The Dirk Powell should explain what to do with the left hand.
Your pinky should be positioned on the bottom button, and your index on the top one. You should imagine that you have crazy glue on your two middle fingers holding the handle in between the two bass buttons.
As for the air valve behind, this would be pushed with your palm only when needed. Your thumb should be positioned upward to hold the accordion.
Re: Another possible solution...get rid of the spoons.
Thanks for the suggestion David. I wasn't thinking of getting rid of the spoons as much as I was wondering how people generally play them, which fingers they use, etc.
But since you raised the subject please tell me more. Why you like this setup better, and about how much did it cost (if you don't mind me asking). Did Mr. Ortego recycle the reeds you already had?
You know, I bought the 114 as a "starter" with the thought of getting a Louisiana box further down the line. So my theory (based on not much) is that I would do better to save that money for the future La. box rather than invest further in the 114.
What do you think?
Re: Re: Another possible solution...get rid of the spoons.
I don't remember what the exact cost was, but it may have been around $100. I also had him put on a better quality hand strap on the bass box, a better thumb strap and better bellows straps and snaps. He did reuse the old reeds, as there was no reason to replace them.
By the time I made this change, I already had an Acadian in D, and I just liked the buttons better than the spoons (more comfortable, easier to play), plus it dressed up the accordion a bit, and made it look more like a "real" Cajun accordion.
One change I didn't get around to, but would like to one day is to replace the plastic keyboard with a wooden one.
All in all, it was a small investment to improve the HA-114, and I think it was worth it.
If you stick with the spoons, I think the suggestion to use the pinky and index fingers while keeping the middle fingers hovering above seems like a good one. That way, when you get a better box, you won't have to relearn which fingers to use. It isn't quite the same because you can't anchor the middle fingers on the bass box and use them for leverage, but maybe that doesn't matter that much.