Ergonomic Accordion Straps (Excerpt from the book: ‘Mastering Accordion Technique: A New Approach To Accordion Playing Based On The Alexander Technique’ by Claudio Jacomucci and Kathleen Delaney, 2013).
Since I study and practice the Alexander Technique I have struggled to find an alternative and improved strap system. Standard straps are not conceived for big and heavy instruments but for hanging a light-weight instruments from the shoulders, or even from the neck.
I have experimented with all possible, thinkable “wrapping” and “hanging” methods and I finally designed an ergonomic strap system which provides a greater mechanical advantage, freeing the performer from many physical constraints. Their firm support of the back allows a proper weight and force distribution, letting the neck, shoulders and arms free. They may prevent harmful effects which often arise using traditional straps: shoulders pushed forward and down, chest compressed down, floating ribs squeezed, pulling-down of the sides of the chest, sinking down in the hip, “getting heavy” in the lower back.
With the ergonomic straps, the base of the instrument is secured to lower back by the lower belt.The instrument rests on the thighs, with the bellows centered on the left thigh.The upper straps distribute the pressure of pulling and pushing in four bands. They connect the instrument’s mounting points (the upper hooks) with the back, at the low shoulder blades level: two belts wrap the thorax under the armpits and the other two pass beside the neck.
Once the straps are tightened enough, the instrument will not joggle, it will be stable and firm so that the shoulders, arms and the hands are free from having to grip, support and control the instrument. The ergonomic straps are designed to be used with a full range button accordion, but they also give excellent results with other types of instrument.