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Discussions => Instrument Makes and Models => Topic started by: Michael Montcombroux on April 06, 2018, 04:12:12 PM

Title: One rows
Post by: Michael Montcombroux on April 06, 2018, 04:12:12 PM
Hello, I'm new around here, so bear with me, please.
After a hiatus of some years, I am thinking of returning to playing the melodeon. I used to own, among other boxes, a Castagnari Lilly and I am toying with the idea of getting a Castagnari one row, the Mélodéon model, not the Cajan.
The majority of the tunes I play are in G and I am assuming I should, logically, order a box tuned to that key. Is this correct thinking? Most of the one-rows I've come across seem to be in C.
Any advice or comments would be much appreciated.
Thanks
Michael
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Stiamh on April 06, 2018, 04:57:25 PM
Hello, I'm new around here, so bear with me, please.

Fear not, Michael, we even bear with people who are quite old around here. Fortunately for me, among others. (:)

Quote
The majority of the tunes I play are in G and I am assuming I should, logically, order a box tuned to that key. Is this correct thinking?

Well, yes. But only if you need to play those tunes in G with other people, or sing above them in that key. Otherwise, you could play those tunes on a one-row in any other tuning.* 

A one-row in G is tuned lower than boxes in D or C (as opposed to higher). Nice growly sound. Will Castagnari make one for you in that tuning?

* Note also that on a D melodeon you can play some tunes in G - those that have no C in the tune (and there are quite a few, in trad music). You can also play G tunes that have no F# in them on a C box. And pentatonic tunes based on G on either a D or a C melodeon.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Michael Montcombroux on April 06, 2018, 06:10:52 PM
Thanks, Stiamh, for the comments. Maybe I'm wrong in expecting that Castagnari will make a one-row in G. From your remarks, it appears a D box would fit the bill. I know Castagnari makes boxes with that tuning. Since I play strictly for myself, the dogs and the wildlife, I am not committed to any particular tuning.
Michael
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 06, 2018, 06:12:58 PM
I don’t know where you are based out of, but I know that O’Brien’s Music in St. John’s, Newfoundland has a Castagnari “Melodeon” in the key of G for sale, or at least they did the last time I checked in. I know they will ship instruments as well. I can get you more contact info if you like.

Have you ever played a Castagnari one-row? They take some getting used to, particularly because of the peculiar air button. The sound is also vastly different from most other one-rows.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Lester on April 06, 2018, 06:16:27 PM
Have you ever played a Castagnari one-row? They take some getting used to, particularly because of the peculiar air button.

This
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: kenakordeon on April 06, 2018, 06:35:10 PM
Folks who play C one-row (many Cajun musicians) play C, G and F on the instrument. Many Quebecois music players, and the few Irish single-row players, play D and G on the D single row. Its all a matter of learning how to work around the missing notes. Not saying its easy but it is doable. Key of G on a D single row is going to be a little easier than key of G on a C single row.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Tufty on April 06, 2018, 06:36:03 PM
What sorts of music are you going to be playing? For Irish D seems the usual choice of 1 row, for English D, G and C all have their fans. I would suggest trying different makers before spending a lot of money, they can be very different!
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 06, 2018, 07:07:30 PM
I very much like Castagnari Melodeons and have owned three.

I have recently sold my last one owing to the difficulty in operating the air button. 
I was able to "cope" with it until I had me thumb relocated, then impossible.

G can be played on a C box... minus the f#.. ergo "blues scale" .

G is not as useful as D or C. Simple as that.

Should you decide to sell it.. good luck.. not much call.

I would suggest playing one in D or C for a while to make sure you like one row.

Were I to buy a new one row, it would not be a Castganari and I have owned roughly 15 Castagnaris.. the one row is the only Castagnari that is challenging to play.. see comments on air button.

Beltuna may also be an option. Liberty Bellows had a Beltuna in G.. not sure if it is still there
(this is in NO way and endorsement of Liberty Bellows)

If you want a one row in G   try to find an older German made HOHNER  HA114 in that key. Light , fast, fun, and affordable compared to other options.

If I wanted to play in G  I'd buy a G/C two row.

Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 06, 2018, 07:11:11 PM
Folks who play C one-row (many Cajun musicians) play C, G and F on the instrument. Many Quebecois music players, and the few Irish single-row players, play D and G on the D single row.

