Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hohner chromatic button accordions

Over the years, Hohner built a dizzying variety of chromatic button accordions. There were dozens of models that offered something for every skill level, from beginner to virtuoso. I'd love to learn the chromatic system but usually limit my purchasing to diatonics and the occasional PA. In this post I've featured some of Hohner's chromatic button accordions for you to appreciate and enjoy.

Unknown Hohner model from the 1930s.
41 treble / 120 bass / ?? treble voices
The 41/120 configuration is more common to large piano accordion, of which Hohner built many. This particular chromatic accordion seems somewhat unusual to me and I have never seen another quite like it. It almost looks as if Hohner built a chromatic button accordion on top of a piano accordion chassis.

Hohner's Premier c. 1930s
This accordion bears some resemblance to what might be Model No. 2865, two photos below.

 Another accordion, slightly different, also called "Hohner's Premier"

 This stormy beauty could be Model No. 2865
72 treble / 80 bass / 3 treble voices (LMM)

Another chromatic dressed in celluloid, likely from the 1930s, and without a model name anywhere on the cabinet. Judging from the numbers of treble and bass buttons, this could be Model No. 2765 or Model No. 2865. Norma I also came in a 72/80 configuration but its name would appear somewhere on the instrument.
72 treble / 80 bass / probably 2 or 3 treble voices

 Another shot of the same box showing 16 rows of 5 bass buttons, and bellows. This accordion was auctioned for $119.

This is an interesting instrument. Its cabinet and grille look quite similar to the instrument shown above it. There are piano accordions called Bellini which were made in Italy but I don't know enough about them to say if this instrument is related or not.  (If you're interested, I have another thread about rebadged Hohner accordions that can be found by clicking here.)

 Hohner Sirena I (c. 1940)
72 treble / 80 bass / 2 treble voices

Hohner Sirena III (c. 1940)
72 treble / 96 bass / 3 treble voices

 Hohner Sirena IV (c. 1940)
97 treble / 120 bass / 3 treble voices

Hohner Sirena V with nice custom finish (c. 1940)
97 treble / 120 bass / 3 treble voices

 Hohner Sirena VI (c. 1940)
102 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices

 Hohner Sirena VII
82 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices

Norma V
Another version of the Norma V was built earlier during the golden age of accordions, and it came with fancier appointments. See the photo below for an example.

Norma V
This example has a more stylish grille and trim which I think are more befitting of the instrument.

Norma I S or Norma III S
72 treble / 96 bass / 2 or 3 treble voices 
A portion of the name was removed from the bass cabinet, leaving only "Norma," a large space, and "S."

 Norma VIIM, c. 1953
82 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices (LMMM)
This mighty (as in mighty heavy) Norma VIIM was auctioned in the UK for $977. Yikes.

 Alpina IV K
79 treble / 120 bass / 5 treble voices with cassotto.
The Alpina IVK is intended for alpine folk music, like that which is played on Styrian accordions.

Golina IV, c. 1965
(Same as Goletta IV)
92 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices (LMMH) with tremolo.
This accordion's housing is shared with Gola models, like Gola 564 shown below.

Gola 564
92 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices with 2 voices in the cassotto.

Riviera II
72 treble / 96 bass / 2 treble voices


Riviera III
72 treble / 96 bass / 3 treble voices

Riviera III S
74 treble / 120 bass / 3 treble voices

Riviera IV
82 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices

Amati III
34 treble / 48 bass / 2 treble voices
Another Amati III
34 treble / 48 bass / 2 treble voices

Maestro IV
82 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices (LMMH)
The large model in this photo was auctioned for $733.

 Piccolo
62 treble / 72 bass / 2 treble voices (MM)
The treble grille almost resembles the grille of Paolo Soprani, doesn't it? (They aren't related.)

Piccolo
This time in snazzy black with an earlier grille design.

President IV F
82 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices

 Atlanta 145 P, produced 1957-1961
92 treble / 120 bass / 4 treble voices (LMMH)
A sister model called Atlanta 145 was built without double octave tuning. For a short period in the 1980s, the Atlanta name was used for a traditional wood cased diatonic model. l. 
 
Accordina II De Luxe
72 treble / 96 bass / 2 treble voices (MM)

 Artiste X S
92 treble / 185 bass / 5 treble voices, double octave with cassotto
This is a virtuoso's instrument made from 1952-1961, and as late as 1987.

