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    Karen Kerr

    Hi All,

    I know this has been covered in previous posts, but I haven’t seen a definitive answer on whether giving this kind of melodica with metal reeds “a bath” has been successful. As many others, I have purchased this on eBay and it does indeed have a old pipe/cigar sweet smell and a bit of a taste that I want to get rid of. Again, as many others have stated, I am nervous about taking the instrument apart for fear I ruin it. Has anyone had success of completely dunking their soprano melodica in vinegar/water bath(without ruining paint) or dunking it in a dish soap/water solution with success? Currently where i live it’s winter, so I can’t dry it outside — but can obviously dry it upright somewhere in the house. I would ideally like to do both a bath as well as (after it dries fully) leaving in in a paper bag with baking soda to get some more freshness.

    If anyone can give me a 100% “GO FOR IT!” I’d really appreciate it. I don’t want to risk rusting the reeds or making it unplayable.

    I appreciate the help! Photo below.

    Soprano Melodica Vintage

    Alan Brinton

    A bath will not harm metal reeds, Karen. Moisture collects on the reeds every time you play it. A water and vinegar solution (1/3 unflavored vinegar, 2/3 water) will alleviate the odor problem. Soak it for an hour or two and then rinse it well. Stand on end with the mouth side down. It helps to blow the solution out a few times, working the keys.

    Because the melodica is metal and has metal screws, I would not leave it soaking for an extended period, for example overnight. Leaving it (dry) in a paper bag with baking soda will probably help it there’s still some odor, or you can repeat the bath process.


    be aware, the metal covered hohners could lose paint with sharp cleaning. perhaps bebause of the vinegear?
    martin had a metal piano 26 that lost the paint:
    the cleaningthread

    also the first sopranos and altos had a wooden body, but i think yours is made out of plastic so a bath is generally no problem, just use a lighter cleanser.

    i had good experiances with denture cleanser tabs against odor in melodicas.

    Alan Brinton

    I have never seen or heard of any of the first sopranos or altos (900, 901, 926, 927) having a wooden body, Martin. The Hohner Professional 36 is partly wooden in construction, and there are others. I agree that no melodica with wooden parts should be given a melodica bath.

    I have also seen some of the earliest metal Hohners from which paint has flaked off. I have not had that experience, and I don’t know whether it might be a water/vinegar mix. Maybe so if it is soaked for a longer period. Cleaning with alcohol or with a harsh cleaner might do that.


    I have one piano26 with wooden body and also an alto.

    See picture:
    Red alto with wooden body and in the back a Soprano with plastic body.

    If opened, i can See the naked wood on some edges without paint.

    Hohner alto with wooden body


    Alan Brinton

    Well, you got me on that one! Look at the placement of the screw on the end of that red alto. I just reviewed a lot of photos in my collection and on Google, and I don’t see another one with that screw. Also, the metal looks distressed where that screw goes in. Do you know of others than the two you have? Do you think it might be possible that these were modified, Michael? (Sorry I called you Martin.) Anybody else have any insight on this?

    I definitely would not soak those in a solution or in water.


    Hey Alan,
    I have seen more of them.
    The third screw at the end of the top should be the sign.
    My wooden Piano 26 is the one with 5 screws on the back, but i also got a Piano 27 with 5 screws and plastic body. I didn’t find out a special sign to identify the wooden ones without macro picture from the side.
    Have a Look at the german eBay-Kleinanzeigen, mostly privat seller :
    Only german seller
    Have a great week

    Alan Brinton

    I see one. Do you know if there is a difference in the sound?


    oh, i posted the mobile link. delete the “m” bevore ebay and you get the full site.

    sorry Alan, i am not sure if the sound is different, because i own only one piece of each.
    so i can only try to play the same tones on alto and soparano: when i play the same tone on the soprano and the alto there is definatly a difference, but i am not sure if the difference come from wood against plastic.

    but in my opinion there must be a difference! plastic and woodresonance can not be the same.

    perhaps this is not the right place, but here a detail of the woodbody piano26:

    Alan Brinton

    Oh, that really perks up my interest, since I play those piano models and appreciate their distinctive sounds. I’ll watch for a “woody,” but might have to get one from Germany.

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