Smaller boxes...and aging
#1
I received four - new to me - instruments since Christmas - two of them accordions.  I've reached that stage where I'm really feeling discomfort, nearing 60, in my carpometacarpal (CMC; thumb) joints.  I played fretted strings for 50 years.  But, giving them up alleviated almost constant pain/injury.

Ergo, accordion - for it can be played "mainly" with the fingers (thumbs are primary for fretted strings).

We all go through it - aging.  If we're lucky, I reckon.

*Oh, so I got a hohner norma (dia) and expect an 80 bass scandalli this week.   Smile
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#2
Smaller instruments can help with discomfort as we age, and sadly if you play PA it means that the range of notes (on the treble side) can become too small. My wife now mostly plays a small CBA (Bugari 540). Only 41cm high (in the playing orientation, which is called "length" by manufacturers), but still has 52 notes (and 49 on the convertor). A similar size PA would likely not even give you 37 keys which is already limiting and the bare minimum to play most of what is written for accordion.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#3
Hi Cat,

Fortunately, for your left hand, bass side, you will not need to use your thumb. For a piano accordion, your thumb is used quite a bit on the treble side, but you could learn to minimize it, especially for easier tunes. You could try a diatonic button accordion (melodeon) if you want to play totally without your thumbs.

Good luck!
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#4
Hi Cat - I have the same problem (rhizarthrose) in both thumbs and funnily enough it's my left thumb that can hurt when I play if I leave it 'closed' for too long.

I've changed to smaller accordions because I don't want to lug heavy boxes around any more and I want to be able to move about if I want rather than remain sitting (it depends on where I'm playing and who for).
Yes, you may be limited in the range of notes in the right hand on a PA but it is possible to adapt but of course it depends on the type of music you play.  I'm 67 and have no intention of sustaining injuries through trying to play what I used to enjoy playing when I was younger - the main thing is to keep on playing.

I've also taken up a G/C diatonic accordion and wow, the lightness is just fantastic.  It's been surprisingly easy to find my way around it and pick up tunes adapted to it.  The hardest bit is using the little fingers !
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#5
Ya, having played diatonic boxes 10 years I'm spoiled with svelte bellows, light weight Smile ..  I play folk (balkan, blues, baiao..) so don't need larger that 72 bass PA.  

I can no longer play wide (stringed) fingerboards, which was so difficult to accept - being my main squeeze since 10 years-old; nothing really replaces Bach.  I still play fiddle (and got a hardingfele for Christmas!) as it doesn't much involve thumbs, but need the lush tonality and polyphony of free reeds.  I like entertaining, and so appreciate the utter convenience of small boxes filled with reeds Heart
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#6
[[[I play folk (balkan, blues, baiao..) so don't need larger that 72 bass PA.]]]

For folk genres you do not need a PA of more than 30 treble, and 26 treble can actually do beautifully a good 90% of the time. Have fun, and don't waste a moment worrying about going smaller.
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#7
I'm in the same boat now too. At 20 pounds (9kg) I only play while sitting and am looking for a lighter weight accordion. I know that 9kg is considered light by some, but. for me, I can no longer stand or stroll with that 9kg of dead weight strapped on me. Been sniffing around the CBA world. A diatonic wouldn't do for I don't play folk that much and a 30/72 PA would be limiting (but overcomable).  Was actually looking at a Roland FRx-1b however, somehow, an acoustic sounds much better to my rapidly aging ears. I like a LMM.

This book https://www.amazon.com/dp/154003495X/ref...UTF8&psc=1 was talked about in another thread and I see it will shortly be available in English, and might be a good learning starting point.
Cordially, Tony
Artisto, Italian, LMM, 41/120, PA
Warning: Only speaks/understands American English
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#8
I bought a 34/72 at 18.6 lb. including straps (8.3 kg.). Not much less than your 20 lb. but makes all the difference in the world for ease of playing while standing and just to pick up for playing for 10 minutes. A great improvement to my practicing regimen. Of course, I notice the difference in sound from my full sized (11.2 kg.) but 99% of my audience will not. Definitely recommended!
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#9
Well they dropped an accordion on my snowy doorstep bright and early this morning as we were shoveling out. 37/80 scandalli. It suits me in the way I was expecting - not too heavy, but with larger keyboard (than the several smaller acrdns I've been using, which were just too small).
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#10
some continental C system players don't use the thumb, others only use it occasionaly and some use it all the time
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#11
Ya, I can use my thumbs generally fine on accordions - it's only that with those plucked strings it's primary. It's why I went to acrdn more.. (I nearly decided to finally go CBA last year, but I love the supply of inexpensive PAs!)

I must say I'm having to adjust to the generally bright sound of this acrdn. It seems easier to play *loudly* and with a more agile bellows..
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#12
(16-02-2019, 03:15 AM)cat Wrote: Ya, I can use my thumbs generally fine on accordions - it's only that with those plucked strings it's primary.  It's why I went to acrdn more..  (I nearly decided to finally go CBA last year, but I love the supply of inexpensive PAs!)

I must say I'm having to adjust to the generally bright sound of this acrdn.  It seems easier to play *loudly* and with a more agile bellows..

never play loudly exept on purpose¬  Far better to play around the mid volume that your particular box can offer. That way you can go to town on the dynamics of a tune  by playing louder or softer at any time of your choosing and thus put some decent expression into your music

george
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#13
Actually, what I should have said is - this box seems *harder to play quietly* - my other boxes are more responsive at lesser volumes.

*Ah, one reason I don't like playing softly on it yet - one of the bass reeds needs a tweak - a few cents off at softer volume. Must say the thing sounds quite good though - quite fun Smile .. low reeds play boogie woogie Smile
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