Neck strap for a 37-key melodica

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Ofir 2 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
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  • #4442

    Ofir
    Participant

    While playing for short times is harmless, playing my melodica for an hour or so (not that of a heavy one, the Yamaha 37) causes my left hand some pain.
    I was thinking of getting a neck strap for it, i.e. saxophone style:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sax-Saxophone-Nylon-Neck-Strap-Harness-Belt-with-Spring-Hook-Black-/351133951379?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item51c136e593
    which may cost roughly 3$.
    Then to instal some small thread on the melodica’s grip as a connection point to the clip.

    Do you have a smarter solution for that, do you do the same, or ignore this problem at all?

    #4444
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Definitely worth a try, but I’ve never had any problem with the weight of the P37. I’d advise some Alexander Technique lessons as well!

    #4448

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    I’m curious about how you hold your melodica, Ofir.

    #4449

    Ofir
    Participant

    I’m holding the grip with 2 fingers (#3 and #4), and balancing its rotation with the thumb.
    The one which hurts a bit after an hour or so is the thumb.
    My hands are in extremely good shape, from my piano playing. Though this specific position is different than anything else I’m doing.

    #4454

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    Ofir how heavy is your melodica, I don’t own a Sawn or Yamaha P37D??

    #4455

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    783 grams – P-37D

    I never use a hand strap. They’re terrible on almost all melodicas except the Hammond 44. I prefer a 32 key melodica, the Yamaha P-32D in particular, partly because it is more comfortable to hold. I find it much better to cradle the pianica in my hand, with my left thumb at the point at which it balances and with the mongest three fingers of my left hand opposed to the thumb. The flat sides of the Yamahas are conducive to a solid and comfortable grip. The P-32D is easier to hold, for me, because it is narrower as well as lighter. But the same grip works for the P-37D, except that I also further stabilize it with my little finger. This kind of grip allows a lot more flexibility as to the angle of your wrist. I also sometimes cradle the button end of a long melodica in my left hand in a more vertical position — I know others do this. Shifting to that position can give the hand a rest, and it’s easy to stabilize with the mouthpiece in your mouth at the top end. For me, the angle of the melodica and the strain on my wrist is awkward (one way or another) however I try to hold with the strap. It also creates problems in getting a good angle for my right hand.

    It is interesting to me to see how pianonymous holds her Hammond 44, since she needs a comfortable position in which she can play with both hands.

    #4456

    Ofir
    Participant

    Melodica-Me, I didn’t really touch my Swan for some time now, and I only refer to the Yamaha P37D recently.
    The Swan is about 650g, and the Yamaha roughly 750g.
    I guess that it’s not the weight but rather the need to balance it with my thumb while playing for long time.
    I may also need to get used to playing with less pressure on the keys.
    Just checked again, and I’m holding the grip with 3 fingers (2-4) and balancing with the thumb (1) and pinky (5).

    Rethinking this whole subject, a strap may not be the solution..
    Any ideas regarding reducing pressure on the thumb? only appearing after long playing.

    #4460

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Ah, I see now that pianonymous is using a strap in her latest video. The Hammond has fittings for it. I have used a guitar strap with mine, but that is awkward at the mouthpiece end. She has a better strap.

    #4464

    Lowboy
    Participant

    Ofir,

    I am with Alan. I never use the strap. Not only do I find the straps to be awkward in securing a good playing position, I just don’t feel connected to the instrument. As you have found, using the strap can be tiring and painful to your fingers after a long session of playing.

    When I use the strap, the instrument always feels like it is out of control, especially since I tend to play hard, often banging the keys for various effects. (I grew up playing rock Hammond organ, where if you hands were not bloody at the end of a show, you did not really the play the instrument.)

    So I mostly hold the instrument with my left hand at the water valve end. This also lets me play a couple of high notes with my left hand for various effects.

    I hold some melodicas by cradling them in the palm of my hand between my thumb and forefinger. You can twist your hand to have either the thumb to the right or left. You can achieve perfect balance with any instrument and really feel you have control of the instrument.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #4465

    Ofir
    Participant

    I didn’t know pianonymous until now, but it seems like she’s only playing with the tube.
    I guess that I just need to look for a variety of ways holding the melodica, and choose something which may work for me.
    Thanks for assisting, I’ll try my luck 🙂

    #4473
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    While you’re experimenting with a hand position Ofir, a few thoughts from my experience:

    Melodica technique is very different from piano technique as the pressure required to press down a key is next to nothing. Might be worth spending some time experimenting with just how much force you need to use and adjusting your technique to match your findings.

    Look for a playing position which doesn’t cause too much distortion in the whole body. For me, that’s keeping both wrists reasonably straight. When I first discovered this, my fingers didn’t know how to play like they used to, and I needed a period of readjustment.

    Also, you may have to slowly build up muscles you haven’t been using in the left hand. The answer is to take lots of breaks. Give your body plenty of recovery time.

    #4484

    Ofir
    Participant

    As for muscles build, my problem was due to a bad holding rather than a real development.

    While experimenting and looking for ready-made suggestions, I had a look at your circular breathing video. Is that your native holding position these days?

    Thanks a lot for your assistance!

    #4493
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Yes, it’s how I find it most comfortable. Not sure what you mean by ‘due to a bad holding rather than a real development’?

    #4512

    Ofir
    Participant

    Thank you.
    I was distinguishing between the need to use a new muscle (then it needs to be built) rather than just a bad position (where it will hurt no matter how good the muscles are).
    I’m sorry for the bad phrasing before; clearly English is not my mother tongue.. 🙂

    #5499

    pianonymous
    Participant
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