17 comments:

  1. I found your blog through the pic of the first accordion at the top of the page. I've been looking for info on an accordion that I have, labeled only "Virtuoso". I began to suspect only today that it might possibly have been made by Hohner. I think the pic you posted, as well as your description, pretty well confirms it. My accordion is almost identical to the one in the pic except that it's a piano accordion, of the 41/120 configuration and has a little more decoration on it, but besides that and the fact that it says Virtuoso where the one in your pic says Hohner it's very close...even down to the same grille above the keyboard. I think your supposition that Hohner built a chromatic button accordion on top of a piano accordion chassis in the case of the one in your pic may be right on the money. I can send you pics of mine if you like...

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  2. Back then, Hohner was mixing and matching common parts in different instruments. There are so many funny little accordions that have no documentation and remain mysteries. If it isn't much trouble, I'd be very interested to see those photos. Just email them to gumshoearcana at yahoo.com

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  3. I'm intersted in hohner Model No. 2865 let's talk about it...please
    send me an email at arn.george@yahoo.com

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  4. I have a Norma v11s. Looks same has the one in your list around 1953. I'd like to talk about it. Send me an email at ve3jch@sympatico.ca

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  5. hello,i want more information from the morino artiste xs button-185 bass...who can help me???

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  6. I have a Maestro IV like the one shown in the picture above. Can you tell me what year(s) this model is and what I might get for it in good condition. I see that the one in the image was auctioned off for $733.00 I played around with it for awhile but never got the gist of the buttons note side.

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    1. $733 for the Maestro IV in this blog post was a very good deal. In top condition requiring no restoration or tuning, these accordions are valued above $2000 USD. The valuation of any used accordion varies according to its condition and other factors. Great deals can be found on eBay such as the above accordion for $733, but these accordions may require additional expenses to make playable. If you need assistance learning the chromatic system, there are some excellent book and video tutors available for purchase. Also look at keyboard diagrams on the melodeon.net main page for a demystification of your keyboard.

      Best regards,
      Chris

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  7. I had a Fortuna IVN. Played it several years and it was a easy to handle. It came out the same periode as the Morino Artiste Xs. Around '85. But both models have same problem. The glue on the valves was not correct and leaked after several years through the felt. Causing sticky valves. I think a factory problem.
    My Morino Artiste XS has exactly the same problem. I think I will revise all felt covers of the valves. But I am still a bit scared to start with it. Anyone a tip where to start or how ?

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    1. Hi, Jo.

      Thank you for the information about these two models of Hohner accordion, it is interesting that they have the same problem. Before answering, I need to know if by "valves" you mean the flappers that are atached to the button levers? Or are you referring to the leather/mylar covers on the reed plates? The word "valve" may correctly describe either of these parts. You mentioned air leaking through felt so I assume you are talking about the parts that are activated by the button levers, allowing air to exit the bellows. If that is the case, then I have had success regluing the felt and leather pads with super tack. It sets quickly but has a good open time and is water based for easy cleanup. Just be sure to purchase felt and leather from a reputable dealer of accordion spares (for instance, CGM Musical in Scotland, or the Hohner company, which also sells spares for Hohners).

      If you are referring to the leather or mylar valve covers glued to the reed plates, then contact cement works well. Different people report using different glues, including water based glues. There is debate on which is best. For this process, to reglue both top and bottom valve, the reed plates must be removed from the block, rewaaxed, then retuned in situ. More inormation and photographs of the process can be viewed in the excellent discussion forum of melodeon.net -- or feel free to email me, my address is gumshoearcana@yahoo.com.

      Also, if you are the original owner and unsure of doing the job yourself, contact the Hohner company to find a qualified technician in your area. They have been very helpful to me.

      Best regards,
      Chris

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  8. Hi, I have a Alpina IV K its got black and whjite buttons! its got matching flowered straps its really really nice! whats it worth 2k plus I hope :-)

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  9. its also got midi on the bass! I would like a new grill mine has cut outs for the midi :-(

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    1. mine has 3 bass registers does the one in the photo have any?

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  10. i have a norma ||| in fair condition. plays and sounds nice. 3 row on top, 2 on bottom. wondering how much this bad boy would be worth. its a nice redish brownish wood color. all original

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    1. The Norma continues to be popular. It's a great accordion with some vintage appeal now that can still be had at decent prices as used. Try trolling ebay for recent auctions to get an idea of what this year's market has been paying for the Norma III. Chris

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  12. Hello! I am very interested in Hohner Golina I, i was curious, does anyone know the difference between Gola and Golina? And, does anyone know something more about Golina I, the price, quality, etc? Thanks in advance!

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