Back in 1979, traveling as a kid with my parents in Germany, we went into some music store and my parents decided to buy a harmonica for everyone, so we bought four Hohner harmonicas (one for each of my parents, one for me and one for my sister). I realized much later how weird that was since none in the family played any instrument (except for my mother who played a little piano), but I appreciate their good intention that we all should. However, the harmonicas remained in drawers for almost 40 years and were hardly ever blown, and certainly never played!
I’ve been playing other instrument (a string instrument, the Jarana Jarocha) for some years now and have enjoyed learning so much that I decided to look into harmonica. After reading just a bit I realized that my parents didn’t even buy simple harmonicas. For me, back then a 12 years old who never played a single note on any instrument, they bought what I now found to be a an Octave Echo 40 in C, banana shaped with a nice red “tube” box, that still looks exactly the same as in a 2012 Hohner catalog I found on internet, but not like the most recent catalog I found (apparently they changed the look and is now the “Unsere Lieblinge” which is not available in 40, but the Comet is).
I bought myself a basic 10 hole Silver Star in C (also Hohner of course) to start learning and kept my Octave for when I’m more proficient.
I asked my sister and parents for their (never played) instruments and all were missing, but I remember my father’s was just like mine, just bigger. My parents probably thought the thing worked much as in The Three Bears and Goldilocks!, so my father’s surely was the Octave Echo 48. I still have hopes it will show up one day at the bottom of some old box.
My mother however recently found hers and gave it to me. It puzzled me that I can’t find it in the catalogues so I decided to look for someone I could asked about this one, and found this forum. From the number on the plastic box (No.2409), and pictures on internet of the plastic box, as well as length (16.3 cm) and the ECHO engraving and two rows of 20 holes I can tell it must be a Tremolo Single Echo 40 (it also has the described vibrating sound). However it is stamped (and the boxed tagged) as tuned in F, and I don’t find that key available for this model in any of the recent catalogues (they don’t even offer the ECHO in 40 apparently).
Furthermore, the shape of the upper plate is not like anything I found, it has a “step” or ridge (see picture). What puzzled me even more is that the tuning does not match what I found an F tuned harp should be. The tuning charts for F in Hohner catalogs have the blow notes in this order FACFACFACF (but of course you know this), and my mother’s (now mine) starts with A so the blow order is ACFACFACFA, and the draw order is CEGBbDEGBbDE. The draw notes from holes 1-9 match what would be expected from the blow notes on the standard F tuning, but the draw note (E) on the 10th hole doesn’t, or does it?
I’m still learning the basics on my Silver Star but in due time I would like to get the most of these two (Octave and Tremolo) harps, that’s why I would grateful for what you can tell me about them, especially the Tremolo in F, and/or point me into reading material. I guess I can eventually figure things out, and that’s even part of the fun, but if there is anything I can read to start with it would be great.
I’m not planning to sell them, but I’d be curious to know also if they are old or rare enough to have some vintage value.