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Author Topic: Bass strap - how tight should it be?  (Read 774 times)

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Daddy Long Les

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Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« on: March 08, 2017, 05:54:48 PM »

Hi,

I've been getting a nasty cramp in my left hand lately whilst playing my Lily (the fatty part below the thumb, palm-side).  I felt that the bass strap was a tad loose so I put a quarter-folded handkerchief between the top of my hand and the bass strap and the situation seemed to improve.  I then went a bit further and made two new holes in my strap to tighten it more permanently. Sadly,  I don't have one of the nice velcro-adjustable bass straps and I've been speaking to Charlie Marshall about that today as he stocks them.  My feeling was that the pain was tension due to me trying to stop my left hand from moving upwards thus making the operation of the air button a bit harder.  For some reason I seem to prefer just clipping the very edge of the push-in lever.  Incidentally, I much prefer the slot-type air button on my Hohners.

I only moved the strap about 1/8 of an inch.  Now it's tight, almost uncomfortably so but the cramp appears to have gone and I'm definitely playing better. I've got more control over the left hand side especially when pulling and when using the air button to get more air into the bellows.  It all feels a bit more "immediate" if you know what I mean.

What do we think?  How tight is too tight?  I'd be interested to know what most players prefer.

Many Thanks

Les
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Huw Adamson

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 07:28:24 PM »

Firstly I agree with your point about the Hohner air button. I play a pokerwork, which had, when I got it, a little adjuster screw. I usually play with this loose, and my hand cupped slightly so I can change direction without any give, but can still reach the C and E/B basses (D/G melodeon) without hitting the D/G or D/A basses. When I have been playing for an hour or so I will tighten the screw, to avoid getting cramp in my left hand, but this can make my playing a little worse. It might also have something to do with strap material. Mine is an old leather belt, but I have found (on other peoples boxes) I prefer the padded ones.
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AirTime

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 07:41:30 PM »

I have a feeling bass strap position is a very personal thing. I have noticed that very small changes in the looseness of the strap can make a big difference in how it feels to me, although I'm guessing that it's possible to adjust playing technique over time to accommodate a different strap set-up.  In my experience, the Lilly is a particular case because the box itself is so small & light that controlling has it's own issues distinct from a larger, heavier box.
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GPS

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 07:42:09 PM »

Personally I like it quite snug. I'm fortunate in that my Saltarelle, which I play most, has a rotella adjuster, but with the Hohners and other assorted boxes it's been a matter of some experiment and trimming of leather to get them just where I like them. I suppose the answer would be to fit adjusters on the other boxes, but they just don't look right on a Koch 2-row or Hlavaček heligonka........

I've not tried the velcro adjustable straps - they seem a good idea in principle but look a bit bulky and stiff.

Graham
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george garside

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 07:44:40 PM »

the position of the bass strap on the arm/wrist can also have a bearing on comfort. Irrespective of size of box, type of air button/bar and number of bass  I prefer to have the strap roughly where a watch  would be worn and fairly tight. The wrist and hand are  then totally free to articulate and reach all the bass and airbutton.  When playing I either remove my watch of wear it on my right arm.

george
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AirTime

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 09:16:48 PM »

I have both velcro adjustable strap & rotella adjuster - there's no really noticeable difference in how they feel when you're playing. It occurs to me that the position of the left hand & therefore the strap tightness depends on whether you're using two, three or four fingers for the basses.

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Lester

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 09:19:06 PM »

the position of the bass strap on the arm/wrist can also have a bearing on comfort. Irrespective of size of box, type of air button/bar and number of bass  I prefer to have the strap roughly where a watch  would be worn and fairly tight. The wrist and hand are  then totally free to articulate and reach all the bass and airbutton.  When playing I either remove my watch of wear it on my right arm.

george

Confused of Wendover here.

You say "I prefer to have the strap roughly where a watch  would be worn and fairly tight" yet you can reach the air button. Can't see how this is possible with say a Pokerwork
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911377brian

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2017, 09:24:22 PM »

Just tried it and it's not possible. Perhaps I'm put together badly..
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Mike Carney

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 10:06:22 PM »

Big plug for the Velcro adjustable strap. Got one on the Laura and when had my ancient Erika done I had one fitted to that. Very easy to adjust to exactly what you need. Not at all cumbersome.  :||:
M
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Paul Pepper

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2017, 11:15:05 PM »

I've only been playing a few months and have had problems with left hand upward slippage on the bass-end from the beginning. After slackening, tightening (ouch) and trying all sorts of left hand placement variations (cupping the hand and so on) I solved my own slippage problems using an additional bass-end strap (see attached images).

Here's where I saw the suggestion:
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=13046.0
and
http://diato.org/trucs/sangle.htm#1

I bought an old leather belt from a local charity shop for £3 and a local cobbler turned it into a strap for another £5. Additionally, it has a Velcro adjuster since I find that temperature makes a difference to how tight it needs to be. The adjuster also allows me to easily get my hand in and out.