Just as the Cajuns play C one-row in C, G and F, Irish D-melodeon players play in the corresponding keys of D, A and G (the "fiddle" keys in fact) going back to the early 20th century recordings of John Kimmel and Peter Conlon. (Though Hohner were marketing G melodeons in Ireland in the 1930s, which would give you G, D and C.)

Quote
Its all a matter of learning how to work around the missing notes. Not saying its easy but it is doable. Key of G on a D single row is going to be a little easier than key of G on a C single row.

In Irish music, Johnny Connolly is the master of that!  :D
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 06, 2018, 07:26:54 PM
Mind you, if I ever have the money to buy another new melodeon it'll be a Bergflødt in G, tuned "just", like this fabulous one: "Bergflødt" Single-Row Melodeon / Diato á 1 rang / Énrader (Potpourri) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU6BJ4IwxDA)

What a sound!  :o
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: boxcall on April 06, 2018, 08:38:49 PM
Quote
Its all a matter of learning how to work around the missing notes. Not saying its easy but it is doable. Key of G on a D single row is going to be a little easier than key of G on a C single row.

In Irish music, Johnny Connolly is the master of that!  :D

Yes he is !!!

I would say playing in G on a C box shouldn't be any more difficult than playing in A on a D box.
I don't know for sure but was under the impression that the Cajun players play most of their stuff in G on a C box. Cross harp style?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: kenakordeon on April 06, 2018, 10:00:57 PM
Yes, Johnny Connolly is great! John O'Halloran is another marvelous single-row player.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: boxcall on April 07, 2018, 12:29:49 AM
Since we're on the John ;) don't forget John Gannon He has a really strong feel to his music and of course Kimmel.
I do like Johnny O'Halloran also!!
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 07, 2018, 01:01:12 AM
You'd almost think the Connemara people had a monopoly or something, don't forget my friend Bobby Gardiner (born just outside Lisdoonvarna, in North Clare) in all this - I love his music! ;)

He's playing a Hohner in G on this video clip: Bobby Gardiner and Johnny McDonagh 1982 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpTdiz-luHQ)

Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 07, 2018, 01:18:51 AM
And then I've another friend, Alan Morrisroe (http://www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/towns-villages/charlestown/history/alan-morrisroe.html), originally from Charlestown, County Mayo, who visited me only yesterday. He has a large repertoire of old melodeon settings of tunes, which started with ones he got from his grandmother Catherine Gallagher (Catty Nell).

In this video he plays her favourite jigs on an antique Wilhelm Spaethe melodeon: Alan Morrisroe - My Grandmother's Favourite Jigs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-0zSRFI1HA) ;D

Edited to add make of melodeon.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: boxcall on April 07, 2018, 01:33:58 AM
You'd almost think the Connemara people had a monopoly or something, don't forget my friend Bobby Gardiner (born just outside Lisdoonvarna, in North Clare) in all this - I love his music! ;)

He's playing a Hohner in G on this video clip: Bobby Gardiner and Johnny McDonagh 1982 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpTdiz-luHQ)


I do have a fondness for connermara and its music, my moms parents were born there (:)
Yes Bobby is another great one, and He seems to have such a great personality and love for music!

Humors of glendart is a great melodeon tune, one of my favorites.

And then I've another friend, Alan Morrisroe (http://www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/towns-villages/charlestown/history/alan-morrisroe.html), originally from Charlestown, County Mayo, who visited me only yesterday. He has a large repertoire of old melodeon settings of tunes, which started with ones he got from his grandmother Catherine Gallagher (Catty Nell).

In this video he plays her favourite jigs: Alan Morrisroe - My Grandmother's Favourite Jigs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-0zSRFI1HA) ;D

I really enjoyed the videos I,ve seen of Alan playing, do you know the name or names of the tunes he's playing there? Sounds familiar but then again a lot of them do.
He really gives the box and himself a workout (:)
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: tirpous on April 07, 2018, 02:18:06 AM
Quote
Quote from: triskel on Today at 01:18:51 AM

And then I've another friend, Alan Morrisroe, originally from Charlestown, County Mayo, who visited me only yesterday. He has a large repertoire of old melodeon settings of tunes, which started with ones he got from his grandmother Catherine Gallagher (Catty Nell).

