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Hand Straps On The English Concertina!


Hand Straps on the English Concertina.  

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So I am seriously thinking of asking Dave to fit straps on my E.C. The only thing stopping me is that, to have them fitted means me being without her for a while, just when I'm starting to find my way around the buttons. :(

 

Cheers

Dick

 

You might try installing them yourself. The folks at the Button Box sent me the kit with instructions, and with a goodly amount of caution, I put them on myself! :rolleyes: It actually gave me the courage to dive into two recent pad re-attachments (I do those double finger repeated notes thingys on fast reels and jigs, loosening up the f# and d on the left side :( ). Went off without a hitch. In full disclosure, I asked the Button Box folks for advice and they were right back at me with a helpful response.

 

Hmmmm .. very interesting ..... strokes beard

 

Thanks, I must find out more about this kit & where I can get my hands on it, over here on this side of the pond.

 

Cheers

Dick

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As for anyone snorting at the idea . believe me, when I made up those questions for the poll above, they were done with my tongue very firmly in my cheek & I certainly would never seriously poke fun at anyone wearing straps. I happen to think they are probably a very good idea.

Stuart's handstraps? Please - let's get this straight. I think this discussion is confusing and will lead people astray. Are you a proponent of handstraps or wriststraps? Mark - was the kit you got from the Button Box for handstraps or wriststraps? Dave, have you ever installed handstraps (not wriststraps) to an EC?

 

Has anyone ever seen/experienced anyone other than Stuart with handstraps (not wriststraps) on an English concertina?

 

-- Rich --

Edited by Richard Morse
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As for anyone snorting at the idea . believe me, when I made up those questions for the poll above, they were done with my tongue very firmly in my cheek & I certainly would never seriously poke fun at anyone wearing straps. I happen to think they are probably a very good idea.

Stuart's handstraps? Please - let's get this straight. I think this discussion is confusing and will lead people astray. Are you a proponent of handstraps or wriststraps? Mark - was the kit you got from the Button Box for handstraps or wriststraps? Dave, have you ever installed handstraps (not wriststraps) to an EC?

 

Has anyone ever seen/experienced anyone other than Stuart with handstraps (not wriststraps) on an English concertina?

 

-- Rich --

 

Rich, haven't we already established, or at least agreed, that on an English they are really wrist straps & that Stuart also had wrist straps, so when the photo was taken, his hand was just caught sliding into the strap?

 

So Hand Straps on an Anglo & Wrist Straps on an English.

 

So we're all talking about straps that go round your wrist, for use on an English Concertina ... I think!

 

Or ........... ;)

 

Cheers

Dick

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Mark - was the kit you got from the Button Box for handstraps or wriststraps?

-- Rich --

 

Wrist straps I think. They look like the straps on Morse anglos. I really like the ample proportions around the back of the wrist. Those straight ones would pinch a bit I think.

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Rich, haven't we already established, or at least agreed, that on an English they are really wrist straps & that Stuart also had wrist straps, so when the photo was taken, his hand was just caught sliding into the strap?
No, that hasn't been agreed upon. To my eye, the positioning and size of Stuart's straps makes them appear to be handstraps. Handstraps are considerably shorter and usually a bit wider with a pronounced swoop than the more uniformly sized wriststraps.
So Hand Straps on an Anglo & Wrist Straps on an English.

Not necessarily. One can have wriststraps on an anglo (usually the larger ones), and clearly Stuart is using handstraps on his English.

So we're all talking about straps that go round your wrist, for use on an English Concertina ... I think!

No, this topic title and poll expresses handstraps - and shows handstraps. And a few people have chimed in on how nice handstraps are -- but I'm sure that they mean wriststraps! This is confusing and inaccurate. I'd like the clear the differences up so that people aren't mislead.

 

-- Rich --

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Mark - was the kit you got from the Button Box for handstraps or wriststraps?

Wrist straps I think. They look like the straps on Morse anglos. I really like the ample proportions around the back of the wrist.

