Tombo pianohorn PH-27


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    Hi, Every melodicaholics.
    Last day I got a “pianohorn”, made by Tombo musical instrument.
    However I couldn’t get any information about this melodica.
    So I try to write review.
    review of pianohorn PH-27

    If anyone has the information about pianohorn, please teach me:)

    Alan Brinton

    Fascinating, pianonymous! My understanding of your review is not good since I am reading the Google translation. I have seen very little information on Tombo. I believe they made a soprano model.

    The melodica shown in the magazine article looks older. It actually looks quite a bit like the first Suzuki Melodion with a piano style keyboard, the Super 34, introducxed in 1961 Your Tombo has a plastic case and a long blow tube, which were introduced later. Do you think it is from around 1970?


    Alan, thank you for read my review!

    The magazine is for music teacher of elementary school, and it published in 1961. And the melodica in the magazine is Advertisement of pianohorn. I think It looks like a melodion A-25’s plastic design.

    On the same magazine, I found the Advertisement of TOKAI pianica(PC-1).

    I guess, my pianohorn is from around 1970. The person who gave me the pianohorn, was born in 1963. So he bought it when he was Gr.1 (=around 1969). Melodion A-25 was selling in 1967-1973. According to suzuki’s website, A-25 was first smart plastic design and it was best selling product.

    Alan Brinton

    Very interesting, but I am confused. This is my Suzuki A-25 (with the label “Study 25”). I have two of them, and they play very well. But the tray is metal. The date I see for this on the Suzuki site to which you link is 1968-72, and it does not look to me like your Pianohorn.

    Your Pianohorn looks more to me like the first Suzuki Melodion listed on the Suzuki site for 1961-72. That is consistent with the information from the person who gave you the Pianohorn. Here is my guess: That the Tombo Pianohorn was made for Tombo by Suzuki. Several other brands of keyboard harmonicas have been manufactured by Suzuki, including Samick and Kawai. Here is another instrument with the label “Melodihorn” that in fact is a Suzuki A-27. I believe the Samick was made in Korea. The Koreans may have taken the English pronunciation of “Melodion” and written it “melodyhorn” or “melodyhorn” — as we now sometimes see Suzuki “Melodion” or “melodeon” as “Melody On” — I see this as a Google translation of “melodion.” But I do not know either Japanese or Korean.

    This is not such a good keyboard harmonica as the Suzuki A-25.

    I think your pianohorn is a version of the original Suzuki Super 34. But I could be mistaken!

    So the Tokai PC-1 was made in 1961. This is exciting news. All the early Yamaha Pianicas were, of course, made by Tokai Gakki. But I don’t think any of them were like the PC-1, which is more like the design of a Clavietta.

    Alan Brinton

    Pianonymous: One of my sources for information about the early history of Hohner Melodicas has been 1960s-70s editions of the English language magazine, The Music Educators Journal, published for elementary and secondary music teachers. This is probably comparable to the Japanese magazine to which you have referred. The Music Educators Journal did not make many references to the melodica in its articles, but it did include advertisements and announcements from Hohner. These are helpful in dating early Hohner models. I have examined all issues of this journal and have copies of advertisements and announcements.

    If I have understood you correctly, your information about the advertisement of the PC-1 Tokai Pianica in 1961 is very important for my research, which otherwise shows that the first (piano style) Japanese Keyboard Harmonicas appeared in 1961 and were made by Suzuki (The Super 34 Melodion) and Tokai Gakki. The first Yamaha Pianicas were created and manufactured by Tokai and were sold both under the Yamaha name and under the Tokai name. But the PC-1 seems to have been sold only under the Tokai name and to look more like a Clavietta. The Super 34 also looks to me more like a Clavietta than later Suzuki models. You probably know more about all of this than I do. I wrote a letter to Tokai Gakki asking about their relationship with Yamaha. They told me that the Pianica was created and manufactured by Tokai for Yamaha, but that eventually Yamaha made other arrangements for the manufacture of its Pianicas. I think it was sometime later that Yamaha moved the manufacturing to Indonesia.

    I think Tokai Gakki still makes some of its own Pianicas, but I have not seen one. They seem to mainly make guitars. There are some other brands that identify their keyboard harmonicas as Pianicas. I wonder if Tokai still owns the rights for “Pianica” and has an agreement with other companies to use that name. Kioritsu sells Pianicas. I have one and it is inferior to Yamaha. Here is a link for current Tokai models:

    I have not ordered one, because they look as though they are more cheaply constructed.


    Alan thanks so much.
    Sorry I have one big misreading about A-25. That was misread as a “tray(=body)” and “case(=carrybag)”,so SuzukiA-25 has metal body as you say.

    So I made the Comparison picture.
    All models are very beautiful design.

    >>That the Tombo Pianohorn was made for Tombo by Suzuki.

    Your reading is maybe correct, Dr.melodica.
    And I should read the magazine for elementary music teacher more carefully.
    (The name of the magazine is “KYOUIKU ONGAKU”(means educational music).)
    However the magazine is very thick , besides I have to go to Tokyo University of the Arts…

    Oh I have ever tried to ask TOKAI about PC-1 by e-mail, then I asked as”Do you have any information about PC-1?”.
    But TOKAI said “Sorry, we don’t have any infomartion about PC-1.At the time of the employee has all retirement.”
    Letter, that is good idea…haha

    My friend Akira(Tokyo melodica orc)has current product of TOKAI.
    It is same model as your link of rakutenstore.

    By the way,I played PH-27, the sounds was so nice.

    Alan Brinton

    Yes, the sound is quite nice!

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