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Author Topic: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps  (Read 4558 times)

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Barry J

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Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« on: October 28, 2010, 01:59:35 PM »

A silly question, but a subject that doesn't seem to be covered anywhere.

My melodeon has a short leather securing strap on press studs on top of the bellows and another below.

I presume these are transportation straps to keep the bellows together.

Are both of these usually undone when playing so the bellows can fill completely and be loose or are there occasions when only the top one is undone during playing, so the top of the bellows arc around the bottom fixture ???
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 04:35:38 PM by Barry J »
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johnners

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 02:44:16 PM »

That's an original thought you've got there.
But I wouldn't advise leaving either of the bellows straps clipped on - you might end up with some strange-sounding tunes and funny looks from the band… (not to say the box being strangely silent when they're both clipped up).
Some posh machines have 'keeper' press studs to retain the strap, but they increase the weight of the box, so I don't have them on   :-]
Best to leave them flapping around like antennas.
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Owen Woods

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 04:24:16 PM »

Are the extra studs really that heavy John? :p Add to the fact that they are on the treble end, which is static weight anyway.

Yes, you should unclip both of them. What happens is that you tend to let gravity help with the bellows opening and then move them up to reduce the load when you close them. That applies much more to Very Big Boxes, but I find that I end up doing that on melodeon. If you have the bottom strap done up then you will find it harder to close the bellows. The top strap is useful to stop the bellows falling open if you are standing up with your box on. I always clip up between sets.
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johnners

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 04:40:42 PM »

Me, too… I always zip up between sets.
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Bill Young

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 11:59:28 PM »

I have seen a few people with large piano accordions leave the bottom strap done up, so that the bellows open in a fan shape. I think that's just an affectation. Obviously, undo both straps to play a melodeon.

Rees

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2010, 01:10:56 AM »

This, I think, from John kirkpatrick.
Jimmy Shand always used to advise learning to play with the bottom bellows strap fastened.
It helps to achieve better bellows control. I totally agree and always pass this on in my beginners workshops.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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george garside

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2010, 10:12:17 AM »

on the BCC# I sometimes forget to undo the bottom strap & it vertainly helps to develop the technique of fine bellows controlll  However there are certain bits of certain tunes in certain keys where even on a large BCC# it is necessary  to , in the short term, open the bellwos fairly wide.  Saame goes for BC, CC# etc as air consumption is fairly miniimal  due to little or no use of  air hungry bass.  Not so sure about DG, particularly when playing on the row & giving the bass a good thump  as the air consumption can be huge in relation to the cubic capacity of the bellos ( perhaps  makers should  start describing bellows capacity in cc's or litres!) we would then be able to crow about having a "4 litre costalloti" in much the same way as car owner do!

However back to b ottom strap  I think     it very useful on all diatonic boxes as a learning exercise but not for normal playing as you could get caught short so to speak.

george ;D
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Rees

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2010, 11:24:46 AM »

Indeed George. I wouldn't recommend it for normal playing, but as a learning aid it can be quite edifying.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Theo

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2010, 11:52:42 AM »

Thinking back to me early learning time I would have found it very frustrating to have the bellows unable to open fully.   Most beginners have to start off playing slowly and therefore need to use much more bellows than a more experienced player who can find the notes a little more quickly.  So starting off with the one bellows strap closed would be like trying to learn to cycle with one flat tyre!   Once you have reached a moderate level of proficiency it might be instructive to occasionally keep one strap locked just to learn where you could improve your bellows control, but for a complete beginner?  No.
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george garside

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2010, 12:24:44 PM »

, but for a complete beginner?  No.

definately agree!

george
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2010, 11:06:12 PM »

Hopefully not too far a thread drift:
I always undo both straps when playing, but tend to re-button the straps whenever I put it down as I'm aware/worry I might harm the bellows if they flap about a bit.
As Johhners said ' zipping up between sets...'

Is this me being over cautious or does it matter if the bellows flap about if not being played?
It's one of those daft thoughts i often have  :|bl
....amongst others!
thoughts?
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

johnners

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2010, 07:22:49 AM »

Clipping up after a set just became a habit - when my old box was new I never really noticed when the bellows started to come adrift gradually when I'd pick the thing up, because of the superior partial vacuum created by good sealing everywhere. Over the years the vacuum's diminished somewhat (time for new bellows seals?) and so now I automatically clip it up. I tell new players that it could save the bellows over time, lightweight and flimsy things that they are - could perhaps save reeds, too. I don't suppose anyone's thought of a more robust (yet lightweight) bellows construction (er… carbon fibre slats, chammy leather all round and waterproof to boot) - but there again, if wood for boxes could be improved on, we'd have had titanium Pokerworks by now…   Might sound a bit tinny, though.

