I have been playing and repairing concertinas since I first inherited my Great Uncle
Harry’ s instrument. This first concertina was ‘professionally restored’, which took
far too long and to me, being a Yorkshire-man, a lot too much money! Shortly afterwards
I acquired another broken down wreck of an instrument. The restoration of this second
concertina, and the notes taken at the time, led to the first Edition of the ‘Concertina
Maintenance Manual. Since those days I have repaired, serviced, restored literally
hundreds of concertinas from the big bass to the minute miniatures; the finest of
the Jeffries Anglos to the most basic, through the English system’s Aeolas, Edeophones
to basic student models; 70 plus key duets too, well the list goes on. I have also
mastered the art of waxing in the accordion reed assemblies used in the modern reproduction
instruments that are now so popular.
A silver mounted amboyna Anglo brightened the workshop not too long ago.
I have to admit that I am a better Concertina Tinker than Concertina Player,
I am a professional engineer, one time graduate of Salford University and Technical
Manager of substantial engineering company, technical writing, and illustration has
always been part of what I do. These skills are brought into use in the second edition
of the ‘Concertina Maintenance Manual’ to provide instructions in a blend of words,
pictures, tips, techniques and advice.
More and more I get asked to lead workshops and provide expertise at drop in concertina
clinics. Latterly I have come to enjoy the teaching as much, if not more, than the
restoration work itself. This is consistent with the manual, as the whole purpose
of both is to make these superb instruments accessible to those who have the will
to learn and try.