Why build your own?
A reasonable question, indeed! It all started at the Scandinavian Squeeze–In (Skåne (Scania), Southern Sweden) in 2002. A participant had brought a Stagi 18–button English concertina (the picture). Being a bit slow, I first discovered it on Saturday evening – and only when I noticed it had a pinkie rest did I realise that I was looking at an English Concertina.

The rest is history – the other participants can testify that I couldn't let go the thing! What intrigued me was this: extremely low weight, few buttons (too few, admittedly). The buttons went all the way down and the horizontal spacing was slightly wider.

I didn't use the pinkie rest. But it seemed playable in an odd way – there was more "rock'n'roll" in this than in my trusty Wheatstone (48/metal ends/1909). Very, very strange.

Anyway, I ended up having an instrument–importing friend buy me one. It turned out that the model had changed – the pinkie rest was gone, though it still shows in this photo:

© Stagi

The rest had been replaced with another leather strap. I found this totally impossible to play – hands aren't made that way, not in this universe! So I started modifying it:

Hmm – no good. A thumb strap is still needed:

An angled hand rest was added and finally the thumb strap was improved