Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Early Hohner  (Read 666 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Early Hohner
« on: July 01, 2020, 04:06:32 AM »

My neighbor just stopped in with this great example of an early one row two voice Hohner in F. The story (since there always is one) goes that his old Polish neighbor gifted it to him in 1968, when he was ten; then the old fellow passed away weeks later. he never took it up but saved it and stored it well since it was a nice looking instrument. Tonight we took it apart and had a looksy inside. Zink plates and steel reeds (with no rust!!) with a slash at the top of the reed plate. I assume this is a Hohner thing and not Koch but feel free to correct me. It actually plays not bad considering but has a consistent buzz like it's being played through a blown speaker; probably due to all of the shrunken leather valves. Some of the bass plates are letting go so we may at the very least re-wax and valve so he can at least play it a little but I don't think I'm up to tuning it and it would need to be brought up to 440 land if he ever decided to play with anyone. Personally I'd be tempted to do very little with what may be a 100 year old instrument. It was really fun to muck around with it at any rate.

IMG_0522 by Pat McInnis, on Flickr

IMG_0521 by Pat McInnis, on Flickr
Logged

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11773
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2020, 08:03:44 AM »

Does it have a makers name anywhere?
Logged
Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

Proprietor of The Box Place for melodeon and concertina sales and service.
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for stock updates.

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 05:34:14 PM »

Does it have a makers name anywhere?

I couldn't see any markings at all and all leather except the bass strap was deteriorated. Not sure if there would have been some kind of embossing. There is a tin tag for "Steel Reeds". I gave him a thumb strap to make it somewhat usable. Is it possibly not a Hohner? No stamping in the reed plates either except for the slash in the top right corner.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 05:36:15 PM by Pat McInnis »
Logged

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11773
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2020, 06:22:53 PM »

Could easily be another make.  The diagonal corner mark is more often found on Italian reeds, but I've very occasionally seem them in Hohners.
Logged
Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

Proprietor of The Box Place for melodeon and concertina sales and service.
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for stock updates.

John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2165
  • Fettling... Learning to reed and right.
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 06:35:04 PM »

I have an early-ish G/C Hohner, with the same gold pattern, but there the similarity ends. For a start the grille is different. So many boxes of a certain age seem to have grilles with that Lyre motif in the middle, I begin to wonder if someone somewhere was producing them by the 1000's, and selling them to several different manufacturers

SJ
Logged
There is no beginning to my talent :)



: Hohner Club Modell 1. Bb/Eb, de-clubbed : Early Hohner Pressed Wood A/D : Hagstrom G/C: Hohner 3515 C/F: 1930's Varnished wood G/C: Hohner 2915 B/E: Hohner Erika C/F: Hohner Pre Corso C/F : G/C Liliput: Bandoneon tuned D/G Pressed wood: Koch F/Bb

Peadar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 799
  • Is fhearr Gaidhlig bhriste na Beurla caithte
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 07:54:10 PM »



Buzzing....more likely to be loose reedplates than bad valves....I appreciate that the air is a lot drier in the Canadian midwest then it is in the West Highlands of Scotland but I have found that apparently badly curled leather valves start to flex and seat again when the box is played a bit - in much the same way that an stiff old pair of leather boots will come round with a good coat of dubbin and a couple of days wear. I have also noticed in old boxes that the leather valves inside the reed chests (blocks) suffer a lot less curling than the outside valves.

Do you really need to retune an A435 box to play with others tuned to 440? I don't think so .... 5 Hz of tremelo is what it amounts to. Think of it as enriching the tone of the session.

I have an early-ish G/C Hohner, with the same gold pattern, but there the similarity ends. For a start the grille is different. So many boxes of a certain age seem to have grilles with that Lyre motif in the middle, I begin to wonder if someone somewhere was producing them by the 1000's, and selling them to several different manufacturers

SJ
More likely that thousands of tradesmen were turning them out by the hundred.... production technology of the day- cut blank to size, hold sheet metal template down on blank, trace round it with pencil. drill strategic starter holes. set the thing up on the (lineshaft driven) jigsaw table and cut to the marking. If you look really closely (apply calipers!) you will discover that the patterns as cut are not quite as symetrical as  they look. You'll probably also find traces of the pencil markings where the saw came a bit shy of the marked lines.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 08:41:57 PM by Peadar »
Logged
Bogsa neo dha......air fhicead

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 08:03:28 PM »

Buzzing....more likely to be loose reedplates than bad valves....I appreciate that the air is a lot drier in the Canadian midwest then it is in the West Highlands of Scotland but I have found that apparently badly curled leather valves start to flex and seat again when the box is played a bit - in much the same way that an stiff old pair of leather boots will come round with a good coat of dubbin and a couple of days wear. I have also noticed in old boxes that the leather valves inside the reed chests (blocks) suffer a lot less curling than the outside valves.

