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: Pokerwork Identification  (Read 1105 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Barry Tolson

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 23
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
Pokerwork Identification
« on: May 18, 2018, 11:59:00 PM »

I'm new to melodeon's, my playing and repair experience being with piano accordions. I've read some conversations about Hohner Pokerworks and am intrigued.  With no experience with Pokerworks, how can I tell if I am looking at a Pokerwork, or not?  The examples I've seen online don't seem to have a name on them other than Hohner. Is Pokerwork a term simply used to identify a certain exterior design or finish?  I would like to find one for restoration and playing, but am not sure I can identify one with certainty at this point. Sorry for such a basic question, but my searches did not yield an answer.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 12:41:12 AM by Barry Tolson »
Logged

Winston Smith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 1495
  • AKA Edward Jennings
    • "Our Luxor B&B" Luxor life, slice by slice.
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2018, 12:18:50 AM »

Here's a Pokerwork, below. If it doesn't look like that, it isn't a Pokerwork, it's that simple, as far as I'm aware.
Logged
Although I can carry on messing with melodeons, the ongoing attention of the Ministry of Truth and the Thought Police will (no doubt) eventually teach me to really love Big Brother!

Jesse Smith

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 215
  • Buffalo, NY, USA
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2018, 12:30:31 AM »

That's the one most people are talking about when they say Pokerwork (which is really just a nickname; I believe the actual model name was "Vienna"). But I have also heard people use Pokerwork to refer to the one row Hohners (both Vienna style and the German-style with stops) that have a similar gold and black pattern.

It's also worth knowing that the Hohner Erica has the same innards as the Pokerwork in a different case.
Logged
Hohner Pokerwork D/G, Hohner Pressed Wood C/F.

malcolmbebb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2405
  • In dampest Dorset, on the soggy south coast.
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2018, 08:55:40 AM »

Hi Barry,
Hohner made a whole range of boxes from 1930s to present using the square Vienna design shown in the pics above.
They came in a variety of finishes, from celluloid covered to a honey coloured pressed wood design (aka Presswood here), and the black and gold finish that is called Pokerwork.
There are several black and gold designs, used for one and two row melodeons and some PAs. The term Pokerwork is fairly loosely used, and refers AFAIK to a method of wood decoration using a hot poker or simulations thereof. Pyrography, these days.

The good news is that they are pretty much identical apart from finishes, in that modern parts will fit old boxes with little or no work. The reeds changed over time, and earlier reeds on zinc plates are often held in higher regard than the modern aluminium plates - a whole topic in itself. So, eminently restorable, with more advice available here than you could imagine, and eminently playable once restored.

There are other boxes using the same case and often internals. But I'm sure you'll get lots of other replies.
Logged
Dino BPII. My wife seems to have claimed the Liliput.
"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire."

Lester

  • MADman
  • Mods and volunteers
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7470
  • Hohners'R'me
    • Lester's Melodeon Emporium and Tune-a-Rama
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2018, 09:26:02 AM »

Hohner made a whole range of boxes from 1930s to present using the square Vienna design shown in the pics above.
They came in a variety of finishes, from celluloid covered to a honey coloured pressed wood design (aka Presswood here), and the black and gold finish that is called Pokerwork.

and the black and gold finish that is called Pokerwork Goldbrand.

For example, Goldbrand is still used by Hohner on their spares website

malcolmbebb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2405
  • In dampest Dorset, on the soggy south coast.
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2018, 09:30:55 AM »

Lester has got his pedant hat on this morning! (TBF, he rarely takes it off!  >:E)

Goldbrand - Gold+burnt is indeed the German word for it. But it's still known as Pokerwork over 'ere.  :P
Logged
Dino BPII. My wife seems to have claimed the Liliput.
"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire."

