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ragtimer

Must Concertina sit flat in your lap?

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Here's a question: If you're playing your favorite squeeze while seated, how important is it to have a flat side of each end sitting flat in your lap, as opposed to a corner vertex? I mean, with a hexagonal or octagonal ended concertina, having a vertex digging into your thighs is not only uncomfortable, but throws the instrument off balance, making it want to wobble forward or backward, which your hands will be fighting against.

 

I'd expect that those who play lightweight concertinas, standing up, wouldn't care. But for large Duets and baritone ECs, that pretty much have to be played sitting, it could matter a lot. What do you say?

 

Most of the tinas I have photos of, satisfy the requirement, that the handrest bar is perpendicular to the flat side that faces the floor during play. On a hexagonal box, this implies the handrest is centered across a vertex, but on an octagon, the bar is parallel to a flat side.

Thanks, Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer

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You'll wear through the leather on the corner of the bellows frame much faster, if you rest only that on your knee. It's something that I have to fix for one of the older players round here, but then he does play it rather a lot...

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For me, ergonomics and preventing an old injury are paramount. I find I need to roll my (small) anglo from a flat up onto a point to keep my wrists straight and not constrict the carpal tunnel. I note that a number of Irish players I've studied with do likewise.

 

If leather wears somewhere (no problems in the last 12 years) I'll get it fixed, that's easier than orthopedic repairs. I don't know what to tell players of larger, heavier instruments.

 

Ken

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If leather wears somewhere (no problems in the last 12 years) I'll get it fixed, that's easier than orthopedic repairs.

Agreed!

 

But from a repairer's point of view - it's amazing what you can tell about how someone plays, from the state of their bellows... :rolleyes:

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I too have the point of my anglo resting against my knee or thigh. It's a more comfortable angle for my wrists, and I don't find it hurts my leg, even after a long session.

 

I rest only the very end of the instrument, so it's the wooden frame rather than the bellows which are in contact with my leg. The leather shows no signs of wear after some 20 years.

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I too have the point of my anglo resting against my knee or thigh. It's a more comfortable angle for my wrists, and I don't find it hurts my leg, even after a long session.

 

I rest only the very end of the instrument, so it's the wooden frame rather than the bellows which are in contact with my leg. The leather shows no signs of wear after some 20 years.

 

 

Same here.

 

I've also been told that the tone is slightly enhanced by keeping only the corner of a wooden end, rather than the entire flat side, against your thigh. Don't know if any of this holds true for octagonal boxes though.

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You'll wear through the leather on the corner of the bellows frame much faster, if you rest only that on your knee. It's something that I have to fix for one of the older players round here, but then he does play it rather a lot...

 

I notice that I rest the one side of my old Jeffries on my left thigh, just above the knee. The leather is very worn, the gold decoration rubbed away, the one corner patched. It was so when I first bought and played it some 30 years ago. It seems somehow reassuring in that I continue the tradition, all the time adding to the patina of age and usage. I often wonder who else must have sat as I sit, played as I play now. It makes you think !

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You'll wear through the leather on the corner of the bellows frame much faster, if you rest only that on your knee. It's something that I have to fix for one of the older players round here, but then he does play it rather a lot...

 

I notice that I rest the one side of my old Jeffries on my left thigh, just above the knee. The leather is very worn, the gold decoration rubbed away, the one corner patched. It was so when I first bought and played it some 30 years ago. It seems somehow reassuring in that I continue the tradition, all the time adding to the patina of age and usage. I often wonder who else must have sat as I sit, played as I play now. It makes you think !

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You'll wear through the leather on the corner of the bellows frame much faster, if you rest only that on your knee. It's something that I have to fix for one of the older players round here, but then he does play it rather a lot...

 

I notice that I rest the one side of my old Jeffries on my left thigh, just above the knee. The leather is very worn, the gold decoration rubbed away, the one corner patched. It was so when I first bought and played it some 30 years ago. It seems somehow reassuring in that I continue the tradition, all the time adding to the patina of age and usage. I often wonder who else must have sat as I sit, played as I play now. It makes you think !

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You'll wear through the leather on the corner of the bellows frame much faster, if you rest only that on your knee. It's something that I have to fix for one of the older players round here, but then he does play it rather a lot...

 

I notice that I rest the one side of my old Jeffries on my left thigh, just above the knee. The leather is very worn, the gold decoration rubbed away, the one corner patched. It was so when I first bought and played it some 30 years ago. It seems somehow reassuring in that I continue the tradition, all the time adding to the patina of age and usage. I often wonder who else must have sat as I sit, played as I play now. It makes you think !

