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Tech: Concertina handles - why different?

Guran 14 Nov 09 - 03:49 AM
Leadfingers 14 Nov 09 - 04:30 AM
Artful Codger 14 Nov 09 - 04:39 AM
Artful Codger 14 Nov 09 - 04:45 AM
Guran 14 Nov 09 - 08:15 AM
SqueezeMe 14 Nov 09 - 08:18 AM
Crane Driver 14 Nov 09 - 09:07 AM
Guran 14 Nov 09 - 11:25 AM
The Sandman 14 Nov 09 - 11:28 AM
Desert Dancer 14 Nov 09 - 12:04 PM
Guran 14 Nov 09 - 02:07 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Nov 09 - 02:32 PM
Guran 15 Nov 09 - 02:32 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 15 Nov 09 - 03:42 AM
The Sandman 15 Nov 09 - 05:39 AM
Sue Allan 15 Nov 09 - 05:57 AM
Dave Hunt 15 Nov 09 - 08:58 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Nov 09 - 09:55 AM
Guran 15 Nov 09 - 11:18 AM
Guran 15 Nov 09 - 11:23 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Nov 09 - 11:30 AM
Guran 15 Nov 09 - 11:46 AM
The Sandman 15 Nov 09 - 12:20 PM
Bernard 15 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM
Guran 15 Nov 09 - 02:05 PM
Guran 15 Nov 09 - 02:29 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Nov 09 - 02:40 PM
Andy Jackson 15 Nov 09 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 15 Nov 09 - 11:00 PM
Guran 16 Nov 09 - 02:17 AM
Guran 16 Nov 09 - 02:32 AM
Guran 16 Nov 09 - 02:44 AM
SqueezeMe 16 Nov 09 - 06:14 AM
Guran 16 Nov 09 - 06:40 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Nov 09 - 03:25 PM
Guran 17 Nov 09 - 05:31 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Nov 09 - 02:47 PM
Desert Dancer 17 Nov 09 - 02:59 PM
Guran 19 Nov 09 - 09:23 AM
Bernard 19 Nov 09 - 09:53 AM
Guran 19 Nov 09 - 11:56 AM
The Sandman 24 Nov 09 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 24 Nov 09 - 01:43 PM
Artful Codger 06 Dec 09 - 12:43 PM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Dec 09 - 07:26 PM
Guran 07 Dec 09 - 07:57 AM
Dave the Gnome 08 Dec 09 - 04:07 AM
Guran 08 Dec 09 - 10:16 AM
Dave the Gnome 08 Dec 09 - 05:29 PM
Guran 09 Dec 09 - 01:41 PM
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Subject: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 03:49 AM

There are two historic lines of handle arrangements with concertinas.

1) The concept emanating from the Uhlig instrument and consisting of a strap across the mid part of the hand fixated to a bar or platform.This variant is used with "Anglo(-German)s", "Duets",(Chemnitzer) Konzertinas, Bandonions...
2) The concept emanating from the Wheatstone instrument and consisting of a thumb strap and a finger rest, used with "Englishes"

Disregarding the larger Konzertina/Bandonion one may find that the construction of the Anglo, Duet and English is basically the same and that the practical handling ( except for keyboard-related differences)reasonably might be the same. Some natural questions then might be:

Are there any major reasons for using different handles? and Are there any possibilities to improve the traditional designs by picking some useful options from both concepts?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 04:30 AM

On an Angl , there is far more 'Push Pull' involved and that is easier . epecially with rapid changes , with the Full Strap .


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 04:39 AM

English players/makers sometimes supplement the thumb strap with a hand strap, particularly on the larger instruments. Much information on these adaptations is available on the net; I suspect that concertina.net and concertina.org will have customizing information and additional links.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 04:45 AM

As to why, the hand strap can be inhibiting for playing the lower notes on the English, due to the button arrangement.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 08:15 AM

Leadfingers,
Certainly, so why would not Englishes benefit from a similar variant?

