Left-handed playing on 44

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  • #11689
    Avatareckso
    Participant

    I play a lot of baroque music on 44s. One of my struggles has been finding a comfortable yet flexible way to play with both hands.

    I’ve seen people play with the instrument flat against their chests, but that is very uncomfortable for me. I don’t enjoy laying the instrument down and playing it like a piano; to me it is a polyphonic wind instrument, and I want it to be as flexible as other wind instruments, i.e. able to play while standing, sitting, or lounging. (I once had an Uber driver who played Coltrane on his clarinet while driving with his knee, lol)

    So what I typically do is sit, place the bottom of the 44 on my right knee, and support the top of the instrument with my left hand. The right hand does passagework, and the left hand plays whatever it can from behind the instrument within the first 2 octaves, while also supporting the instrument.

    It works pretty well except that the angle of attack for the left hand, when coming from behind, makes pressing keys (squeezing keys, really) literally painful; and playing intervals larger than a fifth, or chords at all, with my left hand this way is infeasible.

    To me, the natural solution was to put some kind of elevated notch on the upper parts of the keys to make them easier to press with the left hand, and to that end I have found these:

    Amazon Link

    I ordered these silicone nubs, trimmed them down with a razor blade, and adhered them to the tops of the white keys in the first two octaves.

    I’ve been living with them for about a week now and they’re frankly amazing. Using my left hand, the keys are trivially easy to press, and I can reach intervals of a seventh with no hand pain. While I still can’t do left-handed passagework, I can play intervals, triads, short scales, and sequenced figures – and doing so feels very natural and comfortable.

    They don’t interfere with operation of black keys; in fact, black keys are actually easier to press if I am also pressing a white key to make an interval or chord, because I can ‘root’ my hand on a nub for better leverage over the black keys.

    The fact that they’re a bit squishy (being silicone after all) doesn’t interfere with their operation, but is a benefit as the squish helps ensure I won’t damage the instrument by squeezing too hard.

    I had a 44Hv2 arrive today and played around with it before attaching nubs just to compare, and I don’t think I can go back to playing without them. It’s almost like a different instrument when the nubs are attached.

    Of course this approach is not for everyone. Play styles vary between people and genres. But for my part, it’s made a huge improvement in my playing and general enjoyment of the instrument, so I figured I’d share my little adventure with you all.

    Cheers!

    Nubs

    #11698
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    This is a fantastic mod eckso, do you have a video of it in action?

    #11760
    AvatarAndré Sant’Anna
    Participant

    I would love to see it in action too!

    It’s a great idea as the modification does not interfere if the player uses the right hand.

    #11763
    AvatarMysha
    Participant

    Hi,

    I think I saw someone demonstrating on Youtube that he used a (key) cord to hang his melodica from, from the grip. That made both hands available for playing. (More difficult where there’s more of a ridge on the left side, I guess.)

    I tried this with the Hohner 36 I bought last week, and in itself this works. I’d probably would need a slightly more customisable cord, as I needed to bridge a 1cm gap, and would probably prefer not to have the melodica flat against my breast. But the concept seems sound.

    Bye
    Mysha

    #11764
    Avatareckso
    Participant

    I tried to make a video demoing the silicone nubs, but the cam in my laptop is too awful. I ordered a better cam and will try again when it arrives.

    Mysha, that seems pretty ideal if you can make it work. I’ve had good luck using a guitar strap with melodicas that have strap pegs, like the PRO-37v3.

    Cheers,

    Nick

    #11767
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    If you think you have problems, what do you do if you are developing a two hand and two feet technique?

    🙂

    Lowboy

    #11768
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Lowboy

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