Cheap version of Yamaha P37D…?

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  • #5642
    Avatarpip-le-fou
    Participant

    Hi, I have visited this forum many times for information. Now I have a question myself.

    Reading through the reviews, I see that many people are fond of the Yamaha P37D. Some of you must be aware that it looks REALLY the same as several unknown-brand melodicas. Even the weight is the same!
    This one for example: http://www.gear4music.nl/nl/Houtblazers-Koperblazers-Snaarinstrumenten/37-Toets-Melodica-van-Gear4music/DT8 (I have an older version with the plastic suitcase, like the Yamaha.)

    I am just curious whether people here can confirm whether this is the same melodica or not.

    Also, if I compare it to my other two melodicas, The Hohner Pro 36 and the Hohner Airboard 32, I think the ‘Yamaha type’ is my least favorite of the three. The sound is good/warm (both Hohners have great sound too, although both are different), but it is somewhat less comfortable to play (longer attack, chords are more ‘uneven’, etc.) and the build quality doesn’t seem to be better than even the Hohner Airboard.

    #5644
    AvatarAdam Tombs
    Participant

    Hi there, without trying to be a know it all, I would say it is obviously not the ‘same’ melodica as the yamaha. It is not badged as a yamaha.

    Comparing quality of sound between melodicas is pretty much a personal taste thing. Hohner was still getting it right when the Professional 36 was being made, however I would seriously doubt the quality of the airboard or other later offerings. Taste is subjective, I was a vintage hohner devotee for a long time but once I started playing around with Suzuki and Hammond top end offerings I quickly got with the modern program. As far as comparisons go, on the outside melodicas do not differ greatly, it’s what is happening on the inside that counts. Do I prefer Suzuki or Hammonds over others? Yes I do, but that is my preference, other’s views may differ.

    I mean, I love the sound of the Melodyhorn melodicas, they are a budget item but in my opinion they have a very nice sound, again, that is just my opinion.

    #5646
    Avatarpip-le-fou
    Participant

    Hi,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I hope I can try out a real Yamaha at some point. This video mentions the same “cheap Yamaha type” and they sound suspiciously similar, but the reviewer did not comment on any differences 🙂

    And you’re right, as with many other instruments, melodica preference is a very personal thing. I was not a big fan of my Suzuki Pro 37 v2 because of its sound. It was easy to play though. The Hohner Airboard is far less “heavily” constructed than my vintage Hohner (same holds for the other ones by the way), but for me it’s the easiest one to play well, especially if you use chords a lot, and the sound is on par with the “Yamaha type”. Only problem is that playing the higher notes costs so much more effort than on my vintage Hohner, and the quality of the notes goes down when playing those higher notes. All in all, I was surprised, given the not-so-positive comments about Hohner melodicas here.

    #5647
    AvatarAdam Tombs
    Participant

    I had a hohner instructor and you will see I reviewed it quite favourably on the reviews page. I have heard the Hohner student and instructor played very well by talented people.

    You own a Hohner Pro 36 in good condition… so you already have one of the better top end melodicas. There is plenty of Hohner love here,, …

    I think it’s also a matter of being able to try the better top end melodicas hands on. You may note that many people have reviewed the Suzuki Pro 37V and found that it is actually inferior in some ways to the cheaper Suzuki model?