In this video he plays her favourite jigs: Alan Morrisroe - My Grandmother's Favourite Jigs ;D


I really enjoyed the videos I,ve seen of Alan playing, do you know the name or names of the tunes he's playing there? Sounds familiar but then again a lot of them do.
He really gives the box and himself a workout (:)

Nice video.  Somehow, the workout aspect reminds me of those videos with President Trump playing the box !
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: george garside on April 07, 2018, 10:17:17 AM
for some interesting 'one row' you tube videos   by  Anatoly Iaev  ( he is a russian  who plays 1 & 2 row melodeons and is also  a dab hand on the Shand Morino)  ?the only one in Russia. Plays Scottish, Irish and English music

just put in ' Anatoly Isaev  melodeon' to bring several of his videos up

george
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Michael Montcombroux on April 07, 2018, 02:55:11 PM
Thanks all for shedding light on the world of one-rows. I play mostly French trad with some Northumbrian tunes thrown in, as well as a sampling of tunes gathered from sites like this and The Session. I've played a one-row a little but I wasn't aware of the air button issue with the Castagnari. That sounds like a game changer, as well as choosing a box in G.
I have not committed myself to anything yet and I really appreciate all the helpful comments.
Michael
(Canada)
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Theo on April 07, 2018, 03:16:09 PM
Anatoly is a member here.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 07, 2018, 06:44:45 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmPFPMCCQlM

http://www.accordions.ie/student-accordions


This box may be another option, flush buttons and  (about time) a thumb groove.

I have no experience with the instrument but have had occasions to call and Quinn is first class.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 08, 2018, 03:28:47 AM
I may be mistaken, but I don’t think there’s a thumb-groove on that model.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 08, 2018, 09:56:05 PM
I think you are correct, too bad.

Some day, one row makers will take into consideration that many players use a "shoulder" strap and prefer a thumb groove.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: -Y- on April 09, 2018, 09:58:40 AM
Please forgive my ignorance but what is a thumb-groove? Is it the fact that the side of the keyboard has an inward curve? Or is it the term for the leather strap fixed mid-keyboard on many one-rows?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: george garside on April 09, 2018, 10:05:59 AM
the thumb groove is as you describe and the thumb strap is indeed the thumb strap

george
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 09, 2018, 02:38:26 PM
Post modified to include "shoulder" for the strap so as not to confuse this with the archaic and restrictive thumb strap.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: -Y- on April 09, 2018, 02:53:22 PM
Thanks, George, it's clearer now.

the archaic and restrictive thumb strap.

I have to say that's what worries me about the one rows, it never really felt enjoyable to have the thumb fixed like that. I guess I'll see hands on when I receive mine (although I asked to have something to buckle shoulder straps on it).
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: tirpous on April 09, 2018, 03:55:31 PM
Quote
restrictive thumb strap

A well adjusted thumb strap is not all that restrictive.  Shoulder straps impose restrictions on one's playing too. 
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 10, 2018, 02:04:45 PM
Depends on the player.

I gravitated from thumb strap to shoulder strap and never looked back.  A shoulder strap doesn't limit the hand or fingers as does a "well adjusted" thumb strap.  The addition of a thumb groove makes a considerable difference.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Mcgrooger on April 10, 2018, 05:09:33 PM
Hi Michael. Nice to hear from you. I'm not clear why you think a one row box will suit you better than a two row. I have a one row but it doesn't come out of it's bag very often compared with my two rows. Just wondering.
McG
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Michael Montcombroux on April 11, 2018, 01:40:23 AM
Hi Mcgrooger
Thanks for the greeting. Why a one-row? Good question. I am attracted to a lighter weight box and I admire many of the people, including some on this forum, who do play one-rows. I've owned Castagnaris before but I was unaware of the problem with the air button on the Castagnari one-row, which makes me revise my opinion on their one-row model. An earlier poster, melodeon, I believe suggested I go for a two-row GC. I was visiting my local big town today and dropped into the only music store that carries accordions. Their 'range' extended to one solitary Hohner Erica. I tried it out and found the bellows absurdly stiff. I know that one can loosen up the bellows but with this particular box you'd still have stiff bellows, only a little looser. Where I live - Manitoba, Canada, squeezeboxes of any kind are thin on the ground. I am not a fan of buying an instrument without first trying it out first. How do others manage - a leap of faith?
Michael
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: tirpous on April 11, 2018, 01:43:36 AM
Quote
Depends on the player.

