Hans Reichel

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Hans Reichel
Hans-Reichel E. Dieter-Fraenzel.jpg
Reichel in 2009 at a concert at KlangArt Festival in Tony Cragg's Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden at Wuppertal, Germany
Born(1949-05-10)10 May 1949
Died22 November 2011(2011-11-22) (aged 62)
Nationality German

Hans Reichel (10 May 1949 – 22 November 2011) [1] was a German improvisational guitarist, experimental luthier, inventor, and type designer. [2]



Reichel was born in Hagen, Germany. [3] He began to teach himself violin at age seven, playing in the school orchestra until age fifteen. Around the same time, he began to play guitar and became interested in The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and later, Frank Zappa, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix.

He left music in the late 1960s to pursue font design and typesetting. He returned to music in the early 1970s, [3] when he recorded a tape of guitar music. This recording was sent to the jury of the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt, where he was asked to appear in a special concert for newcomers. Discussions with Jost Gebers, the founder of Free Music Production, led to the release on his debut album, Wichlinghauser Blues (FMP, 1973).

During the 1980s and 1990s, Reichel recorded solo albums and duets with Rüdiger Carl, Tom Cora, Eroc, Fred Frith, and Kazuhisa Uchihashi. He was featured in 'Crossing Bridges', a 1983 music programme based around jazz guitar improvisation, and broadcast by Channel 4 [4] He was a member of the September Band with Paul Lovens, Rüdiger Carl, and Shelley Hirsch. He also worked with groups led by Thomas Borgmann and Butch Morris. The record labels Intakt, Rastascan, and Table of the Elements released some of Reichel's albums, compensating for the limited distribution of FMP. [3]

In 1997, he was named one of the "30 Most Radical Guitarists" by Guitar Player magazine. He died at the age of 62 in Wuppertal, Germany. [3] [5]

Invented instruments

Reichel constructed and built several variations of guitars and basses, most of them featuring multiple fretboards and unique positioning of pickups and 3rd bridges. [6] The resulting sounds exceeded the range of conventional tuning and added unusual effects, from odd overtones to metallic noises, to his play.

A variety of daxophone tongues DaxoTongues.jpg
A variety of daxophone tongues

His daxophone is a single wooden blade fixed in a block containing a contact microphone, which is played mostly with a bow. [6]

Partial discography


Hans Reichel designed a few typefaces, among them one of today's most popular type designs in advertising and in marketing (FF Dax).

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  1. "Hans Reichel im Alter von 62 Jahren gestorben" (in German). Westdeutsche Zeitung. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  2. York, William. "Hans Reichel: Biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 York, William. "Hans Reichel". AllMusic . Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. Crossing Bridges website
  5. "The Dead Rock Stars Club - 2011 July To December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  6. 1 2 Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 331/2. ISBN   0-85112-580-8.