On a different chord - I'm of an age where thrupenny bits (3d) bought a decent banger (topical, eh?). Also tanners (6d), bobs (1/-), half-dollars (2/6) and a ten-bob note (10/-). I also recite a monologue called three ha'pence a foot - but I'm just an old bu**er now.
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Lester

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2010, 08:52:32 AM »

Hopefully not too far a thread drift:
I always undo both straps when playing, but tend to re-button the straps whenever I put it down as I'm aware/worry I might harm the bellows if they flap about a bit.
As Johhners said ' zipping up between sets...'

Is this me being over cautious or does it matter if the bellows flap about if not being played?
It's one of those daft thoughts i often have  :|bl
....amongst others!
thoughts?
Q

I think you are being overcautious, leaving boxes unrestrained and picking them up etc will have far less effect on the bellows that the that caused by playing tunes. But as a word of warning I once let a pokerwork dangle from its single strap over my shoulder whilst I demonstrated a caper and the bass end fell off  :o. The bellows had parted company with the bellows frame, but at the time the bellows were at full extension and I was jumping up and down and easily fixed with some glue.

Quote from: Johnners
I tell new players that it could save the bellows over time, lightweight and flimsy things that they are - could perhaps save reeds, too.

I kind of disagree that bellows are "lightweight and flimsy" for example my main box is a 1930's Hohner Pressed Wood still on its original bellows which, when I have re-taped them shortly, will be as good as new.

Bellows are on the whole robust and my only caveat is they must be protected from the damp/wet, so all you morris players if the bellows get damp don't clip them up and put the box away leave it opened up in a warm/dry place to allow the bellows to dry out.

Your Mileage May Vary !

johnners

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2010, 09:32:45 AM »

Ok, 'lightweight and flimsy' might not be the best way to describe our dearly-beloved bellows - I guess all of the WW1 biplanes etc. were built like that - and look what they achieved. And wasn't the Hurricane covered in cloth?

I've just got this mental picture of Lester jumping up and down and then being fixed up with glue - with half a melodeon in his hand. 
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stevejay

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2010, 01:18:48 PM »

This, I think, from John kirkpatrick.
Jimmy Shand always used to advise learning to play with the bottom bellows strap fastened.
It helps to achieve better bellows control. I totally agree and always pass this on in my beginners workshops.

I seem to recall Marc Savoy say the same thing at a festival workshop.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2010, 02:53:51 PM »

Johnners and Lester: Ok.... I've got that.
I do clip up when leaving it, but will not be so paranoid about dangling (!) when I'm still strapped into it.

Johnners: I remember 3d bangers *and* 1d bangers!
Ahhh the times we had.....putting them into newly laid wet cowpats whilst watching the villagae football team. A dull thump often resulted in the crowd looking skyward and thinking it was rain. A hand on the face proved otherwise....... green rain?
lovely kids we were!
I'll now go and revel in fond memories whilst wondering how the hell I got away with it!
cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Hello

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2010, 10:19:23 AM »

...leave the bottom strap done up...

Seems a bit like driving with the handbrake on.
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ladydetemps

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2010, 10:21:28 AM »

Every I read this thread title I get 'I Can't Do My Bally Bottom Button Up' pop up in my head. lol!

Bill Young

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2010, 11:59:19 AM »

...leave the bottom strap done up...

Seems a bit like driving with the handbrake on.

Aw, come on! It's not fair to selectively misquote me, as if I'm advocating the practice, when my view is precisely the opposite! The full quote is:
I have seen a few people with large piano accordions leave the bottom strap done up, so that the bellows open in a fan shape. I think that's just an affectation. Obviously, undo both straps to play a melodeon.

Broadland Boy

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Re: Top and Bottom Bellows Straps
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2010, 08:30:03 PM »

I get 'I Can't Do My Bally Bottom Button Up' pop up in my head. lol!

Representing the 'girthfully enhanced'* and at the risk of correction, I think it was actually 'I Can't Do My Bally Bottom Belly Button Up', either way I've not heard it in decades and your reminder has brought a smile on, which that resultant from your sandwich spraying did not quite approach  ;D

Richard

*those who interpret the doctors weight / height graphs 'differently', my own position is that I am underheight, not overweight, when I get to be 14'9" I'll fit the curve  :|glug
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Richard A
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