I gravitated from thumb strap to shoulder strap and never looked back.  A shoulder strap doesn't limit the hand or fingers as does a "well adjusted" thumb strap.  The addition of a thumb groove makes a considerable difference.

Fully agree, it's a matter of personal preference.  Many fine players live with the limitations of the thumb strap and make great music.  Many fine players live with the limitations of the shoulder strap and make great music too !

(maybe I should have written "properly adjusted" - strangling one's thumb is not what I had in mind)
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Mcgrooger on April 11, 2018, 01:31:42 PM
I bought my last 3 boxes (all Hohners) from Mike Rowbotham, Martyn White and Theo without having played them first. It's possible to find quite a lot out about a box if it's coming from a trusted source such as these. I guess a problem for you though might be shipping costs. Nevertheless it's always worth keeping an eye on The Buy and Sell thread here, checking out our fettlers' websites and getting in touch with any prospective seller. Good luck with your search and I'll look forward to hearing you via TOTM etc. soon.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 12, 2018, 11:43:22 PM
Quote
restrictive thumb strap

A well adjusted thumb strap is not all that restrictive.  Shoulder straps impose restrictions on one's playing too.

Agreed. I alternate back and forth from playing with just the thumb strap to using a shoulder strap as well.  Both have advantages and disadvantages, but the thumb strap always gets used, regardless of the shoulder strap.  I find it gives an extra bit of "snapiness" for playing the kind of music that I do, although obviously there are plenty of Irish players (ie most of them) that get on just fine without it.  The key to using the thumb strap, as mentioned, is to have it properly adjusted to one's playing style and physical needs.  I've seen plenty of box players whose thumbs seem to angle backwards at the first joint to almost 90 degrees (!) but my thumb simply does not bend that way!  With a properly adjusted thumb strap, I'm right at home :)
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 13, 2018, 01:25:42 AM
... the thumb strap always gets used, regardless of the shoulder strap.  I find it gives an extra bit of "snapiness" for playing the kind of music that I do, although obviously there are plenty of Irish players (ie most of them) that get on just fine without it.

I don't think I know any Irish players who don't use the thumb strap, whether they use a shouder strap or not... ???
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 13, 2018, 02:38:14 AM
... the thumb strap always gets used, regardless of the shoulder strap.  I find it gives an extra bit of "snapiness" for playing the kind of music that I do, although obviously there are plenty of Irish players (ie most of them) that get on just fine without it.

I don't think I know any Irish players who don't use the thumb strap, whether they use a shouder strap or not... ???

Sorry, I forgot we were talking of one-row “melodeons”. I was thinking about two-rows as well, and most Irish box players who play a two-row (semitone) box don’t even have a thumb strap to use! I can think of at least one example of an Irish melodeon player who doesn’t use the thumb strap:

https://youtu.be/qwHFmUJBiUM
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 13, 2018, 10:25:31 AM
I don't think I know any Irish players who don't use the thumb strap, whether they use a shouder strap or not... ???

Sorry, I forgot we were talking of one-row “melodeons”. I was thinking about two-rows as well, and most Irish box players who play a two-row (semitone) box don’t even have a thumb strap to use! I can think of at least one example of an Irish melodeon player who doesn’t use the thumb strap:

https://youtu.be/qwHFmUJBiUM

Well it'd have to be "a young fella", I don't think any of us "old guys" would dream of it... ;)

But, though you'd also have got 2-row melodeons (with thumb loops) still up until WW2, the typical "Irish accordion" would be a different breed of box.

The new name "melodeon" was applied to the old "German accordion" (in Scotland) in the late 1870s, and is still used in Ireland to describe that style of instrument (with surface/exposed action/pallets, bass "growl box", stop knobs on top, a thumb loop and no shoulder strap), but 2-row "Vienna" or "Italian" style accordions became more general in use by the 1930s and the best Italian models always had shoulder straps and no thumb loop (and usually no thumb groove either in the early days).

