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Anglo/duet Handles & Holding

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Two Topics in other subForums discussing the holding and control of anglos (and therefore duets, which have similar handles), and handle design are:


"How Loose/tight Are The Straps On Your Anglo?" in General Discussion


"Jeffries Metal Hand Rests" in History


I recommend that anyone interested in the subject check out those Topics.

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I have mine probably too tight because my fingers are fully bent not curved. I do not know what is correct. I have another question and I just know that you can answer it. How do you finger the fourth and fifth buttons with the right hand on a 20 button anglo? so far I have not found anything on my own that seems to be right! I thank you in advance Jim for sharing your wisdom on the subject.


Edited by Jim Wright

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Jim, do you have the same trouble as I...that the keyboard is too far away at that end ...?

Different Jim here, but I simply don't have that problem, not even with many-button anglos that have 6-7 buttons in a row. I do have some problem reaching the more distant buttons with my little finger on larger duets, but there we're talking more than four "rows" as they would be counted on an anglo.


My fingers aren't unusually long, maybe even shorter than average, though my hands are somewhat broad in comparison.


Also, I do use my little fingers a lot on the anglo, and I'll rotate my hand slightly relative to my wrist when reaching for the "outside" buttons.

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You don't use the top row accidentals at the right side that often do you?....

Fairly often. Probably more than you think. I also reach down to the low ones in the left hand a lot.


There is a difference between the 20 key and 20+ models since with the 20 key you get the fundamental keys one row further to the top and consequently there is more trouble reaching the buttons with the little fingers.
Not "one row" further, and I'm not sure how much generalization is possible.


I have just looked at five instruments, all with the same size ends: a 20-button Lachenal, a 26-button Lachenal, a 30-button Ceili, a 32-button Jones, and a 38-button Jeffries. (All but the Jeffries have wooden ends.) The location of center of the "high-E" button(rightmost in a 5-button row) of the "C" row (outer row on the 20-button, middle on the others) on each is:

..20b: 6.3 cm from the bar, 4.8 cm from the edge

..26b: 5.9 cm from the bar, 4.2 cm from the edge

..30b: 6.1 cm from the bar, 4.2 cm from the edge

..32b: 6.0 cm from the bar, 4.3 cm from the edge

..38b: 5.7 cm from the bar, 4.4 cm from the edge


The location of the equivalent button in the "third" row, on those instruments which have a full 5-button 3rd row, is:

..30b: 7.4 cm from the bar, 4.8 cm from the edge

..32b: 7.3 cm from the bar, 4.9 cm from the edge

..38b: 6.9 cm from the bar, 5.1 cm from the edge


On all these instruments the top of the rail is 9 cm wide, except the 38b Jeffries, where it's 9.3 cm. On all except the 32b Jones, the right end of the rail is 2cm from the edge of the instrument. On the Jones, it's 3.3 cm.


(All measurements were done with a metric tape measure, and should be considered accurate to plus or minus 1 mm.)


From this you can see that while the "C" row on the 20-button (at least on this 20-button) is somewhat further from the bar than on the others, i'ts also closer than the corresponding "third" row on those with three full rows.


The rotation you speak of comes by itself when using the modified handles and the hand position is a lot more natural.
Since I'm not sure which "modified handles" you're talking about, that's hard to answer. Göran Rahm's design? I don't see anything in his text or drawings to indicate that the handle or support is angled, so I'm not sure where the rotation would come from. (Not saying it can't happen, but to me it's not obvious.)


In any case, I don't always have my hand rotated, and I'm not sure it would be preferable to have it so. What I prefer is the freedom to change the rotation according to whatever buttons I'm reaching for.


But I did notice something interesting when I took my measurements. On the 26-button Lachenal, but not on any of the others, the hand rails are angled slightly to the ends, being more toward the buttons on the side away from the thumbs. The angle is not the same on both sides: on the left end it's about 4mm if the bar were extended fully across the end; on the right end it's about 6mm.

Edited by JimLucas

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Somebody mentioned in passing a hand bar.I have been thinking this over ,a round bar, on end brackets with an adjustable position foreward up and back would be the answer.We have been talking about the comfort of a rounded back edge and adjustment up and down,foreward and back to cater for different hand sizes.The bar would also allow the sound to come out underneath as also discussed.

I would be interested in your comments


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I don't see what you want to proove with your measures...

Marc, you made an unqualified statement: "...with the 20 key you get the fundamental keys one row further to the top..." My data demonstrate that statement to be false, at least with respect to my instruments. Is the row furthest from the bar on your 20-button really as distant as that on similar 3-row instruments you've played?


...with my 20 key the distance to the bar is 70mm) but the distant row is hard to reach with the little fingers in all cases (as you admit having to rotate to manage..) and with 2 rows it is worse...

I'm sorry to say that my statement was misleading -- you may say "inaccurate", if you wish -- but your interpretation of it is simply not true. What I said was, "...I'll rotate my hand slightly relative to my wrist when reaching for the 'outside' buttons." I didn't say "had to"; I didn't say "to manage"; and I didn't say I do it all the time. Actually, I do it much less than I thought when I made that statement. I have just observed more carefully what I do, and I don't normally rotate my hand when simply reaching for the distant buttons with my little finger on either the 20-button or 30-button anglo. I certainly don't find it necessary.


I do it a little on the 38-button, but that's to reach the extra button on the end of the middle row, and I don't even do it for that on the 32-button, where I have tighter straps. It seems I do rotate my hand slightly when I reach for the 2 outermost buttons in the middle or outer row with my ring or middle finger, which I will do if my little finger is already occupied. Even then, I emphasize the word "slight". With my hand in its non-rotated "resting" position I can easily reach beyond the outer-outer button with my little finger. By extending my fingers but not rotating them I can even grip the corners of the end on either side of the outer row with my index and little fingers. Or if I brace the heel of my palm againt the end of the instrument "behind" the bar, I can still easily reach that outer-outer button with my little finger, still without rotation.


Yes, I meant the "modified handles" according to Goran Rahm.They are  angled and wider which makes it a lot easier to reach the lateral buttons. The position of the hand and fingers definitely is much better than with the "normal" handle.

You have tried them, then?


Have a look at the figures in the "Modified handle" topic in this forum....

The figures don't show the handstrap but there are some photos in the "Ergonomic handle" article at the concertina.net home page.

Thanks for the heads up on the photos. I had looked at Göran's drawings in the "Modified handle" Topic , but as I said, the rotation was not obvious to me. The photos do show asymmetry in the support block and rotation of the hand. However, the rotation is in the opposite direction from what I have reported using (I realize now that I didn't say which direction I was rotating), so I expect it would work against my purpose.


I won't dispute that you have difficulty reaching the buttons, and perhaps others have the same difficulty, but I know I'm also not the only one who doesn't have that particular problem. I wish you luck in overcoming it.

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