Reply To: Piano 36 issues and repairs

Alan Brinton

Search “Piano 36” in the forums here, Doug, and you will find information about the common issues you mention. I have several of this model. As with other older Hohners, there’s some risk to taking the Piano 36 apart and a good chance that it will subsequently be more leaky. In my opinion, unless there are serious problems, tuning or otherwise, needing to be addressed, it’s better not to disassemble a Piano 36 unless you are prepared to do some gasket replacement. Member Melodica-Me has posted the best information on dealing with leaks and repairing or replacing gaskets.

Bringing the reed closer to the reed plate — i.e., closing the reed gap — will often result in the note choking and/or failing to play when not enough air flow is getting under the reed and starting its vibration. Having too small of a gap (less than the thickness of the reed, roughly) is a more common problem than having too wide of a gap. I believe that over time and with vigorous playing, the gap tends to narrow rather than widen. You can also search the forums to find more information on gapping.

Having the Piano 36 repaired by a professional accordion expert is likely to be cost-prohibitive. (Though you can always ask for an estimate.) I’d be inclined to sell the Piano 36 (or save it for parts) and buy another that looks promising, possibly repeating this until you find one that’s relatively air tight. There are lots of them available now at reasonable prices ($100 or less, worth a bit more if you know it’s in very good condition). Examining photos carefully and asking the seller questions can give you some idea of the condition of the instrument. If one’s for sale by a Melodica World regular, you’re likely to get a realistic assessment of its condition from someone who knows melodicas. For a vintage Hohner, I would always ask how air tight it is, i.e. what happens when one blows into it with no keys or release valve depressed. Almost every Piano 36 will be less than fully air tight, so that a little bit of seepage is to be expected.

Leakage is typically much less of an issue with Japanese melodicas (keyboard harmonics, Melodions or Pianicas).

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