Steve_freereeder

  • Grumpy old git (sometimes)
  • Content Manager
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5524
  • MAD is inevitable. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Lizzie Dripping
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2018, 11:17:45 AM »

Beware of the old East German (DDR) made melodeons which have a gold floral pattern on a black background. Sometimes these are erroneously described by sellers as 'Pokerwork', but they are not. They were not made by Hohner and generally are among the worst melodeons I've ever come across (inferior-quality components, poor reeds, indifferent tuning, difficult to repair, etc, etc.). I've known several people give up because they had one of these instruments and they were so hard to play. In my opinion, they are only fit for door stops or firewood. See attached photo for an example.

More recently Weltmeister have been marketing the 86W instrument which has a similar decoration but with the brand name 'Weltmeister' on the casing. These are a considerable improvement on the old DDR boxes. But they are not Pokerworks.

Unless it says 'Hohner' on the instrument, it ain't a Pokerwork!

Logged
Steve
Sheffield, UK.
www.lizziedripping.org.uk

baz parkes

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1021
    • All Blacked Up
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2018, 11:30:06 AM »

And then of course there's the pre-pokerwork... >:E
Logged

Barry Tolson

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 23
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2018, 04:56:08 PM »

Thanks everyone. Steve...A while back I did some repair work on an old Klingenthaler for a friend. What a nightmare! I'll be sure to watch out and avoid such low quality versions of Pokerworks. Thanks to Edward Jennings for telling me about Klingenthalers back when I was doing that repair.  Now to continue researching and watching out for a suitable project box to buy.
Logged

folkloristmark

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 178
    • street entertainers
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2018, 08:38:47 PM »

Steve while I agree you are correct in most cases with those DDR boxes I have one which for a basic melodeon is adorable and good as any powker work.IMHO. The reeds sound very nice dispite being basic, down to the tuner I am sure. I have a receipt with it the work being done by a Steve somebody.Thanks.
Logged
Mark Taylor
Folkloristmark

Steve_freereeder

  • Grumpy old git (sometimes)
  • Content Manager
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5524
  • MAD is inevitable. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Lizzie Dripping
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2018, 07:22:50 AM »

Steve while I agree you are correct in most cases with those DDR boxes I have one which for a basic melodeon is adorable and good as any powker work.IMHO. The reeds sound very nice dispite being basic, down to the tuner I am sure. I have a receipt with it the work being done by a Steve somebody.Thanks.
Well, perhaps you were lucky in getting one which was reasonably OK. In my experience they are generally awful, although careful reed set-up work and tuning can improve the response to a degree. Also, the ones I have seen or worked on had mediocre, stiff bellows which couldn't really be eased properly, and the action poor and difficult to adjust.

However, Hohner Pokerworks are far more than simply a 'basic melodeon'. They are suitable for all levels of playing - beginners through to professionals. It's been said before: if it's good enough for John Kirkpatrick.... etc. I cannot envisage him playing on one of those old DDR boxes.
Logged
Steve
Sheffield, UK.
www.lizziedripping.org.uk

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 10569
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2018, 08:10:34 AM »

Steve while I agree you are correct in most cases with those DDR boxes I have one which for a basic melodeon is adorable and good as any powker work.IMHO. The reeds sound very nice dispite being basic, down to the tuner I am sure. I have a receipt with it the work being done by a Steve somebody.Thanks.

The thing about the DDR era boxes is that the quality is completely unpredictable, some like yours are decent players, but many are terrible.   I had the misfortune to buy a job lot a few years back that included two and they were both beyond hope.  The reed quality was just so poor that nobody could have made players out of them.  Buying those was another mistake that I have learned from (:)
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.

Barry Tolson

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 23
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2018, 06:57:21 PM »

Any recommendations for a good first box (key, # of rows, make, model,etc) for Alpine, German folk, Klezmer, and singing with?
Logged

hickory-wind

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 299
  • Lives in NY USA near the Erie Canal
    • Bellingers' Button Boxes
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 02:11:29 AM »

Barry-
If you are planning on traveling east, you are welcome to stop by my shop and try out all sorts of makes and models. The shop is in western NY state near Rochester. I restore and tune button accordions. A link to my website is here:BellingersButtonBoxes.com

I have some for sale now but I have quite a few more in stock but yet unrestored so you can pick and choose which features are important to you and get the tuning the way you want. There are multiple pages of 'on deck' boxes categorized by 1 row, 2 row, 2.x row, & 3 row.

