I bought my 48 key Lachenal English Concertina in my late teens (if I remember correctly) from an old bloke with a baby grand piano at Ponteland in Northumberland, for £18. He'd wanted £20, but I'm almost sure that I knocked him down to £18.
This was about the time that I used to attend Stefan Sobell's weekly folk club at The Barley Mow in Newcastle, where I met the famous concertina man, Neil Wayne. (His address, then, was Neil Wayne, Duffield, Derbyshire, as if he was the only person to live there!) Neil inspired me to start the hunt for a concertina of my own.
Later on, I bought another couple; one was a Wheatstone, another 48 key job, but it was a "Tutor" model, with the notes stamped on the end of the buttons, and in very poor condition, the other was an "Anglo", labelled as if it had been built in Newcastle, but I was assured later that it was, in fact, another Lachenal which was produced to be labelled by retailers.
My 48 key English model gave me untold hours of amusement over the years, but, being naturally lazy, my lack of serious practice never got me to be confident enough to play it in public, even after 40 years or so! This resulted in me selling them all, in order to finance some project or other, in Egypt probably.
As I said, I've regretted it ever since. I don't like not; just having it! Yes, I know, it's not logical but I still feel a sense of loss, I can't help it! Anyway, that mini history lesson has laid the ground, so to speak, for this blog about my newest of toys; a Melodeon!
Although I cannot recall exactly when I first imagined that owning a melodeon might be a good idea, I suppose that I was hugely influenced in my subconscious decision by the superb melodeon playing which I had been exposed to at South Shields Folk Club. The playing of experts like Anahata, Steve Harrison or Vic Gammon cannot fail to enthuse anyone with the slightest interest.
Of course, my main interest in the melodeon is as an instrument to accompany singing voices, which is the main occupation of the playing of the above mentioned people, also.
So; here it is:
As far as I can ascertain, it's in the region of 100 years old, but in better fettle than many of that age, I should think. I've done a good deal of amateur restoration on it so far, mostly using bits and bobs which have been floating around the house. (Cost saving, you know?)
Some spare uphoulstery material, from one of our old sofas, went to make new straps. (Including an adjustable thumb strap!)
Several of the levers which operate the pads were straightened using ordinary pliers and a small screwdriver in conjunction.
There's still a lot to do to get it into the condition I'll be happy with, but I'll just plod on, as usual.
Here's the work space (little front bedroom) and a selection of the tools used to date.