Did you ask for (and get) handstraps or wrist straps? The are very different in that handstraps are curvy and wideish but nowhere near long enough to extend around to one's wrist. Wriststraps are more even in width and plenty long. Wriststraps DO NOT look like handstraps.

 

-- Rich --

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Did you ask for (and get) handstraps or wrist straps? The are very different in that handstraps are curvy and wideish but nowhere near long enough to extend around to one's wrist. Wriststraps are more even in width and plenty long. Wriststraps DO NOT look like handstraps.

 

-- Rich --

 

 

They were long enough that I even pruned them back a bit. I'm wide of girth but my wrists and hands are small.

 

The instrument is in front of me as I tap. Using my finger, I estimate the ends of the straps to be about 1 inch in width with an 1 and 3/8ths width at mid wrist. I remember asking for wrist straps and believe that's what's on my Albion right now.

 

All I can offer is the blurry picture earlier in this thread of me squeezing away....

Edited by Mark Evans
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They were long enough that I even pruned them back a bit.... Using my finger, I estimate the ends of the straps to be about 1 inch in width with an 1 and 3/8ths width at mid wrist. I remember asking for wrist straps and believe that's what's on my Albion right now.

Sounds like wrist straps to me. Very different looking than the straps Stuart uses, huh?

 

-- Rich --

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They were long enough that I even pruned them back a bit.... Using my finger, I estimate the ends of the straps to be about 1 inch in width with an 1 and 3/8ths width at mid wrist. I remember asking for wrist straps and believe that's what's on my Albion right now.

Sounds like wrist straps to me. Very different looking than the straps Stuart uses, huh?

 

-- Rich --

 

As an experiment, I have placed wrist strap over back of hand just below knuckles. They look the same as Stuart's to me. As you play up the buttons, the strap stays where it is (on hand ) but your hand is free to move up and down. Little fingers get locked into finger rests.

 

I have a single action tenor in F, and find the wrist straps benificial to grab a quick gulp of air.

 

Graham

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haven't we already established, or at least agreed, that on an English they are really wrist straps & that Stuart also had wrist straps, so when the photo was taken, his hand was just caught sliding into the strap?

Did you miss Stephen Chambers' post above? It shows two more pictures of Stuart in the same position. It appears he does play with hand straps, and does not use the thumb strap.

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Wow! Yes, I do play with fairly tight hand straps and my thumbs are hardly in the thumb straps at all - to be honest I had not really thought about it at all until today.

 

The first photograph posted by Dick Ptarmigan was taken during rehearsals in Hong Kong for a piece being played with the HK Chamber Orchestra a couple of years back - I can't explain why I have my whole hand through the strap - how strange - although I suspect I think I was trying some random block chords as required in the score - it was a contemporary work. The other photographs are a fair illustration of my manual style.

 

Why hand straps? Concertina is not my first instrument but early on I was attracted by the sound of certain Irish musicians playing in a relatively simple style: pre Noel Hill, like the sound on low number Chieftain's LPs or archive recordings. I guessed, wrongly perhaps, that their Anglo style relied partly on a tight relationship between the hands and the instrument ends and given that I was trying to bring to Scottish music the same simple, economic, lonesome sound I responded to in the early 70s I just went off down that road. In some ways I tried to de-sophisticate the English concertina. My principal instrument is fiddle and I have little interest in playing the fiddle repertory on the box and therefore I have had little personal need for digital dexterity. I don't play the chromatic tunes which the English is so well suited to and rarely play with harmony or in parts. Also, I play much bagpipe music which, with its 9 note scale, can be achieved with little manual effort: 4 notes on one side and five on the other. Furthermore, I addentify with Graham C when he says he finds "the wrist straps benificial to grab a quick gulp of air"

 

So does that help? At the end of the day its the musical output that matters and I've found a way that works for me which probably does not suit others. What of that guy Simon T - now there is someone with an unorthodox manual style!

 

Best wishes,

 

Stuart

 

PS in my avatar I am playing my "Scottish" system duet with hand starps - see previous posts

Edited by aeolina
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...

...

So, I'd be interested to hear from players who use these straps &/or have tried them.

