Hohner HM32

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Hohner is a musical instrument manufacturer with a reputation for innovative design and invention. The company was founded in Germany by Matthias Hohner in 1857, who began making harmonicas with his wife and one other employee. During the 1950s the Hohner company added a newly invented instrument they named ‘melodica’ to their catalogue. The melodica was a success, and was soon copied by several other companies around the world.

Make: Hohner
Model name: HM32
Reed type: Multi reed plates
Dimensions: Unknown
Weight: Unknown
Keys: 32
Country of manufacture: Unknown
Player level: Intermediate
Features: None
Year of manufacture: Unknown. Now discontinued

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2 Reviews

  1. Avatar


    This is my review of the Hohner Melodica Piano 32. This melodica was made in Germany. Production stopped three years ago. By default, this review also covers the Hohner Piano 26 (soprano) and Hohner Piano 27 (alto) because they are of the exact same design and construction with fewer keys and different ranges. Two online stores that I know of are selling the last remaining new stock of these melodicas for between $54 and $95.rnrnI own and play several sets of Piano 26s, Piano 27s, and Piano 32s. I have one set for practice that I can beat up trying to bend notes and otherwise abuse. I have one set for performing, which should happen soon, and I have one set for a backup. That is how much I like these melodicas.rnrnHowever, not everyone may like the Hohner Piano 32 because it does have its fair share shortcomings. The shortcomings include, slightly crude and noisy keys with a short throw. Not horrible as in toy -like, but not as refined as say a Yamaha P-25F. The mouth piece is nothing to write home to mom about. The volume is lower than most melodicas and it seems harder to blow compared to most melodicas. And finally, when you pick the melodica after resting it for more than say 30 to 60 minutes, all the keys stick the first time you play them. So you have to take the palm of your hand smear the keyboard to press all of the keys down once before playing it. [I actually consider this a good thing now. I think it is an indication that the pads are sealing well. However, I would like to know why these are the only melodicas I own that exhibit this behavior.]rnrnSo why do I like this melodica so much? I like the sound. You may not like the sound. Even my bandmates prefer the sound of my Yamaha over the Piano 32. Tonal quality is very subjective. But I like the dark, smoother sound of this melodica. Part of that mellower sound is due to the fact that the sound holes are on the bottom of the melodica. If you play the melodica upside down, the sound is definitely brighter, but still not as bright as many Suzuki or Yamaha or even other Hohners melodicas.rnrnI have also found that blowing really hard while playing the lower notes enables you to get deep bends that sound great in some types of music. Blow too hard and you will damage the reed, causing it to bend too easily during normal playing. Player beware.rnrnBut that is reason behind having a beater set of melodicas. I will performing surgery on the beaters at some point in the future to see how I can repair or adjust the reeds to my liking. Maybe I will just get myself in more trouble. rnrnAnd finally, as I have documented on other posts and with a sound clip, you can modulate the sound from the Piano 32 by holding it (the sound holes) against your chest and by moving it towards and away from your chest. By moving and shaking the melodica and waving it around, and by holding it tightly against your chest, you can produce muted tones, wah wah effects, and tremolo/vibrato effects.rnrnSo, I am not even sure the Piano 32 will be my absolute favorite melodica going forward, but is does offer a unique sound and modulation capability. Right now, I think it has great potential as a blues melodica. Time will tell.rnrnI rated this 3.5-star melodica with 4 stars because of its unique sound and modulation capability.

  2. Avatar

    Alan Brinton

    There are separate listings here for the Hohner Piano 32 and the Hohner HM-32, though these are essentially the same instrument. I have two, one ordered under the HM-32 listing from the Hohner Shop, the other purchased on eBay as a New Old Stock Hohner Piano 32. They have the same sound and appear to be identical, except for a slightly different logo and the spit mechanism: the one from the Hohner Shop has a clear rubber strap spit hole cover about whose durability I am a bit concerned, while the other has a small metal button -- in both cases on the bottom of the melodica. An advantage of the strap vent mechanism (also used on the 26) is the big vent hole, which makes it a snap to blow out moisture.rnrnI am in agreement with everything in Lowboy's description and assessment, except that I can't speak about wah wah effects, in that I do not currently have the skill for this.rnrnI love this melodica because of the sounds I can get out of it, much more delicate, soulful sounds than out of any of the other melodicas in my collection. I would say the sound is fragile, and my guess is that most melodica players will not like that. I think many players will find the sound and the key action unsteady and feel like this melodica is out of tune. The upside, though, is that it is relatively easy to bend notes and coax out surprisingly sweet sounds with this instrument. For me the sound of the HM-32 is intoxicating (and even more so with the HM-26). rnrnThe inner build and mechanics of the HM-32 are a reflection of what you get playing the instrument. It is rather fragile and vulnerable. One the bottom cover is removed, the keys snap off easily if you want them off or by accident. It is a delicate operation to get the key back on its little spring and to deal with collateral issues with the nearby keys. And then some effort is required to get that section of the keyboard working properly again. The reeds seem okay, but the reed plates do not appear to be removable, at least not by a non-technician. Although the mechanisms are simple and ingenious on the HM-32, I have the feeling that I could easily ruin it and make it unfixable by me. My guess is that these melodicas will be very hard to fine tune because it will be hard to get consistent readings (by ear or by instrument).rnrnI have two HM (or Piano) 26 Hohners and agree that they are the same as the 32 except for the number of keys, and except this: Both of them have a somewhat steadier and crisper sound than both of my HM-32 Hohners. From my limited sampling, I would say that the 26 is better than the 32.

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