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  • Monalia posted an update 2 months, 1 week ago

    I love my Hohner Superforce Melódica, 37 so much that I bought 3 because I rely on them for gigs, but I have a real problem with their unreliability. Even though I blow air while pressing the button on the bottom as instructed after each use, I have a problem with sticky notes, usually the notes I use the most. Perhaps it’s my unique saliva that is making this happen?

    I’m wondering if there’s a product I can buy to help ensure this doesn’t happen at gigs or even atcrejearsals. Is there? I would happily buy this if it exists. Please let me know.

    ML Ventress

    • Hi, Monalia.

      The stickiness probably is not due to your unique saliva, since the moisture that collects inside the melodica is from condensation (unless you are noticeably drooling down into it while playing). I suggest rinsing the melodica out occasionally, for example a few days before a gig so it has time to fully dry out. Search “melodica bath” in the Forums here, and you’ll find more detailed descriptions of how some of us do this. But, using a sink or tub large enough to submerge your Superforce, fill it with a mix of one third unflavored vinegar, two thirds water. push down all the keys and spit button to let all air escape, working all the keys. Leave it for an hour or so. Then, again working all the keys, blow as much water out as you can. Submerge again in just water and blow and shake as much water out as you can. Leave it face down to drain and dry out for a day or two. But you could try simply running water into the end of it and blowing a few times while working the keys, then shaking and letting dry. None of this will harm your Superforces or almost any other current melodica. Dust or other residue or cat or dog hair in the air is probably what’s entering between the keys and causing sticking. This happens with my computer keyboard from my shedding spaniels, and I have to vacuum it out occasionally. It’s amazing how much comes out.

    • But I’m telling you, all my new melodicas stick, the last 2 being literally fresh out of the box. I do drool a lot which is a problem when I sing too. I’m convinced it’s my drool that causing this, but have no idea how to prevent it.

      It somehow doesn’t make sense to wash a melodica that I only only bought last month.

      • Okay, Monalia. I suggest that you play your melodicas at an upward angle. You can do this either by directly angling the melodica up or by using a tube, maybe a shortened tube. But maybe someone else has another suggestion. I doubt that there’s any chemical solution.

        • It’s a weird thing. I play upright and into a mike set up next to my keyboard stand. (I have another vocal mike set up directly in front of me. I play standing up and mostly dancing. I play the melidica upright into its own mike. What’s weird is that in both new melodicas it’s the same 4 notes that are prone to sticking; middle C and the chromatic notes on either side of it. It’s a real drag, because, for example, one song has a melidica hook that happens 3 times – that starts with middle C#.

          It’s so important for those notes to be solid. I can and do transpose to the higher octave for those notes when in a pinch, but sure wish J knew how to just get a reliable performance.

          • This is puzzling. I wonder if you’d be having this problem with a Yamaha P37D Pianica or a Suzuki M37C Melodion. I have not played a Superforce 37, only a Hohner Performer 37. But generally speaking, among current melodicas the Suzuki metal tray and Yamaha melodicas are of better quality construction than Hohners. I’ve worked on a lot of these instruments, tuning, cleaning, doing minor repairs.

            Another possibility is that those keys are out of line, which could have something to do with your playing. When you look at the keyboard from a top front angle, are the keys spaced evenly? A little irregularity is normal. It’s usually on older melodicas that the spacing is a problem, with wide gaps between some keys, and barely any between others. This often causes closely adjacent keys to stick as they rub up against each other. A spacing problem is easy to see and usually easy to fix without taking the melodica apart. Insert a very thin knife blade or razor between the keys that are two close and apply pressure to widen the gap one way or the other. You can even do this to some extent with your thumb against the front end of the key. Hold the key briefly in the opened position. More than once I have bought a vintage melodica from a seller who says a key sticks or does not go down, and I have been able to fix it in a minute or two. Sometimes there’s an internal reason, something bent or out of line, but that would not be the case with three of the same new model.

