Alan, like Lowboy states, pry evenly and slow it should be ok. The first time I opened my HM 36 it was a little tight. Quick hint. Use a soft sponge brush with some scope mouth wash and rinse with a clean sponge brush and it helps get the smell out, but do not let the mouth wash stay on the reeds, it will de-tune your Melodica. You can also remove the reed plate and sit in a cookie sheet with some mouth wash and rinse in the sink and dry thoroughly? For some reason or another these bad boys tend to gather odors especially if there was a smoker in the house.