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You'll wear through the leather on the corner of the bellows frame much faster, if you rest only that on your knee. It's something that I have to fix for one of the older players round here, but then he does play it rather a lot...

 

I notice that I rest the one side of my old Jeffries on my left thigh, just above the knee. The leather is very worn, the gold decoration rubbed away, the one corner patched. It was so when I first bought and played it some 30 years ago. It seems somehow reassuring in that I continue the tradition, all the time adding to the patina of age and usage. I often wonder who else must have sat as I sit, played as I play now. It makes you think !

Please ignore posts 2,3 and 4 (all to do with filling in forms in triplicate, I guess)

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i used to play flat, but i have now found that corner works best for me, rolled outward.

 

however, i do really believe that learning is a process, and that nothing is right or wrong at ALL times. somethings can be right now, but wrong (for you) tomorrow. that being said, i learned a lot from trying to get good bellows control from having it perfectly flat on my knee... i learned how to really isolate the pectorals and shoulder muscles to get good tone, which i have thus transferred to my "on the corner" hold now. i am not sure i would have learned how to isolate these muscles otherwise...

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Here's two contrasting approaches:

 

post-346-1251918122_thumb.jpg

 

Keith Kendrick (left) and me playing in a session at Sidmouth Folk Week last month.

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I too have the point of my anglo resting against my knee or thigh. It's a more comfortable angle for my wrists, and I don't find it hurts my leg, even after a long session.

 

I rest only the very end of the instrument, so it's the wooden frame rather than the bellows which are in contact with my leg. The leather shows no signs of wear after some 20 years.

 

 

Same here.

 

I've also been told that the tone is slightly enhanced by keeping only the corner of a wooden end, rather than the entire flat side, against your thigh. Don't know if any of this holds true for octagonal boxes though.

 

i would say that it is true that it does enhance your tone, but with a caveat: you can achieve the same tone with a flat position, it just takes a lot more work (which is not necessarily bad! i like extra work).

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Coming from a melodeon background I find that a fixed point is best for the melody end so I fix the RHS on my right knee on a flat side. (I note others may fix it on the left knee) It avoids bellows wear too.

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Here's two contrasting approaches:

 

Keith Kendrick (left) and me playing in a session at Sidmouth Folk Week last month.

I can't work out from the angle of that photo exactly how Keith has it positioned ... is it draped across his knee? (A technique I noticed that Sandra Kerr seemed to be adopting in a concert at Whitby). At the moment this is a matter of interest to me - having fallen into (apparently) bad habits when starting to learn, I now have to try and retrain myself not to rest both ends of the tina on my knees (since I was not privy to any information on exactly HOW one should position the thing to play in the first instance) . The problem I have is that I broke an elbow in a severely deconstructive manner some years ago, and the biceps muscles in both arms have therefore wasted somewhat (can't put any weight through the right elbow which broke). I've been attempting to use the beast resting on one knee (never mind whether flat or oblique)... and have been finding that the weight factor, and lack of stability that result are causing problems for me in muscle pain, and control. I'm hopefully in due course switching up to playing a 61 key Maccann (once it's been sorted out), which is heavier than the 57 key that I'm using at the moment .... so the problem may be increased slightly! Help! Just how much wear and tear/damage am I likely to inflict on the bellows if I revert to the original manner of playing ? :unsure:

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Here's two contrasting approaches:

 

Keith Kendrick (left) and me playing in a session at Sidmouth Folk Week last month.

I can't work out from the angle of that photo exactly how Keith has it positioned ... is it draped across his knee?

I think the angle of the photo is slightly misleading. It's hard to tell, but I'd originally thought he was resting the end on the top of his thigh - the position of the rest of his body suggests to me that this is the case, and this photo from Keith's website suggests that's how he often holds it.

 

In my case, the point of the concertina is definitely just touching the inside of my thigh. This is more to provide a fixed anchor than to support the weight. I prefer to fix the right hand as with my style of playing this is the one doing the more complicated fingering. Others prefer to anchor the left - it doesn't really matter as long as it works for you.

 

The usual advice is that dragging the bellows across the knee is likely to result in wear. In your case, if it is a choice between aggravating your injury, wearing out the bellows, or giving up the instrument then I'd risk having to get the bellows repaired from time to time. However if you are conscious that you may be causing damage and take care, you could find that any wear is kept to a minimum.

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