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Author Topic: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip  (Read 877 times)

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Jesse Smith

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Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« on: March 14, 2019, 03:00:40 AM »

I just purchased and received my first Hohner one-row four-stop (much thanks to Theo!), a '60s or '70s box in C. This is my first time playing a one row melodeon. Actually, I found it surprisingly liberating not having to spare any mental energy towards which chords or rows to play! I love the complex sound of all four stops out; it makes even very simple tunes like Shepherd's Hey sound great.

I was a little apprehensive at first about whether playing in C would cause any mental dissonance, but it turns out my brain is perfectly happy to pretend that the box is in D or G and sight-reading in those keys is no harder than with the two rows of my Pokerwork. Ironically, I suppose trying to sight-read in C is going to cause the most trouble, until I get familiar enough with the pattern.

One thing that is giving me a bit of a puzzle is the bass strap, and just getting the hang of how best to hold the left side. On the Pokerwork, I have the strap going basically across the back of my hand diagonally, from the base of my thumb to the base of my pinky. But on this 114, the strap seems too tight to get my hand in that far. The problem is that while playing, sometimes my hand slips backwards and I lose my grip on the left side. Do you think I should loosen the strap and attempt to get the positioning roughly the same as on the Pokerwork? Do you grip the growlbox at all with your hand or just use the strap to pull the bellows? I guess I'll be obsessively trawling YouTube to see how other people are holding it. The strap was evidently tightened at some point, so it'll be easy enough to return to the original slack.
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Hohner Pokerwork D/G, Hohner one row four stop in C, Hohner Pressed Wood C/F.

Anahata

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 08:22:28 AM »

I found it surprisingly liberating not having to spare any mental energy towards which chords or rows to play! I love the complex sound of all four stops out; it makes even very simple tunes like Shepherd's Hey sound great.
An excellent summary of the joys of playing a 4 stop one-row. (:)

You will find some combination of strap tightness and hand position that works for you eventually. There was an old guy in Suffolk called Barry Askew who used to make a wooden insert for the Hohner growlbox, which made it far more comfortable to hold. I doubt he's making them any more.
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 03:31:42 PM »

You will find some combination of strap tightness and hand position that works for you eventually.

Oh yes, I'm sure it's just a matter of getting used to it, and tell the truth even just playing it a few more times it is already feeling less awkward.

But one thing I can't figure out yet is playing while standing up. I am rewatching my copy of the John Kirkpatrick tutor DVDs for the umpteenth time and he looks as cool as a cucumber with the one row (or even the Pokerwork) slung over his shoulder on a single strap, and even with his energetic playing the keyboard stays in a mostly vertical line. And he does not seem to be clutching the keyboard with a firm right hand grip, just a thumb tucked behind and sometimes his thumb is on the edge of the keyboard. But when I try this I find that over the course of a tune the top end of the box tilts left and down and the box ends up hanging at an angle and gets harder to play without a death grip on the keyboard.

So what's the trick? (Other than using two straps which I don't think is an option for the one row, at least not with the existing strap brackets.) I noticed that JK does angle the top end of the melodeon away from his body at maybe 20 or 30 degrees, so maybe that enables gravity to help keep tension on the strap so the box doesn't slip to the side? How do you other single-strappers manage it?
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Hohner Pokerwork D/G, Hohner one row four stop in C, Hohner Pressed Wood C/F.

Lester

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2019, 04:12:26 PM »

How do you other single-strappers manage it?


If you play single strap stood up you need (in my opinion) to use the 'morris death grip' and place your thumb behind the keyboard and have you palm on the keyboard edge to maintain pressure. See HERE albeit some on a two row but same stuff applies

Peadar

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 07:34:49 PM »

Sngle trap works for me with my thumb on the edge of the keyboard- at least it does with the 1040, which has keyboard bck flush with the casework- giving a together a 4inch wide back  resting gainst the body.

Standing up the single strap over the right shoulder is prefectly stable- either sloping across yur body (see photograph of Rose Murphy in David Hanahan's "The Box".

I use an unlined leather strap and the friction between the strap and my shirt/waistcoat is sufficient to let the box sit vertical with just my thumb on keyboard edge (The Rainey-Handcart hold).

Having said that  the 4 stop is inherently less stable against the body, because the keyboard is set inside the perimeter of the case work- which itself is less than 2 inch wide.

PU leather is a silly idea IMHO because it will slide across clothing. Similarly leather straps tend to "give" at tight spots until they conform to the regular wearers bodily shape (it's the shouler I'm talkng about!). Artificial leather on the other hand will just cut in to the shoulder. Padding again is pointless- if yuo wear a waistcoat or jacket the thickness of the material will give all the load dispersal you need....certainly for the couple of kilos in a one row.

Peadar
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Dick Rees

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 08:15:43 PM »

Jesse...