However, over time, in Britain the name "melodeon" got applied to all forms of diatonic accordion - which is how we find ourselves here (on this forum) today...

Edited to add: (and usually no thumb groove either in the early days)
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 13, 2018, 01:51:13 PM
Is Castagnari still supplying 2 rows (3 rows) with thumb straps?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 13, 2018, 02:54:14 PM
Is Castagnari still supplying 2 rows (3 rows) with thumb straps?

I thought that a thumb strap was standard on some of their 2 rows (such as the Tommy, for example).
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Gary Chapin on April 13, 2018, 04:15:35 PM
I have gotten on so badly with thumb straps that I assume I am deformed in the thumb or hopelessly misinformed about how to use one. If you are using a thumb strap does the thumb sit behind the keyboard or is it in the thumb-groove, bracing the instrument?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 13, 2018, 07:48:38 PM
I have gotten on so badly with thumb straps that I assume I am deformed in the thumb or hopelessly misinformed about how to use one. If you are using a thumb strap does the thumb sit behind the keyboard or is it in the thumb-groove, bracing the instrument?

People do both, but more often than not the thumb is pushing against the side of the keyboard (in the thumb-groove if there is one) to brace the box. That is how I use it.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 13, 2018, 08:17:03 PM
If you are using a thumb strap does the thumb sit behind the keyboard or is it in the thumb-groove, bracing the instrument?

"You pays yer money and takes yer choice" on that one, though I've always placed my thumb against the rounded keyboard edge, bracing the instrument.

You don't get thumb grooves on one-row melodeons, and I'd find them totally incompatible with the way I hold the instrument...
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Rees on April 13, 2018, 08:33:03 PM

You don't get thumb grooves on one-row melodeons, and I'd find them totally incompatible with the way I hold the instrument...

Me too.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 13, 2018, 09:23:40 PM

You don't get thumb grooves on one-row melodeons, and I'd find them totally incompatible with the way I hold the instrument...

Me too.

Count me in, too. Often my thumb gravitates to the rounded edge of the keyboard and a thumb-groove would be a hindrance.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Edward Jennings on April 13, 2018, 10:27:14 PM
Of course it's all horses for courses! If I were a manufacturer, I'd make thumb grooves, thumb straps and one or two shoulder straps all options in the build. Plus, I'd also offer an extended keyboard for those with dogey joints, as below. After all; the customer's always right, isn't he/she?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Lester on April 13, 2018, 10:31:45 PM
After all; the customer's always right, isn't he/she?

No!
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Edward Jennings on April 13, 2018, 11:20:58 PM
You're probably right there, Mr Bailey! How about, "The knowledgeable customer knows what he/she wants." Does that suit you a bit better?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: JimmyM on April 14, 2018, 10:00:47 PM
I have gotten on so badly with thumb straps that I assume I am deformed in the thumb or hopelessly misinformed about how to use one. If you are using a thumb strap does the thumb sit behind the keyboard or is it in the thumb-groove, bracing the instrument?

either >:E

I think the thumb strap is a skill.Maybe like playing anglo concertina standing up -which I am convinced is impossible unless you have previously sold your first born to the devil!  I use 2 shoulder straps for 2row morris playing, 1 shoulder strap for seated 2row playing and the thumb strap for my 1 rows (always seated) I think i saw a video of Johnny Connolly and just decided thats how it ought to be done. Bit tricky at first but i dont really think about it now
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Broadland Boy on April 14, 2018, 11:59:32 PM
I suspect Edward, that the art of the successful fettler is determining the difference between what the customer asks for and actually wants, then giving it to them  ;)
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 15, 2018, 12:42:53 AM
"the thumb strap is a skill"

An unnecessary "skill" imposed by the archaic lock-up of the thumb.

If you have a thumb groove you can use it, if you have no thumb groove , you can't use it. DUH !

As to being locked up in a thumb strap.. it impairs digital mobility, and why would you want to learn a skill that is unnecessary if you use a thumb groove. Why would you want to learn to be immobile ?

Just askin'.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Edward Jennings on April 15, 2018, 01:19:24 AM
"If you have a thumb groove you can use it,"

Or, it can be very uncomfortable against your palm if you prefer to play with your thumb behind the keyboard. When I play with my thumb on the edge of the keyboard, my old thumb knuckles get very painful, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Then again, perhaps I haven't yet learned the skill of playing it that way, through spending (wasting?) my time enjoying what I do with the melodeon?

