Reply To: Market for a melodica bellows

Alan Brinton

I am very interested in hearing more about your process as you work on it, David. I tune within 3 cents plus or minus and probably average opening and closing the reed chamber about six times. I start out with readings for the melodica fully assembled, then get readings for it removed from the tray and and work from those, not fully reassembling each time. The whole process usually takes 2-3 hours. Nowadays I’m usually tuning the whole keyboard down to A=440 or 441. That issue aside, though, a melodica’s tuning can be significantly improved by determining the closest standard to where it is (often 442-443) and then just tuning the notes that are seriously out of whack, off by some looser tolerance, say +/- 6 cents or even more.

We don’t really know what kind of results your approach might produce, though, maybe better than I’m suspecting. Conceivably as good as what I get by the usual method. With your method there’s also the option of doing some fine tuning at the end. There’s also the question of how closely in tune a melodica has to be.

In my opinion, tuning a melodica is much easier than most people think it would be, especially after you’ve done a few. And tuning can be significantly improved in many cases by tuning just the few notes that are furthest out of tune. A tuning business? I’d probably charge $35-40 plus postage for a standard melodica, maybe more to tune down to A=440. But this doesn’t interest me.

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