Semi-Vintage Hohners?

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  • #3087
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Andre and Adam have recently posted reviews of what is identified under “Reviews” as the Hohner 26. This is actually the Hohner Piano 26, which I’m identifying here as “semi-vintage” because it is an older style Hohner, but with piano keys rather than buttons. This Piano 26 is a soprano, right, while the corresponding Piano 27 is an alto? I’m looking for clarification after looking at the Piano 26 (red or black face) and Piano 27 (black or gray face) on eBay. There are plenty of both available, at moderate prices. Am I correct in the assumption that red or black/black or gray was just a color option and not the mark of an earlier or later model? The Hohner Piano 27, reviewed by Kevin, is a different model, correct? He does mention small key size, though, so I wonder.

    #3092
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    These have a great tone, personally I am not a big fan of the mini keys, they are just to small for my fingers. I do like that vintage look.
    Melodica-Me

    #3093
    AvatarAdam Tombs
    Participant

    The piano 27 with a red paint job is the alto model, the piano 26 with the grey or black paint is the soprano, according to my old Hohner literature (vintage how to play books etc). I am pretty sure that grey or black was the colour option for the piano 26 and that the red paint alto piano 27 followed on from the earlier push button alto Hohner melodica. I have not seen any Piano 26’s with red paint in the metal bodied versions.

    However, there is a black piano 27 plastic bodied HM-27 model which looks to be a later model that is also an alto, range is F3 to G5 below middle C and extends up for over two chromatic octaves. It does not have small keys though…

    Hope this is of some help.

    #3096
    AvatarAdam Tombs
    Participant

    Please ignore what I have written about the range of the black plastic alto, “below middle C and extends up for over two chromatic octaves”, it’s kind of redundant and I can’t edit my post to change it.

    Thanks

    #3117
    AvatarAndre
    Participant

    I believe there are 3 vintage piano 26 models. The grey one is the one with the brass reeds, etc… There is another model that looks just like the grey but it is black and made out of plastic. (and it is bigger) The black is not the same as the grey… This one (the black) was my first hohner melodica, and it is much worse than the grey one: tone, key response, case, etc.. it is not a “top” instrument.. And then there is another 26 model, also made out of plastic, black colour, but the mouthpiece is like a trumpet ( it looks just like the piano 27 photo reviewed by Kevin ) This model I think was made in Italy and it is called cassotto 26 instead of piano 26. I never tried it so I can’t say anything about it. The red one is the piano 27, the grey is the piano 26. Only the grey 26 and the red 27 are made of metal, and they are older than the black models… (I guess, I’m not 100% sure).

    #3118
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant
    #3119
    AvatarAndre
    Participant

    Hi Alan, I never tried that one, but that it is the piano 27 version of the black plastic piano 26. The one that is not good. I believe that this old plastic melodicas are the equivalent to today’s hohner student. There is a significant difference from those models to this ones:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/PIANO-A-BOUCHE-HOHNER-MELODICA-Piano-27-EPOQUE-1970-80-EN-METAL-/400773739254?pt=FR_JG_Art_Objets_XXeme&hash=item5d4ff9f2f6
    If you are looking for a piano 27 this model is much better, in my opinion. it is a more serious instrument. The one on your link is more for kids or beginners.

    #3120
    AvatarAndre
    Participant
    #3121
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Thanks, Andre — really helpful information. I didn’t see that U.S. seller. I just put a bid on that one. After reading the recent comments on Hohners 26 and 27, I think it would be fun to have one, preferably this model, if I can get it for a reasonable price.

    #3122
    AvatarAndre
    Participant

    Yes I guess you will enjoy this melodicas. They are a classic. Good luck with the deal 🙂

    #3129
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Guys,

    Outside of the three Piano 26s I mention below in a quote from another of my posts, there is the Cassotto, which is a separate model onto it own. It has an additional chamber on the back that makes it sound smoother and more like a flute.

    Here is my quote:
    “Hohner made three 26s: a Hohner 26 (yours) and two types of “Piano” 26s. The HM26 is plastic and looks more like a traditional rectangular-shaped melodica. It is one of my favorite melodicas to play, as hard as it is to play. But there is another Hohner Piano 26 shaped similar to yours. (See this link to view a photo of it: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6237809/DSC_7981_edited-1.jpg) This Piano 26 is shaped similar to yours but is bigger and made of plastic. I love the tone and playability of this compact melodica, but it plays relatively softly. So for quiet introspective playing, it is one of my favorites. But it is not particularly well-suited for louder ensemble playing.”

    So in reality, if you include cassottos, Hohner made 4 types of Piano 26s and 4 types of Piano 27s. The Piano 26s and 27s (HM models) are fast becoming my preferred melodicas because they bend notes well without damaging the reeds and you can get wah and other effects because the sound holes are on the back. They are hard to play well and you must hold them against you chest at an angle to boost the volume from them.

    The Hohner 26s, 27s, and 32s (HM Models, plastic with nearly square bodies) are nearly extinct. Production stopped about 3 years ago. The Hohner Shop found a supply of them in their warehouse about a year ago and have been selling them on Ebay for a very reasonable price. No 27s are left, and only a few 26s and 32s are left.

    I stocked up because these are the best “piano harmonicas” for playing the blues and sounding like a harp. I am going to publish a couple of recent clips on my SoundCloud page soon that show how close a melodica can sound to a harp. You won’t believe you are listening to a melodica.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #3133
    AvatarAndre
    Participant

    Thanks Lowboy, I am now curious to try a cassotto.

    #3135
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    I spoke with Bill Bucco today. He is the manager of service at Hohner Shop, Virginia, USA. He has 5 Piano 32s and 50 Piano 26s left. These are the HM models with the sound holes on the back.

    Once these are gone, finding a new one will be a difficult. You can buy them directly from Bill (BBucco@Hohnerusa.com).

    These melodicas are the ultimate for playing the blues in my opinion. It is difficult to learn to play these expressively, however. They are only mid-quality melodicas. It took me a long time to even begin to figure it out. I am still an infant. There is much more territory to explore in terms of: (a) breath control, (b) sound modulation obtained by moving the melodica around the microphone and against your body, (c) singing into it while playing, and (d) perhaps using a sax/clarinet/oboe mouthpiece.

    The voyage is underway blues people.

    Let’s also wake up the melodica makers to what could be a tremendous market for them.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #3136
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Other melodicas can sound really good in the blues, and you can get them to sound similar to a harp, but modulation and note bending are much more difficult.

    Lowboy

    #3188
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Andre,

    I was able to get that Piano 27 for $29.99 + $10 shipping. It arrived yesterday and is in good working order with a moderate amount of wear. The sound is distinctive and quite good. It’s a bit less air tight than I would like, but not bad. I haven’t taken it apart yet. Thanks again for your assistance.

    Alan

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