In all this, I strongly suspect that Melodeon's passionately argued method is probably the most technically correct and medically neutral grip, other than the two straps holding the instrument firmly against the chest (but that's mainly for thinner people!) but there are those amongst us who just don't like to conform, more power to their elbows!!!
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Lester on April 15, 2018, 08:00:51 AM
"the thumb strap is a skill"

An unnecessary "skill" imposed by the archaic lock-up of the thumb.

If you have a thumb groove you can use it, if you have no thumb groove , you can't use it. DUH !

As to being locked up in a thumb strap.. it impairs digital mobility, and why would you want to learn a skill that is unnecessary if you use a thumb groove. Why would you want to learn to be immobile ?

Just askin'.
I think you need to understand that what is good for you is not necessarily good for everyone. Even when I play with my thumb on the edge of the keyboard I prefer a nice rounded edge rather than a thumb groove as I find them uncomfortable, but I am willing to accept that other people have a different view on this subject.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: george garside on April 15, 2018, 11:30:32 AM
I think the key to successful use of the thumb strap is ti have it long enough ( and most I have tried have required lengthening/adjusting) for the thumb to rest easily but firmly held against the edge of the keyboard. 

much to my surprise, as a confirmed 'two strapper' I have found it quite comfortable on both 1 row and  on 2 row Erica.

This setting is clearly demonstrated   on a you tube vid. just put in       youtube jimmy Shand Melodeon solo      for a demonstation on thumb strap playing on an Erica.

george
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Rob Lands on April 15, 2018, 12:53:09 PM
I used the thumbstrap on my first melodeons. I found that if I wanted to hit the buttons faster and play across the rows the thumbstrap restricted me.  I have grooved edges and round edges and to be honest don't notice a difference but perhaps find a little more stability with a groove.  I suspect the shape and movement in your hands and wrist influence what works for each of us and also other instruments we play.  I think my hands/fingers are too short to reach the high notes (and third row) with my thumb restricted.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: kenakordeon on April 15, 2018, 01:26:51 PM
The great Quebecoise accordionist Philippe Bruneau kept his thumb securely locked behind the keyboard. As does the currently great Quebecoise accordionist Sabin Jacques.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Steve C. on April 15, 2018, 01:55:26 PM
Michael, don't stress out on buying long distance from reputable dealers (can be identified through the forum) and probably all of the regular posters.  They will not screw you, IMO. 
Most of us have bought boxes sight unseen and unplayed through the forum and 99 44/100's of the time everyone is happy.  Most of us will take it back.  All the good dealers will. 
Plus, well played boxes will have nicely pre-exercised bellows. 
There are members who are even more far afield than you. 
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 15, 2018, 08:08:15 PM
Sabin Jacques's thumb is not locked in a strap.. and from my observation his thumb appears to be in contact with the the back edge of the "keyboard".
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Lester on April 15, 2018, 08:17:40 PM
Sabin Jacques's thumb is not locked in a strap.. and from my observation his thumb appears to be in contact with the the back edge of the "keyboard".
Whilst through (locked into) a thumb strap
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: tirpous on April 16, 2018, 01:56:52 AM
Sabin uses a thumb strap of very stiff leather (old belt) shaped a bit like a funnel, and into which he wedges his thumb.  His thumb is behind the keyboard and the strap is oriented at about 1 o'clock which means his thumb is almost perpendicular to the keyboard's edge as can be seen about 2 minutes into this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-glhGdTDg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-glhGdTDg) .  This is what works for him...
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Mike Hirst on April 16, 2018, 09:55:13 AM
The great Quebecoise accordionist Philippe Bruneau kept his thumb securely locked behind the keyboard. As does the currently great Quebecoise accordionist Sabin Jacques.

When I met Philippe Bruneau he showed me that it was only the tip of the thumb that went into the strap. Though limited by my imperfect understanding of the French language I understood that he had arrived at this technique through careful examination of photographs of John Kimmel and that he had also observed the same technique used by Alfred Monmarquette.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 16, 2018, 01:01:49 PM
The great Quebecoise accordionist Philippe Bruneau kept his thumb securely locked behind the keyboard. As does the currently great Quebecoise accordionist Sabin Jacques.