Look up Gilles Poutoux on YouTube for lots of different views of one-row management.  It strikes me that whaere you want to be playing any diatonic box is getting in sync with how the box likes to breathe and  the amount of pressure you have to apply to get the bellows to push back at you so you feel the "life" in the box.  Every box is different and even then things change as the bellows and reeds break in.  I find it takes a couple of years until the box reaches peak playability (referencing Hohner here) and time until refurb varies.

Have fun.
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playandteach

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2019, 09:52:00 PM »

I'm sure this breaks lots of rules, but on one of my boxes I have the left hand strap set on two different holes. There are two sets of holes for the screw plate to fit through in the strap to allow for adjustment for hand sizes, but I have the front screw set in the tight position and the back screw set in the big hand position. This gives a nice tilt to the strap so that it's tighter at the finger edge than the palm edge.
This may not help at all, but I find it a nice compromise.
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boxcall

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 10:22:39 PM »

I just purchased and received my first Hohner one-row four-stop (much thanks to Theo!), a '60s or '70s box in C. This is my first time playing a one row melodeon. Actually, I found it surprisingly liberating not having to spare any mental energy towards which chords or rows to play! I love the complex sound of all four stops out; it makes even very simple tunes like Shepherd's Hey sound great.

I was a little apprehensive at first about whether playing in C would cause any mental dissonance, but it turns out my brain is perfectly happy to pretend that the box is in D or G and sight-reading in those keys is no harder than with the two rows of my Pokerwork. Ironically, I suppose trying to sight-read in C is going to cause the most trouble, until I get familiar enough with the pattern.

One thing that is giving me a bit of a puzzle is the bass strap, and just getting the hang of how best to hold the left side. On the Pokerwork, I have the strap going basically across the back of my hand diagonally, from the base of my thumb to the base of my pinky. But on this 114, the strap seems too tight to get my hand in that far. The problem is that while playing, sometimes my hand slips backwards and I lose my grip on the left side. Do you think I should loosen the strap and attempt to get the positioning roughly the same as on the Pokerwork? Do you grip the growlbox at all with your hand or just use the strap to pull the bellows? I guess I'll be obsessively trawling YouTube to see how other people are holding it. The strap was evidently tightened at some point, so it'll be easy enough to return to the original slack.

I hold the left about where you do on both my one row presswood and my four stop, the strap just past my wrist (hand side ) I don’t grab the growl box with my fingers but use the strap for pulling and palm for pushing. Probably wrap them sometimes but I’m hard , I also use my palm or base of thumb for air control.
I can play my boxes standing up with one strap but not as fast or as accurate as sitting down ;)

Good one row playing requires small bellow changes (mostly), good players don’t appear to be working that hard. IMO

Adjustable straps are great, I put one on my presswood, love it!
I also have one on my one row four stop from the factory.
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Dick Rees

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2019, 12:00:47 AM »

I'm sure this breaks lots of rules...

There are rules?!?!?

Anarchists unite!!!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2019, 12:05:59 AM »

Another vote from me for adjustable straps. Simple velcro  one (easy to fit and available  from CGM) is all you need.
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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2019, 12:07:56 AM »

The strap was evidently tightened at some point, so it'll be easy enough to return to the original slack.
Put it back to the original length.

Dick Rees

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2019, 01:44:28 AM »

A friend borrowed an unused box from me and when it came back a couple of years later he had made the LH strap adjustable with a simple yet effective alteration.

Needs must...
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Lester

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2019, 07:53:17 AM »

Another vote from me for adjustable straps. Simple velcro  one (easy to fit and available  from CGM) is all you need.
Not sure they are suitable for/will fit a 1 row 4 stop as per the subject of this thread

Psuggmog Volbenz

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2019, 08:36:46 AM »

The more expensive boxes from Quebec and Lousisiana that I have, have a thicker, padded strap on the bass side than the single weight leather factory straps I see on most hohner one row and pokerwork type boxes. I have made numerous replacement straps out of heavier leather than originally supplied. I prefer mine to be snug, but with no restrictive pressure on my metecarpel bones in my left hand. Too tight restricts finger movement and can cause abrasion. Too loose decreases precise bellows control and movement speed. I almost always have to resize my thump strap also. I don't like the pressure of shoulder straps so I play sitting on a chair or stool. I rest the lower outside corner or the treble frame of my left thigh and tilt the box slightly away from my body. This position means no chafing of the body side and under side of the bellows, allows for rapid, frequent bellows direction change.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2019, 11:05:34 AM »

Another vote from me for adjustable straps. Simple velcro  one (easy to fit and available  from CGM) is all you need.
Not sure they are suitable for/will fit a 1 row 4 stop as per the subject of this thread

 :|bl :|bl :|bl
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Greg Smith
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boxcall

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Re: Hohner four-stop bass strap / grip
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2019, 11:41:49 AM »

Another vote from me for adjustable straps. Simple velcro  one (easy to fit and available  from CGM) is all you need.
Not sure they are suitable for/will fit a 1 row 4 stop as per the subject of this thread

 :|bl :|bl :|bl

Beltuna has them on theirs (one row four stop)
They may have had them made to fit?
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