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  • Julie C.‘s profile was updated 1 year, 6 months ago

    • Hi, Julie. I highly recommend the Yamaha P-37D Pianica, available on Amazon now for under $100. Or the P-32D, if you want something more compact. For the mellow sound, responsiveness, quality of construction and feel. I have almost all the current upper end melodicas, as well as an extensive collection of vintage modelss, and I work on them. Just recently, I tuned a P-37D for a friend. It had kept its factory tuning amazingly well for about five years. I was tuning it down to A=441; factory tuning was closer to 443. There are very good alternatives, including the Suzuki metal tray models (M-37C, Pro 37v, etc.), but you might find their sound a bit harsh in comparison with the Yamahas. These models I have just mentioned typically arrive reasonably well tuned from the factory and hold their tuning pretty well. I find the Yamaha Pianicas to be relatively easy to tune.

      • I have done alot of buying of hohner and yamaha CLONES and while they all seem to have their merits — if you are serious and want to choose only one, choose the yamaha 37 as Alan has suggested. I like the metal Suzukis for their resonance also but that may not be the sound you are looking for,
        As you say most people report being unhappy with Excalibur even though it is advertised as professional.

        • Hi Paul, I may have to buy both, they both have great sounds, but of course, ya, different sounds, one more brassy, one warmer (plus the extra keys). Thanks for your input, appreciate it, ya, not pro that Excalibur, junk.

      • Hi Alan and Paul,
        Thanks for your quick reply!
        I don’t know of course the mechanics of the melodica just how they sound of course, and once you buy it, you own it, so I have been doing a lot of listening online.
        I don’t know if I’m allowed to post links to youtube videos, then you’d know what I’m after. I would like something new not vintage. I’ve narrowed it down to the Pianica, and the 2 Suzuki models. But perhaps there’s others I’m missing?
        I learned My Funny Valentine from the video of the Ecuadorian player Mario Duenas, I LOVE the sound of his instrument, says it’s a Hohner HM-36 Professional (but like I said, I want new not vintage). But you get idea. Also love the sound of Batiste’s melodica, I don’t know what model it is, specifically the green one he plays, at 19:15, in the video of him speaking at the commencement at Salve Regina. I learned that song (Amazing Grace), after a couple listens, and play similarly. Love the sound of that instrument, do you know what one that is? I also like the sound of the one he plays (the Suzuki Pro 37 one) on the show, etc. (video is “Jon Batiste’s melodica). The first two of these three examples of course are mic’d, so I’m sure that changes the sound a lot, ya? Oh, also, the video called “Jon Batiste on the melodica” wondering which one he’s playing there, like that sound as well.
        I have no trouble plunking down the dough for the Suzuki Pro, but would really like to pin down the sound I want as much as possible. So strange buying an instrument I can’t try out first.
        The Excalibur is a piece of junk. Anyone reading this : Don’t buy it! Went out of tune immediately. There is no spit valve!!
        Thanks in advance.

        • Jon Batiste usually plays Suzukis. The melodica he plays in the Salve Regina video is one that has been tricked up and customized for him. It does not appear to be a Yamaha, but I can’t tell after seeing it in several videos. However, Jon Batiste will make any melodica sound great. Same for Mario Duenas. The sound those kinds of players get can be very misleading!

          I don’t think there is any current standard melodica that is competitive with the metal tray Suzukis and Yamahas. Batiste seems to be playing his Pro 37 less lately and to be more into smaller models, usually with 32 keys. He sometimes plays the M-32C, so that may be what the one in the video is. I have compared the Pro 32 with the M-37C and M-32C. My order of preference in terms of sound is the M-32C, the M-37C, and then the Pro 37. There’s a slight edge that annoys me somewhat on the Pro 37 and somewhat less on the M-37C.

          • Hi Alan, thanks again for all of this great info. I went to look at the M-32C but on Amazon and eBay -they were blue. I did find a more classy one (black, leather case) at a site called incendio.com, just googling as you suggested. I definitely like the idea of a shorter one, I don’t ever play those top notes Db + anyway, except for a solo I’m learning (Por Una Cabeza, trying to master Itzach Perlman, but amending score obviously! so makes me think, maybe get the Yamaha 37 for pieces which require those upper notes). Anyway, can you suggest a site where I can buy the black ones (M32C)? Or should I just get over myself and get the blue one, LOL was very reasonably priced. The ones Jon plays are brassy, but also sax sounding, which I like for jazz. May def have to get Yamaha for a warmer sound, ya? Without going too tech, can you explain metal trays, also will they be louder if standing at mic, since when I’m w a band I am drowned out, as you know! I read your review by the way over at Amazon, also very helpful. And went back and looked at video of Matsuda playing, OMG technique, Libertango on YouTube, which I’m sure you know of! random question, read somewhere one of these had wider keys, was it Yamaha? doesn’t really matter, I have very small hands!
            Rambling , sorry typing fast, appreciate your help and eager to make decision and buy!! Thanks!

            • I’m pretty sure the black one with tne leather case is an earlier model M-32, without the “C.” I had one but just recently gave it to a friend. You can contact me through the email address in my profile if you like and I will help you find one.

              I am hesitant to generalize about the affect a metal tray has on the sound. I use to assume that the brassier sound of some metal tray Suzukis comes from the metal tray, but playing them out of the tray while tuning has not seemed to confirm that assumption.

              With almost all melodicas, kost of the sound comes up through the keyboard, so that you will get louder sound if the mic is over the keyboard. Some people say the Yamaha is louder than the Suzukis. I have made no measurements, but I think if anything the reverse is true.

              I am not a public performer and never amplify my sound, but there are professional musicians here such as Melodica-Me who know all about that and have posted about it.

              I have refinished several melodocas with mixed results. The first was turning a blue Yamaha P-32 matte black. That was my most successful experiment, and it was good for about two years. You can find my posts on that by searching “refinish” in the Forums.