best project melodica?
August 8, 2015 at 12:44 am #5777
I am looking for a melodica that I can use to experiment with alternate keyboard designs. The Janko intrigues me. I want to be able to remove it from it’s case, yet still be able to play it. most melodicas appear to require the case to provide the air chamber and mouthpiece aperture. can anyone recommend melodicas that can function outside of their cases? Some Suzuki’s appear to qualify, but I recently purchased an older M-36 and it requires the case. I am open to new or vintage.
Shannon MAugust 9, 2015 at 7:32 am #5781
I think most new melodicas can be removed from their cases and still be played. Yamaha P37D etc…August 9, 2015 at 1:12 pm #5784
When a Yamaha P-37D is removed from its case, the keyboard is still attached and provides the seal for the air chamber. So the keyboard is part of the inner melodica, not part of the case. There is at least one melodica whose reed chamber is removable as a unit, the Suzuki MA-32 Super II. When you remove that cartridge (the “true” inner melodica?) it is not air tight, since the holes that are normally covered by key pads until being opened when the key is depressed are all open. If you cover all holes except the one for middle C, and blow air into the chamber, middle C will sound.
I’m theorizing now, not having experimented.
So, in theory, if you built a melodica around the MA-32 reed chamber, any mechanisms and key configurations that open and close the appropriate reed chamber openings should be able to sound the reeds. But it seems like doing this with a Janko keyboard would be horrendously complicated.August 11, 2015 at 3:53 pm #5790
Thanks for the comments. Daren, I saw that you used the Yamaha as the model for your 3d printed melodica. For simplicity’s sake I would like to start with a 32 key, similar in size to your printed one. Do you know if the Yamaha 32 “innards” are the same as the 37d, except for the extra length? I believe the new Hohner’s rely on the case for the air chamber. The Yamaha looks to be well suited to keyboard modifications, as it looks like the keys are easily attached. Are they just held in place by spring pressure? Looking at your printed melodica they appear to be. That would certainly simplify key fabrication.
Allen, I am not sure how available that Suzuki model is-I’ve never seen one other than what you have posted. I also think it would be more complicated than the Yamaha, but not having seen one in person, I am only speculating.
The reason I wanted one that could operate out of it’s case is that I want to fabricate a new, slightly wider case to encompass the wider janko keyboard. I don’t really like the idea of having the keys extend out that far past the case.
Thanks for your inputs.August 12, 2015 at 8:51 pm #5795
I think a Janko keyboard is an exciting idea.
I think many of the less expensive melodicas such as the Schoenhut
are based around the same design as the Yamaha if not a direct copy.
Another avenue if you really want to start from scratch I think melodicas.com
still offers complete sets of reed plates?
Which I think can also be procured from Yamaha and Suzuki?
The Yamaha keys are held by a spring but the pallet cover and the key are of one piece.August 13, 2015 at 12:43 pm #5801
Thanks for your input. I really don’t have the time right now to start truly from scratch, hence the use of the “guts” of another melodica to start with, just requiring the fabrication of new keys and a case. Daren’s printed instrument inspired me, and since the design for the keys has already been proven, a relatively simple re-design of the tops of the keys (relatively simple for someone that knows what they are doing, that is 8^P) could make it a relatively simple project. It appears that the key spacing on the Yamaha at the spring end is even, so designing keys should be straightforward.
I had not thought of the Schoenhut instruments. Might give one of those a look. They are certainly inexpensive enough, just not sure about the quality. I still want to prototype the keyboard before I get too deep. Probably a wood glue-up on an old instrument (I have an embarrassing number of instruments at the moment. I am very susceptible to MAS). But I think it would be cool to have an instrument for the blues that is as versatile as a harmonica-same pattern, different keys.
I probably will go with the Yamaha, if for no other reason than they are high quality and current. If the design works, and if others are interested, it would be far simpler to not have to redesign the keys for additional instruments. Not really thinking this will be much of a problem though 8^)
ShannonSeptember 5, 2019 at 3:50 pm #10974
David Colpitts ColpittsParticipant
Hi, folks. I am a newbie here and at the melodica (40 year old Hohner student models aside.) I actually bought one (the little Yamaha 25) for experimental modification to a Janko keyboard, and used the two available YouTube “builds” for inspiration. Actually, I settled on the “Instructable” (with the pennies as keys) and whacked away at it. After about 6 hours of work (and 6 more staring at it) I got the prototype working this morning. I was put off by the multi-layered/stepped rows, and thought it would be fragile and hard to pack. Coincidentally, I got buttons as keys, rather than pennies, so I could get black and white. Lo and behold, they (mostly) fit between the wooden added key strips, which lets me have a virtually flat keyboard hardly deeper than the original. I made some correctable woodworking errors, but am thrilled with the results. I will post a picture once I have returned to the button store for more, so my patterns are as they should be. BTW, it’s three rows, and I think it will be durable. Lost one spring….any ideas? Am using ballpoint spring in emergency. Now, the idea of multiple keys with identical fingering literally wakes me up early. The disease begins.
DavidSeptember 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm #10975
Hi David, well done! Really looking forward to seeing some photos 🙂September 7, 2019 at 10:03 pm #10977
David Colpitts ColpittsParticipant
I have a lo-re pic to post….
Thanks for the feedback, and I’d love to hear from anyone who is doing or contemplating something similar.
BTW, where do I do picture post….I don’t see it.September 8, 2019 at 7:52 pm #10978
The way I post a photo, David, is to have it posted at another site, in my case my own website, and then link it here, which I normally do by simply pasting the url of that image in my posting. But it can also be done with the “link” or the “img” button at the top of the box in which you are posting.
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