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My accordion is quite a heavy instrument, and the outer casing is smooth. I usually practise seated, and like that, with the weight on my left leg, I have no problems playing. When I play standing up, the left-hand side of the instrument tends to slide down through my grip when I'm playing, making it harder for me to finger the bass buttons. It's not too bad when I'm pushing the bellows in and the weight is on my hand, but it's a big problem when I'm pulling the bellows out, which then makes me switch direction too soon, messing up my phrasing.

I've often heard recommendations to wear something like a sock with a hole cut in it as a sleeve, as an aid to moving one's left hand around. I've tried this but it makes the instrument more slidey, not less.

How do I make the bellows stay in my hand so I can support their weight but still move up and down the button board when I need to?

  • Related but not a problem for me: Chromatic accordion: how can the left hand slide down while pushing? – Dan Hulme Jul 18 at 13:23
  • Aren’t there straps for large accordions? A search confirms there are. Why not get a strap? – Todd Wilcox Jul 18 at 20:02
  • @ToddWilcox Assuming you mean the one for my left hand, it's a built-in feature. But they're designed to let your hand slide up and down freely, because that's how you reach all the notes. – Dan Hulme Jul 18 at 20:16
  • No I mean something that holds the whole weight of the accordion while you standing. It clips to the accordion and goes over your shoulders. guitarcenter.com/Neotech/… – Todd Wilcox Jul 18 at 20:47
  • Fwiw: my wife plays in an accordion group with around 15 people and they all use back/sholder straps even though they always play sitting. While standing I can't imagine being able to hold up the instrument and move both hands to play without one. – MeanGreen Jul 19 at 6:03
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When your accordion is quite a heavy instrument, don't play standing up. Use something like a bar stool but make sure that you are seated stable enough. A different but workable solution is to place your left foot on a chair while leaving the right on the ground. That's suitable for cabaret-like settings.

I assume you are already using a back belt for stabilising the accordion's overall positioning. For standing players, there are several more complex belt systems that may provide some help.

If you envy accordion folk groups in colorful garbs carrying large piano accordions seemingly without effort, those have the bass reed blocks removed because they don't need them. Not all that rarely, also the treble reed blocks because, well, playback. Live TV formats with half a dozen of groups cannot do soundchecks for all of them and risk stuff going wrong. Singers may or may not get a live microphone.

  • The "one leg on a chair" solution might be a good compromise, allowing me to stand up and be seen, and to move around in between pieces, without having to support the – Dan Hulme Jul 18 at 16:20
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Try putting a piece of foam, or a bathroom sponge might work, through the hand strap. Cut it down to size so that it rests against the natural position of your hand; it will therefore offer enough support to stop your hand sliding down out of position.

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    I'm not sure I've understood this correctly. A picture might help if you have one. Which part of my hand would the sponge touch: the palm, the back, or the crook between finger and thumb? – Dan Hulme Jul 18 at 16:24
  • @DanHulme it goes through the strap below your hand & the outside of your wrist rests against it. – Steve Mansfield Jul 19 at 12:16
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I've been playing for 65 years or so, so my (not so so-so) advice is that same as that of user62035; play on a bar stool (or lab stool.) I would pack a barstool along with other gear. Also, try adjusting the hand strap either looser or tighter to find the sweet-spot (you can change this during a gig if necessary.) You can stand up if you have the solo then sit back down. (Just for reference, I play(ed) a Hohner Imperator V which weighs about 16kg.)

Other suggestions are similar to the others; perhaps try a different type of strap or add padding (rubber, sponge, washcloth, etc.).

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