Piano 36 issues and repairs


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    Greetings to all. I am New here and recently purchased a used hohner piano 36 and had been playing it for a while before noticing some keys required much more breath to play notes than others. I opened the melodica to do some tuning and see if I could fix these issues as well with the keys . I was able to do some minor tuning where necessary and attempted to bring the reeds closer to the plates on the keys that required more breath to play. After this one of the keys felt almost clogged (maybe reed was too close ) and wouldn’t play or even let air thru unless I blew very hard . I also noticed some leakage while playing before ever opening it up . After putting the horn back together for a 3rd or fourth time , I noticed that there was a lot of air leakage even without pushing any keys. On the inside of the melodica at the top and bottom looks like some white substance that was used years ago to fix leak problems , but is crumbling away…(I could be wrong) and I also noticed the seal on the inside doesn’t seem to be as thick as it used to. I really love this melodica and want to get it into playing condition asap . Any tips or suggestions? Does anyone have any idea of how much it would Cost for an accordion/melodica expert to fix these issues? I am in NYC and have heard things about a place called Brooklyn Bellow, but I would like to get a couple opinions on if I should have a professional fix this, and what would be a reasonable price? Blessings. Ras D

    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).


    Hi Doug,

    I have two Piano 36s for sale and have full descriptions and recordings to show their condition. One is a desirable very early model.

    I have three Piano 36s in total. One day I think I should sell a couple, and the next day I say to myself, I must be crazing for wanting to sell them.

    I guess I am in sell mode now.

    If you are interested, let me know. You can contact me through my SoundCloud page (Lowboy Bootay), but let me know if you write as I do not check my messages there very often.



    Alan Brinton

    There’s your reliable seller, Doug.

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