Reply To: "What is the best melodica to use for a specific music genre"


Hi All,

I am always trying to apply the melodica to various genres for fun. I am impressed by how many genres I can fit my Hohner melodicas into. But that is for casual fun. My real interest is playing the blues.

For blues music, I believe my Hohners are the best for me. Other melodicas can work in the blues of course, but for me, the darker sound of the Hohner Piano 26, 27, and 32s (HM-26, HM-27, HM-32) are perfect for the blues. All these melodicas are out of production.

In a purely acoustic blues setting (no amps), they have no peer in my opinion.

Even given my narrow focus of music and the melodica models I play, processing such as EQ can provide a wide range of achievable tonality in a recording or live performance setting. If I want–through my setup and processing–I can make these typically dark-sounding melodicas shriek with brightness.

So, if you are trying to select a melodica for a given genre, listen at the base tonality of the instruments you are considering. You have to like that first. Then use processing to bring out that base tonality and shape the sound for a personal style.

I think I am getting to a sound I like after all these years. (I have said this many times before.)
My goal now is not to imitate a harmonica, but rather to create a unique sound that does not sound like any other melodica nor any other instrument. I am trying to get my melodica to sound like a clarinet, soprano sax, and melodica all rolled into one.

Currently, I am finding the Hohner Piano 32 (HM-32) to be my favorite. It sounds smoother and slightly deeper than the Piano 26. I can play high notes without losing my breath, and when I have plenty of air, I can go down low. It is not too big and not too small.

I am using an SM-57 microphone directly into a super-high-quality Presonus rackmount channel strip when I get the benefit of a great mic preamp, incredibly transparent and mild compression, and a three-band semi-parametric EQ. I use a LWBC delay in the effects loop to add depth to the sound.

I use conventional EQ technique to make the sound fit into the mix. I usually cut below 400 and cut a lot above 5,000.

I am using a Vox C4 4-watt tube amp or a Vox C10 10-watt tube amp with built-in reverb.

As I have said many times before, the ability to muffle the sound of these Hohner melodicas against my chest adds a huge helping of instant modulation. Nothing else is like it, and I feel lost when playing a regular melodica.



Back to top button