HOHNER Affiliated Customizers

NO VALID TEMPLATE SELECTED

JOE FILISKO

NO VALID TEMPLATE SELECTED

THOMAS HANKE

Thomas Hanke

THOMAS HANKE - GERMANY
OUR FIRST HAC PARTNER

»hankeharmonicas.com

  • born in Leipzig in 1968
  • started playing harmonica
    at the age of 14
  • studied harmonica building with former
    HOHNER master craftsman Gunter Bayer, Trossingen
  • strongly committed to HOHNER and the Marine Band harmonica
  • builds both diatonic and chromatic models according to the individual wishes of the customer, on the basis of original HOHNER harmonicas
  • high-end players such as Steve Baker and overblow avantgardist Marc Breitfelder use his instruments

    Thomas Hanke was born in Leipzig in 1968 and grew up in that city. He began playing the harmonica at the age of 14 and became a professional musician in 1988. Appearing live on stage in various different line-ups, he gained experience and soon earned himself a name as a harmonica player.



    Parallel to his life as a musician, Thomas found himself developing an ever growing and profound interest in the instrument itself. He began studying the inner workings of the harmonica and soon acquired the ability to adjust the instrument to better suit his own requirements, as well as conducting minor repairs.

    His concentration and dedication paid off when he became the first applicant for certification under the newly created HOHNER AFFILIATED CUSTOMIZER program. A selection of his instruments were subjected to intense scrutiny by Joe Filisko, who has kindly agreed to evaluate the work of customizers wishing to affiliate with the company. Joe's verdict was positive and Thomas Hanke became the very first person to be awarded the exclusive title of HOHNER AFFILIATED CUSTOMIZER.

    This positive assessment has already born fruit, not only in his native Germany, but also in regard to enquiries from players all over Europe. The certification offers clients a reliable guarantee of highest quality and outstanding workmanship. Thomas Hanke builds both diatonic and chromatic models according to the individual wishes of the customer, on the basis of original HOHNER harmonicas.

    Philosophy

    When Thomas Hanke works on an order, he does so with passionate attention to every detail, with the object of realizing the wishes of the customer in the best possible way. His own preferences take a back seat in this process, which is aimed at giving each instrument its own unmistakeable character. Thomas Hanke's systematic and contemplative approach helps him to open inner doors and find new ways to pursue his quest to create the (almost) perfect harmonica.


    JOE SPIERS

    NO VALID TEMPLATE SELECTED

    NEIL GRAHAM

    Neil William Graham

    Neil William Graham - Australia
    Born in Melbourne, Australia in February 1946; Neil Graham has gained a reputation for producing high quality custom diatonic harmonicas to players all over the world. He is widely regarded as a technician; being one of the few who strives to bring out the best in the Hohner diatonic Harmonica. With an extensive background in engineering and many years’ experience as a professional player, he had a head start to understanding what it takes to make a harmonica perform at its very best.

    The ground-breaking work of Joe Filisko is the continued inspiration behind Neil Graham Custom Harmonicas. Since 1999, Neil has supplied a reliable custom harmonica service to a loyal customer base; ranging from the famous, to up and coming musicians. All customers benefit from the personal customization service to suit their individual playing styles, with the added benefit of playing personally honed and adjusted instruments, with improved endurance for the serious harp enthusiast.

    Neil began his music career in the coffee lounges of Melbourne in the 1960's as a sidesman harmonica player. He worked with Ray Rivamonte, John Graham and others performing traditional Australian and American folk music and blues. During the 1970's Neil fronted several blues bands based in the renowned Diamond Valley/Eltham area and performed regularly at a number of iconic Melbourne venues. Throughout the 80's and 90's he was a regular and popular performer with several bands on the far South Coast of New South Wales.

    For the past decade he has concentrated on writing and performing songs of his own, working solo with a harmonica and Dobro guitar. The songs are quirky and topical, reflecting his unique view of the world and life in general. Neil is a truly original stylist who has never forgotten the roots from which his music springs.

    In 2001 Neil attended the World Harmonica Festival in Trossingen, Germany where he ranked 7th runner up in the World Harmonica Championship. In 2002 Neil was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for his customization work. This fellowship enabled him to travel the United States of America, where he studied first-hand the latest trends in harmonica customisation. In February 2009 and again in 2011, Neil was chosen to perform both concerts and workshops at the Playmakers festival in Albany, Western Australia alongside Joe Filisko, Eric Noden, Brendan Power, Justin Brady and others. Other regular appearances include the recent Eltham Town Jazz and Blues Heritage Festival, Victoria; the Cobargo Folk Festival and at the Great Southern Blues and Rockabilly Festival, on the Far South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Performances are rare in present days, as the harmonica workshop has taken priority as a full time career. Neil is thrilled to be part of the Hohner Accredited Customiser Program.

    Discography:
    Hangin’ with the Dog, Blue Roots / 1996   
    As a Spark (Solo album) / 2003    
    No Place left to hide (Solo album) / 2010

    ANDREW ZAJAC

    Andrew Zajac loves the diatonic harmonica’s deep connection to the vocal tract.  That connection allows a kind of expression no other instrument can achieve.

    He realized that a well-playing harp can create an even closer connection and quickly found ways to improve his instruments.  It didn’t take long until Andrew was customizing and repairing harmonicas for his teacher, his teacher’s students and other players in his area. 

    Andrew’s repair services expanded as he gained customers from other parts of Canada, the USA and Europe.  In an effort to increase his productivity and shrink a growing waiting list he designed his own innovative tools and began manufacturing his own combs made from earth-friendly materials that do not swell when exposed to moisture.

    He began to offer his tools and provide instructions, so that players could repair and improve their harmonicas themselves instead of adding their names to his waiting list.

    His waiting list for repairs eventually grew to a point where he could no longer keep up and he chose to focus on only offering custom harmonicas, tools and combs.

    Andrew continuously refines his customization methods in search of ways to deepen the connection between the player and the instrument.

    Andrew’s focus is to provide each player with remarkably responsive harmonicas which are carefully tailored to the player’s needs.  He aims for exceptional customer satisfaction.

    Andrew lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  He has a career background as a registered respiratory therapist and clinical perfusionist (heart-lung machine).  Those disciplines have provided Andrew with useful knowledge of the science behind air flow, lung and vocal tract anatomy and physiology, evidence-based practice and continuous quality improvement (CQI) as well as the ability to reliably provide precise results while keeping a cool head and steady hands under pressure.

    Andrew Zajac Webpage