Are most current melodicas all the same, regardless of brand names?

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  • #3009
    AvatarRick Reid
    Participant

    I have a Hurricane Harps 37-key melodica and a Hohner 32 Airboard. I’ve seen several other current brands either in-person or on line. The majority of instruments that retail in the $30 to $150 range seem so similar to each other in their general design and even some specific design details that I wonder if they were all designed by the same small group of people and are all manufactured in the same factory or two in China. Does anyone know if this is the case? If so, does the brand name of a particular instrument really mean anything?

    #3013
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    The basic design of a melodica is pretty simple, but there are very significant differences in sound, in the nuances of design, and in quality of construction. They are not all made in China. Even in Asia alone, they are manufactured in Japan, Indonesia, and Korea (at least) in addition to China. Those manufactured in Japan, the Yamahas and upper end Suzukis, are very clearly superior in construction; I say this on the basis of having disassembled a lot of different melodicas. The reeds are more stable on those Japan-made melodicas; it’s obvious if you tune them. It’s much easier to get consistent intonation readings, and they hold their tuning better. Their reeds are also noticeably less susceptible to corrosion. Others can speak about the older or current melodicas made in Germany and Italy. So, while it is true that there are some Chinese melodica manufacturers whose products appear under different brand names and at varying prices for the same or very similar instruments, there’s quite a bit of agreement as to the superiority of Hammond (Suzuki), Yamaha, upper end Suzuki, older Hohners, and some others. Also, read the reviews here and see what the professional musicians have to say (Melodica-Me, Lowboy, Troy, and others).

    #3014
    AvatarRick Reid
    Participant

    Good to know. Thanks for the reply!

    #3072
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Alan, aren’t the Yamahas manufactured in Indonesia? Or are some made in Japan?

    Who fancies a world tour of melodica factories? 🙂

    #3075
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    You are right, Troy. As the politicians say, I misspoke. I was waiting for a correction.

    It would be good to know more about the melodica manufacturing centers (“centres” some say), and a tour sounds like an exciting prospect to me. Having visited craft centres in Thailand, I think Thailand would be a good place for melodica manufacture. What passes for fine art in Taos, New Mexico is routine craftsmanship in Thailand. Maybe Thailand for the Troylodica?

    #3082
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Sounds good to me Alan, it’s also full of lovely people…

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