" to 1" of space between my palm and the handrest if I pull on the strap.

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The looser the straps the more mobility to reach that odd note quickly. John Kirkpatrick has his straps very loose and still manages to control the instrument in a way that we all envy.

 

I find that I move the base of the thumb towards the index finger to grip the strap. I know that this is something that does not come naturally to all people but is something that I have always been able to do.

 

I also arch my hands lattearlly so that palm near the base of the little finger is hard against the handle until I need to stretch for a button.

 

I usually support the left hand end on my left knee, except when playing for the morris, when I have to stand.

I actually find it easier to play when walking than when standing, presumably the motion helps you to reposition the instument as required.

 

Robin Madge

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I agree with the previous postings.I have my straps like Robin in that I play with my hands slightly arched to hold the concertina in place but loose enough to enable me to move to all parts of the keyboard. When playing for dancing, standing up, I tend to adopt what I could only describe as the classic praying position but hands apart with the concertina resting on my palms.Still making the right hand do the work and the left fairly static, as it would be sitting down with that end resting just above my left knee.When the straps are too tight I find it absolute agony after about an hours playing and my knuckles hurt the next day.

Regards

Al

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How new are the straps on your anglo?

Having had 2 anglos with new straps, I found that newer straps take some softening. Starting with the strap just comfortable, after a year or so, the strap moulds itself to your playing position and you can play with a somewhat slacker strap.

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When I started playing I found I couldn't keep control of the instrument without having the straps quite tight, which seriously limited the mobility of the fingers, and could get very uncomfortable. As time's gone on I've loosened the straps off to get the mobility (and comfort), but still find I can control the instrument OK.

 

So just play around with them and find what works for you, and be prepared to change it as you get used to the instrument.

 

Also note that, if your straps are adjusted through a series of holes, you can always make your own hole between existing ones!

 

Still on topic I think: The handles on my instrument are arched to fit into the palm, and are very comfortable. Most instruments I see seem (from pictures) to have straight handles. Mine is an early jeffries, but I suspect that the handles arn't original. Thoughts anybody?

 

Clive

Edited by Clive Thorne
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I was so interested in this subject I decided to see tonight exactly what I did do when holding the concertina.The bottom hexagonal corner of the instrument almost digs into the base of the palm at the point where it joins the wrist and I force the straps hard against the back of my hands when playing.If I straighten my hand out away from the buttons they form an approximate thirty degree angle with the instrument. The palm of my hands are actually only touching the rear of the hand rests not flat on it.

Interesting I didn`t even know I did that when playing.The extra gap between the palm and the hand rest allows me to reach all the buttons and move about to form chords.(about 6mm) a bit less than the previous postings.

Al

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You are right Christopher about the edge of the hand near the little finger base,the base of the thumb the other side forming the arch.

I can understand your half inch gap if you were sitting down but standing up I do not think I could put enough backward pressure to hold up the instrument for long periods.The gap between the rest and hand must be different however for large and small hands I suppose it could never be standard for everybody.

Al

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The problem with all this I believe is that the bar usually is too low and due to that the hand is pressed down if the straps are tight. On the other hand, if the straps are looser to give the hand a better position there is too little control.

 

The solution might be a higher and better bar giving the hand some support and allowing the straps to be tight, but in the right place, which is closer to the wrist. The common place of the straps over the knuckles is no good at all.

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I wonder Marc if the hand rest was angled backwards it might be more comfortable.Colin Dipper has been experimenting with hand rests which are much bulkier and shaped than the Jeffries type bar but they were too high for me.What you do not want is the rest effecting or restricting your fingers in any way.There must be a more comfortable shape than a wooden bar that your hand has to rest on an edge though.

Dan mentioned the leather softness, this plays a big part in how comfortable the straps are.Too hard and your in agony and too soft,too much flexibilty and stretching.Some I had,every time I played they had to be adjusted for length and eventually snapped in the middle of a gig,luckily I had a spare as a replacement.

Regards

Al

Edited by Alan Day
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I wonder Marc if the hand rest was angled backwards it might be more comfortable.Colin Dipper has been experimenting with hand rests which are much bulkier and shaped than the Jeffries type bar but they were too high for me.What you do not want is the rest effecting or restricting your fingers in any way.There must be a more comfortable shape than a wooden bar that your hand has to rest on a an edge though.

 

Alan,

With the hand rest angled backwards you expect having an awkward position of the wrist. On the contrary the hand rest ought to be flat or angled 'forwards'. The height probably is something to get gradually accustomed to. 15mm at the thumb side and 30-40mm at the little finger side probably is the suitable range. You also

want to get closer to the keyboard with the little finger and a bit farther away at the thumb side.

The position of the air button may be a problem. A press button is not very purposeful anyway I think. A lever acting sideways instead of a button would be

more natural for the movements of the thumb.

Marc

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The height probably is something to get gradually accustomed to. 15mm at the thumb side and 30-40mm at the little finger side probably is the suitable range.

 

You also want to get closer to the keyboard with the little finger and a bit farther away at the thumb side.

??? Don't those two sentences contradict each other?

 

.... Or is the second sentence not referring to height?

 

 

But also check out the comments on bar height and comfort in the "Jeffries Metal Hand Rests" Topic under the Concertina History subForum.

Edited by JimLucas
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My concertina is quite new, so the straps haven't softened yet.

(Any idea how long this will take?)

 

After my orignal posting I losened the straps and have been playing that way all week. It's taking some getting used to, and I'm not sure it I like it. I'm finding that I'm gripping harder with my thumbs so that the instrument feels secure in my hands (even though I play sitting down with the instrument resting on one knee). I'm very conscious of strain or injury (through experience with other instruments), so will be taking it very carefully <_<

 

I'll give it another couple of weeks and see how I go.

 

Cheers

Morgana

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