Reply To: New member to melodicaworld
Welcome. I have been playing the Hohner Piano 26/27/32 series of melodicas almost exclusively for two years. I would be embarrassed to tell you how many I have. Obviously, I think they are special. I have old ones and new ones; red ones, blue ones, and yellow ones. I have some cassotto models. I have purchased these various models from around the world.
I play them in my acoustic trio, and my trio has been performing a lot lately (about 5 times a month for last few months), so I am getting some stage experience and lots of practice time with them. I have learned a lot about these models in the last two years, but the learning curve remains high, particularly in getting the sound I want in a live performance.
Here is what I think about the difference between some of these models.
Some models are labeled “Made in Germany” on the front and some are not. I assume the ones made in Germany are older than the ones not labeled “made in Germany.” Generally speaking, I like the ones made in Germany over the ones that are not made in Germany. However, sometimes it seems the difference between any two of these melodicas of the same model from the same source is greater than any perceived difference between the German-manufactured ones and the non-German-manufactured ones.
German-made models tend to have the metal pushbutton water valve while the newer ones have the rubber strip that covers the water drain hole. Though not always. The pushbutton arrangement is easier to use but harder to service.
In spite of all my experience with these melodicas, I have not definitively sorted out your question, thought it has been a big question for me as well for two years.
What is the difference based on the experience and intuition that I have today? I sometimes (repeat sometimes) perceive the German-made models to flow air better, sound a bit louder, have a richer tone, and to be more durable. Maybe it is all psychological. Maybe it is the often erroneously-perceived belief that older things are better than new things. Maybe it is the perception that products from Germany are best. Maybe it is variation in the playing environments. In any case, given the choice between two melodicas, I would take an older German-made model over a newer model not made in Germany.
I would stress that the differences are subtle and only someone intimately familiar with these melodicas might be able to tell the difference. And once again, I often find the variation between, say two models made in Germany, to be as great as any perceived difference between models made in difference lands.
So if someone were buying their first Hohner Piano 26/27/32, I don’t think it would matter where the melodica was made. I would look for one in good condition one that does not leak. Later, after developing a taste for these melodicas, a person could be more discriminating.
I think there is a difference. I think the German-made models on the whole are better, but I have not fully convinced myself yet through the application of the scientific method. That study is on my “to do” list.