Steve’s melodeons: I
mainly use Hohner Club 2/ Erika 2.5 row boxes, dating from the 1930s and
variously restored by Theo Gibb, Martyn White, Rees Wesson, Mike Rowbotham, and Paul Flannery. In order to play in keys that are ideal for the
singer, I have boxes in D/G, C/F, E/A, A/D, G/C and Bb/Eb. I retain the original
‘club’ bass layout but use standard right-hand tuning. I also
own a modern Saltarelle Nuage in D/G and a rhinestone-encrusted Gabbanelli in D/G both of which I use with dance bands, and one of Rees Wesson’s one-row Windjammers in C with Hohner reeds.
Steve’s mouth organs:
I use only Hohner Special 20s and Marine Band Classics/ DeLuxes/
Crossovers. English dance music rarely works well in 2nd position and I retune most of my harps so as to facilitate 1st and 4th position
playing. I sometimes valve my harps to allow otherwise unobtainable notes (a Brendan Power invention) and only use proper
chromatics (Herings) as a last resort. Henry Slim replaces single dead reeds, the one repair that is currently beyond my skills.
Steve’s banjos: I use banjo only for song accompaniment as a
change from the free reeds of my squeezeboxes. I use a
basic clawhammer technique, with lots of drop-thumbing. My main banjos are a 1930s
open-backed Vega 'Little Wonder' pot with a Fibreskyn head and modern 5-string neck, and a modern US-made Deering Vega 'Senator' with a renaissance head. I also own a Deering Vega 'Little Wonder', and a modern Stacey Custom, both with Fibreskyn heads. Alan Hardwick of Eagle Music maintains these instruments. I use
Steve's tenor guitar: this is a new venture - a modern Gold Tone instrument which I tune to an unusual open A chord (AEAC#) which allows me to play in Annie's main singing keys of A, Bb and C. My right hand approach is transferred from the banjo, giving highly percussive results. I took delivery of a restored 1966 Harmony Stella tenor in October 2013.
Steve's pipes: My pipes were made
over 20 years ago by Jon Swayne. They are mouth-blown in the key of G, with
plastic reeds and a chanter that works roughly in the manner of central French
cornemuses with 'half-closed' fingering and two thumb holes. I have a set with
just a single bass drone (which spares my tinnitus) and a set with 3 drones (which
Annie's jew's harps: are supplied by
the Dan Moi company of Leipzig and are of the pitched variety which make it
feasible to follow the chord progression of melodies.