Buying On-line or at your Local Music Store

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  beezer 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #2253

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    Going back to this topic, the one item that has not been discussed that I believe is an important one, is the topic of purchasing a melodica on-line versus purchasing one at at your local music store. When buying at a music store the problem that we mostly see is the lack of selection, in some cases, you are lucky if they have one. The next issue is that of you being able to try it out, well for obvious reason the melodica is an instrument that they usually do not allow you to try it out. The advantage of buying in a store is that if you are new to the melodica, you have a sales person that may be able to give you some guidance in choosing the right entry-level melodica. Also many stores have music instructors that can offer classes and learning materials as well as sheet music of your favorite music. To me this is a great way to start someone on a new instrument. When I was a child, my first lessons were on drums in a music store, I then changed to Piano and took lessons in a store. I went through the public school system learning piano and flute, playing in the school band and orchestra. I eventually added private lesson until I was out of college. We started our daughter the same way on guitar. She is now a professional writer. Her music has been used for Film, TV and recording artist. It’s a great place to start at any age. Another advantage of going to the music store is that even if you physically play the melodica, you can pick it up and “hold it in your hands and feel” the instrument and see the condition, and of course the warrantee if you take it home and there is something wrong with it, you can take it back and exchange it, heck if you buy it you can take it out of the box play it there to check, no need to pay any shipping charges.
    Online shopping is a great option if you do not live near a music store. Another plus is that you can usually find a great deal and the selection is endless. For someone that has a lot of experience and understands exactly what want and need in a melodica, buying on-line is not an issue. I myself have purchased many of my Melodica’s on-line for one simple reason! my local music store did not sell the Melodica’s I wanted. I would much rather see it in person than in a picture in a catalogue or on-line store. Our biggest compliant when we buy a new melodica is something we have absolutely no control over, “The way it Sounds” I have purchased a few that I have sent back because there was issues with them physically that they did not play properly or they were damaged in transit, this is going to happen once in a while. If you purchase the melodica and play it at the store you can check if it is working properly or if something does not seam right, they have no excuse but to exchange it or give you your money back. This is not always the same on-line. Read the conditions before your order.
    One of the great features about Melodicaworld, are the recordings that members have contributed to the site. These recordings are extremely valuable for choosing a melodica to buy or not buy, so keep them coming. The comparison recordings are excellent.

    The next topic will be seller service or lack of.

    Melodica-me

    #2262

    Kevin
    Participant

    This is a good point Melodica-me.
    Some stores at least have let me handle a melodica so you can at least see what you think of the action and the heft.
    I’ve ordered most of mine on-line.
    Videos have been a great resource for me as far as deciding what a given melodica might sound like.

    #2263
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    In Europe we have Thomann, which allow you to return anything you’re not happy with. I’ve tried a few models this way.

    Amazon in the UK have also been very good like this, and a 3rd party seller was happy to accept a Schoenhut melodica back.

    We have distance regulation selling laws in the UK, meaning you can return anything bought online within 10 days if you’re not happy with it for any reason.

    #2264

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    US Amazon allows you to return most items but most you have to pay for return shipping unless they advertise return free shipping. There are some that want an explanation or reason to return before, and some have special conditions that need to be met before you can return an item. I purchased from a delay pedal from Amazon, cheap was only $50.00 free shipping and free return shipping, when I sent them an email requesting a return label they sent me an 800 number to call, so I called and asked for the label they put me on hold for about 5 minutes then transferred me to a different department because they considered the pedal an electrical item. I was asked if the amplifier and my pedal power supply adapter was connected directly to the outlet on the wall or….. Wait for it… Did I plug it into a UL approved extension cord with a built in circuit breaker. Yes I laught, because I knew exactly where they were going. After about 10 minutes of going over this nonsense he sent me an email with a return label attachment that I could print out and use. The Sam Ash store about a mile from my house offers returns no question asked. I wanted to try out a reverb pedal they said sure but if you buy it you can take it home and try it for 10 days if you don’t like it return it before then. No questions asked. Not a bad deal. I took it home decided to return it, no issues from the sales person and I wound up picking up another one, a little more expensive but it was my choice. I do like the convenience of online shopping, because if I go to Sam Ash after work or on the weekend, every kid from the neighborhood is in the store jamming on guitars they will never buy. Yes I did it too when I was a kid.
    I’m getting old.
    Melodica-Me

    #2266

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Great topic.

    I have local music stores, including a Guitar Center, but none of them stock melodicas or seem to know much about them. I think Melodica-Me has said before that the best approach for a beginner is usually to start out with a cheap melodica, see if you get into it, and then look around and do research about getting something better if you get serious. I started out with a Schoenhut and was addicted after a couple of months. I agree about music store or private lessons; that’s how I started out as a kid on drums and piano. The great thing with melodicas is that you can do quite a lot on a $30 instrument.

    It occurs to me that if you bring your own mouthpiece, music stores might be more agreeable about trying out a melodica.

