Restore/Repair Tremolo Harmonica

Hello harmonica lovers. I hope everyone is fine. It is a pleasure to be part of the community.

I’m André from São Paulo/Brazil. Actually, my main instrument is the guitar, so I’m super newbie. I have an amazing old Hohner Seductora. Unfortunately it is very rusty. I want to open it up and clean it completely. I am very careful and experienced in jobs like this. I read about removing rust with white vinegar. That’s right? If so, what do I use to prevent the metal from oxidizing again?


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Hi Andre.
Lots of people on the forum will help you with this. I would not personally use vinegar as it is an acid and also contains sugars so when it evaporates its sticky.
You will find some ideas already posted in GEAR.
Welcome to the chat.

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Hello @Andre_FBG83,
welcome at our place!
There you have a beautiful old sweetie!

If I were you, I would carefully open the harp first. Then you can see if the harp inside has also suffered. But I think she looks better there. Clean the inside carefully.
I wouldn’t test anything on the outer surface myself. Maybe you know someone who has access to an electroplating shop. Or a facility that also refines small parts on cars or motorcycles? Then you would have the harp in really good condition again and you can enjoy it for a long time!
If you try it yourself with home remedies, the harp will take more damage and the rust will come back.

Good luck and greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

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Great idea @AstridHandbikebee63 . Those people who restore old bikes often get bits re-chromed.

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Many thanks toogdog, Astrid and David for your kind insights.

You guys were absolutely right about how careful I should be. I decided not to take any risks for now.

If later I find some good harmonica specialist/luthier nearby, then I can leave my instrument in good hands to make a proper restoration, not only the cover plates but also all the internal parts.

What I did was just gently clean the holes in the wood with an old toothbrush, put a clock screw in the missing one and polish the cover plates. Still very rusty but looking better.



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I wonder if the screws, perhaps especially so with one being missing, indicate that someone has had it apart before? I just recently ‘inherited’[1] a Hohner Double Echo tremelo & it has that same arrangement with the covers overlapping at each end and the fixings going through both plates, but the fixings are nails rather than screws.

Just a guess…

[1] It’s almost brand new. When I was placing a diatonic harmonica order a few months ago, it was added to the order for my wife because she used to play one many years ago & wished to try again. However, after a few weeks she decided it was too tough on her now more sensitive lips, so it’s become part of my collection instead.

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Hello @Andre_FBG83,

Look, you can get all the parts here. It would be around €75.

But for me that would mean losing the charm of old age!
Your harp tells an unknown story! I just find that interesting. Why don’t you put it in a glass case or something like the harp is now?

Of course, if you want to play them, you have to renew them. Please keep us informed! :smiley:

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As far as I know it has never been opened before. It was a gift from my grandfather, I guess it must be around 35/40 years old. I don’t think he’s ever opened before. We’ll never know.

What a beauty this Hohner Double Echo must be, great acquisition to your collection.

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Thanks for the link to the Hohner website page. I don’t think I’m going to do anything now. I’m not a big player either. I just like to play every now and then, and enjoy its beautiful “accordion sound”.
I will certainly treat and maintain it better now. I have a cheaper blues harmonica that I practice more.

This Hohner harmonica has a lot of value and memories for me. It deserves an artist’s treatment to keep it as original as possible. That was the reason I changed my mind about doing it myself.

Of course, if I find the right person to renew it in the future, I’ll show you the process and results here. :v:

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It is indeed @Andre_FBG83 .

I’ve not played it much, but I appreciate that for a good proportion of the instrument it shares the same arrangement of notes as the standard diatonic, albeit not starting at the same place.

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