    #5648
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Pip-Le-Fou, most Asian manufactures of Pianicas and Melodions provide the same product to different distributors with different product specifications. You may find a melodica that looks identical but the quality of the materials may vary based on what the distributor (name of the company on the melodica) thinks is best for their market share. For example the plastic maybe of lower grade on a cheaper melodica, lets call it “Joe’s Budget Melodica” or higher grade for the more expensive ones that “Bob’s Professional Melodica” distributes. Though the same basic look, you may find that one plays and sounds better or not as good as the other. You need to play them both to compare the tone and response. And yes you will find that there are similar lookalike Melodica’s/Melodions that in fact are the same with a different name, usually the cheaper models. An example of higher-grade materials and lower grade material could be found easily. Compared the white keys of a Suzuki MX-37 with the white keys of the Suzuki Pro-37A, you can see that the quality of the plastic is higher in the Pro-37, and even better on the Hammond 44 (Suzuki product as well) This goes for the quality of the reeds, springs, gaskets, all the way to the case they come in. The cost of the Hammond 44 has an added cost, just because it carries a name that is known for excellence in performance and quality throughout the history of the products name “Hammond”. Suzuki was smart in licensing the Hammond name for their higher end Melodions. Most likely if not for the name it would just be another high end Melodion with a built-in pickup. It would definitely cost more than the Pro-37 but much less than the price the Hammond 44 has now. Suzuki in my opinion is the leader in the Melodica/Melodion world today, satisfying the beginner, student, and professional. Hohner does have their share of the market but their products have not been of the caliber of thier illustrious past. Suzuki like Yamaha products are marketed strong to children and students, it doesn’t hurt that In Japan, it has been part of their school curriculum since the early 60’s. Schools in Japan teach students the harmonica, Melodica and the Harmonium, “Get them hooked on Melodica’s young! That’s what I say”. Though Hohner was the inventor of the “Melodica” Suzuki has seamed to be the company most dedicated to satisfy the beginner and professional by creating a wide range of products for all ages and abilities today. I play just about all melodicas, and I love my older Hohner professional grade melodica and wished they had kept the quality that represented the Hohner name in today’s melodicas. Hey Hohner, it’s never to late.

    Melodica-Me
    Monsters of Melodica

    #5650
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Your post was bound to get a few rises here, PLF. Check out the following thread, in which I compared the Yamaha P-37D to an identical looking inexpensive clone. I thought at the time that both might have been produced by the same manufacturer, but that their sound was completely different, and the materials and workmanship of the Song Lin were grossly inferior, as is the sound.

    Faux Yamaha?

    Now, after doing research on the history of Yamaha Pianicas, I do not believe that the Song Lin is produced in the same manufacturing plant or that Yamaha would have any business dealings with a company that would produce a melodica of such inferior quality. Yamaha has been very conservative and has closely guarded the quality of their Pianicas. When Yamaha exported production to Indonesia (where all their Pianicas are now made), there was no drop-off in quality. Close comparison of a current P-32D (made in Indonesia) with an earlier P-32D (made in Japan) shows this. All the parts are identical, same material, same finish work, no detectable difference in the reeds, and the sound is the same. The Song Lin is probably made in China. It is a cheap imitation, a counterfeit. Genuine Yamaha Pianicas bear the Yamaha label. During the 1960s, Yamaha Pianicas were manufactured by Tokai Gakki, and some (same models) were marketed by Tokai Gakki marked simply with “Pianica.” Tokai Gakki still makes some pianicas, but not models that are the same as current Yamaha Pianicas.

    There are lots of melodicas that look a lot like Yamahas, because the modern generic Chinese melodica is heavily influenced by the Yamaha look.

    The Yamaha look-alike to which you linked might be a nice melodica and a real bargain for what it is. But it won’t be the same thing as a Yamaha P-37D.

    #5652
    Avatarpip-le-fou
    Participant

    Hi,

    Thanks, that is really helpful, and good to know that sometimes we can still trust A-brandanufacturers for producing higher quality stuff. (Unfortunately, there are many examples nowadays of manifacturers who simply put their brand name on a generic product and raise the price. My brandless melodica even has an empty plate where a manufacturer can put its brand name…)
    In this case, the melodicas were SO similar that perhaps the same mould was used but with different materials and internals.

    Anyway, I may try the Pianica from Yamaha now 🙂
    Thanks

    #5653
    Avatarpip-le-fou
    Participant

    Actually, now that I look at the photos better, I see there are quite some small differences!

    #5654
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Can’t go wrong with the real Yamaha!

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