    #2267

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    Alan, I still think you will leave to much DNA in the melodica to allow it. I don’t allow anyone to blow into my melodicS, it’s something that creeps me out. I have a melodica with no name on it, I don’t know who made it, it’s just a black melodica that I allow friends to play. I don’t use it.
    Melodica-Me

    #2268

    jazzman1945
    Participant

    In choosing a melody for a beginner there is a very important point , which is worth paying particular attention to: tightness of the valve to release moisture. I have repeatedly faced with the fact that Chinese-made Hohner . as well as the cheaper models have insufficient tightness that affects playing techniques in general, and especially the novice .
    For example do not need to go far : the first version of ” Giant Steps ” I played the Chinese Hohner Student 32 , who missed much air. This required quite a lot of effort that could be heard in record . The second version is recorded on a normal instrument , also Hohner Student .
    So you should be careful about buying cheap melodic over the internet.
    Student .

    #2269

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    A kiss is just a kiss . . . . except for the DNA.

    #2279

    Lowboy
    Participant

    I thought it was customary for woodwind players and horn players to play instruments in music stores before buying the $3,000 saxophone, clarinet, or trumpet? I think the mouthpieces are simply sanitized after testing the instrument. Every saxophone, even those of the same model, can sound and feel different to a discriminating player.

    I can understand most store owners don’t want to go to this trouble to sell a $50 melodica.

    When I first started purchasing used melodicas, I took them apart thinking I would find them filled with dirt, mold, dried saliva, and other spooky stuff. Every used melodica I purchased was basically pristine inside. Some surface corrosion or patina on the brass reed plates, but nothing that scared me, and I am a germaphobe. That was a complete surprise to me.

    I have, however, purchased a couple of used melodicas that smelled like an attic inside. I simply disassembled these melodicas and washed all surfaces with soap and water. (I thoroughly clean every used meodica I buy just because that is the way I am.) The attic smell would not come out of one of these melodicas even with washing, so I soaked the whole thing, fully assembled, in a mixture of water and vinegar for a few minutes. I then submersed it in a water bath with dish detergent and then rinsed it thoroughly with fresh water. I drained the water out of it and let it dry. It smells and works fine now. Do this at your own risk. It worked for me on one particular model, but may not be suitable for other melodicas. Since melodicas get wet on the inside from condensation, I assume most of the materials (gaskets and adhesives) are water resistant. That is my assumption anyway. I have no facts to back it up.

    My local accordion technician, who has been repairing accordions for about 45 years, said that brushing the reeds and reed plates with rubbing alcohol can remove dirt and buildup and can improve tuning and performance.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #2281

    Lowboy
    Participant

    I returned an expensive Suzuki melodeon to an Amazon vendor with no questions asked. Some online vendors state no returns on melodicas.

    I have seen three different approaches by some of the numerous big online music stores in the USA in regards to microphones. Some have a policy of no returns. Some charge a $10 or $15 sanitation fee. Some allow returns without question. Read the store’s return policy carefully before buying a mic.

    Lowboy

    #2317

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Not much said yet about buying online. I have bought all my melodicas online since we have no local outlets that have them in stock. There are four main online sources: Amazon.com; independent online outlets (the least risky being those that also have bricks and mortar stores); eBay and Rakuten Global when ordering from Asia. Amazon is very reliable and often has multiple vendors with whom Amazon has enough clout to keep them in line. Amazon also oversees returns and takes care of its customers. Prices on some melodicas jump around on Amazon; you may see a model at $50 one day and down to $30 the next day, and then who knows where a few days later, sometimes from the same vendor. So if you’re interested in a particular model, it may be wise to monitor prices for awhile. For any given model there may be multiple listings that come up in a search for your product. Under any given listing you should always check for “Other Buying Options,” where prices and shipping cost are listed. The least risky independent sellers are familiar names such as Guitar Center and Groth Music. These vendors typically also sell through Amazon, though their specials do not always show up there. They commonly have holiday weekend specials with a 15-18% discount and sometimes with free shipping. Most eBay sellers are fairly reliable; it’s good to check their ratings. I’ve been stung badly (to the tune of $400) on eBay, though not on a melodica. eBay is the most likely source for used melodicas (such as vintage Hohners) but also for Japanese models. Prices for any given Japanese melodica on eBay are all over the map, as is shipping; so this is another environment in which it’s good to monitor what’s available and prices and shipping. My experience with Japanese vendors is that they are very reliable, and shipping is usually faster than what they estimate. Some of the same Japanese vendors also sell through Rakuten Global, not to be confused with Rakuten.com , their western outlet — and/or through Amazon.com. Rakuten.com is not a good source for melodicas), but Rakuten Global is a good source. One of their main vendors for melodicas is Chuya.com, which is a good one. I have had good luck with all these online sources for melodicas. Before you buy, it’s also a good idea to simply Google the model of choice and see whether any bargain prices come up. I’m a fan of buying online. You might get stung sometime, but the same is true with bricks and mortar.

    #2464

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    In our discussion regarding buying at your local music store or on line, we discussed the issue of trying the melodica out at the store. We all in most parts agreed that music stores do not normally allow this. Well to my surprize I was at The Guitar Center Store and they had a Hohner Airboard display with disposable mouth pieces. Wow I was very happy to see that someone actually though of this. Granted I forced myself to try the famed Dr Suise looking contraption just to say I gave it a chance, unfortunately it was worse than I had originally suspected. (No Surprize here) thumbs up to Hohner and Guitar Center for making it possible to try it out.
    Melodica-Me

    #2727

    beezer
    Participant

    I buy mine online because no stores in my area carry melodicas. I have had good luck buying all 6 of them, and have had good experiences getting things from Japan – they said 4-6 weeks delivery, and the 2 different times I’ve ordered, the melodicas came in 3-4 days!

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