Artful Codger,
The (not very) commnon strap with Englishes ia an additional "wrist strap", working very differently from the Anglo/Duet "hand strap" since it fixates the *wrist*, not the midpart of the *hand*

If a "hand strap" would be inhibiting for playing the lower notes on the English would it not be so on the Duets also?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: SqueezeMe
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 08:18 AM

Here we go again....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 09:07 AM

The English system has only 4 columns of buttons whereas Anglos and Duets have typically 5 or 6 (or more). The English therefore has more rows, which extend backwards underneath the palm of the hand where the bar is on the other systems. To adapt an English concertina to take the hand-bar and knuckle strap would involve re-engineering it to bring all the buttons forward of the palm, which would probably throw the balance of the instrument out so far as to make it almost unplayable, especially standing up.

As a Duet player who has tried and given up on the English, I agree with Leadfingers about the knuckle strap giving more control over bellows movement. This is not only important to Anglo players, who need bellows reversal to get at all the notes - it is also helpful on the Duet when playing dance music, to get more lift and drive. That's not to say you can't get lift and drive on an English, but it involves different techniques.

Every system has its advantages and drawbacks. Part of the art of playing an instrument involves working out how to do what you want within the limitations. Redesigning an instrument can lead to improvements, of course, but the Law of Unintended Consequences is always waiting to trip you up. There is usually a reason why things are the way they are.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 11:25 AM

Andrew:"To adapt an English concertina to take the hand-bar and knuckle strap would involve re-engineering it to bring all the buttons forward of the palm"
RE:Depends what we compare.For the 6" ordinary 48key treble there is hardly room for it.For a 40key, and moving the keyboard a little towards the "top" end, no major problem.With 36 keys no problem at all.With a bit larger Englishes hardly any problems either.


A:" which would probably throw the balance of the instrument out so far as to make it almost unplayable, especially standing up".
RE:No difference from many Duets and what works for them of course would work for such an English too.

A:"As a Duet player who has tried and given up on the English, I agree with Leadfingers about the knuckle strap giving more control over bellows movement. This is not only important to Anglo players, who need bellows reversal to get at all the notes - it is also helpful on the Duet when playing dance music, to get more lift and drive".
RE: I absolutely agree.So why should not the English benefit from a similar arrangement?

A:" That's not to say you can't get lift and drive on an English, but it involves different techniques".
RE: I would rather say it is in principle impossible getting the same "lift and drive" (=bellows control)on an English (with its traditional handle).That is simple mechanics.

A:"There is usually a reason why things are the way they are".
RE:The primary reason always is conservatism.Whatever historic tool you come up with you likely will find that changes/development has taken place and sooner or later most users have understood the reason for a change and some novelty becomes the new 'selfevident' standard.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 11:28 AM

A:" That's not to say you can't get lift and drive on an English, but it involves different techniques".
RE: I would rather say it is in principle impossible getting the same "lift and drive" (=bellows control)on an English (with its traditional handle).That is simple mechanics.[quote]
go and listen to Alistair Anderson


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 12:04 PM

(Artful C., if you study those sites you'll find that much of the stuff already on the topic has been promulgated by Guran himself.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 02:07 PM

Guran before: "I would rather say it is in principle impossible getting the same "lift and drive" (=bellows control)on an English (with its traditional handle).That is simple mechanics"

Soldier Schweik: "go and listen to Alistair Anderson"

RE:To test what *can* or *can not* be done you have to test the limits of it and it is seldom meaningful to compare musical or any other performances unless doing exactly the same thing.Compare competitive sports.Pick a team of proficient players on Anglo and another on English and let them all perform the same piece or get the same individual who is competent on both instruments ( is there any??)comparing performance of the same piece on both "systems" and you might get some idea.Tricky business, but nevertheless it ought to be easily understood that since the connection between the player and the instrument is more stable with the Anglo/Duet handle than with the English type there will be superior options for controlling the bellows-work.Bascially because it can be managed by less muscular effort for the same result (= greater efficiency) and this inevitably means that the bellows control - responsible for "lift and drive" - will be better.While wasting less energy for stabilizing more capacity can be employed for the actual musical performance. 'Natural law'.

