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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:24 pm 
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Location: Kickin' it Braveheart style...
I have rather small hands and was really finding having the air bar button on my B/C Saltarelle Irish Bouebe jammed into the side of my thumb rather painful when playing the basses. Just could not find a position where I could easily get to the bass buttons and have some ability to comfortably operate the air bar. I've been feeling like I was fighting a losing battle for a few weeks now, but had a flash of inspiration this morning that I think might be useful to others.

Just as an experiment, I tried making my thumb thicker at the base with a wrap of heavy duty Velcro. I line the inside of the velcro with bandage tape so the hooks don't poke into my thumb. Completely solved the problem. The loop side of the velcro is slippery enough to not scuff up the instrument and the additional thickness/support makes use of the air bar effortless now.

Here's a photo:

Image

Thought I'd pass this idea along to anyone else who might be dealing with the same issue...

Cheers,

Michael


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Location: San Diego, CA
So you're hitting the air button/bar with the base of your thumb?

Hmm ... I find that the air bar falls right under the knuckle joint of my thumb - above the wrap in your photo - whether I'm playing the basses or not. The "swelling" of the knuckle joint makes for less travel distance to fully depress the air bar, and it's not uncomfortable at all.

Your hands might be a wee bit smaller than mine, but not much. Nothing wrong with your solution, but I'd also try experimenting by loosening the hand strap and changing your hand angle and the spread between your thumb and fingers. You might find a position that works without the wrap.

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Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:32 pm 
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Location: Kickin' it Braveheart style...
I've tried everything as far as strap tightness, angles, etc. If I'm able to operate the bar with the thumb knuckle as you described, I can't reach the buttons without having my wrist at an uncomfortable angle. Remember that I'm using dual straps, so the left hand wrist angle available may be different different than the single strap configuration you play in. The wrap works great, problem solved.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:29 pm 
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Sure, whatever works. :-)

In general, my mindset wants to regard personal customization as either a very last resort or a temporary measure. We're amazingly flexible, and I usually have faith that natural selection + received technique tends to result in average usable ergonomics and capabilities. I admit I like the idea of being able to pick up any standard instrument and play well without relying on non-standard gear or features - barring, of course, real physical limitations.

I'd guess that box players like Sharon Shannon and Josephine Marsh have smallish hands, and have figured out a left hand that works for them on the basses and air (when not ignoring the basses altogether).

Of course, it does seems to me that box position and technique tend to be all over the place from person to person, so "standard" may be iffy in box terms. Sharon uses what look like big foam pads on the left. Paddy O'Brien glued a big "thumb board" underneath his fingerboard. So I should probably shut up ...

But I'll try throwing on a left strap to see if that makes any difference. :-)

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Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:53 pm 
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MTGuru wrote:
But I'll try throwing on a left strap to see if that makes any difference. :-)

OK, I spent an hour or so this morning playing with the left strap.

I don't find it makes much difference, if any, to my left hand position, standing or sitting. So maybe the strap is not the critical factor. Tightening the bass strap a bit does help keep the treble side of the instrument vertical, which helps the left hand from assuming too weird an angle. Checking the mirror, my fingers are perpendicular to the bass rows, and the thumb up at about a 45 degree angle to hit the air.

Like you (I think), I'm not using the weak pinky (4) on the basses, just 3/2 or 2/1. I don't know if that's wrong or not. But I can still curl my fingers onto the basses without really changing hand position.

Your evil plot to force me to learn the basses continues to ruin my life. Curses! :lol:

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Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


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