Which instrument for a cheap try-out?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Helen R 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #9622

    Helen R
    Participant

    I’d love to have a go on a melodica, but I can’t spend much. My criteria are
    – soft/mellow sound, even if that means quiet. Really not keen on toppy, scratchy hard-edged tone. (Don’t mind a breathy, melodeon-ish sound though).
    – In tune or easily tuneable
    – smooth action

    Is it better to start with a 27 or a 32, rather than a 37-key, for ease of playing?
    If I buy second-hand to I risk buying something untuneabley knackered?

    What do you recommend?
    cheers
    Helen

    #9623

    Helen R
    Participant

    By the way, I also have the option of buying in the USA as I’m going to visit relatives & friends in March.
    Thanks very much to Daren for the 13-melodicas review on Youtube, which is what brought me here. Very informative, but of course I fell in love with the Victoria Vibrandoneons, which are well out of my league! My other favorite was the Clavietta – is there more information on that one? When I searched, all sorts of different brands and models were coming up.

    #9626

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Claviettas are almost universally in need of repair to make them air tight, and it’s a tricky business.

    If you’re visiting the U.S. and don’t have good Amazon access where you are, I suggest ordering for delivery from Amazon to your relatives. It is easier to play a smaller melodica. Among inexpensive models, I’m partial to the Suzuki STUDY-32 for its sound. Currently it’s just under $40 at Amazon (usually it’s cheaper). However, the Yamaha P-25F Pianica is a very high quality melodica, vastly superior, at $55. It only has 25 keys, but it is comparable in construction quality and sound to the more expensive 32 and 37 key Yamahas. I have a large melodica collection, and I play the P-25 as much as anything.

    Others will disagree!

    #9627

    Helen R
    Participant

    Thanks Alan! On a 25-key melodica, which keys can you comfortably play in? (I’m thinking of Irish tunes mainly).

    #9628
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Hi Helen, you’ll struggle to play Irish tunes on a 25 note melodica, as the range just isn’t big enough. You can play many of them on a 32 note instrument though, as long as it starts on the G below middle C, like the Yamaha P-32D

    There’s no particular keys that it favours, just some tunes that might need an extra note or two at the top

    #9629

    Helen R
    Participant

    Hi Daren, thanks – that’s exactly what I needed to know! Yamaha P-32D leads the running, then.

    #9630

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    I agree with Daren, Helen.

    I play mostly Jazz tunes from fake sheets and just jump around between octaves and improvise on the 25 key model. It’s beyond me figuring out how to do that on an Irish tune.

    The P-32D (or E, but the differences seem to be just cosmetic — I think the D is a little bit heavier), I see now, is at a price not much higher than the P-25F. Can’t go wrong with the P-32D. You will love it. The Yamahas come pretty well tuned and hold their tuning well.

    #9632

    Helen R
    Participant

    Great, the P32 it is. 🙂

    #9634

    Helen R
    Participant

    Just ordered one from Japan. (Shame they don’t have a colour range – blue it is, then.) Hope it arrives quickly, really can’t wait to try it now. Thanks for helping me choose.

    #9636
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Good choice!

    #9647

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Excellent choice. This is a choice you won’t regret — welcome to Yamaha Pianica Fan Club!

    They actually also have pink. I have refinished a couple of P-32Ds (black, gold, silver, finally a gold-silver combo). They look cool, but the new finish is not as durable, even after repeated polishing, especially if you play without a mouthpiece.

    #9650

    Helen R
    Participant

    Oddly, all the ones I saw for sale were blue. I’m not crazy about that shade of blue, I wish they had that nice minty green that Hohner do, which is on this forum’s header pic! Or black, or red. I’d feel a bit ludicrous with pink.
    How did you re-finish them? I was pondering that in my mind. I daresay spray paint wears off quite fast… but maybe I’d get an interesting result, one way or another. Interested to hear how you did yours.

    #9651

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    The first refinish, in black, lasted about a year, with me playing that melodica on almost a daily basis and usually without a mouthpiece. It didn’t look bad when some blue started showing through on edges and corners. It isn’t hard to redo it , say, annually. But I fund that a sticky feeling was somewhat of a problem with the later refinishes, though I had longer drying times and polished up with auto waxes. Now when I play the silver-gold one, I usually have a micro-cloth in hand (the yellow kind used on autos) and give it a bit of a rub down. If you’re performing this could be part of your act, like Louis Armstrong’s hankerchief, and handy when you work up a sweat.

    The blue looks better in person, in my opinion. And if you really dig a melodica, you start to like the color.

    Refinish of Yamaha P-32D

    #9656

    Helen R
    Participant

    Wow, thanks for the link – excellent results. The curing time for the paint is quite an issue though. Maybe later, if I really get into the melodica and end up with more than one (which seems to be the general fate). Meanwhile I can concoct some fancy paintwork ideas. 🙂

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