Compare trying to chop a piece of wood using an axe with a shaft or one without a shaft.Same thing.

Alistair Anderson, like anyone else, would do (even) better by using better equipment.If we were dealing with competitive athletics nobody would question these arguments since it is very easy finding out who wins the game...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 02:32 PM

I am assuming from what has already been said that the suggestion is Anglo/duet straps on English rather than the English thumb straps would be totally impractical and ridiculous. It should be mechanically possible to attach handstraps to some part of the concertina without necessitating the hand-bar, but as someone has already said the extra need to move rapidly from one button to another on the English when playing complex melodies needs the 3 fingers in use to be as balanced and free as possible. Playing chorded classical pieces and accompanying song on the larger heavier Englishes has benefited from hand straps.

Rethinking my initial statement, I've just thought of an exception. I have a miniature Anglo with no straps at all. It was obviously built to just grip the ends with thumb and little finger which is how I played it to start with. I found that occasionally with a little sweat involved my grip would slip off and lose control. I solved this by attaching 4 rings of velcro for both little fingers and thumbs, so it is similar to the way an English would be held. Obviously this would not be possible with a normal size Anglo.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 02:32 AM

Steve Gardham:"It should be mechanically possible to attach handstraps to some part of the concertina without necessitating the hand-bar"
RE:The traditional "Anglo/Duet handle concept" comes with a handbar but that might be modified of course also.The traditional handbar is very primitive as a support for the hand itself and the location of the common handstrap is not ideal either, it locks the mid part of the hand too much unless you just have say 2x10 keys at most to finger, so some modification of the 'original' design is desirable anyway

S:" but as someone has already said the extra need to move rapidly from one button to another on the English when playing complex melodies needs the 3 fingers in use to be as balanced and free as possible".
RE:Agree, but I would rather say it needs 4 fingers in use :-) and that argument is also valid for Anglos and Duets is it not? more for Duets usually than for Anglos, but still, so I see no conflict here using the same kind of handle for all systems.

S:"Playing chorded classical pieces and accompanying song on the larger heavier Englishes has benefited from hand straps".
RE: I mean it is important to separate "handstraps" ( as being a part of the Anglo/Duet handle) and "wriststraps" (as traditionally being a complementary part to the English handle)since a "handstrap" or a "wriststrap" respectively function entirely differently, and this discriminates the practical design and use of them.

The classical *wriststraps* for Englishes function very poorly in fact.If set tight they lock the hand in a very dysfunctional position but do work on both push and pull.If set looser the do not work at all on push and un-satisfactory on pull.To compensate for this a support for the wrist(20-40mm high)has to be added so that the wrist can be fixed in a more suitable position.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 03:42 AM

My answer to Guran is. If it was such a good idea to have wristraps on an English, someone would have tried to do it by now. And, nobody has!

Maybe you should try and build one.
I went for the Duet because it resembled a piano, and I could use all 8 fingers. Just seem to make sense to me.
I've played with Keith Kendrick on many an occasion, (plays English and Anglo), He's never commented that one form of support was harder to use than the other. He justs uses them for different puposes. English for the lyricism and Anglo for more bounce.

Hayden had a stab at re-arranging the buttons on a Duet, and has had some real success, but, I dread to think how much the R&D process cost him. (Good luck to him, but it wasn't for me)

So, Guran. Design an English with wristraps, or take up the Duet!

And to end, All musical instruments that have a mechanical element, are perforce to make compromises. (Sax, Clarinet, French Horn etc).

It's up to the player to work around these problems, surely, that is half of the fun in playing. Solving the problems of the limitations of the instrument.

If you want to go and make a "hybrid" English, I\d be interested to see it. I think it unlikely that I'd change from the Duet though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 05:39 AM

the Hayden has one disadvantage,It is rather unsatisfactory in an ergonomic way,those keys on the right hand side,furthest away from the thumb are very awkward,to play comfortably.
I am very happy with the traditional design of the English,furtrhermore I think it is acheek for someone to say that Alistairs playing would have more drive if he adopted Gurans idea.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Sue Allan
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 05:57 AM

Perhaps some here might be interested to see Henrik Muller of Sweden's own English concertina design, with hand straps. Here:
Henrik Muller concertina


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 08:58 AM

'get the same individual who is competent on both instruments ( is there any??)'

