This is an extremely popular course with one of Europe’s finest instrument makers. Places are limited to 10, and our 2016 course sold out well in advance.
Emmanuel will guide novice makers through the steps to build your own two and a half row melodeon. You will leave with your own professional standard instrument; whilst having a great sense of humour (and extremely good English) Emmanuel is also a demanding task master and will ensure that all instruments made are of the highest possible calibre. In addition to having a wonderful instrument, you’ll also benefit from the inestimable experience of working with a master craftsman and learn techniques for construction, maintenance and repair in the future.
The box you build will reflect your individual preferences and there is flexibility in terms of key, inlay and accidental layout (see below). Case wood is French walnut and reeds are high quality Binci a mano hand made Italian reeds. Please note that because of the time constraints on this course Emmanuel can only offer stepped and not Irish-style flat fingerboards.
This is an intensive course and you’ll be working long days, but Halsway is an excellent venue, secluded and peaceful enough to free you from distractions, but with superb facilities and a bar on site. Accommodation and all meals (and as much tea and coffee as you can drink!) are included, so all you need to think about is the build – and maybe winding down in the evening with a session or two (bring instruments!).
“I have just returned from a really fantastic week building a melodeon with Emmanuel Pariselle. I wanted to express my gratitude to you and all the staff at Halsway for making it all so welcoming and comfortable. Great food and a great setting. The whole group were extremely pleased with the experience and the end result was beyond our expectations.
It was my first visit to Halsway, but probably not my last. What a wonderful place.” 2016 Participant
Each participant will need to decide:
- a tonality: D/G, G/C, A/D, etc…
- a layout with 10/9/6 buttons or 11/10/4 and 14 or 12 basses.
You can view a D/G layout chart, a G/C layout chart here, and an A/D layout chart here with Emmanuel’s suggested layouts for each; if you are new to the 2.5 row, it’s recommended you take Emmanuel’s layout.
- reeds (Binci a mano): choose either MM (with one register to play with or without tremollo) or LM (2 registers, to play M, L, or LM).
- an inlay line (max 8mm, visit www.marechaux.fr)
- black or white buttons
- grille design – two available – standard or lyre
Air button is normally as on a Hohner melodeon.
The price includes a good melodeon bag, and shoulder straps.
Who’s it For?
No previous experience required, although manual dexterity and basic woodworking skills are an advantage. All tools are provided, but it is helpful if participants can bring a few basic hand tools eg screwdrivers, craft knife, pliers etc. Emmanuel is experienced in working with novice makers, and Chris Mash will also be on hand to offer practical support and to make sure all builds are kept on track. Tuning is done on site by industry expert Theo Gibb.
Emmanuel Pariselle has run melodeon building courses across the globe as well as in his native France; musicians including Andy Cutting and Mairtin O’Connor have designed and built their own instruments with him in recent years. Emmanuel himself is a wonderful musician with a mastery of many styles and instruments, and a fine singer too.
Listen to Andy talk about his experience making a box with Emmanuel – and hear it played:
Theo Gibb runs The Box Place, offering a repair, restoration and tuning service for melodeons and concertinas. The quality of his work is second to none, with countless delighted customers to recommend him. Theo has played melodeon since 1995, playing for ceilidh/barn dances, clog, and Morris. When not at the day job, he can be found playing with Sunniside Up! Ceilidh Band and chatting about all things squeezebox on melodeon.net and concertina.net.
Chris Mash came to Halsway to assist on Emmanuel’s previous course, and proved to be an essential part of the team! His practical hands-on experience means he can help students at every stage of their build, giving extra support as necessary to ensure no one drops behind.