Hohner Affiliated Customizer (HAC) Program

What is the HOHNER Affiliated Customizer (HAC) program?
The HAC program was established by HOHNER to bring together a dedicated group of elite professional harmonica customizers who work exclusively on HOHNER instruments. By enabling better access to all necessary parts, as well as providing advertising and other relevant support, the company has taken a bold step to ensure that these master craftsmen can keep HOHNER players and customers equipped with the finest and best playing harmonicas in the world. The program was initiated at HOHNER in Germany by Klaus Stetter, Michael Timler and Steve Baker in 2011/2012, in close cooperation with harmonica customizing pioneer Joe Filisko.

What does a harmonica customizer do?
Harmonica customizing work falls into two categories: Semi Customizing and Full Customizing. These involve different working procedures and achieve different ends.

A Semi-Custom Harmonica is a stock harmonica where covers and comb have been modified and / or fully replaced. Semi-customizers may also offer tuning services and basic reed setups. Some semi-customizing can be performed by non-players and it does not entail the extensive work on reeds and reed slots which is an essential part of full customizing.

A Full-Custom Harmonica is a harmonica that has been completely reconstructed and adjusted for superior response and smoother feel in the mouth and hands, as well as longer life, due to carefully rebuilt parts and a more consistent and predictable tuning. The most important attribute is the improved response, which results in maximum sound for minimum air usage. This is achieved through exacting and tedious customization of each individual reed and reed slot, to enable the reeds to vibrate optimally in their slots with minimum loss of air. Since the reeds then function much more efficiently, the harmonica will play louder, sound brighter and the instrument will respond much better than stock or semi-custom harmonicas. This exacting work can only be done by accomplished players, as the performance of every reed needs to be assessed by playing it.