Indeed there is - Keith Kendrick for a start!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 09:55 AM

Neil Wayne could play both perfectly well - not virtuoso as I am sure he would admit, but with perfect competence.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 11:18 AM

Ralphie;"My answer to Guran is. If it was such a good idea to have wristraps on an English, someone would have tried to do it by now.
RE: Do you actually mean *handstraps* like the "Anglo/Duet concept"? *Wriststraps* are commonly used on the English with the traditional arrangement for them at the sides of the frame, many salvationists for example have used them.
Henrik Müller uses a kind of "handstraps". I use a variant of "wriststraps" combined with a "wrist support" since about 20 years.

R:"Maybe you should try and build one".
I have built handles for Anglo, Duet and English.Some modifications of the whole constructions would be indicated but picking suitable models helps a great deal also

R:I went for the Duet because it resembled a piano, and I could use all 8 fingers. Just seem to make sense to me".
RE:I can use all 8 for the English, no problem...

R:I've played with Keith Kendrick on many an occasion, (plays English and Anglo), He's never commented that one form of support was harder to use than the other. He justs uses them for different puposes. English for the lyricism and Anglo for more bounce".
RE: Yes, and that illustrates the problem fairly well does it not? One concept is good for one kind or music and the other for some other kind. This is irrational, almost absurd.Of course both systems could be used ( with some difference of course but still) much more varied with better ergonomic conditions.The Anglo/Duet would benefit from a thumstrap, and the English from a support for the hand liberating the fingers.

R:"So, Guran. Design an English with wristraps, or take up the Duet"!
RE: I have done it all - I have "designed" a better handle that works for all systems and I have tinkered with Anglo, Duet and English..

R:"And to end, All musical instruments that have a mechanical element, are perforce to make compromises. (Sax, Clarinet, French Horn etc)".
RE: Certainly so, no reason to sit back not trying to improve things

R:"If you want to go and make a "hybrid" English, I\d be interested to see it. I think it unlikely that I'd change from the Duet though".
RE: You can find the handles here
http://www.concertina.net/goran_ergonom.html ....or here
http://englishconcertina.ning.com/forum/topics/concertina-a-perfect?id=3618601%3ATopic%3A3527&page=2#comments
(look for my reply Oct.16th 8:54 "Attachments")

There also was a discussion at c.net some 5 years ago on reforming the concertinas how a "hybrid" might be designed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 11:23 AM

Dave Hunt and MtheGM,
It would be of special interest of course getting players with experience from more than one "system" to ventilate their views.They probably haven't tried voluntarily playing the same music on more than one at a time though and that is what is needed to get some more information. Can they be whipped or paid to do it I wonder..?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 11:30 AM

'playing the same music on more than one at a time '

Not quite sure what this can mean or how it could be done: I take it you mean 'immediately consecutively'? I suppose the only way to find out if they were willing to try would be to ask them.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 11:46 AM

Well, somewhat vague maybe but I didn't mean one in each hand...:-)
Yes, do ask them and a few more if some are known...
By the way ..for those not having access to "English concertina" I just set up some photos on Myspace:
http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=454909212&albumId=1380617


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 12:20 PM

whats all this ventilating of concertinas?
Guran,music is music,sport is sport,you are hardly comparing like with like.
while sport may have a clear winner,music is different,it is not about winning,it is about communicating emotions,something which cannot be judged in the same way as sport.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Bernard
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM

After more than a hundred years, things haven't changed much... with good reason! 'A bad workman blames his tools'!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 02:05 PM

Schweik:"Guran,music is music,sport is sport,you are hardly comparing like with like...while sport may have a clear winner,music is different..something which cannot be judged in the same way as sport".

