Trouble shooting Vintage Hohner Alto

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Alan Brinton 1 month ago.

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  • #9073

    Josephine Ockrassa
    Participant

    Hello,
    I recently purchased a vintage Hohner alto melodica through Ebay. I am having issues with the sounds it is producing.

    I have one key that will not produce any sound, and then four other keys that produce sounds akin to a party blower at children’s parties.

    Through inspection of the screws on the back panel it does not look like the melodica has ever been opened and there are no air or water leaks.

    Has anyone experienced this problem before or have a suggestion?

    Thank You

    #9074

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Welcome, Josephine.

    Yes, many times. It is likely that these keys are not gapped properly. The gap is the space between the open end of the reed and the reed plate. It should be roughly the same as the thickness of the reed. Probably the gaps need to be opened slightly. The problem with the gaps will probably be visible once you open up the melodica and are able to look at the reeds. The end of the reed can be pulled upward, very gently, with a plastic toothpick or the end of your finger — or even better by sliding a thin piece of cardboard under the reed so there’s some support and lifting that from the end, gently pulsating the reed up to slightly increase the gap. Do this gradually; if it’s opened too far, the reed won’t sound. If you search the Forums here for “gap” or “gapping,” you’ll find more detail. Do be very careful, but I have gapped hundreds of reeds and only snapped one, which I believe had already failed.

    The problem was probably caused by someone blowing way too hard on the melodica, though that can also cause reeds to fail and be ruined — which is your worst case scenario. I’m interested to hear how this works out for you.

    #9075

    Josephine Ockrassa
    Participant

    Hello Alan,
    Thank you for your suggestions, I will try that out and report back. Im hoping its an easy fix!

    #9516

    Jenny G
    Participant

    Hello, I also just got one of these vintage Hohner Altos and the stale/moldy scent is really strong. I’d read on a few other posts about submerging the melodica in water and 30% vinegar to clean it. Does anyone know if this type is “submergeable?”

    #9517

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Welcome, Jenny. Yes. About 1/3 vinegar. There are no wooden parts, which would be an issue with some other vintage models. Because of its age, I’d start by just soaking it for an hour, taking it out a few times to blow though it while depressing the keys and also while depressing the moisture release. If the bad odor persists, try taking it apart and sprinkling baking soda over the insides while wet, letting it sit for an hour or more and then rinsing thoroughly. It’s usually not hard to get rid of the odor.

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