Flexible Ergonomic Melodica Mouthpiece?

Homepage Forums General melodica discussion Flexible Ergonomic Melodica Mouthpiece?

This topic contains 18 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Lowboy 1 year, 11 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
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  • #6560

    Gary Gifford
    Participant

    Okay, I don’t play the melodica. However I do play the Great Highland Bagpipe. About 12 years ago I invented a flexible ergonomic mouthpiece to reduce lip fatigue and create a more comfortable mouth/instrument interface. To date I have sold over 4000 of these things all over the world. Why am I posting here? Because a melodica player just ordered one to attach to his melodica, and I saw that as an opportunity to help more fellow musicians and increase my sales. I do think it would easily attach to most existing melodica mouthpieces, and I think people would find it to be an improvement over the hard plastic. I’ve never spent one dime on advertising and have relied only on bagpipe discussion boards, such as this one, to get the word out. So here’s the site: reedwrangler.net I’ll be around to answer any questions in this discussion (if it doesn’t get deleted!), and I can also be contacted via the email address listed on the site.

    #6575

    Lowboy
    Participant

    Hi Gary,

    It would be important for us to know the inside and outside diameters of the tube to determine if it would fit inside or outside our mouthpieces, tubes, and mounting holes. Fairly precise measurements would be best.

    I personally would also be interested in the materials of construction for parts that would be inside my mouth and touching my lips. (Thinking safety/toxicity here.)

    Thanks for any information you can provide.

    Lowboy

    #6579

    Gary Gifford
    Participant

    Hi Lowboy

    Great questions. The diameter is 1/2″ ID by 5/8″ OD. The the body of the mouthpiece is FDA approved food grade vinyl tubing. The metal insert is plated with a non-toxic metal similar to stainless steel. As the tubing is flexible vinyl, it can be stretched over an object (mouthpiece attachment) that is bigger and alternately it can be secured to something smaller using a tiny pipe clamp, zip tie or even electrical tape. Heating the vinyl in very hot water softens the vinyl allowing it to be stretched over something even larger than would be possible without heat. Bagpipe mouthpieces are tapered and the flexible mouthpiece holds on to these in the same way that a “Chinese finger trap” works. Anyone with a bit of creativity should be able to make this work. Hope this helps.

    Gary

    #6585

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    A first generation Piano 26 I acquired some time ago came with a flexible mouthpiece, which is simply a 4″ flexible piece of plastic tubing; it works very well and is comfortable to use even though you just blow into the tube. I’m not bringing this up as an alternative to Gary’s mouthpiece, far from it. I’m interested to buy one of his, though I’d first like to hear from one or two other Melodica Worlders who have tried it on a familiar model — my main concern being fit. A well designed flexible mouthpiece is well worth $15 or more. I can see how this could be ideal for Lowboy and his playing techniques.

    I have looked at a lot of plastic tubing, trying to find some that’s as flexible as the piece on my Piano 26. It needs to be able to stretch a bit to fit, to be available in different diameters, and to be more flexible than what I find at Home Depot, Lowes, and hardware stores. As you can see from the photos, one downside with the clear tubing is that it shows moisture; the aesthetics in general leave something to be desired.


    Again, my posting is by way of support for Gary’s concept. If his mouthpiece works well on our melodicas, I think we should all get one (or more).

    #6586

    Gary Gifford
    Participant

    So it would be great to get a few of you guys to try this out. If it works, it would be great to get some feedback on how you made it fit, etc. so I can draft an instruction sheet for melodica use. So here it is: for the first 10 melodica players that order a mouthpiece, I will offer an unconditional, no return money back guarantee. So if you don’t like it and aren’t going to use it, just email me and I’ll credit your PayPal the purchase price, less shipping. You don’t have to return it because I can’t resell it anyway. All that I ask is that you give me some feedback, via email or this thread. Please indicate in the “note to seller” section that you are ordering for melodica use.

    Thanks!
    Gary

    #6589

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    What the heck, I’ll go for it. One of the issues is that there’s quite a bit of variation in the diameters of melodica mouthpiece openings. Since I have a large collection of melodicas, I can check it out in relation to different sizes.

    #6590

    Maria T. Grieco
    Participant

    I’d like to give it a whirl. I just ordered it, hope I’m one of the first ten. I have five melodicas, different makers and sizes, three are new. I might also try it out on my Suzuki Andes recorder-keyboard. I am relatively new to melodicaworld and have been meaning to post about my new instruments but things got a bit hectic. I’m singing two masses on Christmas Day! so I won’t be posting again until after Christmas.

    Gary, I’ll give you feedback here on melodicaworld, this way my fellow melodica players can get my reactions.

