- August 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm #2953
MELODICA WORLD EDIT: There is more up to date information on this subject here
Hi all, has anybody got any info on a vintage melodica called the Hohner Siovertone. There is one up on the bay of evil and I was curious as to any inof that might be at hand. It has a weird aperture for blowing in to it, located on the sidew, where the middle c is located….January 3, 2015 at 8:57 pm #3662
I got one from a thrift shop a couple of weeks ago, Adam. It is made in Italy. Unfortunately, it is not playable. I’m curious as to how it compares to a Clavietta and whether it has the ingenious mechanisms as a result of which the Clavietta is a “project” melodica.January 23, 2015 at 8:22 am #3820
Thanks Alan, yes it would be interesting to compare. I take it the item you got from the thrift shop is unplayable due to poor condition, or is it an issue of bad designand/or quality?January 23, 2015 at 3:12 pm #3825
Yes, the one I got is unplayable, Adam, and it appears to be unrepairable, at least by me. But that’s what I expected. I’ll get around to taking it apart before too long and see what’s up inside, and then I can compare with the Clavietta. The Clavietta is ingeniously designed, but had some features that make it susceptible to breaking down, for example the rubber washers. Consequently, they are often in poor condition and in need of repair. So they were well designed/engineered in one sense but not in another. From what Melodica-Me says about the Professional-36, the same is true of that. From what I’ve been able to learn, the Silvertone was made during the 1960s in Italy, so it seems likely it would have been influenced by the Clavietta.January 23, 2015 at 8:05 pm #3826
Okay, I took my Silvertone apart and am ready to post some photos. First, though, I know there has been a 25 key Silvertone for sale that identifies it as a Hohner and shows a Hohner brochure. I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that is a misidentification. The Silvertones were made in Italy, they are unlike any Hohner model, and there does not appear to be any other evidence of a Hohner connection. Silvertone’s instrument was called the Orgamonica, and it was made during the 1960s, when Hohner was busy making its own innovative models. Here is my 34 key Silvertone Orgamonica, with a photo of its original owner in the background.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo before disassembly. The reed chamber of the Silvertone is the entire inside open space, and it is a fair description of the instrument to say that it is, for all practical purposes, glued together. Taking it apart breaks the seal. I had to pry it open (in the interest of science) to find out what’s inside, and it will be very hard to put back together with any confidence that it has a good seal. For this photo I seated the keyboard back in its metal shell, which I believe is aluminum.
Each reed of the Silvertone sits on its own plate, with each plate riveted and glued to the plastic face on which they sit. There are signs of some of the reeds having been tuned, at the factory I suppose. A closer look:
http://lucy421.smugmug.com/Other/Silvertone-34/47098611_7tSWZQ#!i=3838185184&k=b96pjSTJanuary 23, 2015 at 8:37 pm #3827
The key springs are fairly typical of later melodicas, except that they are heavier than most, as a result of which the keys are quite springy.
The back panel is a slat of plywood, laminated on the inside with some kind of thin hard material and faced on the outside with a decorated metal (aluminum?) plate. The blocks in the narrow corner of each end of the instrument are some kind of hardwood.
The moisture valve is a small button, which pushes up a sprung flat piece of copper (or copper alloy). Finally, the end pieces.
So the Silvertone is like the Clavietta in that it has individual reeds rather than reed plates. It is relatively solid and does not have the look or feel of a toy designed for children. It is not well designed in terms of tuning and maintenance and the difficulty of getting and maintaining a good seal. Although it was quite leaky to begin with, I was able to play some notes, but wasn’t able to make meaningful judgments about the sound.
This particular instrument is a little beat up, but I believe it could be repaired and made playable, and I would be willing to pass it along to someone who is interested and has the requisite skills. No parts are missing, and there does not appear to be any serious damage except to seals/gaskets. The reeds appear to be in very good conditionJanuary 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm #3831
Very interesting Alan, thanks for all the pics. Does this mean that you had to break the instrument apart just to tune it? Meaning it was untunable?
Are the reeds similar in size to the Clavietta reeds? I wonder how it compares. Thanks for all your info!January 24, 2015 at 6:12 pm #3840
I wouldn’t say I had to break the instrument apart, Daren. I had to break the seal between the underside of the top of the metal cabinet and the top of the backboard. There’s a strip, something between a gasket and a thin hard laminate, that runs across the top of the backboard and was sealed to it and to the bare metal of the cabinet. This had to be broken. Possibly it originally was not actually glued to both of those surfaces and then the instrument could have been taken apart without damaging this strip, but it kind of looks like it was made that way. Possibly it is replaceable with, say, a strip of accordion gasket.
Luckily I still had a Clavietta apart and am able to make a comparison. The reeds of the Silvertone and the Clavietta are about the same in size. The individual reed plates are almost identical. It’s hard not to see a family relationship here.
It sure would be interesting to get a Silvertone working and see how it sounds in comparison with the Clavietta. The key action of the Silvertone is much more definite, firmer, more springy with a long pull.
I should mention about this particular Silvertone that before I took it apart some notes played and others didn’t. So there must be some issue in addition to the over-all seal. The keys all seem to be in working order. The tops of some of the black keys are rough. It looks like they may have been set against a hot surface. Again, If someone with appropriate skills/resources wants to try to restore this Silvertone to playability, I will donate it for that purpose.January 29, 2015 at 11:44 pm #3895
Thanks Alan, yes, it would be great to see/hear one in action…January 29, 2015 at 11:57 pm #3896
Well, I’ll probably eventually try to repair it if nobody takes me up on my generous offer to let somebody else do it.January 30, 2015 at 12:07 am #3898
Great!!!January 30, 2015 at 12:13 am #3899
If I can find your address, I may just head on over with it to the Post Office.January 30, 2015 at 1:25 am #3901
Thanks for the detailed break down of the Silvertone Alan. Very interesting to see the single reed plates there, they look very similar to the reed plates on the Professional 36.January 30, 2015 at 1:40 am #3904
Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those, but I’d be willing to make a swap.January 30, 2015 at 2:50 am #3906
Yes they are a very desirable item the Pro 36s. I got mine for a very good price but I have done some work on it to get it to where it is now, perhaps because of that I am very attached to it.
I keep an eye out for Pro 36s coming up for sale so I will let you know when they come up and post details in the wonderful new trading post section of these forums.
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