Vintage Hohner Alto leaking air and moisture

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  • #4084
    AvatarEddie
    Participant

    Recently, I purchased a vintage Hohner Alto melodica from Ebay. It was brought to my attention before its arrival that there would be cracks, chipped paint, etc. but would still be fine to play with no issue. After about a week I noticed first off that the moisture from playing would drip from the moisture vent without touching the valve for it. It would do this in the middle of playing, and the moisture would build up at the hole and leak with or without trying to use the button. Today I realized that not only is it leaking a bit through previous mentioned cracks, but air is escaping through the moisture valve no matter what I do. Beforehand, if I played no notes and didn’t touch the valve but blowed into the instrument, no air would escape at all. Now the majority of the air when I play escapes through the valve, and not the keys, giving it a noticeable sound. I noticed then that the metal button for the valve is the tiniest bit crooked, which could be the cause of the leaks, (not the crack leaks though, mind you)
    I don’t know if there are any music stores in my area that would know what to do to fix my instrument, so I must ask; what should I do to fix all this? Open it up? Or is it broken now?

    #4086
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Eddie,

    Welcome to the forum.

    Can you tell us what the model name or number is of the Hohner keybaord harmonica that is leaking?

    If not, could you post a photo?

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #4090
    AvatarEddie
    Participant

    Moisture valveCrooked buttonBacksideFront side
    Hi Lowboy, here are some pictures of my melodica.

    #4091
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Eddie,

    I do not own one of those models so I do not have any firsthand knowledge about the design of the melodica or the water valve. However, here is some general advice.

    If you feel adventurous and have some mechanical aptitude, you could remove the back cover and inspect and adjust the water valve flap. It may not be pressing hard enough against the drain hole. The foam could be deteriorating and causing a leak, but I have yet to see any deterioration of foam or adhesive in a Hohner melodica no matter what the age.

    Just tightening the screws on the back cover might eliminate some leakage if the screws are loose.

    Secondly, you could send your melodica to the Hohner Shop and have an expert service it. You download the “reconditioning Service” form at:

    http://us.playhohner.com/service/hohner-service/melodica-service/

    I will be sending in a few melodicas soon to the Hohner Shop and will report on my experience. They have actually sealed up a couple of my melodicas under warranty and did good work.

    Finally, I think just a bit of leakage (5 percent) from a 50 year old instrument is about the norm. Some are fully tight, some leak a bit. Several of my old Hohners leak water just a bit from the gaskets or water valves after extensive playing. I notice this because I hold my melodicas at the end opposite the mouthpiece, and my left hand can feel the water sometimes. That is why I often hold them with a decorative and absorbent cloth in my left hand.

    A 50-year-old Hohner is like a 1969 Chevy with 175,000 miles on it. It is probably going to leak some fluids.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #4092
    AvatarAdam Tombs
    Participant

    I have one of these and found it easy to take apart and put back together. I wonder if a little silicon spray lube might plump your seals up? There are more expensive rubber conditioners out there but silicon spray lube works as well as most of them.

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