Reply To: Yamaha 32 (vintage)

Alan Brinton

Some Notable Features:

1. This pianica is relatively heavy and sits in a metal tray, like the high end Suzukis.

2. The keys are much smaller, i.e. thinner and shorter, than those on the modern day Yamahas. They are narrower though longer than those on the old “piano flute” Hohners from the late 1950s and early 60s. They do not feel as stubby. The keys have a relatively springy feel, and action is even up and down the keyboard.

3. The spit valve arrangement is unique among melodicas I have seen. There is a button at the mouth end that pushes out the little metal plate you see on the other end. This seems like a very solid arrangement. I have not yet disassembled this instrument, but it seems that a solid rod must extend from the button to the cover, and its use creates a feeling of quality and solidity.

4. The mouthpiece is very similar to the modern duck-bill mouthpieces of Yamahas, though the diameter is very slightly smaller.

5. Venting is on the front (past the black keys) of the body of the Yamaha 32, and it is very attractive, in my opinion. Whether it is Bootay friendly, I am not able to immediately determine).

6. While I have not disassembled this instrument, it seems clear that doing so will involve removing the end pieces, and sliding out of the tray.

7. The keyboard of the Yamaha 32 starts at G and ends on D, while the keyboard of the P-32D starts (like all modern day altos) at F and ends on C.

8. The sound is, again, remarkably similar, but I should add that the Pianica 32 is not quite as mellow as that of the P-32D.

9. On the bottom of the Pianica 32 are a 3 inch loop of strap at one end and a strap and a strap fitting on the other, inviting you to devise something (if you feel the need) other than the ridiculous hand straps to be found on most melodicas.
I have not posted comparison photos partly because my working P-32D is now finished in black, and partly because I have discovered a Japanese blog in which the blogger makes comparisons between the very similar Yamaha 32A and the P-32D. He also examines the insides of the 32A and provides photos. Google will translate for you, as for me, if you’re not fluent in Japanese.

Here is his main comparison photo:

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