RE: Well, I never said it is the same did I?...If we did act under the same conditions however it would be easy to find out what is the "best" and strangely enough there are everlasting discussions all the same about what instrument is "the best" or which performer is he better one and for sure you have *competitions* and trophies to be won in every other musical festival...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 02:29 PM

Bernard:"After more than a hundred years, things haven't changed much... with good reason! 'A bad workman blames his tools'!"

RE:Oh Dear! ,don't try that with me, it is the most common argument against progress all through history and merely a way escaping the threat from being confronted with novelties. You probably find it when speaking against any new tool anyone has introduced. A good workman may manage doing cameo carvings with an axe but probably prefer something else if knowing better.
How does it fit with your attitude that Charles Wheatstone suggested several other concertina variants than the "English"? and that his brother William, who actually was in charge of the production, very strongly criticized the 1844 typical 'English treble' concept and suggested modifications of the keyboard location and the handle?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 02:40 PM

Guran,
Good luck to you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to improve something. No one is suggesting we should all throw our old instruments away. I have often contemplated a more efficient and cost effect way of producing bellows, using modern materials and modern technology. Unfortunately I haven't the time or resources to do this.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 05:36 PM

Such a simple question to provoke such complicated replies..
On an anglo the button action is left to rightso you can slide along the strap and keep control of the bellows at the same time.
On an English your fingers travel at right angles to your Knuckles. An anglo style strap would inhibit folding of the fingers.
Or to put it another way a pair of braces is not a belt but they do the same job.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 11:00 PM

As Miskin Man says, this is becoming very complicated!
If someone was going to modify the way to hold a concertina (be it, English, Anglo or Duet) it would have been done by now.
The very fact that nobody has, seems to suggest that most players are happy with the way things are.
By all means, experiment away with modifications for yourself. I'm pleased that you've got the time, money and energy to do so!
But, I think I'll be staying with the system that I've used for the past 35 years.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems a perfectly reasonable motto.
Although I play the Duet, I can attempt the "bounce" that an Anglo gives (I play a lot for dances BTW).

I agree, it doesn't sound like a Crabb or a Jeffries, but, Hey...do the dancers care?

As I've said, I'd be interested in seeing what you come up with for the English, in a cerebral way. but I doubt if you'd sell such a thing. It would be interesting to see what the good folk on Dragons Den would make of it as a business idea!

Good luck though, and let us know when you've built it.

PS. I can't really imagine that many people are going to start doing serious surgery to their cherished instruments, so this whole conversation, although interesting, is actually pointless. And I doubt that you would persuade any of the existing makers (the few who are left) to take up the idea. They're all to busy making boxes that people want!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 02:17 AM

Steve Gardham:"Good luck to you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to improve something. No one is suggesting we should all throw our old instruments away".
RE:Thanks Steve! Wishing me luck is warmhearted but unnecessary since I am very happy already!I just hope others might get the fortune in their lifetime enjoying the same.

S:"I have often contemplated a more efficient and cost effect way of producing bellows, using modern materials and modern technology. Unfortunately I haven't the time or resources to do this".
RE: Despite being a habitual innovator I have rejected such thoughts regarding the concertinas since in real the soundsource itself is so comparably costly today.It was not 100 years ago.The soundsource of stringinstruments cost some £10-20 and a phantastic digital soundbox you can get for £100 while a reed set may cost 10 times as much.
The bellows *can* be massproduced and treated as comsumables but that hardly helps much...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 02:32 AM

Miskin Man: "On an anglo the button action is left to right so you can slide along the strap and keep control of the bellows at the same time. On an English your fingers travel at right angles to your Knuckles. An anglo style strap would inhibit folding of the fingers"

RE:Precisely !! Now you are hitting one of the most important points!
BUT - The Anglo style strap is limiting too! - also when used with the Anglo, unless one has very long hands and stays within a two row model like the 2x10key.With 3 rows most Anglo players will ( if admitting it...) experience problems from flexing to reach to nearest row or extending to reach the distant one, specially for the 4th finger.