Do you really need to retune an A435 box to play with others tuned to 440? I don't think so .... 5 Hz of tremelo is what it amounts to. Think of it as enriching the tone of the session.

It would be nice to not tune it up if I don't have to. Again, he is just looking to mess around with it and hopefully learn some traditional Italian tunes. Not sure if that is conducive to the key of F or not. 
Logged

hickory-wind

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 370
  • Lives in NY USA near the Erie Canal
    • Bellingers' Button Boxes
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 09:13:13 PM »

I have had several with that same stenciling and 'dome' buttons. This one had the Hohner name printed on it. Same corner slash on the reedplates:

https://youtu.be/cV1kWIZK8fc

It was in the key of E.

Scott
Logged
too many boxes...please buy one, or two, or

hickory-wind

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 370
  • Lives in NY USA near the Erie Canal
    • Bellingers' Button Boxes
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 09:37:13 PM »

Picture of 3 with same stenciling. Front to back, C, C & C/F. Two row has the Hohner name.

Scott
Logged
too many boxes...please buy one, or two, or

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2020, 02:07:44 AM »

I have had several with that same stenciling and 'dome' buttons. This one had the Hohner name printed on it. Same corner slash on the reedplates:

https://youtu.be/cV1kWIZK8fc

It was in the key of E.

Scott

That's exactly the example I found in my research calling it a 1920s Hohner and everything seems like yours, even the bellows paper pattern except that this one has no Hohner badging and it doesn't seem like it was worn out; rather never printed in the first place. He just dropped it off for me to work on. I'm excited to get it playing right. I gave him an old CF loaner to practice on while I work.

Logged

Rob2Hook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2051
  • Castagnaris, Hohners & Baffetti
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2020, 12:30:27 PM »

I support Theo's assessment that the "buzzing" probably means the wax has dried out and the reed plates are vibrating.  In fact one example that may have reinforced Theo's diagnosis was a Preciosa that he rebuilt for me.  In that case every note sounded more like a kazoo or comb and paper.  Some previous owner had tried to bodge it by scraping out damaged was and resealing with bathroom sealant - at least you don't have that problem!

In truth a full reed service is what the box needs.  You could remove the reeds and scrape off all the wax, fit new valves and wax the reeds back in.  That should restore the tone, though it will probably need some fine tuning even if you decide not to change the pitch to A=440.  It is a rather pretty old-style box and in unusually good condition so should respond well to proper refurbishment.  The pins or nails between the reeds are generally considered to be unnecessary now  - they haven't been in common use for over half a century, though you may be inclined to refit them for authenticity.  It seems likely that the pins will not grip securely when punched back in, after all the wood has had a fair time to dry and shrink.  I've known people to rough up the pin so as to increase the grip, rather along the principle of ring nails or the way fret tangs have small barbs to help them grip in their slots.  Indeed, frets are often fitted with a little low viscosity super glue in the slot to improve their grip - make what you will of that.

Going back to that Preciosa, Theo did a grand job, but after a few months some of the reeds on the raised treble reed pan fell off.  Although Theo offered to remount them FOC (such a gentleman) I did it myself.  I did scrape the wood down quite a bit as I suspected the sealant had contaminated the surface, preventing the wax from properly adhering.  I was amazed that the reeds stayed put after my efforts!

All told, I'd encourage you to re-wax and re-valve,  it should restore the tone and allow you to judge whether the instrument is worthy of more TLC.

Rob.
Logged

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2020, 04:44:06 PM »

I support Theo's assessment that the "buzzing" probably means the wax has dried out and the reed plates are vibrating.  In fact one example that may have reinforced Theo's diagnosis was a Preciosa that he rebuilt for me.  In that case every note sounded more like a kazoo or comb and paper.  Some previous owner had tried to bodge it by scraping out damaged was and resealing with bathroom sealant - at least you don't have that problem!

In truth a full reed service is what the box needs.  You could remove the reeds and scrape off all the wax, fit new valves and wax the reeds back in.  That should restore the tone, though it will probably need some fine tuning even if you decide not to change the pitch to A=440.  It is a rather pretty old-style box and in unusually good condition so should respond well to proper refurbishment.  The pins or nails between the reeds are generally considered to be unnecessary now  - they haven't been in common use for over half a century, though you may be inclined to refit them for authenticity.  It seems likely that the pins will not grip securely when punched back in, after all the wood has had a fair time to dry and shrink.  I've known people to rough up the pin so as to increase the grip, rather along the principle of ring nails or the way fret tangs have small barbs to help them grip in their slots.  Indeed, frets are often fitted with a little low viscosity super glue in the slot to improve their grip - make what you will of that.