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

Steve_freereeder

  • Grumpy old git (sometimes)
  • Content Manager
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5524
  • MAD is inevitable. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Lizzie Dripping
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2018, 08:11:55 AM »

Any recommendations for a good first box (key, # of rows, make, model,etc) for Alpine, German folk, Klezmer, and singing with?

That's quite a lot to go in one box! However your criteria also potentially narrow your choice down a bit.

Singing accompaniment:
Obviously everyone is different, but many people seem to find the flat keys comfortable to sing along with, so perhaps a C/F or even Bb/Eb would be good in terms of a 2-row box.

Alpine and German folk:
Again, most keys used tend to be the flat keys, which is especially useful when playing alongside instruments such as clarinets, cornets, trumpets and euphoniums/baritones, etc. 

The German system of playing usually favours the so-called 'Club' system, which is characterised by one of the buttons on the inside row(s) playing the same note on both push and pull - known as the 'Gleichton'. Mostly this layout is teamed with a shorter, inner 'helper' row which contains accidentals and sometimes reversals. The Club system can be very versatile, but outside German/Alpine countries, fewer people play this system. Some examples of the Club layouts are here: http://www.forum.melodeon.net/index.php/page,keyboard_25_row.html

Alpine style music is generally played on a 3, 4, or 5 row 'Steirische' instrument, with Gleichtonen on at least two of the rows. The RH fingering patterns are quite characteristic, often dodging about in the same pattern across the rows to play melodies with continual harmonies of thirds and sixths. Here's a good example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2aEwwmk_kM

The LH basses/chords are also characteristic, usually with long reeds, which give that deep 'Helikon' (tuba-like) bass sound.

Steirische instruments tend to be large and heavy, but if you are serious about learning Alpine music, it's possibly a good idea to get started on a three-row instrument with one or more Gleichtonen. Typical keys would be Bb/Eb/F or Ab/Bb/Eb.

Klezmer music:
I'm on shaky ground here as I don't know too much about it, but often the keys are modal minors with accidental notes being prominent, almost like 'blues' notes. I get the feeling that most klezmer box players use a piano accordion or chromatic button accordion.

When you start off learning an instrument, it's a big help if you can find other players relatively nearby who can advise and help as you progress. It's possible that you might find some difficulty, depending on where you live, if your favourite genres of music are not well-represented in your locality; and similarly with the keys of your instrument. I understand that you are in the US, but just for example, here in England, the overwhelming majority of melodeon players play the D/G box, and there is a fantastic level of peer support, both through this forum and through morris sides, folk festivals, workshops, etc. But this also means it's hard to find similar support for (e.g.) Alpine music here. It may be similar where you are.

Trying to summarise, given your initial criteria, I think I would recommend a two-row starter box in C/F or Bb/Eb, or possibly a two-and-a-half-row Club box in those keys. Hohners are good! You will be able to learn the push/pull way of the instrument, hopefully be able to sing comfortably with it, and play quite a bit of Alpine/German music.

Hope this helps.
Logged
Steve
Sheffield, UK.
www.lizziedripping.org.uk

Barry Tolson

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 23
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2018, 10:22:32 AM »

Steve, Thanks for the wealth of information!  Perhaps a Liliput might be a good option. I've watched some Youtube videos and  thought that the Liliput made a really big sound for such a small instrument! At this point I really have no preferences and understand that one instrument my not do all I would like.  Anyway...happiness is in the pursuit! 
Logged

Barry Tolson

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 23
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
Re: Pokerwork Identification
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2018, 11:45:43 PM »

Scott,  Thanks for the invite.  You never know...You may one day find an old white haired man with a long beard knocking on your door!
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.