Scala Scaletta 34
July 25, 2018 at 5:33 pm #10082
Hello! First of all, I apologize if my English is not perfectly understandable, but I will write the best I can. I have been following the Melodica World forum and website for a long time and I have learned a lot here, so I would like to contribute now.
So let’s go to the subject of the post. When I started to get interested in melodicas, then came a curiosity about models made in my country, Brazil. There were two well-sold models here from the late 60s to the 80s. One of them, from Universal, is a model called Soprofon, whose information was very well brought by my friend Gui Prioli (which I came to discover was a forum participant just now. It was very emotional to read his research because, unfortunately, he passed away two years ago). Here’s the Soprofon link .
The other model was manufactured by Scala, a Brazilian manufacturer of accordion, in the 60’s. Her model was called Scaletta, which would be the diminutive of Scala, its name. It is interesting to note that the success of this model was responsible for giving the name of this instrument in Brazil, very similar to what happened with Hohner and his melodica. Here we call a melodica of “escaleta”, a Brazilian way of writing Scaletta.
Scaletta has 34 keys and its range is G – E3. I was impressed by the quality of the material used in its construction. The gaskets, the keys (which are quite long, and are similar, if not the same, as an accordion), and the finish (which visually looks like Hohner Professional model, but I do not have a Hohner to compare) are very good. It has a metal tray and the reeds are individual. All this has a negative point: I consider it heavy. Compared to Soprofon, the Scaletta has another level of quality. Her sound is very pleasant. When I first heard it, through a friend, I thought, “I must have one of these!”. Soon I will make a recording to post here as well.
I’ll post some photos in the post, but you can see them all here.July 26, 2018 at 10:39 pm #10085
Thank you so much, Andre, for this significant contribution to our knowledge about melodica development in Brazil. Are the streaks on the key surfaces from cracks?
So sorry to hear about the passing of Gui Prioli.July 27, 2018 at 11:11 pm #10087
Wow, thanks for this, I’m really looking froward to hearing what it sounds likeJuly 28, 2018 at 11:53 pm #10088
Although it looks like cracks, they’re just time marks, Alan. The surface of the keys remain smooth. It is even interesting that you have asked because in all the copies I have seen of this model, practically everyone has these marks. About Gui Prioli, thank you.
Daren, I have a condenser microphone at home that would do this job well, but all my equipment is stored. When I go to use it, I take the opportunity to make a recording.August 23, 2018 at 3:49 am #10210
Finally I recorded a video with the Scaletta.
It is divided into two parts. In the first one I show the instrument with many angles and compare it with a customized Yamaha 32D. Unfortunately the camera did not focus properly, but you still can see the many details and get a good idea of the size of the instrument.
In the second part I play some melodies and chords in various regions of this melodica. It should be noted that I never opened this model of the video, nor to tune or clean it, because I acquired it in an excellent condition (the photos posted before are from another instrument, which I purchased with the purpose of having spare parts). The only issue is the notes D, D# and E, which need more air to produce sound, but which to me are ok.
Hope you like it!August 23, 2018 at 5:48 am #10211
Hello Andre, great video and very interesting Melodica. I know that Hohner had some melodicas made in Brazil that were not common in other parts of the world. Alan here on Melodicaworld, has one called “International” with the Horner Label. This table does not resemble the traditional Hohner label, the name Hohner is a standard font. I am wondering if your melodica comes from the same factory as that of the one that Alan has. the style of the body as mentioned does have a similar look to the Professional 36. it has a little muted tone compared to the Pro 36 but again it could be your recording and the microphone you are using. I know that you did not open the melodica, but when you do it would be great to see the inside and the reeds to compare with the Pro 36. Is this Melodica a common find in Brazil? if so I would love to have one. Please let me know if you see another…
Melodica-MeAugust 24, 2018 at 2:31 am #10213
I’m glad you’re interested in this melodica.
It’s true that it has many similarities with Hohner, but I have not found anything that confirms that this model belongs to Hohner. In fact, as I wrote in my first post, the manufacturer is called Scala, who was a major manufacturer of musical instruments from Brazil in the 1960s to the 1980s. Could they have partnered to manufacture the product? I researched, but I did not find any information about it. But I think Scala may have copied or at least been inspired by Hohner’s project somehow.