Going back to that Preciosa, Theo did a grand job, but after a few months some of the reeds on the raised treble reed pan fell off.  Although Theo offered to remount them FOC (such a gentleman) I did it myself.  I did scrape the wood down quite a bit as I suspected the sealant had contaminated the surface, preventing the wax from properly adhering.  I was amazed that the reeds stayed put after my efforts!

All told, I'd encourage you to re-wax and re-valve,  it should restore the tone and allow you to judge whether the instrument is worthy of more TLC.

Rob.

Great response Rob, you are like the angel (or possibly the devil) in my ear. It's morning here in Canada west so I plan on drinking five more cups of coffee to really get my hands shaking and then I'll be tearing in. I 100% agree with Theo (first time ever) on the loose reed plates making the vibration or death rattle. All reeds are sounding and like i said before, overall condition is excellent. I'll do a good clean up of all the old wax and then wax and valve back in place. That will make it playable at least. I'll tackle tuning tomorrow maybe.
Logged

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11773
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 05:10:24 PM »

I’m sure that will transform the playability.  Please don’t be tempted to Try and save any of the old valves. 
Logged
Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

Proprietor of The Box Place for melodeon and concertina sales and service.
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for stock updates.

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 09:07:03 PM »

I’m sure that will transform the playability.  Please don’t be tempted to Try and save any of the old valves.

Valve work is done, just heating the wax.
Logged

Rob2Hook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2051
  • Castagnaris, Hohners & Baffetti
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2020, 11:32:05 PM »

Pretty sure the new wax will transform it.  Then you'll know for sure whether it deserves tuning!

Rob.
Logged

John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2165
  • Fettling... Learning to reed and right.
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2020, 08:44:33 AM »

Just as a matter of interest, here are a couple of pic's of my G/C 2 row, with the same gold decoration.

SJ
Logged
There is no beginning to my talent :)



: Hohner Club Modell 1. Bb/Eb, de-clubbed : Early Hohner Pressed Wood A/D : Hagstrom G/C: Hohner 3515 C/F: 1930's Varnished wood G/C: Hohner 2915 B/E: Hohner Erika C/F: Hohner Pre Corso C/F : G/C Liliput: Bandoneon tuned D/G Pressed wood: Koch F/Bb

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2020, 07:00:37 PM »

It all came together quite nicely and sounds good but definitely needs a good tune. He'll be ok to muck around with it for a bit and if he decides to stick with it, which I think he will, then we'll get it in better shape. What a nice little box with a good back story. It really rehashed old memories of the old Polish fellow (George I think) from when he was growing up in Toronto in the mid '60s.
Logged

Rob2Hook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2051
  • Castagnaris, Hohners & Baffetti
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2020, 01:38:39 AM »

Good result! 

Every thing that can be seen in your photos looks to be in pretty good condition, so there's no need to worry about whether it can be refurbished - it can.  I wouldn't imagine that a single row in F is going to be played amongst others very often so a bit of spot tuning to get it in shape whilst he learns is probably sufficient.  I'd imagine that it would be a sentimental wrench to tune it up to 440 or even re-pitch to a more useful key., better to stay in character with its origins.

Anyway, if the guy learns and improves it's likely to lead to purchasing a more complex box.

Rob.

P.S. I was lucky enough to have spent a month working in Toronto in the 90s.  Thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the people.
Logged

Pat McInnis

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 214
Re: Early Hohner
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2020, 04:50:15 AM »

Good result! 

Every thing that can be seen in your photos looks to be in pretty good condition, so there's no need to worry about whether it can be refurbished - it can.  I wouldn't imagine that a single row in F is going to be played amongst others very often so a bit of spot tuning to get it in shape whilst he learns is probably sufficient.  I'd imagine that it would be a sentimental wrench to tune it up to 440 or even re-pitch to a more useful key., better to stay in character with its origins.

Anyway, if the guy learns and improves it's likely to lead to purchasing a more complex box.

Rob.

P.S. I was lucky enough to have spent a month working in Toronto in the 90s.  Thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the people.

I'm hoping that this will indeed turn into a gateway instrument and at some point he can settle on a system that suits him and his style. Traditional Italian is what he wants to play but we made him sit in on our ITM session and forced him to sing along. heheh. So far he's really enjoying it.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal