Although I have in tuning been trying to maintain a consistent level of loudness that’s in the area of the level at which I play, it had not occurred to me to use a decibel meter. I will definitely follow up on that. Thanks very much for that suggestion.
I can’t find anywhere to order the MRT-01 repair kit. I’d like to have one, but I’m afraid the cost of getting one from Japan would be excessive. Also, it looks like the tools are not much different from what I’m already using. How flexible is the spatula (or reed lifter as some would call it)? I use a 3/8″ strip from a business card or plastic credit card as a lifter. I’m a bit nervous about the kit instructions for tuning, because they have you filing cross-wise, which creates the burr problem at the edges and also would seem to me to place the reed at risk. I insert my lifter lengthwise, to within 1/4″ of the base, and then scrape or file vertically rather than horizontally with curved needle-nosed files (making finer adjustments by scraping with the corner of a razor blade). I’m curious about how flexible the spatula is, as that would make a difference in what kind of support it provides and how much flexibility in bending the reed.
What you say about a balanced sound makes sense. I’ll have to think further about that. My professional musician friend hits chords abruptly on his melodica rather than holding them at all, and that seems to me to work well. I think someone else here also mentioned that technique recently. I’m working on it.
This kind of discussion is very helpful to me, Steven. Thanks for your insights.