Hohner Clavinet 1

The First Edition of the Funkiest Instrument Ever


Hohner Clavinet 1

Hohner Clavinet 1, Ernst Zacharias, Matthias Hohner AG, 1964, From the collection of: EBOARDMUSEUM
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The start of a global career est. 1964: the Hohner Clavinet 1, developed by Ernst Zacharias (1924–2020). 

Relatively loosely tensioned strings are diagonally arranged across a metal frame underneath 60 keys, with each one splitting into 2 halves when a key is pressed. One half is dampened with the help of wool threads across the strings, while the other is able to vibrate freely. This is in line with the essential working principle of the Baroque clavichord, which is also clear from its phonetically similar name the Clavinet!

Hohner Clavinet 1 - Detail (1964) by Ernst Zacharias, Matthias Hohner AGEBOARDMUSEUM

Always to Hand: The Tuning Key

This tuning key guarantees precise tuning, where one tuning is sometimes all that’s needed thanks to the rather loosely tensioned strings as mentioned earlier.

The design of this Clavinet 1 which seems pretty strange today perfectly matched the rest of the furniture in a cozy sixties home… :-)

Sixty keys? It’s quite an unusual range for a keyboard. After all, five full octaves results in 5 * 12 + 1 = 61 keys. So why 60?

It’s just one of the secrets revealed on a tour around the EBOARDMUSEUM.

Speaking of funkiest instrument ever, the following Hohner demo LP was even intended for a completely different audience… :-)

Hohner Clavinet 1 Demo Video

Demo video from Hohner from ca. 1965 (German with English subtitles)

Hohner Clavinet 1 - Demo (1964) by Jafafa HotsEBOARDMUSEUM

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