Reply To: Tokyo melodion/melodica festival

Alan Brinton

The closest thing to what you’re describing as “all metal” would seem to me to be some of the old models such as the Clavietta, which you mention, and the Yamaha Pianica 36. Both are mainly of metal construction and quite heavy, but they do both have plastic end pieces. I have never seen a melodica with metal end pieces, which would be too inflexible for a good fit and seal. Current high end Suzukis (and Hammonds) all have metal trays, but they generally have (in my experience) a harsher and sharper sound than plastic tray Yamahas.

Heavy metal tray 1960s-70s Yamaha Pianicas and Suzuki Melodions are not hard to find on auction sites, at reasonable prices, and most of them are playable though in need of cleaning and tuning. I have described quite a few of these models in the Vintage Melodicas thread. Some of the Yamahas (for example the Pianica 36 and the original Pianica 32) have a very mellow sound. These models, as contrasted with the Clavietta, tend to be pretty air tight. They would seem to be viable options for the kind of look, feel and sound you’re seeking, Stephen.

Because plastic is more malleable than hard metals, plastic is more conducive to good seals. “I just want to say one word to you. Just one word…. ‘Plastics.'” (1967)

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