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Author Topic: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?  (Read 397 times)

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Jackhumphreys

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Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« on: July 14, 2018, 11:34:24 AM »

Advice welcomed on this.
I'm really enjoying the efficient Hohner-style (sideways moving) air-button on my Pariselle Course box: gives totally easy movement to expell air quickly, no resistance when closing the bellows fast.
By contrast,  my Guais 3 row (Handry style) has a push-in air button, and I still get unwelcome resistance when trying to move air. And this is after I had the  air aperture increased  by 60%.

I remember that Emmanuel Pariselle  VERY strongly  favoured the Hohner style button, saying that it is much more efficient.
Then I notice that Gaillard fits the Hohner-style button on his boxes: He must have his reasons too.

So, as well as  further increasing to the air button aperture, I'm considering  getting my Guais converted to a Hohner-style air button.   

(My style of playing is mostly on the pull, so I do need a very efficient air button to close the bellows fast, )

What do you think?   





Steve_freereeder

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Re: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 11:44:24 AM »

I think it is a matter of personal preference, whether to use the Hohner type flick-down button or the Italian wedge type air button.

Personally I much prefer the wedge type, as I find it much easier for fine control of the air whilst I'm playing, by 'feathering' the wedge button.
In contrast, I find that the Hohner type button is not as amenable to the feathering, tending to be either full on or full off.

So long as the actual air hole and pallet opening clearance are of a sufficient size*, both the Italian and the Hohner type of air button can give you a large gulp of air if needed.

Edit:
*I think these parameters are crucial, regardless of the air button type.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 11:46:26 AM by Steve_freereeder »
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george garside

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Re: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 11:49:00 AM »

Whilst I am comfortable with both the hohner and the wedge/press in bar  as Steve has said the latter makes feathering easier  which I find particularly useful to mask changes of bellwos direction when playing mainly 'on the row'

george
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2018, 11:54:32 AM »

Being relatively new to the fold, I haven't been brought up on Hohners as did many of my generation and so went for a Castagnari Tommy simply because at the time it was the most responsive box I could find. Therefore my 'home setting' is a Castagnari push in lever.

I'm now the proud owner of two old Hohner Erika's and have had them both fitted with a push in lever, Castagnari style as opposed to a Hohner button. I tried a friend's Erika before taking the plunge and I  really didn't get on with a Hohner button, by thumb kept cramping and I seemed to operate it using the  bent joint of my thumb, whereas my Castagnri I keep my thumb straighter and any part of the thumb or possibly lower strokes the lever.

My two old Hohners are not as quick to breath as my Castagnari's. I discussed this with Steve Freereeder of this parish and he told me to check both thus:
Go to the Castagnari: Hold the air button open, grab as many bass buttons and treble buttons as you can hold down  and push/pull.
Feel the resisteace of the internal gubbins - reeds, holes etc.
Repeat with the Hohner, grabbing an equal amount of buttons.
On mine the Hohners have a greater resistance which I attribute to the internal mechanisms, reeds etc as opposed to the type of lever used.

The fettlers of this parish will have a more precise view, but that is my experience.
Ah.... as I type Steve's jumped in...... I agree with his conclusion.
cheers
Q
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mselic

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Re: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2018, 02:06:09 PM »

Spoon lever all the way... ;)

Failing that, I prefer the Hohner-style button.
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AirTime

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Re: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2018, 03:56:33 PM »

I think it is a matter of personal preference, whether to use the Hohner type flick-down button or the Italian wedge type air button.

Personally I much prefer the wedge type, as I find it much easier for fine control of the air whilst I'm playing, by 'feathering' the wedge button.
In contrast, I find that the Hohner type button is not as amenable to the feathering, tending to be either full on or full off.

So long as the actual air hole and pallet opening clearance are of a sufficient size*, both the Italian and the Hohner type of air button can give you a large gulp of air if needed.

Edit:
*I think these parameters are crucial, regardless of the air button type.

Totally agree with this. I find the wedge style air button easier for "feathering",  but the ability to dump (or grab) a lot of air is also very helpful. My two vintage Hohners; a 1920's box & a Preciosa, both have double air buttons. It makes "planning" your bellows breathing much less critical as it's much easier to instantly adjust the bellows position. This is one of the brilliant features of the Preciosa - much easier to regulate air flow than (for instance) a Lilly
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2018, 04:51:33 PM »

I have thought long and hard on this. I started on a "slide" Hohner, it was fine. Didn't much like the push in types as I moved to Castas. Basically the thumb "abduction" move = away from the palm is served by the weak abducens muscle, and is its weakest action, also less controllable

I bought a Gaillard Safir in 2007 or so. It had Bertrand's redesigned air button, a large chunk of wood supported on an internal pylon, also a couple of rubber studs on there. The movement is downwards, rather than into the instrument. "Feathering" is easy and anatomically it uses the powerful flexor policis longus muscle of the forearm, also f. pol. brevis in the ball of the thumb. Perfecto!

In 2010 I showed this to Frans van der Aa over in Brabant, and we dismantled my Gaillard. He was non committal as I placed my order, but it came 2 years later with a "new design" air button, similar in execution and identical in action to Gaillard's. Not seen him this year, but AFAIK it's now standard feature 🤔

I am as happy as Larry with both variations, and thumb strain is a thing of the past 👍 Since then I've helped subtitle Pignol & Milleret's l'air et le geste DVD, whose basic thesis is that the air vent is by far the most important button on a box, usable for far more than bellows filling, or even "feathering" notes. eg They explore its use in rhythm generation. Recommended.

My 2¢ worth 😀
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-Y-

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Re: Air button efficiency: Hohner vs Push-in ?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2018, 10:31:33 PM »

I also agree with the fact that it's a matter of personal preference, I don't really think that there's one button style more efficient than another.
I find that as the Hohner style button is operating a rotation, it's harder for me to be precise in controlling the air flow when using it. I find that I can be more precise with the push-in button.
But again, it's a matter of preferences, and habits.
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