Apartment dweller needs to quiet melodica

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  • #7851
    AvatarRussell Lechleiter
    Participant

    As an apartment dweller, how can I reduce the volume out of my instrument? Lower volume blowing and the reeds won’t activate. Any ideas?
    Russ

    #7852
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    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: https://melodicaworld.com/post_reviews/hohner-26/

    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.

    #7853
    AvatarRussell Lechleiter
    Participant

    Thank you Alan for your thoughtful comment.

    #7855
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Russell, Alan, the post was about a year and 10 months ago.

    How to mute the sound of my melodica?

    I did this and it helped reduce irritating my better half during practice. It does not eliminate the sound of the Melodica it mutes is so the sound does not travel as far. May Sound silly but it worked for me.
    Melodica-Me

    #7856
    AvatarRussell Lechleiter
    Participant

    Thank you for the link Melodica-Me.

    #7857
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Forgot those details. Someone also suggested releasing some of the air. If you try playing with the air release open, some melodicas still play but more softly. On an extra melodica for this purpose, you could loosen screws holding down the reed chamber cover, adjusting the amount of escaping air by loosening or tightening the screws.

    #7862
    AvatarQuetscher
    Participant

    Hello Russell,

    I’d like to add a point that Daren mentioned in another thread: he told us that he likes to practice keyboard techniques (fingerings) and blowing techniques seperately. So wouldn’t it be a good thing for you (and your neighbours!) to train your fingers at nighttime while training your lungs and lips at daytime? Just a little thought…

    Greetings, Quetscher

    #7863
    AvatarRussell Lechleiter
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply Q. Just two hours ago, I asked my neighbor if he heard me playing my melodica, and he said no, he didn’t hear me. I thought for sure he would hear me playing at full volume. I’ve only got the instrument this past Saturday. It is an Hohner Tribal 37 key model with the fancy artwork on it. I will receive a Yamaha P37D tomorrow, and maybe I can play it quieter. The reeds in the Hohner don’t respond to low pressure blowing.

    #7867
    AvatarRussell Lechleiter
    Participant

    Found this:

    http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2255989/Melodica_problems

    A player used aluminum on his instrument.

    #7868
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Most of the sound on your Hohner, if I’m not mistaken, comes up through the keyboard. The aluminum may have some affect on the sound but probably does not mute it noticeably.

    By the way, the unevenness of keys referred to in that discussion is usually very easy to fix by inserting a small blade between keys and pushing them apart or together to even them out. Or by depressing adjacent keys and pushing the offending key one way or the other. I realized this after wasting time taking several apart to adjust the keys. This works for apartment dwellers as well as for those of us who own large estates.

    #7873
    AvatarRussell Lechleiter
    Participant

    Just got my Yamaha P37D now. It is much better than the Hoher. I can play it quieter. The Hohner Tribal 37 key is a piece of junk. I don’t recommend buying it.

    #7874
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Hohner melodicas aren’t what they used to be. Hohner made a conscious decision to emphasize flashy cosmetics and to downplay the traditional company emphasis on quality and innovation. This is actually reflected in company documents not intended for public release and also in the decision (around 2011) go full Chinese on their melodica manufacturing. Yamaha has maintained a high manufacturing standard since the beginning. But there are lots of people who love their Hohners.

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