Here at last! The Paolo Soprani Jubilee "New Grey" Melodeon!
Just after the second world war, Paolo Soprani made some 2 row button accordions. They were grey and turned out to be rather popular - So popular in fact that after production ceased they quickly acquired almost legendary status and nowadays the rare surviving examples of these iconic Irish button accordions change hands for astronomical sums.
This "New Grey" Paolo Soprani Melodeon is modelled very closely on the originals but with a number of refinements for modern players. General consensus seems to be that the "New Grey" sounds more like the "Old Grey" even than the "Old Red" Paolo accordions which followed in the fifties and sixties.
In the words of Joe Burke:
THE ACCORDION KNOWN AS THE "OLD GREY" PAOLO SOPRANI WAS A HIGHLY REGARDED INSTRUMENT AND VERY POPULAR AMONG TRADITIONAL PLAYERS IN IRELAND DURING THE FORTIES AND FIFTIES. THERE WAS DISAPPOINTMENT WHEN THE MAKERS TOOK IT OFF THE MARKET. THE NEW PAOLO SOPRANI CLASSIC, RECENTLY INTRODUCED, IS MODELLED AND BASED ON THE "OLD GREY". IT LOOKS THE SAME AND HAS THAT DISTINCTIVE RING TO THE SOUND. IT IS COMPACT,
LIGHT, HANDLES WELL AND THE CRAFTMANSHIP IS EXQUISITE. I WOULD REGARD IT AS A VERY FINE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT.
Critically, these modern Paolo melodeons have aluminium sound boards, thereby avoiding the problem of wood warping over time which is what eventually killed a lot of the old grey instruments. They sound great new, and knowing how reeds bed in and melodeons develop for being played, I suspect that in the fullness of time the new Paolo Jubilee could even supersede the original grey boxes as the holy grail of Irish button accordions.