Take a look at this beautiful chemnitzer concertina! This custom-made, see-through instrument was hand-built by Mike Smieja of St. Paul, Minnesota.
This special instrument was conceived, designed, and built by Mike as a way to demonstrate the inner-workings of a chemnitzer concertina. All components, except for the gold-plated hardware, are made from a clear acrylic material; even the sound boards and reed blocks! Mike used the design familiar to him from his role in helping to manufacture Bob Novak’s Echo Concertina. However, the construction technique that he had to use was much different in order to incorporate the hard and brittle plastic material.
Mike started-out with an idea to simply make the two endcaps, complete with the button mechanism. However, once he finished those pieces, he decided to create a complete, functioning instrument. Surprisingly, the acrylic material provides a loud and clear sound that rivals the tone and clarity that of any concertina made from wood. The biggest difference is the weight, as the plastic results in a much heavier instrument.
We greatly admire Mike for this fine accomplishment. We also appreciate the contribution he made towards the promotion of the chemnitzer concertina.
Click on any of the images below to view a larger version.
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