Consequently ,with all common range models, for all systems, there remains a need to let the hand slide a bit in the handle, while at the same time providing as good a stability as posssible. This is not achieved - neither with the trad "English handle concept" nor with the trad "Anglo/Duet handle concept" and this is the fundament for my efforts improving the handles "for all system concertinas"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 02:44 AM

Ralphie;"As I've said, I'd be interested in seeing what you come up with for the English, in a cerebral way"
RE:Did you check the photos?

R:" but I doubt if you'd sell such a thing."
RE: I am not selling anything, not even the ideas. It is all free for my part!
It costs less than £20 and a couple of hour's work ( if being a little bit handy) to applicate the "ergonomic" handle concept to any model concertina

"Good luck though, and let us know when you've built it".
RE: As I said, the handles are there, just to be used...

R:"PS. I can't really imagine that many people are going to start doing serious surgery to their cherished instruments"
RE: You obviously have not looked at the photos. My handles are fixated by three of the end bolts and NO "surgery" is done..!They don't even touch the endplate.

R:" so this whole conversation, although interesting, is actually pointless. And I doubt that you would persuade any of the existing makers (the few who are left) to take up the idea. They're all to busy making boxes that people want!"
RE: I bet they would make whatever handles you want if asked and paid for...and mutually understood that they improve music making...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: SqueezeMe
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:14 AM

Goran says: "The bellows *can* be massproduced and treated as comsumables but that hardly helps much..."

Excuse me. Who? Where? How? Pray tell.

This could yet turn into an interesting and useful thread.

But then again....probably only space for one bee in the bonnet at any one time.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:40 AM

SqueezeMe:"Goran says: "The bellows *can* be massproduced and treated as comsumables but that hardly helps much..."
Excuse me. Who? Where? How? Pray tell".

RE:For fun I tried once a piece of the kind of building ventilation tubes 5" diam and with a 'sceleton' from a spiral metal thread. (used for citchen fan exhaustion for instance). Cost 1-2£. Not very attractive but it works.I would not recommend it... Consumabble bellows otherwise could be possible to produce 4-12 sided in one piece with a similar'sceleton'. All the same I don't believe in the idea, it still is the rest of the 'box' that is too expensive.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:25 PM

Guran,
You are forgetting those of us who an attic full of old concertinas with shot bellows waiting to be replaced.

I haven't looked at the website yet, but I like the sound of what you're saying. My problem is one very large heavy anglo. 60 odd keys. I have added rows of A and D to basically a CG box and because of the layout of the original reedpan some of the keys I want to use now are in awkward places (e.g. the left side A row is right down the bottom far end. I can reach all of the keys and use most of them but after more than an hour's playing my hands get sore on the straps. I am thinking of getting/making some Chemnitzer-style ones to ease the pressure. Also I wear finger bandages on my thumbs as I tend to get blisters where the middles of my thumbs rest on the pieces of bone attached to the handbars.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 05:31 AM

Steve:"I haven't looked at the website yet"
RE:I suggest you do before having a serious talk on what you say:

" My problem is one very large heavy anglo. .. I can reach all of the keys and use most of them but after more than an hour's playing my hands get sore on the straps"

RE:The "Anglo/Duet concept" is fairly stable in two dimensions but not for counteracting a 'rotation' of the instrument - if looking at the endplate clockwise at a view from the right.
The "Chemnitzer handle concept" wouldn't help much since there it is presupposed that the instrument is steadily resting on both knees, or riding over one of them.Furthermore it works on pull but very poorly on push ( one reason that Argentine tango is performed 90% on pull with the Bandoneon)

One point with "my handle" is that the thumb is fixated passively (and this does no harm since it isn't employed for fingering anyway) instead of being actively engaged in stabilizing duties meaning harmful static effort.

Another point is that the Anglo/Duet "handstrap" locks the midpart of the hand and thus obstructs flexion and extension by the fingers. Fixating the wrist( as with my handle) - instead of the knuckles - by using a "wriststrap" liberates the fingers but to also admit a suitable position of the hand a "wrist support" ( similar to the platform of Chemnitzers) lifts the hand 20-40mm above the keyboard.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 02:47 PM

Guran,
Sorry to be a pest but I did a quick flick back over the thread and I can't find the link to your website. Can you please post a link again?

