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Protecting bellows corners from rubbing/jeans


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Smart player!

 

For beginners, he highlights also the whole issue of bellows management, interestingly debated by Goran Rahm in terms of bellows management, where to place the instrument and all kinds of straps. (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wIpE38VoY08 or search for Gran43)

 

Goran seems not to be alone in putting his tina box end, not bellows, on right or left thigh.

 

This brings me to Dick Miles' comment "yes, excellent, but he [Ciarán] will wear his bellows out dragging them across his knee like that" ( http://comhaltas.ie/music/detail/comhaltas..._on_concertina/

offered by Michael Reid @ Dec 31 2008, 01:34 AM

 

Apart from appearance, worn bellows corners seem to be the stage before holes and the curse of the airleak, never mind much spittle from Dave Elliott (Concertina Maintenance Manual, section 5.3.2.)

 

SO

If you DO sit bellows on thigh/s (easier for learners certainly struggling to control the snake) can you protect bellows corners from rubbing? And in Ciarán's case, from jeans? Jeans must be great for making holes yet they are pretty common attire for many itinerant players. One should not forget lumberjacks because it is the tree that wears out, before the stone-washed pants.

 

Suggestion/Question

Many violinists protect the underside of their instrument by putting a soft cloth (e.g. folded, cheap yellow furniture duster) between it and their shoulder/ and lumberjack shirts for fiddlers (!) (http://www.industrial-workwear.co.uk/acatalog/Work_Shirts.html?gclid=CIu3u_PEgpgCFUog3godBlntCw

 

Do the super players out there think the same practice would be a help or a hindrance ? To protect whatever part of the underside of the tina? The cloth would cause some wear but not as much as denim and with a bit of impregnated furniture polish it could even add to the value as the 'antique age' patina built up over the decades .........

 

I hope this has not been answered before, but could not find.

tks

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Hello,

 

I think a cloth underneath the instrument will only delay harming the bellows - the movement will eventually rub away layer by layer.

the best way seems to be holding the instrument so that the bellows are free.

This is a good example (and a very good player).

 

So, yes everybody has his own style of holding and playing the instrument but corner on leg seems to prevent a lot.

 

Greetings

Christian

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It is sometimes what you have in your pocket which causes more damage.A set of car keys for example.

The ideal is that the extreme end of the concertina when sitting should be what is resting on your knee (left or right,whatever you feel comfortable with).

Slightly raise the concertina with the hand operating the bellows ,slightly above the height of the knee when playing to avoid contact.

Al

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We've differed in the past over this. Some folk are incredibly (commendably, I admit) careful of their squeezeboxes and always keep them in the case, and have a lovingly selected square of felt or similar that goes across their knee to protect against wear etc etc. Others (including me) reckon that nothing should stop you from picking the thing up at the drop of a hat, and that having to get it out of the case, or find your 'apron', or whatever, might impede that. Having a little more wear seems a fair price to pay for actually playing it more to us. After all, if you clamp one end down on your knee and let the bellows fly free as previously described, rubbing should be minimal anyway.

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We've differed in the past over this. Some folk are incredibly (commendably, I admit) careful of their squeezeboxes and always keep them in the case, and have a lovingly selected square of felt or similar that goes across their knee to protect against wear etc etc. Others (including me) reckon that nothing should stop you from picking the thing up at the drop of a hat, and that having to get it out of the case, or find your 'apron', or whatever, might impede that. Having a little more wear seems a fair price to pay for actually playing it more to us. After all, if you clamp one end down on your knee and let the bellows fly free as previously described, rubbing should be minimal anyway.

 

All correct except the notion that bellows are "dragged" across the knee. Bellows are not dragged, they are fanned open, so the bottom part doesn't move across the fabric, bottom part could as well be fastened together. Keeping bellows free allows for more freedom, so at times you may sit down and fan them, at other times you lift the instrument in the air, or stand up.

Pumping with only one hand seems limiting to me, with harm to your health. You may pump with left, then with right hand, then place bellows on your knee for stronger accents, then lift it up and work both ends for liveliness... all resulting in performance, that is interesting to see as well as to hear.

Sitting down in one position at all times, pumping with only one arm just because Jim or Jeff said so, with dead grimace on your face, shoulders up to your ears and mouth involuntary moving, eyes staring into nothing - not very appealing.

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We've differed in the past over this. Some folk are incredibly (commendably, I admit) careful of their squeezeboxes and always keep them in the case, and have a lovingly selected square of felt or similar that goes across their knee to protect against wear etc etc. Others (including me) reckon that nothing should stop you from picking the thing up at the drop of a hat, and that having to get it out of the case, or find your 'apron', or whatever, might impede that. Having a little more wear seems a fair price to pay for actually playing it more to us. After all, if you clamp one end down on your knee and let the bellows fly free as previously described, rubbing should be minimal anyway.

 

All correct except the notion that bellows are "dragged" across the knee. Bellows are not dragged, they are fanned open, so the bottom part doesn't move across the fabric, bottom part could as well be fastened together. Keeping bellows free allows for more freedom, so at times you may sit down and fan them, at other times you lift the instrument in the air, or stand up.

Pumping with only one hand seems limiting to me, with harm to your health. You may pump with left, then with right hand, then place bellows on your knee for stronger accents, then lift it up and work both ends for liveliness... all resulting in performance, that is interesting to see as well as to hear.

Sitting down in one position at all times, pumping with only one arm just because Jim or Jeff said so, with dead grimace on your face, shoulders up to your ears and mouth involuntary moving, eyes staring into nothing - not very appealing.

Fanning may be the way you ( and others ) do it ( missing out on half the volume of your bellows which may not matter for the sort of music you may play.) But it isn't the way everyone who plays with the bellows in contact with their thigh plays. I'm sure that you are correct that it limits the wear, but for people who want the full range of their bellows available they are still going to end up with wear from playing across their thigh. It's fine if they are prepared for dealing with it.

 

I've seen plenty of lively performances from people who held one end of the concertina steady while moving the other. If the life isn't in the music, then no amount of acrobatics will make the performance worth watching for me. Body language however is certainly something to be aware of, and it generally comes out in the music as well. If you look tight and uncomfortable, your audience will feel it too. Good posture with visible ease while playing is hard to beat. If you look like you are having fun, all the better.

 

Regarding the initial question in this thread, I'm not in favor of beginners learning what will amount to poor technique simply because it is easier in the beginning. Habits are extremely easy to form in the absence of earlier behaviors, and are very hard to unlearn later. The Marine Corps. folks say it takes a minimum of 1500 repetitions of a new action to displace an existing habit. A little patience in the beginning and sticking with something that is initially a little more difficult is amply rewarded in short order. What ever playing style you choose, try to learn to do it properly from the start. If it takes more practice, so be it.

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