Can only buy one melodica ever, so which one?

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    Alan H

    We’re retired and moving and won’t have room for our piano. I’d like to purchase a melodica, but there appears to be no place within at least a two hour drive of where I live that sells them. Therefore, I need to buy and get advice online. Amazon is easier for purchasing, but there might be places with better choices or prices. I don’t even know how to narrow it down to the best two or three models (or brands). Nor do I know what a good price is. My music choices would pretty much cover the spectrum. I don’t want a beginner’s model because the one I buy will have to last for decades and be the only one I own. But I also don’t need an ultra expensive one. However, it should allow for some subtlety while playing. I could use any suggestions regarding brands, models, places online to buy, etc. (and maybe places I can go online to see/hear comparisons of models). Thank you for whatever help you can provide.


    the best Melodica models that are new and considered good are :

    1. Yamaha Pianica P-37D
    2. Suzuki M-37C

    you can get Yamaha on any Amazon website, but for me it will be cheaper to buy on Ebay from Japan.
    the Suzuki M-37C is not on all of them, you can get it on Ebay.

    the Yamaha is considered the Best Value for the money, you can hear sound demos on many Youtube clips,
    both are around 100$.

    the better ones (for my taste) :

    1.the Vintage Hohner (Melodica Piano 36, Melodica Professional 36) –
    they start at around 200$ for the piano, and 500$ for the professional.

    2. the Hammond Melodion 44 & Melodion 44 HP (these start at 400$+) – these are a completely different then all the rest.

    you also got the Suzuki Pro37 V2 which costs about 220$, most of the reviews say it’s not worth the money and you should get other Suzuki models like the M-37C, M-32C or A-34C (the M-32C is considered more Fun to play, the A-34C has a Darker sound).

    you can see it all here :

    Buying a melodica in 2020

    Alan Brinton

    It is best to buy new rather than vintage, and I agree that the Yamaha and metal tray Suzuki models are the best bets. But you might consider the Yamaha P-32D or Suzuki M-32C as well as the P-37D and M-37C. A 32 key model is easier to play but not inferior in sound. The Suzuki M-32C has not been available on Amazon or eBay lately, but the other three are on Amazon, with the Yamaha P-32D for about $70 including shipping. For a beginner (on the melodica) who wants a high quality melodica for a reasonable price, my recommendation would be the Yamaha P-32D (or P-37D if you have to have the extra five keys — I like the compactness, balance, and easy portability of the 32 key models.)

    The distinction between beginner and advanced models is somewhat artificial. Almost any melodica, even one that’s cheaply constructed, will last many years, though you may not be satisfied with it for long.

    Alan H

    Thank you ASAF SINAI and Alan Brinton for the information and suggestions. Yamahas are more readily available for me than Suzukis, but I’m not sold on them yet. (Do you know if customs will add a charge if I buy from Japan?) The Yamaha P32-D (blue) on US Amazon looks childish to me, but if the sound and play is okay, then that’s not a big issue. I’m not sure what is meant by a “darker sound” for the Suzuki A-34C, but it intrigues me, although I have not found any videos of it being played. I found some mention of Yamahas having trouble with keys giving out after being used and one needing to either let the instrument rest before they will work again or having to open it up and fix the gaps. I’ve also come across mentions that Suzukis can have trouble with even key responsiveness (i.e., lower note keys not being as responsive to the same amount of air as higher note ones). And I’ve seen references to no melodica arriving in tune. So, quality issues seem to be problems with both companies, which has me concerned about buying any model. I think I’ve ruled out the Suzuki M-37 Pro as a video I came across had it sounding loud and “harsh”. And a 44-key instrument is just too big. What is meant by a darker sound for the Suzuki A-34C? Are all of these alto models? Is cleaning the split valve/draining the instrument easier on Suzukis or Yamahas? Are models with the same number of keys from both companies of comparable size and weight and do they play about the same? (I know I’ve played some pianos where it took more pressure to get a sound out of the keys than others and some where keys were slower to rise back up than on others. That could have been related to age and not who made them.) How often do they need to be tuned and since I can’t do that myself where, in general, might I look to find someone who could (the nearest music stores within 2 hours of us focus on guitars and other stringed instruments, so I’m not sure if they could recommend someone or not) and about how much might it cost to pay someone to tune a melodica? Thank you for any additional help you might be able to offer. I can easily get lost in details and minutia and hope I’m not asking too many questions, but I think I might be done asking at this point. I guess it comes down to instrument quality out of the box, sound, ease of playing and cleaning, longevity, and the cost of upkeep.

    Alan Brinton

    I would say you are over-thinking this, Alan. I won’t try to answer all your questions at the moment, but I will offer a few comments.

    First, I own all the current Yamaha and metal tray Suzuki models, have played them, taken them apart, tuned them and done reed gapping. Quality control is excellent on these instruments, and none of them arrived noticeably out of tune. They also all hold their tune reasonably well. If you are fastidious about their tuning and never having a reed stick, you need to learn how to tune and adjust the occasional reed. It’s hard to find a professional melodica tuner or repair person and too expensive. The keys play smoothly and evenly on all these models.

    Second, It’s hard to go wrong with any of these models. My guess is that you will be pleased with whichever you choose. Furthermore, if you become a melodica enthusiast, you will probably want to own more than one. Each model has its charms, and it’s a lot of fun to switch between playing different ones. It’s like having several different motorcycles.

    Third, supposing that you pay $100 U.S., it’s small investment for something that will significantly enrich your musical experience, which even a $30 melodica will do.

    Fourth, what a melodica sounds like in a video or audio recording is highly misleading. Any melodica being played by Jon Batiste will have you thinking “I want to get one of those.” The sound may be processed, and so on.

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