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Discussions => Teaching and Learning => Topic started by: Andy Next Tune on May 30, 2018, 10:16:39 PM

Title: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Andy Next Tune on May 30, 2018, 10:16:39 PM
I recently acquired a lovely 12 bass D/G Erika from Microbot.

Unfortunately I'm struggling to keep the bass end under control so that the fingers can safely navigate to the correct buttons.
With my other 8 bass boxes (Hohners and Italian), my thumb hovers around the air button as a reference point and I think there's a slight twist of the hand keeping some tension against the strap.

A similar strategy with the 12 bass doesn't work, I can only effectively 'cover' the middle eight buttons. Twisting/stretching for the others causing thumb pain etc

I've tried adjusting the strap (looser/tighter), using a wrist band, pushing my hand further through the strap(but I can't then easily operate air button), but everything option appears to leave me out of control of either bass end movement and/or reaching the buttons.

Most successful so far has been playing with a single strap with the bass end resting on my knee, but that is far from ideal.

Any suggestions of alternative strategies to controlling that bass end and reaching all those buttons?

PS I do not have large hands, which doesn't help.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Dick Rees on May 30, 2018, 11:09:13 PM
Perhaps a bar on the end plate located under the heel of your hand for support and a (perhaps) better angle? 

An older accordionist friend used a sort of fingerless glove with a pad sewn in to accomplish the same increased support/angle change.  This option didn't alter the instrument like adding a spacer-bar would.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: playandteach on May 30, 2018, 11:33:59 PM
I played the accordion for a bit, and the reason for the glove is partly to allow the wrist to travel without binding on the strap. Perhaps allowing it to rove more freely is an option worth pursuing.
I'm sure you'll adapt soon enough.
Perhaps start by only visiting one pair of buttons and build up familiar movements. I still remember the joy of finding that E and F chords were so close together on the melodeon. They're distant cousins on the accordion.
Good luck.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on May 31, 2018, 12:09:05 AM
I had exactly this problem when I got my twelve bass.
At one point I nearly gave up but I was forced to play the box out when my pokerwork had a broken something or other,  making it temporarily unplayable. Over the next couple of weeks the 12 bass problem mysteriously disappeared. I had tightened the bass strap up slightly but I've loosened it up since without the issue coming back. Just stick with it, I say. It will become a distant memory without you consciously doing anything. Really. It will.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Bob Ellis on May 31, 2018, 12:18:38 AM
Do you use two, three or four fingers on the basses, Andy?
Two can work well when you only have eight bass buttons, but not so well when you have 12. I won't go into tips for playing with four fingers now, because you may already do so, but I found a simple tip from Andy Cutting made all the difference for me. I'll share it if it seems relevant.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Dick Rees on May 31, 2018, 02:24:29 AM
I played the accordion for a bit, and the reason for the glove is partly to allow the wrist to travel without binding on the strap.

When I referred to the "glove", its purpose was not to avoid binding on the strap but to take the pressure off the left hand by having added an inch thick pad under the heel of the hand to "shim out" the chording hand by allwing a more relaxed approach and a better playing angle...for him.  This is the suggestion I was trying to make.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Eshed on May 31, 2018, 07:15:57 AM
but I found a simple tip from Andy Cutting made all the difference for me. I'll share it if it seems relevant.
Please do!
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Theo on May 31, 2018, 09:18:04 AM
If you LH strap is plain leather you might find that a padded strap helps.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Andy Next Tune on May 31, 2018, 09:39:22 AM
Thanks for the hints and tips so far....

A CGM padded strap was the first thing I fitted. I tend to use three fingers for basses, although will perhaps give four fingers another go once the left end is more controllable. I have attended a AndyC four fingered sermon at Witney, but would be interested in what you found to be his special tip, Bob :)

Anyway, I am hoping that perseverance will be the answer, and that the left hand and my brain will sort it out between them without me noticing.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Tone Dumb Greg on May 31, 2018, 10:13:29 AM
There's more advice here
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,13046.msg176479.html#msg176479

This question seems to crop up regularly. I asked it myself a year or so ago and got great answers, but I can't find it to link to (can't remember how I worded it)...

Edit: Something I would love to see on this site is an index of answers to frequently asked questions.
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Bob Ellis on May 31, 2018, 10:56:48 AM
Andy Cutting's tip (mentioned in my last post):

The context was that I was trying to play one of Andy's compositions (The Abbess) with a complicated series of cross-row basses and kept losing the geography of where my fingers were on the bass buttons because I was trying to play a 12-bass layout with two fingers! Like the original poster, I have small hands.

Andy suggested that before starting to play I should place my little finger on the lowest button on the inside row (the C fundamental button) and adjust my hand position so that my thumb rests comfortably on the air button. This twists the wrist round a bit and ensures that your hand is in line with the instrument. The lowest eight buttons fall naturally under the four fingers, which is the 'home position' for the basses, while the four buttons nearest the chin can be reached easily by moving the first and second fingers onto them when necessary.

Results: no more loss of geography; improved playing of basses; increased use of bass fundamental runs. This tip made a big difference to my playing. Many thanks, Andy!
Title: Re: Help! 12 basses out of control :(
Post by: Andy Next Tune on May 31, 2018, 11:55:07 AM
Aaaaaaaa Haaaaaah!

Putting left pinky on the C bass meant I needed to tilt the box forward more to get my thumb comfortable on the air button.
And suddenly everything feels a lot more secure, especially wearing a towelling wrist band as well.

Thanks Bob/AndyC, I think that's got me moving out of the 12 bass hole I was in.

PS I'll probably still mainly use three fingers for basses though :)



Andy Cutting's tip (mentioned in my last post):

The context was that I was trying to play one of Andy's compositions (The Abbess) with a complicated series of cross-row basses and kept losing the geography of where my fingers were on the bass buttons because I was trying to play a 12-bass layout with two fingers! Like the original poster, I have small hands.

Andy suggested that before starting to play I should place my little finger on the lowest button on the inside row (the C fundamental button) and adjust my hand position so that my thumb rests comfortably on the air button. This twists the wrist round a bit and ensures that your hand is in line with the instrument. The lowest eight buttons fall naturally under the four fingers, which is the 'home position' for the basses, while the four buttons nearest the chin can be reached easily by moving the first and second fingers onto them when necessary.

Results: no more loss of geography; improved playing of basses; increased use of bass fundamental runs. This tip made a big difference to my playing. Many thanks, Andy!