September 18, 2014 at 5:17 pm #3127
This 37 key melodica for $19.99 looks (except for the logo) exactly like a baby blue Yamaha P-37D Pianica, and the case also matches. The seller says the photos are of the actual sale item. Curiosity got the best of me after a few beers last night, so I ordered it. What the heck, it cost about the same as the few beers.September 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm #3130
It will be very interesting to see if the quality is the same as the P-37D Pianica.
If anyone can analyze the design and build quality and provide the facts, it is you Alan.
I look forward to your report.
LowboySeptember 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm #3153
I have now received my baby blue Faux Yamaha (“Song Lin”), and have taken it apart, made side-by-side comparisons with the Yamaha P-37D, and taken photos. It will take some time to get photos up, but here are some initial observations. Most importantly, it does not sound at all like the P-37D and does not have the same reeds — in fact, whereas the P-37D has three reed plates, the Song Lin has only two. It has a more muffled sound; it’s okay and a bargain at $19.99, but there’s no comparison with the clear, crisp sound of the Yamaha. I thought possibly these were factory seconds or something like that, in which case their reed plates could be harvested, but no such luck.
In many other respects the Song Lin is a replica of the P-37D. Many of the parts are interchangeable. It either is produced by the same manufacturer or is by design a fairly close copy. The tube and mouthpiece fittings look the same, but they do not fit. They’re a loose fit for a Suzuki. The white keys of the Song Lin are a paler white than the cream color of those of the P-37D, and key action is lighter and looser, though the mechanisms and springs look about the same. The reed chamber cover is almost identical, but the gasket is inferior and is not removable. If your P-37D falls off your bicycle and the main plastic body or end pieces got broken, you could replace them with those of the Song Lin. The spit button mechanisms look the same. So for me the Song Lin is worth what it cost as a curiosity piece and potential source of replacement parts (but unfortunately not including reed plates). And it raises questions I guess we already have about where these things are being manufactured, by whom, and as part of what kind of international conspiracy.
I’ll post photos when I get them organized and set up.September 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm #3155September 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm #3156September 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm #3157September 26, 2014 at 5:58 pm #3158September 26, 2014 at 9:43 pm #3159
This is very interesting Alan!
So it seems that Song Lin decided to model their melodica directly on the Yamaha, but using the cheapest possible materials. A bit like what I’m doing, but in reverse 🙂
I like the black colour of the main body, rather than white polystyrene. I’ve only seen this once before, and it was on the Schoenhut – another very cheap melodica.
I really do wonder what those Yamaha reeds are made from…September 26, 2014 at 11:35 pm #3172
The reeds still look pristine on my P-37D. I haven’t played it much. Those on the Song Lin are uneven in color, discoloured, though not I think as a result of having been played. They look worse than the reeds of other cheap melodicas. I just posted a link to someone’s video on gapping the reeds of the Yamaha P-32D. It nicely displays how good those Yamaha reeds look, and we know they hold up well.
Phosphonium bronze is identified as an anti-corrosive reed material in some melodicas made in China. One site appears to have a photo of the Faux Yamaha, however!September 27, 2014 at 1:14 am #3173
Great analysis Alan. Once again we learn that you get what you pay for most of the time.
LowboyJanuary 5, 2015 at 5:56 pm #3678
What about more expensive look-alike melodicas, such as Woodnote, ets.?January 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm #3679
The Woodnote is nicely displayed in ads, but it looks to me like a typical generic Chinese melodica rebranded with a fancy name. It probably sounds okay but is cheaply constructed and doesn’t have the high quality reeds that a Yamaha Pianica does.June 22, 2015 at 1:58 pm #5512
I don’t post very much because I usually don’t have much to contribute. So I read instead. I was in the market for a new higher quality melodica (I’m a cheapskate and so far have only two under $50 melodicas. An Excalibur which has proven to be a disappointment and a DeLuca which has been a pleasant surprise). Now I’ve seen these Woodnote melodicas a lot, but there’s nothing to really go on as far as how they sound, their quality or really anything. All I know is that they’re a twin for the Yamaha 37 note Pianicas. Well, I decided to take the plunge and have just purchased one and it is on the way. I don’t have a Yamaha to compare it to (If I had the Pianica I wouldn’t be buying the Woodnote), but I will be able to try it out and report back if it’s at least as good as the melodicas I currently own. I think that just for the hard case and right angle flexitube it’s already going to be worth the price. Which was under $37. I’ll report back as soon as I can.
CarlJuly 1, 2015 at 3:40 am #5542
So I received my Woodnote today and here’s what I can tell you so far about it. First of all nearly all the notes are a few cents sharp, but that’s to be expected. One note is right on the money. I’m going to play it pretty heavily for the next few weeks and we’ll see where the notes land after that.
Of the three melodicas I currently own (Excalibur, D’luca and now this Woodnote) the Woodnote is the best sounding to my ears. It’s much more mellow sounding than my previous favorite D’luca is. Also the action of the keys is better and the keys are quieter. I find that air flow is consistent on all the keys as well. I can tell you though that the plastic it’s made out of is kind of cheap. Thin and there was even a bit of flashing left on that I had to remove myself. So, overall I’m happy with it and even though I don’t have the Yamaha that this is modeled after I’m pretty sure that it’s inferior to the Pianica. The next melodica I’m probably going to buy as an experiment is a Hurricane Harp that I see on Amazon but has zero reviews. What can I say I’m a gambler.
I will probably be making a youtube video with the Woodnote and I’ll post a link when I do.
CarlJuly 2, 2015 at 11:29 pm #5545
I like it when people take the road less traveled. As melodica players, we are all taking the road less traveled.
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