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Author Topic: Air Button Dilemma  (Read 472 times)

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Graham Wood

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Air Button Dilemma
« on: February 28, 2020, 06:34:26 PM »

Got myself a new box today and absolutely loving it. It's a 1 row with four knobs on top. The trouble is I can't figure out how to use the air button without totally shifting the position of my left hand when I want to use it. The only way that I could use the air button and still have fingers on the bass and chord buttons is to use the palm of my hand. That is awkward because I don't have enough joints in my wrist to depress it fully.

Is this right or am I just being stupid? I can't figure out any other way of doing it. I also find the box a little awkward to hold. It is the same size as my Hohner Morganne but just awkward. It's quite bizarre really.

Any thoughts please?
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Hohner Morgane B/C,   Junior Martin 1 Row in 'D' with knobs on top

malcolmbebb

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 06:37:51 PM »

You're not alone, I have a one row with growl box style two basses and air button underneath. I have spent a chunk of this afternoon trying to solve the same question. I can just about get by using the base of my thumb for air and my pinky on the bass, but I'm struggling.

PS I'm presently using one strap and the thumb strap.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 06:40:37 PM by malcolmbebb »
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Lester

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 06:59:24 PM »

If your box has spoon basses the 'normal' way to operate the air spoon is to put your thumb on the back of the growl box and to operate the spoon with the fleshy part of the thumb. It may take some judicial bending of the spoon to get the handle in the correct place for your hand's shape.

george garside

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2020, 07:00:46 PM »

I can only speak in respect of the hohner 4 stop. 

1. I have my hand through the bass strap more or less as far as the knuckles so the fingers have unrestricted ability to work the bass 'spoons'

2. This puts the bass of the thumb/ball of the hand   resting against  the bass spoon all the time so it can be operated with that bit of anatomy without any repositioning  and more importantly with instant availability

It may be necessary to adjust the bass strap to achieve this but my average size hands are fine with the factory setting. It does feel a bit strange to begin with  but stick with it and it will become entirely automatic and enable the bass spoons and the air spoon to be operated together if necessary without any adjustment of the hand position.

It has worked well for me for many years and once mastered requires no conscious thought

george
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2020, 07:41:40 PM »

My sympathies, and you are in no way stupid. The air button is much underrated, and only rarely discussed on this forum. Yet it is the most important button on any melodeon, the key to the instrument’s balance and bellows control. We have all run out of either air, or left arm in some tune or another? 🙁

I’m afraid there are good, and bad designs, and the necessity to use thumb without strain can compromise efficient use of the other left end buttons. The more buttons there are there … the more important efficient air button design becomes.

Do what you can with your new kit, but if you cannot find a comfortable wrist angle to work valve and bass buttons you may need to sell it on to someone with a more flexible wrist. On a one row angling the instrument forwards sometimes works. I’ve been there too.  Good luck. 🙂
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 07:47:06 PM by Chris Ryall »
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Graham Wood

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2020, 08:25:58 PM »

The layout looking side on is this. Quite awkward really.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2020, 08:31:52 PM »

I can feel your pain I sold mine …
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tirpous

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2020, 11:43:48 PM »

It looks to me like the standard 'modern' 1-row arrangement.  Don't try yo use your thumb - using the thumb-part of the palm is the way to go, this is what most people do.  And there is no need to fully depress the button...
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Peadar

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2020, 11:49:50 PM »

The bass end layout looks very similar to this (Antoria, with trap door basses) and this video may help work out a suitable grip for the left hand.

https://youtu.be/BbVzMX9RGIU


« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 12:52:00 AM by Peadar »
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Graham Wood

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2020, 08:42:44 AM »

Hi everyone. Many thanks for the helpful replies. I shall learn to adapt and just get on with it. No choice really....lol. I did seriously think I was doing something wrong but I guess not. I'm sure the awkwardness will evaporate. Thanks again.
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Lester

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2020, 09:10:41 AM »

Hi everyone. Many thanks for the helpful replies. I shall learn to adapt and just get on with it. No choice really....lol. I did seriously think I was doing something wrong but I guess not. I'm sure the awkwardness will evaporate. Thanks again.
I found that sticking (cut up rubber I think) something on the face of the button to extend it was a help

Mcgrooger

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2020, 09:16:12 AM »

You're definitely not alone Graham. I find the 4 stop pretty much impossible to grip with any degree of comfort. It's one reason why mine doesn't come out very often. You might see it if the vote leader wins this month's TOTM poll though.
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2020, 09:50:24 AM »

You might also like to have a re-think of your air management. Taking on or dumping small amounts of air when the bellows are in the right direction in preparation for that long run when you otherwise suddenly find your arms are too short.

I don't have to think about it any more on my other boxes, but I find I have to pay extra attention on this one row due to the different action of the growl box. Taking on an emergency gulp of air is both uncomfortable and ineffective, it's much more comfortable (and less embarrassing, even if nobody is listening) to take frequent small amounts with appropriate planning.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 11:01:09 AM by malcolmbebb »
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george garside

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Re: Air Button Dilemma
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2020, 10:56:34 AM »

It can also help to 'plan' where the air button can be used to best advantage as an integral part of learning a new tune slowly.  On my G 4 stopper  cut out the low and one medium voices  in the initial stage of  getting the hang of a new tune, making a mental note of where the bellows need to be for the next bit of tune.   Once that is working ok I pull out all 4 knobs  and refine the use of the air button to cope with the increased demand.     I also think that playing some parts - a bar or three - of a tune without the bass can  add to the musicality of a tune ( less is more!)   and unbeknown to the listeners avoid an unavaoidable shortage of air here and there

another thought is to phrase a tune in much the same way as a singer has to in order to breath!   Adding phrasing 'gaps'  greatly enhances  the way a tune sounds  whilst having the bonus of providing time for a quick breath of air.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 11:16:21 AM by george garside »
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