Reply To: Silvertone Orgamonica

Alan Brinton

It might be possible to replace the front, white key strip without removing keys, but all the keys have to be removed to replace the back, black key strip. These strips are apparently of the same material as the original gasket. In addition to the green material, there’s a cloth-like backing, which I peeled off with the gasket, but which I left in place here because the backing is wider in dimension on the back strip than its plastic foundation.

With some melodica springs, you have to be careful not to accidentally launch a spring into the stratosphere — not so with these. The instrument I’m using to remove and replace springs is a dental instrument, courtesy of my dentist’s assistant.

It’s important to keep your keys in order with these old Italian melodicas, as each key is different, either by design or from having been manipulated to fit. The dental instrument is also good for the first run at removing crumbling gasket material.

followed in this case by scraping with the X-Acto knife.

Now thinner gasket tape, again cut into strips. Here I’m using Saint-Gobain 100S Strip-N-Stick Silicone Gasket Tape, 30′ Length, 1/2″ Width, 1/16″ Thick. Because its adhesive is not very effective, I’m securing the strip with spots of Loctite super glue, probably not the best choice but what I had on hand.

Now replacing the keys.

Finally, reassembled, this is how she now looks:

Not like this with the numbers strip, since I was unable to mount it so that it didn’t interfere with the keys.

The fact is that it is hard to get the Orgamonika back into its metal case and properly seated, and this interferes with getting a good seal for the reed chamber. This is an engineering failure. This is also not a comfortable melodica to hold in the hand. It is angular and awkward, and slippery. It comes in an ugly box. Well, this may be a cultural thing.

This Orgamonica is, however, now playing reasonably well, except that it still leaks a bit too much air, and I’ll probably be trying to address that issue by replacing some springs and possibly by replacing the pad on the air venting mechanism, though that may be a challenge. It also occurs to me that an alternative approach with the gasket might be to replace it by laying down wider strips of gasket tape on the bottom wall of the Orgamonica. Tightening the main bolts reduces leakage in this case, but I’d rather not push that too far. Hand tight is sufficient with the Pianino, Pionetta, etc.

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