In my first post there is a link with more photos of this model, including photos from within the melodica. The photos are from another unit that I have, which I bought to have replacement parts in the future. There are pictures of the reeds, which are individual. Here is the link again:
About the sound and timbre of the recorded video, I think it is very close to what I hear, but like in many recordings of other melodicas, the sound is more beautiful live. I thought of recording again by first playing a Yamaha 32D and then Scaletta 34 to create a comparison parameter using the same equipment. I’ll do it as soon as I can.
It is not easy to find this model here in Brazil. It’s as difficult as finding Soprofon (which you own) or even more difficult, but eventually they appear. There is a unit being sold on an online sales site, and from what I read in the ad description, it is ok but does not have the original mounthpiece. Here’s the link:
I do not know if the person would make an international shipment, but if there is interest, I can mediate that purchase. The instrument is being sold for a very reasonable price and, if you pay in dollars, it will come out very cheap for you.
August 24, 2018 at 3:53 am #10215
- This reply was modified 11 months ago by André Sant'Anna.
It is interesting to see the individually mounted reeds. The sound seems distinctive. My guess is that this model is inspired by the Professional 36. Remember that the Professional was very early, 1964 or earlier. Quite a find, to say the least. M-M will be the one to make direct comparisons.August 24, 2018 at 4:47 am #10216
Hello Andre, this one has been used quite a bit and has the mouth piece receptacle broken. if you see one that is in pristine condition I would definately be interested in one and appreciate your offer. You can contact me at Monstersofmelodica@gmail.com
Melodica-MeAugust 28, 2018 at 2:22 am #10223
I recorded audio by comparing the sound and timbre of the Scala Scaletta 34 with the Yamaha P-32D. I chose the Yamaha model because the sound is more familiar and, in this way, it is possible to have a better sense of what the sound of Scaletta would be. Both were recorded with the same condenser microphone, an AKG Perception 420, with an M-Audio M-Track Plus interface. I tried to play the two melodicas with the same air column pressure and both were positioned at the same distance from the microphone. The piece of music played is the introduction of “Viva Jackson do Pandeiro” by Hermeto Pascoal.
Melodica-Me, the broken part of the receptacle mouthpiece does not interfere because it is more like an ornamentation. The receptacle mouthpiece is deep and it is possible to fit the mouthpiece perfectly. I know this because I have already fixed some with the same condition as the unit announced (although I have rebuilt the receptacle with epoxy and then painted black only by aesthetic). But I understand your willingness to acquire a unit in better condition. If I see anything better, I’ll get in touch.August 28, 2018 at 2:19 pm #10224
Excellent comparison, Andre. The sound of the Scala Scaletta strikes me as a more open, that of the Yamaha a a bit more muted, though both sound more muted than, say, a Suzuki M-32C. I am impressed with the sound of the Scala, which works extremely well for the Pascoal piece. I just found lead sheets for some of Pascoal’s tunes:
https://noteheads.wordpress.com/tag/hermeto-pascoal/September 1, 2018 at 11:03 pm #10230
Thanks for this comparison Andre, very helpful. Funny Alan, I hear the Scala as more muted, and the Yamaha as light and a little transparent…September 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm #10231
You are in all probability hearing frequencies that I don’t, Daren, as a result of damage to my hearing in the military almost fifty years ago. I have hearing aids, as of a few months ago, but I have not adjusted to using them when I’m listening to or working on music or on melodicas, which is quite a lot of the time. I’ll have to put the aids on for a few days and listen again. Possibly, though, we’re not understanding “muted” in the same way. When we’re commenting on the sound of different melodicas and comparing them, I’m afraid that we, most of us at least, don’t have very good linguistic resources for doing so. When I think muted, “muffled” comes to mind, though that doesn’t seem quite right, since I tend to like the melodica sound I’m calling “muted,” but muffling of sound is the problem with my (unaided) hearing, and I don’t like that in either conversation or listening to music. I was using “open” for what I perceive as the less muted sound of the Scaletta. I hear the Pro37-v2 as toward the other extreme in comparison with both the Scaletta and the Yamaha and find it to be grating.September 3, 2018 at 10:26 pm #10240
I agree with your muted/muffled explanation. I’d add, that it is often considered warm, with a lack of some of the higher, more harsh frequencies sometime found. And I agree (from your other post), that the Yamaha P37E is very much muted
We’re probably hearing the same thing, but describing them differently, a bit like wine descriptions…
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