Reply To: Apartment dweller needs to quiet melodica

Alan Brinton

This topic has been discussed here before, Russell, quite some time ago, probably in the Melodica construction, repair and maintenance Forum. I can’t find it quickly, but various possibilities were discussed, none very promising as I recall. Someone said he or she plays the melodica inside a box. I have had the recent idea of using strips of gasket tape (the foamy kind used to seal windows, 1/8″ thick or thicker). The idea would be to start with a melodica that has an excess of empty space inside and to fill that as much as possible with strips of the foamy kind of sealing tape that’s sold at hardware and home improvement stores. I tried inserting one strip, and it made no noticeable difference, but more might do so.

It’s also important to note that different brands and models of melodica have different volume levels. I don’t know of a current standard melodica that is low in volume, but there are vintage models that are, the Clavietta for example. But working Claviettas are pretty expensive. Vintage Italian melodicas other than the Clavietta (1970s models, for example) are typically softer and quieter in their sound than modern day melodicas. I know because I own some and have been working on them. I recently put new gaskets on a Pianetta (same as Guerrini) to make it playable, and it has a softer, darker, quieter sound than almost anything else I’ve played other than the Clavietta. The Italian Chordiana is relatively low in volume, too, though not as quiet as the Pianetta. Another good option would be the first series Hohner Piano 26 or 27. These are easy to find and not expensive but very nice instruments. Like the Pianetta, they have small keys. The earliest (1961) Yamaha (or Tokai Gakki) small-key Pianicas also have a softer and quieter tone. The first Pianica 32 is the main one worth considering. Early vintage Japanese melodicas are usually in good playing condition, as are the early Hohners. The Italians usually need some work.

This is the Hohner Piano 26 review here:

That’s the first series Piano 26 (and 27). But the two subsequent Piano 26/27 models are also quieter than most melodicas. Not so much subsequent and now current Hohners, and especially not 36-7 key models.

Back to top button