My air button (slider type) now stays within reach and I no longer suffer the discomfort I previously experienced.
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2017, 11:36:38 PM »

I like the Loffet idea. The left hand strap snapped on my Hering the other week, but I managed to get some leather from a local man here in Luxor. Problem is, it's now stretching and getting difficult to control that end of the box while stabbing at the odd bass button. I might just try to fashion something like that tomorrow. (Errr, today!)
Thanks Paul.
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Psuggmog Volbenz

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2017, 03:55:58 AM »

Hi,

I've been getting a nasty cramp in my left hand lately whilst playing my Lily (the fatty part below the thumb, palm-side).  I felt that the bass strap was a tad loose so I put a quarter-folded handkerchief between the top of my hand and the bass strap and the situation seemed to improve.  I then went a bit further and made two new holes in my strap to tighten it more permanently. Sadly,  I don't have one of the nice velcro-adjustable bass straps and I've been speaking to Charlie Marshall about that today as he stocks them.  My feeling was that the pain was tension due to me trying to stop my left hand from moving upwards thus making the operation of the air button a bit harder.  For some reason I seem to prefer just clipping the very edge of the push-in lever.  Incidentally, I much prefer the slot-type air button on my Hohners.

I only moved the strap about 1/8 of an inch.  Now it's tight, almost uncomfortably so but the cramp appears to have gone and I'm definitely playing better. I've got more control over the left hand side especially when pulling and when using the air button to get more air into the bellows.  It all feels a bit more "immediate" if you know what I mean.

What do we think?  How tight is too tight?  I'd be interested to know what most players prefer.

Many Thanks

Les
The part of your hand which you described as cramping is called the thenar eminence in anatomical terms.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2017, 07:44:33 AM »

I tend to have a snug strap.
My Tommy has a Velcro fastener and now it's sorted stays fixed at whatever it is. As a small light box it always feels fine.
The larger and heavier Hascy has a rotella wheel. I sometimes feel my wrist heading up the box slightly and look at the strap - it will have slipped slightly so I'll give the rotella a couple of turns to tighten it.
My guide is the two rivets that go through the strap, the rivet heads are about 4mm in diameter. If the head is half out of the casework, it's about right. If it is all out by 1-2mm then my hand will slip up the box.
There isn't a lot of difference between snug, loose and tight, and a heavier box is more likely to slip in my experience.
Q
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richard.fleming

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2017, 08:34:31 AM »

Sharon Shannon used to jam a squeegee-sponge thing in there..
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george garside

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2017, 09:01:16 AM »

the position of the bass strap on the arm/wrist can also have a bearing on comfort. Irrespective of size of box, type of air button/bar and number of bass  I prefer to have the strap roughly where a watch  would be worn and fairly tight. The wrist and hand are  then totally free to articulate and reach all the bass and airbutton.  When playing I either remove my watch of wear it on my right arm.

george

Confused of Wendover here.

You say "I prefer to have the strap roughly where a watch  would be worn and fairly tight" yet you can reach the air button. Can't see how this is possible with say a Pokerwork

the air button on a pokerwork fits nicely in the  back of the thumb joint- at least mine does!

george ;)
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GPS

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2017, 09:03:26 AM »

Sharon Shannon used to jam a squeegee-sponge thing in there..

I think she probably still does.....
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2017, 10:27:50 AM »

Hi,

...  Incidentally, I much prefer the slot-type air button on my Hohners....


I mentioned to my fettler that I found the "Italian" style air lever, on my Saltarelle, less intuitive than the Hohner style button (which seems to operate itself, without conscious thought). He said it is an easy job to modify the lever to a button. Wondering whether to do it. The reasons I didn't JFD it are (a) that I wonder if the issue will disappear when I become more accustomed to it, or (b) is there an underlying error in  the way I hold/control the bass side, that presents the lever incorrectly to my thumb?
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2017, 10:57:17 AM »

I've been brought up playing Italian boxes with the lever and find them perfect for me, to the point of having an old Hohner modified to have that type of lever fitted.
I tried an old Hohner borrowed from a friend and I found the Hohner one cramps my thumb, as I tend to bend the thumb at the first joint around the button and use that to pull the Hohner button down.
Whereas my Castagnari lever  I can gently feather often by using the lower part of he thumb nearer the base. I find it comfortable and easier to continually breath with it as opposed to gulping air and just all round better.
But.... it's what I learnt with so perhaps it comes down to what you're used to!
Q
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AirTime

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2017, 03:47:37 PM »

I've been brought up playing Italian boxes

Always know you were a better class of person than some of the riff-raff around here, Q.   ;)

I've had boxes with a variety of air button types. I find one gets used to any of them after some time of adjustment.
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Daddy Long Les

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Re: Bass strap - how tight should it be?
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2017, 04:21:08 PM »

Ok - my new bass strap setting was definitely too tight.  I opened up the new holes in my strap a bit and that seems to be spot-on.  It's amazing how a little adjustment like that can make such a difference. My thenar eminence is not hurting at all now!!  Thanks Psuggmog Volbenz, you learn something new everyday - now to slip it casually into the tea break conversation at morris practice tonight!  >:E
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