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Thicker handstraps


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Every newbie asks how tight or loose handstraps should be, and we all - me included - give them the benefit of our knowledge and experience.


However, after decades of Anglo playing, I've been wrestling with my recently acquired Crane. In one hole, the straps restrict the lateral movement of my fingers, and in the next hole, the instrument flops about. Both situations make it difficult to hit the outer buttons. I don't have this problem with the Anglo, although the width of the button area is the same. I put the difference down to the Crane being slightly heavier than the Anglo.


Then I realised that the differnce is in the straps themselves. My trusty Anglo is a Stagi, and has thick, stiff handstraps. The Crane is vintage Lachenal and still has its original straps, which are thinner, and have become very supple from over 50 years' use.


Now, David Leese sells extra-thick Anglo/Duet straps, 3 mm thick. Only 9 quid, including postage to the Continent. So I ordered a pair. They came this morning, and I had them installed in 2 minutes.

And it was like playing a different instrument! They are nice and stiff, so I still have enough freedom to spread my fingers, but the concertina doesn't flop about any more, so the buttons are not moving targets, as they used to be.

Add to that, the front edge (towards the knuckles) of Dave's straps is curved back slightly, so the knuckles have that shade more freedom of movement than with the Lachenal straps, which curve slightly forward.


I sometimes wonder if it might be a good idea to do away with leather straps altogether, and have padded metal "handles" to put your hand through. Or retain the leather, and put a wire stiffener in it.

Stability, I find, is important for control. The first bad impression I got when trying out a friend's new Rochelle was that the straps were too thin, pliable and sharp-edged. The further negative impression was very probably due in part to the resulting lack of control. (And yes, I did take the time to adjust the straps!)


Considering that the straps are probably among the cheapest components of a concertina, I consider good ones well worth the investment.





PS. I have no interests in David Leese's business, except as a satisfied customer. :rolleyes:

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