            I really do not believe this is a result of your saliva. You might also try running your thumb and then forefinger down and up the keyboard just before you play. The palm may work better with the black keys. Some melodicas are by nature a little sticky, some of my Yamahas are, and I usually go through this ten second routine whenever I pick one up to play. You can make it part of your act, creating the impression that you have a personal relationship with your melodica.

    • Monalia,

      Could you describe the problem in more detail? Are the notes sticking open when you release them? Are they sticking when you are pushing down on the keys to sound a note? Is the whole keystroke sticky and rough? Or just the initial press?

      If you press all the keys (do a glissando) before playing as Alan suggested, do the keys work okay until until you put the melodica down for a period of time?

      If the keys continue to stick when you press them even after pressing them multiple times, I would say that is a mechanical problem. If you press the keys down before playing and they work fine for a while, then I would say the water build up on the valve/body interface (where there is usually some gasket material or material soft enough to seal air) is reacting with the water to cause the materials of construction to stick. Bad materials of construction perhaps. The materials should be water resistant and Hohner should know better.

      The keys on my Hohner HM models stick often if the melodica has been sitting for a period of time. Once I do a glissando before playing the instrument, they keys are fine until the melodica again sits for a period of time.

      You may need to get in the habit of pressing down all the keys before playing.

      Give us some more details and maybe we can be more helpful.

      • THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME to address my problem. I realize now I was not very succinct when describing my problem; its not the physical notes that stick (which is why everyone keeps telling me to wash my 2 new melodicas I realize in hindsight,,,) what actually happens is the physical keys actually do not stick, the physical melodica action is quite fine. What happens is I blow into and depress my problem area and NO NOTES COME OUT. So I guess its really the sound that’s sticking, not the melodica., which is shy I suspect its my saliva doing the harm.

        I have taken a few notes of advice which has helped but not solved the problem – I put the melodica mike higher so I’m blowing upwards, and also I use mouthwash before playing. Anther thing, I’m trying not to blow as hard, though its not always easy when trying to be heard over a loud guitarist and percussionist.

        I do think there is an inherent flaw to my Hohner melodicas, that blowing hard and trying to spit less shoudn’t be a problem to playing it effortlessly, but I’ll keep taking tips from all of you, as it is helpful.

        I rehearse 2 to 3 times a week, so they are always pretty much in use.

        So again, its not the keys that stick, so much as they do not sound when I depress them. This is a real problem when one relies on them to begin a hook, for example. I need to always come in strong with my melodica hooks.

        • Hi Monalia,

          Yes, the problem you are describing now is completely different than what we thought. It has nothing to do with the characteristics of you saliva, though it could be influenced by the normal water buildup on the reeds that occurs during playing.

          First, blowing hard can choke a reed and prevent it from sounding. It happens all the time on the lower notes of my melodicas. Second, water will collect on the reeds of a melodica very quickly (particularly a cold melodica) when you start to play it. If you play a melodica for a long time, the moisture will begin to effect the performance of the reed and the sound.

          It sounds to me that the reeds that are not sounding need to be gapped so that when they are working under less than ideal conditions (they are wet), they still perform. I would (a) gap the reeds, (b) try and let the melodica reach room temperature before playing it, (c) don’t blow hard, and (d) every few songs, swap out the melodica for a fresh one, ensuring you shake and drain the water from the one you are putting down to dry.

          There is a ton of information on gapping reeds if you search on this website.

          It is a shame Hohner is not getting this right from the factory. You may be able to get the reeds adjusted under warranty. Contact Biil Bucco at Hohner at BBUCCO@hohnerusa.com.

          Lowboy

          • Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have never heard of gappping the reeds – will write to Bill Bucco, though I actually live in Barcelona. He might know what steps to take, maybe who I should to write to in EU (which is where I’ve bought all 3 melodicas)

          • Looking for info on gapping the reeds (so I understand what it is) but can’t find anything on this site using the search word gap.
            Can you suggest a link?