    #6592

    Lowboy
    Participant

    Count me in Gary. I already ordered mine on the 18th and you are shipping it to Ludlow, Massachusetts. Lowboy

    #6593

    Lowboy
    Participant

    Hi Alan,

    Yes, I ordered one right away. The outside diameter of the tube is going to be too small for the mouthpiece mounting holes on the melodica’s I play, but maybe I can mount it to the mouthpiece itself or to the Hohner tubing adaptor supplied with each melodica or to an adaptor I build myself. Lowboy

    #6628

    beezer
    Participant

    I’m interested in this; I am about to cut one my tubes apart to make something shorter for the Hammond 44s. How long is the tube?

    #6629

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    It’s 6″ long, beezer. I have received mine and am not yet quite sure what to make of it. The question is how to attach it to the melodica, and this will have to be addressed for each different melodica mouthpiece receptacle. What you get is this:

    The flat, oblong end is a nice alternative mouthpiece, comfortable — though each player will have to decide how well it works for his or her style of play and for manipulating sounds. The round end doesn’t fit inside a Yamaha, Suzuki, or Hohner mouthpiece receptacle. So a transitional fitting or length of tubing will be required. At this point, I’d advise waiting to see what Lowboy and others find they can do with it.

    But how are you thinking of shortening one of your tubes for the Hammond 44? Do you mean cutting the long tube? I’d be reluctant to do this because of its unusual black color. Experimenting with some white tube from another melodica might be better — or with some other tubing, surgical perhaps. Are you fancying a shorter version of the gooseneck tube or something like the long hard mouthpiece of the old Hohner Piano 36?

    I think we need to find someone who will try designing and manufacturing alternative plastic mouthpieces, which doesn’t seem like a big challenge. I’m sure most of us have ideas, for example a longer, curved variant on that standard Suzuki mouthpiece with the small round opening, which of course would also work on a Hammond. Or a shorter version of the Hammond/Suzuki gooseneck.

    #6630

    Gary Gifford
    Participant

    Well, it looks like the experimentation has begun. Here’s a cut and paste of the email I just received from the original person who ordered the mouthpiece:

    Tomorrow my hubby will take the pictures and will e-mail you. I will give you my little synopsis of what I figured out.

    –The flexible tube that comes with the melodicas, melodions or pianicas (as they are called) can be inserted into your flexible mouthpiece and into the instrument (at the other end) at the same time.

    –But first you must clip off approximately 2 1/2″ from both (opposite) ends of the melodica flex tube, resulting in 2 small, 2 1/2″ pieces.
    –Then put the 2 pieces together by inserting one into the other (the narrower end of one into the wider end of the other.
    –You are now ready to connect this piece with the melodica and your tube. Since the ends are wider on the melodica tube, I find that it will fit snugly into your tube leaving no air space. Make sure that the other wide end slide into your tube for a tight fit. The length of it should be sufficient to hold the tube firmly in place.
    — If the cut pieces are too wide for both the melodica opening and your tube opening, you can always customize by clipping away from both ends whatever it takes to get the fit right.
    — It’s that simple!
    — you may choose to cut 2 1/2″ – 3″, depending on how much leverage you need, but no more or it will tend to dangle.
    — Hope you can expand your base by appealing to the melodica enthusiasts.
    ** God Bless & Best Wishes! *** Joan

    #6631

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Since the inner diameter of both the reedwrangler and a Yamaha Pianica is 1/2″, a short piece of 1/2″ diameter rubber or plastic tubing can make a connection. I just tried it with a piece of rubber tubing. It can be played that way, but the reedwrangler dangles even if the fit is flush, due to the flexibility of the tube, and the connection comes apart too easily. It seems to me the solution described by Joan will have the same issues, and also that its workability will depend on the brand of melodica (the size of the mouthpiece hole). For the Yamaha, relatively hard tubing should work. It’s also important that the mouthpiece with whatever fitting should be easily connectable and disconnectable, unless you don’t plan to be putting the melodica in its case. A firm but detachable connection is necessary.

    #6658

    beezer
    Participant

    Hi Alan,
    Thanks for the picture.
    Yeah, I would hate to ruin a black hose. My search is for a solution to holding melodicas when playing them at the same time as other keyboards. I sometimes hold the Hammond44 vertically in front of me using a guitar strap, or a harness made for bassoonists. That’s so I can sit at the harpsichord/keyboard and play keyboard with my left hand while playing melodica with the right. I’m short, and the black tube loops up and hits me in the face!

    I bought the Hammond gooseneck extension and it is good for playing the melodica on a flat surface. While I play the other keyboards, I don’t have to use my hands to find the tube and start playing melodica in the middle of a song. The problem with stiff mouthpieces/gooseneck and guitar strap combo is that when playing melodica and keyboard at the same time, the melodica moves around bit and I have to chase after the mouthpiece; looks a little funny and I can’t get a good seal.

    I think I will investigate using SUGRU for connecting this doodad to fittings from pre existing tubes. (I have a a small infinity of Suzuki tubes and can spare one to cut apart) It’s a material that is moldable, remains flexible when cured, is heat and water proof, and is food safe. People use it to connect things together when the shapes don’t match.
    B


    #6659

    beezer
    Participant
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