Reply To: Yamaha Soprano P-S25F

Alan Brinton

I have two Yamaha P-S25 soprano Pianicas, a P-S25F (1991-present) made in Indonesia and a P-S25E (1983-91) made in Japan. I decided to work first with the P-25E, as it is in better condition, was more in tune, and seems to be of higher quality construction (though this impression may be due to the difference in their condition). The E version also has the more compact older case and is of a reasonable blue color, as contrasted with the F’s putrid green. Here’s the P-S25F. I’ve had to adjust to show the real color, as my camera refuses to acknowledge this color in a melodica. Here also are the cases for comparison.

We move on now to the P-S25E

You can see where stickers were affixed to keys.

Everything other than the range of notes and reeds (F4-F6) is essentially the same as in the alto counterpart, the P-25F. Solid construction, good fit of all parts, large screws both on the main body and on the reed cover. These models can be easily and repeatedly disassembled and assembled. Whatever the material of the main gasket is, it does not deteriorate over time. The reed chamber is completely airtight.

We can see that this Pianica has been subjected to amateur tuning. It (like the comparable Suzuki Soprano I posted on recently) was way out of tune. I decided to tune to A=440, again using my Wen variable speed electric engraver.

I won’t go into details of the tuning, except to say that it was a long process during which I opened up the Pianica nine times and also found myself having to make gapping adjustments — maybe because I have recently become more conscious of the need to adjust gaps so all the notes play uniformly and there’s no choking, but also so each note has the feeling of playing freely and without hesitation. I realized in this my second experience using the electric engraver that it works more predictably when applied near the base of the reed to flatten. I ended up getting the sharpening of notes toward the tip of the reed right by scraping with the curved, pointed files that I have used in the past.

From my recent experience working on the 1970s Suzuki Soprano 25 and the Yamaha P-S25F, I have concluded that tuning and gapping are more challenging with these soprano melodicas but that they are critical in getting a clean and pleasant sound.

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