Without having seen the pics wrist straps would surely make the rapid direction change, needed on the anglo, difficult?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 02:59 PM

Here are Guran's links from above, blue-clickified:
at Concertina.net
at EnglishConcertina.ning.com (requires membership)
at MySpace

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 09:23 AM

Steve Gardham: "Without having seen the pics wrist straps would surely make the rapid direction change, needed on the anglo, difficult?"

RE:Not at all. For the "bellowsing" itself - whether rapid direction changes or delicate tone articulation - the important factor is stability, meaning that the connection between players *arm* and the instrument is safe and direct on both push and pull (and that as little effort as possible is wasted on carrying the instrument)
For that particular purpose (=bellowsing)it does not matter if the handle is located over the hand or over the wrist, it works just as well.

In principle however it IS an advantage that the bellowsing is executed by the arm as much as possible and NOT by any structures of the hand.(This is a fundamental ergonomic rule for distribution of static and dynamic work)

Now - you also have to "finger" the instrument for "playing" however..

The major disadvantage from the Anglo/Duet handstrap is that it locks the fingers.If you just had 2x10 buttons to deal with stability can be offered as well as enough range - but for your wide range instrument as you have testified yourself the need reaching awkward buttons at the same time as controlling the whole box and doing the bellows-work causes problems. The hand rather be lifted above the endplate surface ( just like Chemnitzers) and the best way to create stability is by locking the thumb with a thumbstrap. Then the rest of the hand may slide a little on the wrist support BUT still be kept in place by the wriststrap. You can flex in the wrist to reach awkward buttons and will get a wider accessible range on the keyboard this way than with the trad handles.

It is all very elementary from an ergonomists viewpoint. Just as simple as putting a shaft on an axe...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 09:53 AM

"The major disadvantage from the Anglo/Duet handstrap is that it locks the fingers"

Not so with the Anglo. It's all down to good technique.

If you play with your fingers pointing forwards (your elbows at roughly ninety degrees), then I'd agree, as the weight of the instrument will compress your fingers together.

However, if you have your fingers pointing upwards (your elbows at roughly twenty degrees), you will find that the weight distribution is radically changed, your fingers are freed up and you have no problems.

If you doubt me, watch John Kirkpatrick at work. It's the way I play, too...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 11:56 AM

Me, before:"The major disadvantage from the Anglo/Duet handstrap is that it locks the fingers"

Bernard:"Not so with the Anglo. It's all down to good technique".

RE:Hm..."good technique" may compensate a dysfunctional tool to some part, for sure. A good craftsman may do fine carvings with an axe but probably better ones with a good knife.
It also depends what "technique" there is - it may have drawbacks in its turn, more below.

Bernard:"If you play with your fingers pointing forwards (your elbows at roughly ninety degrees), then I'd agree, as the weight of the instrument will compress your fingers together.
However, if you have your fingers pointing upwards (your elbows at roughly twenty degrees), you will find that the weight distribution is radically changed, your fingers are freed up and you have no problems".

RE:Yes, not new to me at all. Depends entirely what you are up to for playing.What you are doing is relying on the handbar for control and the handstrap is not so tight, just as you say.This is a common way handling the Anglo for Morris ( is that your own style?) which means rather bouncy rhythmic music with much chording substance in it.I haven't seen any "Irish Anglo" players use this position despite one would expect greater obstacles from "compressed" fingers there - with demands for more elaborate single note fingering - but they rely on stabilizing the instrument upon the knee instead.
Both ways surely present "technique" to deal with the situation which however still means 'using an axe instead of a knife' for the same occupation.

What is ergonomically "wrong" with this high playing position is that the arms are lifted and kept up by static effort, something that always should be avoided .IF playing any concertina standing, the natural relaxed and efficient position is with the instrument low, upper arms near vertical and an open elbow angle, about 120 degrees, but for very energetic pumping a 90 degree angle at the elbow and horisontal forearms might be more efficient.High arms is always more strainful.

