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I was looking into buying a Hohner Bass (out of historical interest into Hohner keyboards, not because I am planning to play it). To my amazement I found several offers, and wiki-style pages, that claimed that this type of instrument was played by Ray Manzarek of Doors fame.

This seems unlikely to say in the least. When I think of Manzarek I think of a rather powerful electro-mechanical Rhodes keyboard bass. The Hohner bass is a rather wimpy monophone synthesizer. So this seems to be a genuine mistake at best, and an attempt to raise the price at worst.

On the other hand I am not exactly an expert on the Doors (especially not post-Morrison), so maybe Manzarek did decide at some point that playing proper instruments was just too easy, and he should switch to something that is worse by orders of magnitude.

I would appreciate it if somebody more knowledgeable could chime in on this. I fully expect the answer to be "no, he didn't", but it would be nice to have outside confirmation.

Responding to the comment, I am not so much interested to know if the ever doodled around on the thing but if he used it for "serious" music, so I tried to clear this up in the headline.

  • These questions are hard to handle since it's almost impossible to prove a non-event (i.e. proving something didn't happen, or doesn't exist). – Bebs Feb 8 at 10:33
  • I am aware, but then somebody might have a collection of Doors/Manzarek records, and if none of them lists the instrument we could reasonably conclude that he did not use that instrument (so I should probably have avoided the word "ever" - I will clear this up in the question). – user6925 Feb 8 at 10:36
  • Well, in general, records don't list what brands/model of instruments that have been used. It would require to look at all pictures or videos ever made about the Doors until possibly glimpse Manzarek using this keyboard. But even if we don't find an evidence that he used it, it will still not prove that he never used it. The question should simply be if this was his regular instrument, which the answer could be no. – Bebs Feb 8 at 10:51
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In some bit of extra material from Down the Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story, Ray Manzarek says about his Fender Keyboard Bass that he "carried that thing around for the entire career of the Doors", and he enthusiastically praised the qualities of that instrument.

I think this is as close as I will get to positive proof that he never used the squeaky little Hohner thing.

  • I agree that it will hard to find better reference... +1 – Bebs Feb 8 at 13:06

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