Concertina thumbs?

Concertina thumbs?

Quick question.

I have a thumb injury preventing me from playing guitar or fiddle.

When playing concertina does one use your thumbs?

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Re: Concertina thumbs?

Would suggest you steer clear of English Concertinas, very thumby sort of things.

Re: Concertina thumbs?

Which thumb is affected? Right is needed for the air button.

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Re: Concertina thumbs?

Alas, both thumbs.

It’s DeQuiverain’s Tenosynovitis and a wee bit of carpel tunnel.

I had to take two months off everything (no fiddle, guitar, cooking, cleaning, or computer work) and am slowly recovering. I’ve spent the time ear training and learning tunes (singing poorly) but just yearning for an instrument in my hands. 🙂

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That’s hard, I’m sorry to hear it. I hope things get better soon.

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Re: Concertina thumbs?

What about the humble tin-whistle, Vechey? [Voices off: "Snort! Nothing humble about us whistle players!]

You do need the thumbs for holding it up, but they don’t have to move. And the investment isn’t life-threatening.

A very long time ago (late seventies), I severely gashed my left thumb trying to cut some very hard flute-making timber on a very-crudely conspired table saw. (We were poor then!) A Dr Stubbs (urk, what a name for a surgeon!) sewed me back together and put it in a cast to immobilise it. He later recommended physio when the cast was removed. The physio exercises didn’t seem to be getting me very far, so I resurrected my old treble recorder to give the thumb some reason to move. The Physios were really impressed by my progress at my next session.

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Whistle or flute? With the usual flute hold, the thumbs are static supports unless you’re using a Bb key, and the vast majority of Irish tunes don’t need that.

Re: Concertina thumbs?

…or whistle on a stand so your thumbs are doing nothing at all.

Melodica without thumbs, and perhaps a blow tube?

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Re: Concertina thumbs?

Hi Vechey, and all,
I’ve been learning the concertina for the last couple of years; I’ve got some kind of arthritis in my right thumb which can cause occasional and sharp pain depending on what I’m doing, but it hasn’t impacted the concertina much (yet). I think on the scale of instruments that concertina is pretty low-stress on injuries and such, but bear in mind that the cheaper the instrument, the more stress in my experience. It was a bit of a quandary for me to invest in a pricier, more playable instrument but it is easier on the hands and of course more fun to work with. After years of hand pain and the frustration that comes with it I’ve kind of realized that a little pain is inevitable and just do what you can to minimize it; life’s too short not to play through it. I hope it works out, but in summary, the concertina might be just what you’re looking for as long as you get a cooperative (i.e. pricier) instrument.
Best of luck to you.

Re: Concertina thumbs?

Thanks everyone.

Inspired by the lack of easily purchasable concertinas I stopped by a music shop and got myself a nice D whistle.

I don’t have the greatest breath strength / control but it’ll be fun to explore.

If my thumbs become a long term issue I’ll probably give a concertina a go, and I’ll be sure to get a nice one!

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Re: Concertina thumbs?

Harmonica?

Re: Concertina thumbs?

Thumbs and pinkies are how you drive the little box. You need to test drive before buying. If you mainly want to play Irish trad then an Anglo would be your best bet and an English for most of Europe. Being ancient I have chronic arthritis in my hands caused by playing the concertina for the past 50 years. If this wonderful instrument still appeals make sure it has a current M.O.T