And again - whatever technique and position of the arms is used the position of the hand vs the surface (level of the keyboard) is not ideal concerning any traditional concertinas except the "Chemnitzer" style ones with their 'platform' for the hand.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 11:35 AM

its difficult to get a handle on this.
of course its a subject that should be handled with tact.
http://www.dickmiles.com personally,I find that having my thumb straps loose,I can move my hand easily and have no necessity,to use any of Gurans suggested adaptions.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 01:43 PM

Dick, I have not ambition making you change from your habitual playing to something you strongly indicate that you would not like and this goes for anyone else.Changes at best come from inspiration or curiosity not by force.Some changes do come by force, not least legislation, and certainly it happens that some of these after a while are 'comfortable' and willingly accepted, or even understood as being "self-evident". That happens throughout history.
Your arrangement works for you, fine,but it does not say that it is ideal för someone else, not even for someone playing the same music as you do.
IF new handles and methods may be found beneficial for a wide musical spectrum a lot is gained for the general population of players and there really are several indications that the traditional handles - both the Anglo/Duet and the English concepts - are not ideal for any musical style of performance. This is hardly a matter of individual opinions - it is a matter of learning, knowledge and not least of open minds and some curiosity to try something different.
Conservatism can be a wise strategy in many aspects - out of say some thousand innovations maybe one or less turns out being successful in the long run - but without trying nobody will know and no progress will ever take place.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 12:43 PM

Here's a blicky to Guran's clip (first of three) on YouTube describing and demonstrating his handles: click

And one where he describes some support straps: click


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Dec 09 - 07:26 PM

"I would rather say it is in principle impossible getting the same "lift and drive" (=bellows control)on an English (with its traditional handle).That is simple mechanics."

I remember several years ago - think I even posted the info here - about a woman who has specialised in "Angle style playing " music on and English - she had added straps.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 07 Dec 09 - 07:57 AM

Foolestroupe:"I remember several years ago - think I even posted the info here - about a woman who has specialised in "Angle style playing " music on and English - she had added straps".

RE:I can't identify the player, there are some English players of course who do pretty well copying the "Anglo style", but the point still is that noone can get *the same control* using the traditional English handle due to less stability. The trad English "wrist straps" do not help much since if set tight (to assist both on pull and push) they lock the hand in an awkward hyperextended position and if set looser they can only assist a little on pull.To get things right there must be a support for the wrist 20-40mm high combined with a strap, or possibly a hard bow, fixating the back of the hand by a kind of "cuff" stabilizing the connection similar to the combination of hand-bar and hand-strap of the trad Anglo/Duet handle.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 04:07 AM

English with thumbstrap - Need to free up the fingers to move backwards and forwards

Anglo with hand strap - Need to free up the thumb to operate the air valve.

Simples.

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 10:16 AM

David el Gnomo: "English with thumbstrap - Need to free up the fingers to move backwards and forwards
Anglo with hand strap - Need to free up the thumb to operate the air valve.Simples".

RE:Well,it may seem so without much consideration...Read this below for a start and get back again with some other simplifications...:-)

http://www.concertina.net/goran_ergonom.html


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 05:29 PM

Guran - glad to notice the smilie at the end of your message. Good to see that a sense of humour is universal - unlike concertina systems.

:D (eG)

PS - I never read what experts say on the web. Who did you say wrote that article? :-P


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Subject: RE: Tech: Concertina handles - why different?
From: Guran
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 01:41 PM

David el Gnomo: "PS - I never read what experts say on the web".

RE: Well, with that attitude you can safely read what I have written because I never call myself "expert" - not even when misfortunately supposed to be something of the kind...:-)

D el G:" Who did you say wrote that article?"

RE:I didn't,but IF you read it you will probably soon find out - it is not written by some expert anyway so you're safe...:-)
There are some simplifications there for you to ponder about anyhow.


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