To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
12 messages

Tech: Accordion Harness

27 Apr 04 - 03:39 AM (#1171978)
Subject: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: GUEST,Fi in NZ

OK, 1st off, hold the accordion jokes, most accordion threads seem to be so full of jokes it's impossible to find any useful info..... K, now I've set myself up for all the perfect pitch jokes etc....

I've just acquired a piano accordion and am really enjoying playing it - I'm a piano player who doesn't have room for a piano in the house. However, it's heavy (it's only a diddly little one, but it's still heavy). Is there such a thing as a harness so that the weight lies on your hips rather than all being through your shoulders? or any other contraption which might help?

I went into the music shop here and they had no clue of anything of this kind.



27 Apr 04 - 05:37 AM (#1172053)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: Skipjack K8

A backstrap might help you. Karen Tweed always uses one, when sitting or standing, and simply uses a piece of fabric to pull the two straps together in the region of the lower spine.

I bought one, probably as an attempt at talent substitute, but not having lady bumps, I can only imagine that it's easier to release a brassiere than a squeezer backstrap. In short, it hasn't worked for me, although it is good for keeping the keyboard in exact position.

I usually play sitting, with the box resting on my right thigh, as I use, ahem, knee-trembling for bellows shake. That is fine for a 72 bass, but the full 120 bass stomach steinway is harder to control like that.

However, I did used to play standing up during rowdy pub gigs, with a three hundredweight 120 bass Bugari, and it ended up with me having to see a physio for painful massage to unknot the nerves at the top of my shoulders, where the straps compressed them.

So my advice would be to try a simple backstrap of the homemade variety, and play sitting down with the weight of the box taken on your right thigh.

27 Apr 04 - 06:38 AM (#1172087)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

I concure with SkipJack's advice. Sitting is best...and use perfect posture.


27 Apr 04 - 07:46 AM (#1172124)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: GUEST,T-boy

I'm sure I've seen people using floor stands.

27 Apr 04 - 05:56 PM (#1172699)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: Fi

Thanks. Sounds like I have to try and make something out of backpack webbing and climbing gear!!! I might patent it if I come up with something which works. There doesn't seem any reason why an accordion shouldn't be carried on the hips just like a backpack, so long as it is well anchored and not moving around.... Can't imagine how heavy one of the really big ones would be.



27 Apr 04 - 09:24 PM (#1172849)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo

I was going to recommend two ton anchor chain, and a suitable
block of concrete......

.... oh, didn't see that first post. Sorry, never mind.   ;-)


                   -- Arne (who owns one of the infernal gas bags)

27 Apr 04 - 10:12 PM (#1172880)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: The Fooles Troupe

We now have got two different theme threads entangled into one. I think I will ask Joe if he can seperate them, as well as link in the Accordion threads references.

Re the 'harness' problem.

1) Good straps are expensive and ones intended for heavy instruments have very wide shoulder fittings with deep padding. Narrow straps are either just 'cheapies' or are really intended for lighter instruments.

2) Backstraps are built into the commercially available good sets of straps - I have a couple and I can't undo myself, let alone do the clip up. I can't reach into the small of my back with enough power/control to manage it. I do know that some ladies resort to putting the bra on back to front, doing up the clip, then rotating it into place, then putting on the shoulder straps, but is not going to work with an accordion! If only the straps clip was on one side I could manage one-handed...

3) Floor stands do exist, but they are expensive.

4) A harness that puts the weight on the hips. Probably patentable, but realistically, (and I am a proponent of the weapon instrument myself) you won't sell many. It may have been patented before... I would be personally interested in looking at one, but I didn't buy the floor stand I saw because of the cost.

5) Smaller lighter instruments - this includes fewer basses, fewer reeds, minature construction, are what I prefer. I can get great sounds of of smaller instruments.

As regard to general Piano Accordion info -
Technique: Piano Accordion for The Recycled Muso


28 Apr 04 - 02:08 AM (#1172939)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: open mike

see my thread about cross-ed dual straps for this one :

28 Apr 04 - 03:05 AM (#1172955)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: The Fooles Troupe

Gargoyle is absolutely right about perfect posture, both when sitting and standing. Do NOT lean forward, when sitting or standing. Do NOT hunch your shoulders or back. If you start off with a bad posture, it is much harder to correct it later, when the medical damage starts to be noticed.

When standing, the weight pulls you forward, off balance, and you have to get the weight back thru your centre, usually by leaning slightly back. Well Endowed Ladies will understand this... ;-) Violin players have to do much the same, but the weight is nowhere as near as much.

Open Mike's idea is a good one - but the traditional reason that cross straps have not been used, is that the ease and speed of getting the instrument on and off would be compromised by the cross straps - you would need at least one of them to be unfastenable, in order to get a large heavy instrument on without even more difficulty or potential back strain. The one over the right shoulder should be fixed perhaps, and the one over the left shoulder be permanently attached at the top - for safety sake and ease of carrying the instrument, with a fast connect gadget - even perhaps velcro, at the bottom right hand side. I would not recommend both straps having velcro - if it lets go, you will drop the box on the floor, and most likely cause damage. I have thought about cross-straps myself in the past - just got used to the standard method. And the traditional straps do something else important for easy playing, and preventing injury due to a bad posture.

With the current two straight straps, you MUST have the left one shorter than the right. Good sets are made this way, you will notice. This seats the accordion toward your left side, making the keyboard roughly center itself on your chest. This protects your right arm & shoulder by not placing them in a strained back position but in a natural rest posotion, and actually makes it possible to see the keyboard and register switches on a large instrument. You take most of the weight of the Bass side on your left shoulder and arm.

You have to build up the muscles in your left shoulder and arm, not only to just hold the isntrument, but to handle the Bellows Shake Techniques.

BTW, accordion floor stands are also bulky and heavy to transport, and that's just another bit of heavy junk to lug around, especially if you are using amps!

Gargoyle, I'd certainly like to hear you play on the Paltalk session sometime.


28 Apr 04 - 11:36 AM (#1173197)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: GUEST,leeneia

Lou Berryman, a petite female, plays accordion which is supported by a metal pole which reaches to the floor. A designer friend of hers made it after a doctor told her to quit playing. She has been using it a good many years.

Lou is part of the much-traveled duo, Lou and Peter Berryman, so her system must be convenient to transport.

Why don't you track down their web site and see what you can learn about her "accordion monopod?"

28 Apr 04 - 01:05 PM (#1173288)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: open mike

berryman's web site

19 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM (#3392308)
Subject: RE: Tech: Accordion Harness
From: sleepyjon

open mike - I tried following your link (from about four posts back)- I like the sound of crossed straps- seems logical to me, but I tried it (bought some super long straps to make it possible) but they just squeeze inward on the neck. I couldn't find anything relevant by following the link. I know this is an old thread so the target may have changed. Was there something at one time about crossing the accordion straps, or have i misunderstood?