The Making (of a Suzuki Melodion)
Tagged: The Making
September 8, 2017 at 9:07 pm #9283September 8, 2017 at 11:19 pm #9284
This is amazing to watch! Thanks for finding this video. You must have spent hours scouring the internet to find it!September 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm #9285
I stumbled across it on the Facebook page of one of our Japanese friends, Pam. Sorry I don’t remember whose. The tuning apparatus and tools are of particular interest. Also those highly skilled workers.September 9, 2017 at 7:05 pm #9289
What a find Alan! I’ve never seen anything like it. We could do with a translation 🙂 But that tuning device would be really handy wouldn’t it? Could you in theory make one of these with a (not too noisy) vacuum cleaner??September 9, 2017 at 10:56 pm #9295
In my house we have a central (“whole house”) vac, Daren, so the motor noise is down in the garage. There are outlets (inlets?) throughout the house, into which a 30′ hose plugs, and there are attachments for the other end of the hose. A melodica tuning attachment would need to have appropriately reduced or adjustable air flow. It looks like the reed plates would have to be removed to tune in this way, though.
The reed gapping seems to be done very quickly and in an unexpected way. During tuning, no support is provided for the reed, and not just the top surface of the reed is filed or scraped, but the sides and end as well. Also, the tuning is done in such a way that some of what appear to be variables in manually tuning one’s own melodica are ignored. For example, I get different readings on some keys depending on whether the Suzuki M-32C is in or out of its metal tray. Whether I’m using a mouth piece or not (and which kind of mouth piece) affects some readings at the low end. There’s some sense, I guess, in which the readings gotten with a mechanical device are the “true” measures of tuning.
I recognize the kinds of markings produced by whatever that device is with which the reeds are being scraped.
I’ll bet the equipment and processes are the same for Yamaha Pianicas. It would be interesting to see how those for generic Chinese melodicas and for the Hohners now made in China compare.September 10, 2017 at 12:42 am #9300
I believe what makes the difference in the mechanical method of tuning is consistency of air flow and pressure. If you apply equal amounts of air consistently to the reed your reading will be more accurate. example: An air pump with a regulator will provide a consistent 1/4 LB of pressure per square inch every time when set to a specific setting of 1/4 Lb, for a human to blow a 1/4Lb of pressure per square inch consistently without a regulator is not possible (accurately) without the volume of air moving up and down. The air chamber in sorts is a kind of regulator that encapsulation the air in a secondary vessel before releasing the air through. You still build up pressure and can blow harder and louder but not if as you would directly into the reed. (it will still vary but not as much as if there was no chamber) The example I am stating is for reeds inside an air chamber. In the Clavietta where the air is stored in an air chamber and then released out to the reed that is outside the air chamber. This is much easier, in my opinion to tune a reed. When tuning an accordion reed block, they remove the block from the accordion and tune usually on a jig made with a bellow attached to a board with a hole and place the reed block over the hole. sort of a bellow you would use to in a fire place.September 11, 2017 at 9:41 am #9302
It should be possible to leave the reed plates in the instrument while tuning. We’d need a custom attachment for Alan’s hose. After taking the keys off, there will be access to all the apertures normally covered by the key. The attachment could have a rubber gasket, and be small enough to fit neatly around one hole. The suction should hold it firmly in place.
Like a doctor checking with a stethoscope, one could visit each hole to check the reed’s rate of vibration!
An attachment like this would be easy to design as a 3D print. I made something similar to be placed directly on a reed plate, where you blow through a tube to access individual reeds (from above). That technique didn’t work though, the reeds didn’t sound. This could well be due to the direct and unregulated air pressure that you’re talking about MM.
Here’s an interesting little manual accordion reed tuning jig – the only ones I’ve seen before a bigger, with foot pumps:
It might be possible to make something like this where you slide the whole melodica along (minus keys) to access different reeds.September 11, 2017 at 2:42 pm #9307
I had thought of using a dremel tool for tuning but was worried that it might be too much for melodica reeds so was using a cheap etcher. The etcher was affecting the gapping, though, so I have mostly reverted to a scraper, lately a flat ended X-Acto blade.September 12, 2017 at 6:17 am #9312
Here is the tuning reed block I made for the Diamante Wind Vox. It works pretty good, the key is not to over blow. What I do is take a deep breath and release a constant stream of air and not push air without air in my lungs. using my lungs as an air chamber. Not perfect but closeSeptember 18, 2017 at 4:03 am #9334
David I AmParticipant
Oooh,from 5:10 to 5:50 – A MELODICA TUNING BELLOWS. I am taking intensive notes. I want to make one that works as efficiently as this one does! I particularly noticing the little spur that presses the reed up so you can file at it!September 19, 2017 at 10:15 pm #9338
Looking forward to seeing that!
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