When I met Philippe Bruneau he showed me that it was only the tip of the thumb that went into the strap. Though limited by my imperfect understanding of the French language I understood that he had arrived at this technique through careful examination of photographs of John Kimmel and that he had also observed the same technique used by Alfred Monmarquette.

That is also how I play.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: pgroff on April 16, 2018, 01:25:24 PM
If my memory is correct, Gilles Poutoux posted to his facebook page some detailed photos (with rulers for scale) of the thumbstrap pattern preferred by M. Bruneau. 

FWIW (since I'm not a pro melodeon player) -- I personally like to have the thumbstrap long enough to brace my thumb (in the strap loop) against the edge of the keyboard, not too different a thumb position than I would use  if I used a single shoulder strap and no thumb loop.

Whatever works! Some really amazing players  have their thumb way behind the keyboard

PG
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: kenakordeon on April 16, 2018, 02:29:02 PM
Of coursse, you are all correct. I should have chosen my words more precisely. Neither Philippe Bruneau nor Sabin Jacques kept or keep the thumb "securely locked" behind the keyboard. I had meant to offer the fact that two wonderfully talented players' thumbs were placed placed in a strap loop more behind the keyboard than on the edge of the keyboard with either a longer thumb strap or no strap at all.

Ken
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 16, 2018, 03:09:18 PM
I prefer a thumb groove and no strap.

I do have a "swivel" strap on my 2 1/2 row Swiss made box..

I replaced the original leather strap with one that is long enough, and big enough (sloppy thumb fit) to do as Paul describes with the thumb against the edge of the "keyboard" .  I wanted to retain as much of the originality of the box as is possible  and  not remove the thumb strap mechanism.  I can make this work but still prefer the single shoulder strap and ideally a thumb groove.

When I was making HOHNER replacement keyboards, they were with a thumb groove and no provision for a thumb strap. 
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 16, 2018, 04:51:29 PM
Another great gentleman of the accordion, who was beknighted for his playing, liked to play his 2-row Hohner with its thumb strap:

Jimmy Shand - Melodeon Solo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuphefLxUsM)

Whilst John Joe Gannon did the same (all the time) with a 4-voice Paolo Soprani! :o

John Joe Gannon, Kevin Webster & CCE Britain Group - Boyne Hunt Set (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FBJ1MvZNWo)

But it's a case of what works for you...
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Edward Jennings on April 16, 2018, 05:01:36 PM
"But it's a case of what works for you..."

Yes, as most comments seem to say.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: komat on April 16, 2018, 05:59:55 PM
The great Quebecoise accordionist Philippe Bruneau kept his thumb securely locked behind the keyboard. As does the currently great Quebecoise accordionist Sabin Jacques.

When I met Philippe Bruneau he showed me that it was only the tip of the thumb that went into the strap. Though limited by my imperfect understanding of the French language I understood that he had arrived at this technique through careful examination of photographs of John Kimmel and that he had also observed the same technique used by Alfred Monmarquette.

Is it possible the fact he had hands like mitts might have played into this too?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: mselic on April 16, 2018, 07:01:15 PM
Sabin uses a thumb strap of very stiff leather (old belt) shaped a bit like a funnel, and into which he wedges his thumb.  His thumb is behind the keyboard and the strap is oriented at about 1 o'clock which means his thumb is almost perpendicular to the keyboard's edge as can be seen about 2 minutes into this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-glhGdTDg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-glhGdTDg) .  This is what works for him...

I’ve noticed a few Quebecois players play similary to this, ie with thumb in thumb strap but behind the keyboard. Raynald Ouellette, Alexandre Caron both seem to hold the box this way, as does Gilles Poutoux who has shared detailed photographs of how his thumb strap gets used. I’m curious about this because I’ve experimented with variations of this, but the problem I always ran into was that the box was never fully stabilized. Without a shoulder strap, it all comes entirely down to the thumb bracing a box, so how do they make it work when it’s behind the keyboard? The best I could get on with it was  when I secured the thumb strap very firmly to the box so that it allowed for no movement; with the push my thumb with be pushing up against a firm strap, and the loop would keep my thumb secured with the pull. For me, I couldn’t get the same stability as when my thumb was pushing against the side of the keyboard, so that’s what I stuck with. It obviously works for others, though, so I’m curious how they do it!
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 17, 2018, 03:19:42 PM
What if there was a thumb strap attached to a metal dovetail "sled" that travelled in a dovetail groove.  This might work for back players, edge players  and removed, or not installed, for no strap players.

