Steve’s melodeons: For both song accompaniment and dance music, I use Hohner Club 2/ Erika 2.5 row boxes, dating from the mid-1930s and restored by Theo Gibb, Rees Wesson, 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, Bb/Eb and F/Bb. I usually retain the original
‘club’ bass layout but use standard right-hand tuning.
Steve’s mouth organs:
I use 10-hole Hohner Special 20s and Marine Band DeLuxes/
Crossovers/ Rockets/ Thunderbirds along with a few Suzuki Manjis. English dance music rarely works well in 2nd position so I often retune a couple of reeds on my harps to facilitate 1st and 4th position playing, and install valves on some reeds (an invention of Brendan Power) so as to allow bends that would not otherwise be possible. I never use chromatic or tremolo mouth organs. I am happy to be contacted for advice and suggestions about alternate tunings, and am sometimes available at festivals to run mouthorgan workshops for beginners or improvers.
Steve’s banjos: I use 5-string banjos for song accompaniment mostly employing drop-thumbing in open G, open C, open Gm and the modal 'sawmill' tunings. My main banjos are modern US-made Deering Vegas - a 'Little Wonder' with a mylar head and a 'Senator' with a fibreskyn head. Alan Hardwick at Eagle Music maintains these instruments. I also own a 2005 Stacey custom and (thanks to the generosity of Mike Pinder) a 1920s Clifford Essex model X.
Steve's guitars: I am not a guitarist, so my right hand approach to stringed instruments is pretty much transferred from the banjo. I have a 4-string Gold Tone tenor guitar (tuned, unusually, to AEAC#) and was fortunate enough to find a rare 1934 Alex Burns plectrum guitar which isn't cosmetically up to much but sounds great.
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. Her kazoos are any old metal models!
Annie's bass: is a nominally half-size Romanian upright instrument that has had a broken neck replaced by Malcolm Manning. It's real wood (not ply), sounds great, and fits in the car! Annie doesn't use a bow.