Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More novelties from the good people in Trossingen

Ford and GM recycle their most popular model names year after year. You gotta stick with what works, right? Even if today's Impala is but a pale shadow of yesterday's venerable boat, people still flock to the name. Perhaps using similar logic, Hohner once used the name "Echophone" for at least two different instruments. As much as I'd like to drive an Echophone to work, these were not automobiles. One was a melodeon with a large fluted horn attached to the treble side, and the other was the harmonica shown below (view my post featuring the Echophone melodeon here). I don't know which came first, the harmonica or the melodeon version of the Echophone. But both are very popular with collectors and examples in good condition usually fetch a good price, especially if they are listed appropriately and have good exposure.

It looks like a basic Marine Band type of harmonica jammed into a special horn. I do not have production dates for the originals but circa 2007 Hohner made a limited reissue of this harmonica. Below is an example of the reissue harp and its wooden case. Sweet!

At some point, Hohner made these with a red plastic flute. I don't have a date for this instrument either, only a photo. It has a charm all its own but it isn't so flashy as the example with the shiny metal flute (horn? sound cone? I say flute, like 'beer flute' or a fluted tube, but I doubt there is standardized vocabulary for this). Its design and colors remind me of the motifs common to golden age movie theaters, like the Fox Oakland. The Fox Oakland once had a middle eastern theme set off by deep reds and golds. Maybe the fez-like appearance of this harmonica is distracting me....

Hohner assigned double- or triple-duty to other model names, also. "Echo," for instance, was a three-row accordion in BCC# tuning. It is also the name of a double-sided tremolo harmonica in two keys. And for a brief time the Echo was a pint-sized piano accordion built into a diatonic accordion's cabinet. Are there any other Hohner names shared among instruments? Probably so.

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