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Author Topic: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?  (Read 1344 times)

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Scotty Gring

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Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« on: March 25, 2019, 12:14:01 PM »

With Lester's "Hot Rod Videos" committed to memory as well as saved to archive, I'm ready to dive into this little beauty I picked up cheap on E-Bay.  It plays, and funny I never even asked what key it was in.  Just looking quickly from my desk at work and not wanting to make my co-workers cringe, is B/E  - or E/B .  Again that's a quick look mind you, but a few bars of "The Abbess" seems to play fine short of the missing button on the bass side.  QUESTION IS:  Should it be left in these keys (B/E)?  Does anyone play in those or is this a strange box?  I'm really anxious to dive in but want to do my homework on this.  I think she'll clean up quite nice and will make for nice dry-tuned box.  Any and all comments/criticisms are absolutely welcomed!! Thanks in advance.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2019, 12:22:14 PM »

I have a B/E box too, not as nice and characterful as yours though. Somebody once said they were ideal for Scandinavian tunes, though the reasoning behind that escapes me. I would keep it in those keys, but it's up to you.

Sir John
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: 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

Dick Rees

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2019, 12:31:02 PM »

I have a B/E box too, not as nice and characterful as yours though. Somebody once said they were ideal for Scandinavian tunes, though the reasoning behind that escapes me. I would keep it in those keys, but it's up to you.

Sir John

Not "Scandinavian", just for playing together with the Hardanger fiddle which is pitched a step higher than the regular fiddle.  A common tuning for the melody strings would be BEBF# with the sympathetic strings tuned to taste to suit the particular tunes. 
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Theo

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 02:03:06 PM »

Is it definitely BE?  If so it will be marked HE.  BbEb in German is BEs and sometimes the little s is hard to see.  Check with a tuner to be sure.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Scotty Gring

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 02:12:34 PM »

Yes Theo - marked HE shown in the second photo.  I wondered what the H meant (maybe gender, but we all know gender is fluid now - right?)  No sign of a small "s" and it matches pitch with a pitchpipe app I have on my phone. 
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Hohner 1040C, 2815G/C (pre-Pokerwork), Hohner A/D 21/12 Italienne. Titano Titan Piano Accordion (with apologies).

invadm

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 02:13:25 PM »

keyboard shows HE marking at the bottom,so it is B/E ..nice looking box..I have a single row of the same model and  think this are smaller than usual Hohner size,non of the bellows fitted on my single row and ended up getting a new set as it was badly dammed.         
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Fred

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 08:57:54 PM »

For rarity's sake, I strongly recommend to keep the original H/E tuning and not change it at all (except maybe fine tuning if necessary).
Very nice looking box. Have fun playing it! :)
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Theo

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2019, 10:37:57 PM »

Another request to keep the original reeds.  Hohner reeds form this period (late 20s) almost always have a wonderful rich, sweet sound. 
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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David Colpitts

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2019, 11:39:33 PM »

Gulp.....
Today (coincidence?) I actually got to a “dry run” on my conversion from B/E (yup, it said H/E) to a B/C, so I could experiment with semi-tone, chromatic play for Irish, etc.  I was generously gifted a set of C reeds from a fellow melnetter, and I had to do some grafting and some ‘ectomies, to make the C’s fit.  But, fit they do, and although I only did the first voice, I have the other C’s. to add, if I can make sense of the fingering.  So far, so weird, as they say.

The old reeds are neatly packed, and with some minor surgery, could be put back....But, I never played the thing as was, and am frankly likely to convert (after a good try, maybe 6 weeks?) to a C#D, or G/D (or is it D/G?) so I can use my “harmonica brain” for along the rows.

Of course, the reeds are safe.

What a world of ironies we share.....

David
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Henry Piper

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 09:56:26 AM »

Quote from: David Colpitts link=topic=23727.msg282763#ms or G/D (or is it D/G?)

[/quote
By Convention the lowest reeds are listed first,......   So its D/G.  Personally i think its a shame youve decided to convert it, as Theo says above, old Hohner reeds from this period are usually really nice quality, and B/E tuning is quite a rarity. Still if it gets you a box that will be played then that's a trade of, but do keep the old reeds safe...……. one day you, or someone else will want them !!!.
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From Ottery St Mary Devon. Currently Playing Dino Baffetti BP2 in D/G, Hohner Student 1 P.A conversion  in D/G,  Hohner 3515 Pre-Pokerwork in A/D,   2 row "Beaver Brand" in Bb/Eb, Hohner Pre- Erica in G/C .  Single row permanent 4 voice, 4 bass in C from old Hohner single row and bits of a cheap Cajun box !!,

Theo

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2019, 10:07:04 AM »

Put it back to BE then you can play it exactly the same as you would play a DG.  These old boxes are quite rare, especially in such good condition.  It would be a real shame if it gets messed around for a short term gain.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Scotty Gring

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2019, 11:53:35 AM »

Thank you everyone.  I certainly won't change it.  Relatively new to melodeons so the new key really threw me.  I've been playing on a C/G pre-pokerwork and a D/A Corso so not expecting any issues with the layout.  As I've gotten more exposed to the beautiful English folk tunes (rather than the Newfoundland shanties, jigs and reels I took up the instrument to learn) I realized I have a need for a nicely tuned, rich sounding box and maybe this will fit the bill.  I'm a long way from a nice Castagnari.  Thanks again! 
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in no way guarantees you have any idea what the hell you're doing.      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hohner 1040C, 2815G/C (pre-Pokerwork), Hohner A/D 21/12 Italienne. Titano Titan Piano Accordion (with apologies).

