Hans Reichel

Hans Reichel's own site at http://www.daxo.de is also available

Photograph of Hans Reichel taken during Free Music XXII in Antwerp, 4 August 1995 copyright Raymond Mallentjer.


Born Hagen, Germany, 10 May 1949, died Wuppertal 22 November 2011; guitar, daxophone; composer; inventor and luthier; designer.

Hans Reichel taught himself violin from the age of 7 and then played in the school orchestra for about 9 years. At 15 he became interested early rock music and began to play guitar, being initially influenced by Donovan, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones and later Frank Zappa, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and many blues players. In moving between different groups, Reichel played bass guitar for a time and even for a brief period worked in a duo with a musician who played the Renaissance instrument, the crumhorn. He gave up making music for a number of years while studying graphic arts and working as a typesetter but in 1970 came to record a collage tape of guitar music that, when sent to the jury of the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt, led to his appearance at a special concert for newcomers. This led to discussions with Jost Gebers and the release of music on FMP.

Reichel is particularly recognised as a solo performer, as evidenced by his discography, below. But in recent years he has played more group than solo concerts, with established partners such as Rüdiger Carl and Sven-Åke Johansson, in the September Band with Carl, Shelley Hirsch and Paul Lovens, in duos such as those recorded with Tom Cora and Fred Frith, and in ad-hoc groupings such as with Lê Quan Ninh and Dominque Repecaud. Various all- daxophone groups have also appeared, sometimes mixed in with treated cellos. He told Chris Blackford, tongue in cheek: 'My favourite format is the trio, and quite often I played a duo because I was lacking an idea for who the third person could be'.

Hans Reichel is known as much as an instrument inventor as a player. One of his guitars is presented in the photograph below (courtesy Hans Reichel),

and is described in the notes to Lower lurum : 'although I don't like doublenecks too much, I've made this one for easy transportation. The part on the top is what I once called a 'pick-behind-the-bridge' guitar, designed to be picked on the 'wrong' side. Apart from this feature it is a normal solidbody electric. The strings are mounted in reverse, left-hand style. The bottom part of the doubleneck is a kind of hollowbody acoustic designed for finger tapping on both sides of the bridge. Besides a normal pick-up, it has a (piezo) contact microphone inside. Its strings are mounted right-hand style. On both guitars I use the thickest available strings. The tuning is regular but lower - starting on C or C#.'

Reichel is particularly known for his instrument the daxophone. Another facet of his activities is designing typefaces, some of which are used professionally worldwide, such as FF Dax, FF Dax Condensed, FF Dax Wide, FF Schmalhans and FF Sari; these are distributed by FontShop International, Berlin.

Further reading

Blackford, Chris (1994), Hans Reichel: born to be mild. Rubberneck, no. 16, pp. 4-11. Some of this article has been used in creating the entry above.

Hopkin, Bart (1996), Gravikords, whirlies & pyrophones. New York: ellipsis arts, 96pp + CD. ISBN 1-55961 382-3. Piece on the daxophone and the doublebody guitar, pp. 12-13.


1973, Wichlinghauser blues, FMP 0150.
1973, Wichlinghauser blues, Corbett vs. Dempsey CvsD CD033.
1974, Old tune/Heimkehr der holzböcke, FMP S 5.
1975, Bonobo, FMP 0280.
1975, Bonobo, Corbett vs. Dempsey CvsD CD034.
1975, Guitar solos 2, Caroline Records C 1518. Three solos on compilation LP.
1976, For example, FMP R123. Solo track on commemorative/compilation 3LP set.
1977, Erdmännchen, FMP 0400. Duo with Achim Knispel.
1978, Buben, FMP 0530. Duo with Rüdiger Carl.
1979, Sven-Åke Johansson mit dem NMUI im SO 36 '79, FMP S17.
1979, Sven-Åke Johansson mit dem NMUI im SO 36 '79, Olof Bright OBCD10/GROB650. Full version of concert previously released on FMP S17.
1979, The death of the rare bird Ymir, FMP 0640/FMP CD 54.
1981, Bonobo Beach, FMP 0830/FMP CD 54.
1982, Bergisch-Brandenburgisches Quartett, Amiga 856031. With Johansson/Carl/Petrowsky.
1985, Duet improvisation, Vand'Oeuvre 8501. With Keith Tippett.
1986, Kino: studio opera with EROC, Teldec Import Service TIS 66.23921. Re-issued on CD in 1997.
1987, The dawn of Dachsman, FMP CD 60.
1988, Coco bolo nights, FMP CD 10.
1988, Angel carver, FMP CD 15. Duo with Tom Cora.
1988/9, Live at the Knitting Factory volume one, Enemy EMY111. One track in duo with Tom Cora.
1989, Dix improvisations, Victo CD 09. Two tracks on a compilation CD.
1990, X-Communication, FMP CD 33.
1990, Show-down, Intakt CD 023. Duo with Wädi Gysi.
1990/1991, Stop complaining/Sundown, FMP CD 36. Duos with Fred Frith and Kazuhisa Uchihashi.
1991, Mini-suite: [untitled], Rastascan BRD 010. One track on compilation CD.
1992, Shanghaied on Tor Road: the world's 1st operetta performed on nothing but the daxophone, FMP CD 46.
1993, Hans Reichel, Table of the elements Beryllium.
1993, Variations on Jay, Table of the elements Oxygen.
1993, AngelicA 93, CAICAI 004. Solo plus other combinations, including an appearance by the 'All Daxophone Band'.
1993, Kumunguitar, ¿What Next? WN0012. Duo with Jin Hi Kim.
1993, Conduction 28/Conduction 31, New World Records 80484. Lawrence D. 'Butch' Morris.
1993, Conduction 31/Conduction 35/Conduction 36, New World Records 80485. Lawrence D. 'Butch' Morris.
1993/1994, Lower lurum, Rastascan BRD 016.
1994, Le bal, Ellipsis Arts.
1994, Buben...plus, FMP CD 78. New duos with Rüdiger Carl, released with older material.
1994, The Vandoeuvre concert, FMP CD 72. September Band: Carl/Hirsch/Lovens/Reichel.
1994, Looking at flees with Henry Geldzahler, FMP MJ 01. September Band one track on compilation.
1995, Thomas Borgmann's Orkestra Kith 'n Kin, Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1081.
1978-1996, Book/Virtual COWWS, FMP OWN90007/9. Various tracks on Rüdiger Carl compilation.
1997, Hans Reichel/Rüdiger Carl, Hurta Cordel 97.
1983/1997, The return of Onkel Boskop, Repertoire REP 4688-WY. Duo with Eroc.
1997, King pawns, Zen-006. Duo with Kazuhisa Uchihashi.
1997, Festival Beyond Innocence: 2 1997-1998, Innocent Records FBI 103. Two solos + trio track on compilation CD.
1999, Live in Berlin, FMP CD 146. Manuela+.
2000, Cue sheets II, Tzadik 7513. Steve Beresford; one track features Reichel.
1994; 2000-2002, Yuxo: a new daxophone operetta, A/L/L003.
2001, Total Music Meeting 2001: Audiology - 11 groups live in Berlin, A/L/L002. One track by Manuela on this compilation CD.
2007, Hematlieder, Jazzwerkstatt JW030.

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