Melodica Tracheotomy

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  jeff 2 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
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  • #1533

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Below are photos of the Suzuki STUDY-32. This melodica has moisture problems. Moisture collects quickly and creates serious problems. Unfortunately, air vents poorly from the STUDY-32. When you press the valve button and blow on the instrument, there is more resistance than on other melodicas; air does not flow smoothly, and so moisture is hard to expel. In the top photo, you can see the venting mechanism. When the black button is depressed the black rectangle is pushed up so air can escape. The mechnism itself does not appear to be the problem. The vent itself is above the black button in the bottom photo. It’s not clear in the photo, but most of that small rectangular vent hole, about a third, is blocked by a plastic flap built into the melodica casing. The entire rectangular opening is well covered by inner black rectangle (top photo). It seems to me that it I remove the flap with a small drill bit, venting will be significantly improved. The venting mechnism is affixed with a small screw and so can be removed prior to the operation. Does anyone think drilling this flap out is a bad idea?

    #1534

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    #1561

    Kevin
    Participant

    Alan,
    I’ve been looking at that vent. I don’t think it will hurt to remove some of the material as the black rectangle covers the entire opening. I hope you follow up on how well it works.
    On a side note: I was looking at the Hohner Performer 37 the spit valve is identical to this one. Another sign that these instruments or parts may be being made in a relatively few factories?
    On a further side note: How did you get the photos posted? I thought that wasn’t possible on here?

    #1562

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    I guess I’ll go for it and will definitely report back on what happens. My wife’s in Mexico and I’m having trouble figuring out where she hid my drill. It would be good to know if there’s a way to improve crummy spit holes.

    I put the photos up on my SmugMug site (Lucy421) and insert a link for the particular photo. You could use any online photo album site, Picassa or whatever.

    #1566

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Okay, the operation was a success. The air flow is significantly improved with no negative impact on playability. The difference is remarkable. I will post photos tomorrow. Back to the game.

    #1568

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Post-Operational Photos:

    #1569

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    #1594

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    AFTERTHOUGHT: I’m sure the reason the vent opening of the STUDY-32 (and other melodicas) is tiny is to keep the seal as tight as possible. You don’t want a leaky melodica. When you blow into it with neither keys nor the vent button depressed, no air should escape. In theory, at least. The design and flimsy construction of the STUDY-32 are not conducive to a very good seal, in any case. I didn’t think to check its seal before operating on it, mainly because it was so easy to play that a possible seal issue didn’t occur to me. I did think to check the seal after the operation, and it is not very good. However, I don’t notice any difference at all in playing the melodica. So for whatever reason the STUDY-32 doesn’t need a very tight seal. But when I try this procedure on another melodica I’ll be more careful and will start out with a more modest enlargement of the vent hole. Also, any kind of ridging around the edge of the inside of the hole could create a leakage problem with some vent mechanism designs. Although there may appear to be some ridging in these photos, I carefully scraped what was there off.

    #5378

    Ofir
    Participant

    I’m thinking of doing a similar (but very different) operation on my Yamaha P-37D.

    Unlike the Suzuki’s, the Yamaha’s moisture valve releases the moisture inside the body of the instrument, and there’s no direct way out but vaporization.
    I’m thinking of drilling a hole in the right hand side of the melodica, making the moisture out of its body faster when at rest.

    #5379

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Do you find that the moisture actually creates a problem? I haven’t noticed that with my Yamahas, though I mainly play the P-25 and P-32. But what you have in mind doesn’t seem at all risky, Ofir.

    #5383

    Ofir
    Participant

    Having a wood part inside which improves the sound quite a bit, I probably can’t afford moisture to stay inside its body.
    I know that it’s a risk-less procedure (unlike yours) for air pressure sake. However, I’m thinking on its implication when at concert: if I release moisture during concert, it may drip on stage. (A thought: are saxophones any different?)

    #5410

    Rodion
    Participant

    I’m sure the reason the vent opening of the STUDY-32 (and other melodicas) is tiny is to keep the seal as tight as possible. You don’t want a leaky melodica.

    I tried the operation suggested and I do not experience any leaking. Studying the construction, I believe that if something is lost in quality of sealing, that is due to some misalignment during assembling the instrument back – it looks like its internal frame (bearing plates on it) wants to sit very tight in its place when fastened by screws…

    Having a wood part inside which improves the sound quite a bit, I probably can’t afford moisture to stay inside its body.

    Well, I’m not sure this should be a problem. Wooden flutes (recorders for example) never could be well dried. It seems more important that you play such instrument often and regularly enough so that the wooden parts do not get wet and dry over and over and instead are kept at less or more stable conditions… Though probably you’ll be able to tell us the truth after some time – I myself am really curious! 🙂

    By the way, haven’t you tried to shake moisture out via mouthpiece socket (when it is detached) – or does it collect in some inaccessible place?

    #5414

    Ofir
    Participant

    The structure of the Yamaha is very different than your Hohner, have a look at the tuning section to see Darn’s Yamaha taken apart. Shaking may do the trick but only a bit (before releasing the moisture using the valve), therefore in order not to ruin its internal by over-shaking I’ll just stick to the official valve + possibly drilling the hole I discussed above.

    As for the relationship between wood and moisture I’m not sure if I wish to test it that much myself, therefore I’ll probably do the best I can to release the moisture out of the box, and see how the wood react to that.

    #5424

    Rodion
    Participant

    Ofir, thank you for explanations! I will watch the forum eagerly in hope to know whether you will undertake such operation and whether it will help. I grow more and more curious about Yamaha, but if my playing produces so much moisture I think I should collect all useful recipes beforehand 🙂

    #5425

    Ofir
    Participant

    The operation I suggest for the Yamaha is definitely not risky. Also, its mechanics (valves, reeds) does not suffer from any moisture related issue. Just releasing the moisture inside its plastic body (outside its air chamber of course) is a something that I never liked.

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