Hey. I just bought a Hohner Soprano yesterday. It’s a neat instrument but it’s made me worried as to whether or not this instrument is genuine. The person selling it mentioned that the instrument was from around 2010. But I cant find any shred of evidence that the instrument was for sale at that time, it seems like the only sopranos for sale are vintage. Have I bought a fake instrument?
The Hohner HM-26, Piano 26, though introduced around 1980, was still on the market until 2011. It was identified as a soprano, its counterpart Piano 27 as an alto. These models did not change much over the years. It’s debatable whether the range of these instruments justifies identification as soprano and alto, but if the HM-26 is what you have, it’s genuine. It is shown below. The HM-26 (or 27) has a distinctive sound that some of us like, though it’s not appreciated by everybody. Lowboy Bootay is the biggest advocate of these models here and has developed incredible playing techniques that make use of the fact that most of the sound emits through the holes in the bottom. These were the last models manufactured in Germany before Hohner dispatched its melodica manufacturing to China, which has resulted in more generic melodica design in the current models. Check out, by searching, some of Lowboy’s sound samples.
No, it’s not fake. There are plenty of instruments from as far back as the 1960s that were stored away and remain in new looking condition. There are imitations of these early Hohners, most from the 1960s, but no “fake” ones. It would not be worthwhile to create fake imitations of these models, since they are so readily available. If it were a genuine fake, it would be a curiosity worth far more than a real early Hohner 26 button model. Making fakes of this would be like making fake U.S. 1970s pennies.