[Harp-L] Re: Hohner #261 and #265 Chromaticas
The Hohner double-deck octave-tuned bass harmonica #265 sells new for
around $1100 US.
I may have seen the same ad as you, on e-bay, where the seller claimed that
the 265 was "rare." The seller's price for the used bass harp was way too
Your grandfather's used E-E two-octave range bass harp would be worth
whatever anyone wants to pay for it, but a reasonable estimate without seeing it
and holding it would be around $300 US, if everything is in working order
(no parts missing, combs not cracked, mouthpieces still plated, no rust or
The #265 has the natural reeds on the low comb, and the sharped reeds on
the upper comb.
It's a blow-only instrument.
The Hohner #265 bass harp has been sold by Hohner for about 70 years, and
is not rare, unless the seller is referring to it's vintage (pre-1937).
Hohner probably made less than 100 of the 265 models from 1930-1937 (only a
The description of the parts of the bass harp you described would date the
combs (wooden sound chambers) and cover plates to that era.
Other things that could help to estimate the harp's age would include the
reeds' rivets (oldest bass harp reed rivets are round-top, small), and
coloration (tarnish) of the reeds and reed plates.
The Hohner #261 Chromatica was discontinued by Hohner around 1985 (a
guess).It's also octave-tuned (a vertical pair of holes contain 2 reeds, one in
each hole, an octave apart in pitch). It's range is almost 3 octaves, from
the low A in the bass clef to the G two octaves above the treble clef, if we
take the reeds separately.
It uses a chromatic scale, blow reeds only, in the setup: A, A#(Bb), B, B#
(C), etc, going from the left to the right on the mouthpiece. With it's
horizontal placement of the chromatic scale, it's used for glissandi effects,
but, with practice, it may be played melodically also.
It is not a rare harmonica, but is less available today than in the years
of production (1932-'85, a guess).
It is known as a "glissando" harmonica. Each vertical pair of reeds is
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