 

Cheers

Dick

My little contribution (confusion? ;) ) to the subject:

 

My original design: no pinkie rests, some sort of hand straps (angled) and narrow thumbstraps.

Narrow to accomodate the thumbs going all the way, minimizing stress in the thumb joint.

The whole cluster of buttons were moved up one step to still make it possible to reach bottom notes.

 

Somebody sneaked up real close here:

 

 

Then I started to think (no cheering, please) and said: "Why not try and loosen the thumb straps

and be without them for a while? See how it feels?":

 

 

You can see the straps flappin' away...

 

Ha! I didn't need them - so off they went:

 

 

Never looked back - but I did make a new set of handstraps (photo will follow)

 

/Henrik

 

Ups - had the promised photo handy - here it is:

 

 

(In Crottys, august 2008)

 

Edited to add the photo above -

Edited by Henrik Müller
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...

...

So, I'd be interested to hear from players who use these straps &/or have tried them.

 

Cheers

Dick

My little contribution (confusion? ;) ) to the subject:

 

My original design: no pinkie rests, some sort of hand straps (angled) and narrow thumbstraps.

Narrow to accomodate the thumbs going all the way, minimizing stress in the thumb joint.

The whole cluster of buttons were moved up one step to still make it possible to reach bottom notes.

 

Somebody sneaked up real close here:

 

 

Then I started to think (no cheering, please) and said: "Why not try and loosen the thumb straps

and be without them for a while? See how it feels?":

 

 

You can see the straps flappin' away...

 

Ha! I didn't need them - so off they went:

 

 

Never looked back - but I did make a new set of handstraps (photo will follow)

 

/Henrik

 

Interesting Henrik.

 

I am only putting the ends of my thumbs into the Thumb Straps, not the whole Thumb!

 

I find this works best for me, because I have air button levers just in front of each Thumb Strap.

 

As for the Pinkie Rests, I use them but after prolonged practice, I find my Pinkies do hurt, from the stretch.

 

Cheers

Dick

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...

 

Interesting Henrik.

 

I am only putting the ends of my thumbs into the Thumb Straps, not the whole Thumb!

 

I find this works best for me, because I have air button levers just in front of each Thumb Strap.

 

As for the Pinkie Rests, I use them but after prolonged practice, I find my Pinkies do hurt, from the stretch.

 

Cheers

Dick

Hi, Dick - let me be a little more exact:

 

On a "traditional" English concertina, I will definitely place the end of my thumbs in the straps, not all the way through.

 

But since that was one of the things that started hurting the joints (because of my need to pull a lot),

the straps on the new design were made maybe less than half the width of normal straps - to allow for

the end of the thumbs to bend comfortably.

 

To compensate for the reduced access to the low notes, I placed the button cluster upwards bit - roughly

1xthe vertical distance between buttons.

 

The careful reader should - now - say: "Why did he put thumbstraps on, only to remove them later?!"

 

That has to do with the proof-of-concept instrument, a modified Stagi Miniature. Wood were added to

simulate a standard 61/4" across the flats. Because of that and the very small bellows, the instrument

would "collapse" on the pull. Thumbstraps prevented this.

 

On the "real" instrument, the bellows width basically equals the instrument's width and the problem disappears.

But I didn't think that far :rolleyes: -

 

/Henrik

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was playing in a concert the other evening and, during the boring bits, monitored just how I play and, yes, I hardly use the thumb straps at all. I just rest my thumbs very gently on the outer part of the thumb hole the small hand straps and pinkie rest giving the necessary support. When I put my thumbs through the thumb strap it is not possible to reach the lower notes with anything like the same ease. Any thoughts?

 

Stuart

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I just rest my thumbs very gently on the outer part of the thumb hole the small hand straps and pinkie rest giving the necessary support. When I put my thumbs through the thumb strap it is not possible to reach the lower notes with anything like the same ease. Any thoughts?

You might try wrist straps instead of handstraps. You may find that you'll get the support you need while enabling the hand to be more elevated so that you can get to the low notes easier (and highest notes too) - and - not have to engage the thumbstrap hardly at all.

 

-- Rich --

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