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Hohner Pianet electric keyboard

Designed by Zacharias, Ernst
The Hohner Pianet electric keyboard was responsible for some of the "classic sounds" of popular music during the 1960's. Used by groups such as The Zombies on their hit "She's Not There", The Beatles during their Help era, Herman's Hermits and The Small Faces, the Pianet was also unique from other keyboards in the way it made sounds.

The Pianet used a series of vibrating metal reeds amplified by a pick-up to give it its unique sound. The reeds were "plucked" by a sticky pad attached to the end of each key. When a key was pressed it's sticky end released the reed causing it to vibrate. However, over time the adhesive qualities of the pad would diminish, making the instrument difficult to play. It is only recently that a suitable replacement for these pads has been made.

The Pianet was designed by Ernst Zacharias who developed the idea from the Cembalet, an instrument he designed in the 1950s to be an electric version of the harpsichord. The Pianet was commercially released in 1962 and over a period of years up to the 1970s several models were made including the L, CH, N and T models. This particular model is a CH. The later T models are distinguished from the earlier Pianets by using a different design for plucking the string. Ernst Zacharias also designed the Clavinet for Hohner which was used to great effect on Stevie Wonder's 1972 hit, "Superstition".

Michael Lea
Curator, music & musical instruments
June 2003.


Object No.


Object Statement

Electric keyboard, Hohner Pianet, timber / metal / plastic, designed by Ernst Zacharias, made by Hohner AG, West Germany, 1962-1970

Physical Description

Electric keyboard, Hohner Pianet, timber / metal / plastic, designed by Ernst Zacharias, made by Hohner AG, West Germany, 1962-1970.

Hohner Pianet electric keyboard with 5 octave keyboard set in wooden veneered case. The bi-fold lid lifts back to form a triangle and reveals the keyboard and acts as a music rest. Four detachable metal legs screw into the bottom of the instrument. Each key features an adhesive pad that is in contact with a tuned metal reed. When the key is pressed the reed is released by the adhesive pad and sounds a note. A pickup amplifies the sounds. The unit features an on/off power switch and on/off tremolo. The model number is at the top of the unit. The electrical power cord runs from the base.



1200 mm


1070 mm


410 mm



Hohner West Germany 1962-1970


The keyboard was designed by Ernst Zacharias for Hohner, Germany. Several types of Pianet were made after the introduction of the first model in 1962. Exact year for each model is uncertain but they include the L, C, CH, N and the T. The keyboard was made by Hohner of Germany between 1962 and 1970.



The keyboard was acquired by the donor twenty to thirty years ago and used as a domestic instrument.


Credit Line

Gift of Mr David Attrill, 2003

Acquisition Date

23 December 2003

Cite this Object


Hohner Pianet electric keyboard 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 May 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Hohner Pianet electric keyboard |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 May 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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