With our without thumb groove.

Hard to explain without photos or drawings but I think it may have merit.

Could be made to be retrofitted..


My problem with thumb behind the board (strap or no strap) is that the thumb then is the pressure point for a grip which encumbers, immobilizes,  the fingers.

Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Steve C. on April 18, 2018, 12:57:20 PM
Jeff, it sounds like those banjo 5th string capos that slide on a steel track.  Work fine, look like hell. I do like the dovetail sled idea, though.  Wouldn't it be easier to just put in a few more pre-drilled holes on the back of the fingerboard and have the thumb strap attach with a cotter of some sort? (also probably look like hell!)
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 18, 2018, 01:57:25 PM
The idea of a sliding mechanism is that the thumb would be able to move up and down the fingerboard.

Drilling holes and fitting a cotter would make it a "fixed" location.

I did some drawings last night and may have a solution.  I'll try to make a working mock up.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: jonm on April 18, 2018, 04:08:29 PM
I have an ancient flutina with a thumb strap on a rail which runs the length of the instrument behind the fingerboard.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: melodeon on April 18, 2018, 09:21:07 PM
Thanks,

That's where I first saw such a contraption.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 18, 2018, 10:58:25 PM
I have an ancient flutina with a thumb strap on a rail which runs the length of the instrument behind the fingerboard.

Woven thumb loops that slide on a nickel-silver rod behind the keyboard were a feature of the very earliest accordions made by (the inventor of them) Cyrill Demian, in Vienna, in 1829 - and I have two of his that are completely original in that regard. Similar arrangements are to be found on some early German models too, like my 1850's Anthony Faas of Philadelphia.

But the bar/rod on French accordions was set further back, and (early tutor books make clear) was intended for the player to hook their thumb directly onto, though that didn't stop some people from adding, and using, a thumb loop/strap.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: playandteach on April 18, 2018, 11:59:35 PM
Free the thumb. It's a digit in its own right. In these days of gender fluidity, I propose digital blindness: yesterday's anchor is tomorrow's harmony digit. I bite my thumb at you, sir? Thumbing my nose? Under the thumb? - such negative connotations. 1, 2, 3, 4 let's have a thumb war. I'd love the moment of realising that my thumb is needed to rise to the challenge - a bit like the chorus line girl stepping up to understudy a drunken star. Or is a row crosser a different breed to one rower?
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: triskel on April 19, 2018, 12:50:22 AM
Free the thumb. It's a digit in its own right. In these days of gender fluidity, I propose digital blindness: yesterday's anchor is tomorrow's harmony digit. ...

You'll be needing a full harness then, to liberate your thumb - two hefty shoulder straps and a back strap, so you can anchor the box on your chest.

Only trouble is, it's hard enough to find room/means to fit a single, lightweight, shoulder strap to the narrow frames of many single-row melodeons, never mind a pair of heavyweight ones...

Or is a row crosser a different breed to one rower?

Absolutely, in my estimation.

I'd play a 4-voice, 2-row C#/D with two broad, but unpadded, shoulder straps (these (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Genuine-Leather-Accordion-Straps/272286884275?epid=1975005105&hash=item3f659021b3:m:mSujg1V9UKNtnsFDCITsoeQ) ones to be precise), but give me a 10-key, 4-stop and I'll be perfectly content with a single narrow shoulder strap and the thumb strap.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Chris Rayner on April 19, 2018, 10:21:35 AM
Row crosser:  (n) Manually powered passenger ferry across river or tidal creek.

One rower: (n)  Eccentric oarsman propelling tiny boat with outsize oars while wearing singlet and shorts.
Title: Re: One rows
Post by: Edward Jennings on April 19, 2018, 10:41:06 AM
Don't be too harsh Chris, I can only wear the clothes my wife gives me, and I like circles! (That's why I'm following this thread.)