John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2019, 12:22:52 PM »

Good for you, and let me tell you, I'd rather own your B/E Hohner, than any Castagnari. Enjoy it.


Sir John
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: 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

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2019, 06:07:12 PM »

Well, I feel quite chastened, here.  Had I read this thread 2 weeks ago (although that would involve time travel, no?) I Might not have embarked on this conversion.  If I don’t take to the B/C, which is certainly a strong possibility, it can be easily converted back to HE tuning.  It’s still there with that sound on the B row (not changed) and I only had to cut 2 slots on the reed block for the C’s to fit.  They will go back, and it’ll be just slightly (invisibly) altered from original.  By the way, mine is “Beaver Brand” but clearly Hohner.  Built cheaply but carefully, it seems to me.

Thanks, and regards,

David
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Scotty Gring

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2019, 04:56:15 AM »

Please excuse what might be a real novice question here, but I've finally gotten around to opening up this H/E box and I don't think there's a speck of reed wax in the whole thing.  Looks like all the reeds are mounted with leather "gasket" material and the actual valve leathers might have even been cut from areas where the leather wasn't required.  You may all be laughing at me - or not.  I thought I would just be back to ask where one might find some of those thin/flat screw-on bass buttons but this blew my mind today.
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Proving each day that, just like golf, merely possessing the equipment
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Hohner 1040C, 2815G/C (pre-Pokerwork), Hohner A/D 21/12 Italienne. Titano Titan Piano Accordion (with apologies).

folkloristmark

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2019, 06:46:49 AM »

Thats all as it should be.
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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2019, 07:00:45 AM »

Please excuse what might be a real novice question here, but I've finally gotten around to opening up this H/E box and I don't think there's a speck of reed wax in the whole thing.  Looks like all the reeds are mounted with leather "gasket" material and the actual valve leathers might have even been cut from areas where the leather wasn't required.  You may all be laughing at me - or not.  I thought I would just be back to ask where one might find some of those thin/flat screw-on bass buttons but this blew my mind today.

Not laughing at you at all. This method of mounting reed plates was standard practice on these old Hohners: zinc reed plates reeds screwed and nailed directly on to leather gaskets. Some makers of high-quality instruments use a similar method today. On the melodeon-making courses run by Emmanuel Pariselle, the reed plates are also screwed in place on to the equivalent modern gasket material known as 'olivisc'. This is available in sheets with a self-adhesive backing. Very easy to apply: cut strips the width and length needed, peel off the backing paper and press into place. But you may find the existing leather gasket is still servicable.

Nailed/screwed reed plates are generally thought to give a better, stronger, sound than waxed-in reeds; the screws/nails give a direct acoustic coupling into the wood of the reed block.

The valves (leathers) in your photo are badly curled and will need replacing. Even if there are some which still look OK, the leather will have stiffened with age and unlikely to function efficiently.

Charlie Marshall (CGM Musical) can supply reed valves and probably the bass buttons you need. He ships internationally.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2019, 08:36:09 AM »

Please excuse what might be a real novice question here, but I've finally gotten around to opening up this H/E box and I don't think there's a speck of reed wax in the whole thing.  Looks like all the reeds are mounted with leather "gasket" material and the actual valve leathers might have even been cut from areas where the leather wasn't required.  You may all be laughing at me - or not.  I thought I would just be back to ask where one might find some of those thin/flat screw-on bass buttons but this blew my mind today.
Well to me, they look absolutely beautiful, I'd love to have a set of reeds like that.

SJ
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: 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

Scotty Gring

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2019, 01:08:45 PM »

Thanks for the quick replies, gents.  I wish I had seen them before going to bed last night.  I was so fearful I would hear that someone had done a bad retrofit and what I thought was a beautiful box was now destined for firewood.  I didn't want to even start on the valves thinking that could have been the case. 

Charlie Marshall has already fixed me up with a good stock of valves for a few others I've been "hotrodding" to develop some good technique and patience before chancing anything on this one.  Again, so happy to hear the encouraging words!!  Pics to follow!! 

Scotty.
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Proving each day that, just like golf, merely possessing the equipment
in no way guarantees you have any idea what the hell you're doing.      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hohner 1040C, 2815G/C (pre-Pokerwork), Hohner A/D 21/12 Italienne. Titano Titan Piano Accordion (with apologies).

Theo

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Re: Where to go from here - Hohner E/B?
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2019, 01:34:56 PM »

I rather wish the idea of “hotrodding” old classic instruments could quietly be dropped.  What I aim for when working on old instruments is a sympathetic restoration with a few minor enhancements to improve playability.  The emphasis should be on doing high quality renovation that retains the essential character of instrument.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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