Yamaha Pianica 34, P-34

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Alan Brinton 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #5956

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    The Pianica 34 was introduced during the 1960s and was succeeded by the Pianica P-34 by the early 1970s. The instrument shown here is the P-34. I’m showing in some detail because of its rarity and unusual design. Superficially it looks a lot like its contemporary P-32, but its keypads and the configuration of its reed plates are very different from those of the P-32 or other Yamaha that I have examined. This can be more easily shown than explained, so here we go.



    The P-34 is distinguished by having an excellent adjustable hand strap that is actually usable.
    The P-34 also has an unusual case, carried over from the Pianica 32 — and a very unique adjustable strap. It’s hard to understand why this design, far superior to the standard strap design, has not been used on other Yamahas or adopted by other melodica makers.



    Same rod-style moisture valve mechanism as on several other 1960s-70s Pianicas (and on a few Suzuki Melodions), one of the most effective designs, in my opinion.






    So now here we see the bottom of the reed plate, facing up in the photo, down into the metal tray when in place. At this stage of disassembly, the Pianica can be played, but removal of the plates is required for tuning. The tiny screws (2) and nuts were almost all only finger tight, which may explain why the Pianica was less than air tight — I still have it disassembled.





    The keys press directly down to push open the key pads and open the air flow.



    #5958
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Some similarities to the Clavietta!

    #5959

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    I noticed.

    #5960

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    The more closely I’m looking at this in trying to address its leakiness, the more similarity I see with the 34 key Clavietta. It has to be Yamaha’s answer to the Clavietta. Too much air is leaking to make meaningful sound comparisons, yet this Pianica is to all appearances more solidly constructed than a Clavietta and in much better condition that the three of those I have examined.

    If you look at the last photo above, you see the chambers for each individual key. When the key is depressed, the plunger is raised (from this bottom side view), and air escapes and hits the reed side of the reed plate. By placing my lips over the opening, I can tell by blowing and sucking that the seals on all these plungers are fine — no air is escaping in either direction. So, unlike the situation with an old Clavietta, there’s no need for replacement of decomposed pads or washers, which is very good news. The plunger rod in each case runs from the key through a metal plate which is less than 1/4 inch (I’m estimating) from the bottom (from above in the picture) of the individual reed chamber. This means that the main air chamber that runs the length of the Pianica is very thin. Air must be escaping either from this chamber or from the vent end of the spit valve mechanism or thereabouts.

    Opening the main air chamber will require removal of all the keys. I think some air is escaping from the vent end of the spit valve mechanism. I’m just thinking out loud here, but someone may have insight to offer. I’m still experimenting and don’t want to be hasty about removing all the keys, etc.

    #5975

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    The smoke test demonstrates that I was mistaken about the plunger seals. Most of the ones near the mouthpiece end allow smoke through, and well as some others further up the keyboard. No smoke escapes anywhere else. I have too many other things going on right now to remove the keys and further disassemble, but it looks like that’s what will be required.

    #5978

    Shannon M
    Participant

    Alan,

    I wonder if the caps over the plunger seals unscrew, as on the Clavietta. This should allow changing the seals without completely disassembling the keyboard. From your pictures, I am not sure removing the keys will improve access.

    #5979

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    Thanks for your observation, Shannon. This helps. I won’t just start removing all the keys. At first it seemed to me that the plunger shaft screws directly into the bottom of the key, but now it looks, upon closer inspection, as though there is a little disk (like a nail head) at the top of the shaft that slides into position in a receptacle on the bottom of the key, so that when the key spring is removed, the key shaft can be freed from the key, after which I suppose the plunger may be removable from the other end. It may be more complicated than that, but the best approach is probably to remove one or two keys and see.

    #9079

    Paul Durham
    Participant

    I located your thread on the P-34. Clearly a little later than the seller in the Ebay auction may be thinking. Your photos show the Yamaha branding. Not able to see this in auction photos. I have a small bid but I won’t really be disappointed to be outbid because from your comment this sounds like the new owner needs to be ready to do repairs. With one hand I don’t think I’m up for that.

    #9080

    Alan Brinton
    Participant

    It was designed and manufactured by Tokai Gakki and appeared both under that name and as a Yamaha. Mine is still apart. Maybe I’ll take another shot at getting it working.

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