- September 8, 2016 at 6:48 pm #7631
Diamanté Wind Vox
After over two years from conception to fruition, I have completed the construction of my own mouth keyboard, I call it the “Diamanté Wind Vox” Diamanté for short. Translated (Diamond Wind Voice) For a long time I have wanted to have my own signature sound and quality built instrument that I could be proud of performing with on stage and in the studio. Most of all, I wanted it to do things that my other melodica’s could not do, and that was to bend notes and chords both up and down. The sound is that of a darker and warmer Clavietta with pitch bend of a saxophone. The decision on what materials to use was not easy. As a former cabinet maker, I have worked with many exotic woods and metals and I chose some of my favorites. I decided on Koa wood for the natural keys, Gaboon ebony for the accidental keys and Macassar ebony for the body. I also used stainless steel, aluminum, brass and carbon fiber. The main plate is a proprietary clear acrylic blend made especially for the Diamanté that took close to a year to perfect, this information will remain confidential for now as well as the pitch bending system that I designed for the Diamanté. I hope to share pictures of the inside of the Diamanté someday but for now I can only show the exterior. The valves are similar to those of the Clavietta, but work on a dual spring system. The throw on the key (key plunge) is about 1/2 of most melodica’s, this makes it a very fast keyboard and pitch bend by breath very easy. I have set the tension almost to that of a Fender Rhodes electric piano of which I am extremely happy with as it feels more like a real keyboard to me than an accordion or organ. The keys can easily be adjusted for a lite tension if needed but at this time they will remain as is. Thumb screws allow for removal of the wooden body without the need of a screw driver, allowing access to the single stainless steel reeds quickly. The reeds sit on a silicon gasket that allows a reed to be changed without the need to remove and replace bees wax. You can actually remove the replace a reed in less than 2 minutes. I have included a moisture release in the mouth piece receiver (similar to the one I created for the Vibrandoneon but a shorter version) that helps minimizes the amount of moisture that enters the air chamber. There is also a moisture release at the end of the air chamber via a stainless steel thumb screw where moisture can be removed. In the process of building the Diamanté I created a system to tune the reeds outside of the instrument and installing the reed with no change in intonation. I will admit that the trial and error process was quite long and as simple as the end results were, it works to a variable of +-1 cent on the mid keys +-1-2 cent on the lower keys. Note the air chamber does not need to be removed to replace the reeds so the variable is caused by my hands on the body of the Diamanté if I block a sound hole, I can live with this variable and honestly, if you can hear a 2 cents difference your head should be cut off so mankind can study it, you are amazing. As for the finish I hand rubbed oil on the natural keys (15) coats and used black shoe polish on the accidental keys (6) coats and lacquered sealer and finish top coat on the Macassar Ebony body (2 &4) coats. Finally, I hand waxed the Koa and Macassar Ebony with pure bee’s wax.
This coming week, Greg Myers of Myers Pickups and his team will be meeting with me to design a new pickup specifically designed for the Diamanté, so you will be able to see that on their website in a couple of months. I had intended to share a video and pictures taken during the build process but I will need to hold off on that for a while. I may share some pictures of the finish and of the milling process as soon as I get the OK. We are currently recording right now and I will record a few parts on our new Monsters of Melodica video so you can hear a little of it. Also I will be doing a very simple guitar and Diamanté recording next month and will post that here on Melodicaworld. I do not intend to manufacture the Diamanté as I built this beautiful instrument for my private collection and use. I do intend on starting a new build at the beginning of the year.
Monsters of MelodicaSeptember 9, 2016 at 12:40 am #7634Jerry BallardParticipant
Really looking forward to audio and images.
You may not be equipped to consider broader production but when ready you should talk to Martin Maurer about it.
He and I have, sadly, given up on BB following through with their P37 Vibrandoneon/Eolina, but he is exploring the idea of producing one himself.
It would seem a perfect fit to team up with him, unless you want a one-of-a-kind all for yourself, which I doubt. 🙂September 9, 2016 at 2:38 am #7635
HI Jerry, unfortunately I have tried everything but for some reason I can not up load the images on here. You can see a picture of it here.September 9, 2016 at 2:54 am #7636September 9, 2016 at 2:56 am #7637
You are a man of many and incredible talents, Oscar.September 9, 2016 at 3:18 am #7638
Thanks for the kind words Alan, I think my Kryptonite is computers, thanks for uploading the images.September 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm #7639Tatu SalmelaParticipant
That is absolutely beautiful!September 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm #7640
I am looking forward to hearing the simple guitar and Diamanté recording in particular, so as to be able to focus in more purely on the sound of the Diamanté.September 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm #7645QuetscherParticipant
Lost for words… I’m sure it sounds as awesome as it looks! I’m especially curious about the bending mechanism.September 12, 2016 at 11:33 am #7654Daren BanarsëKeymaster
Congratulations on the unveiling of your masterpiece Oscar!
I’m also waiting to hear it!!September 13, 2016 at 12:57 am #7656Shannon MParticipant
Beautiful instrument Oscar. I can’t wait to hear it. I really look forward to seeing the”guts ” , so to speak, especially the bending mechanism. I know you have previously said ” the more keys, the better.” Why did you settle on 34? Also, where did you source your reeds, if you don’t mind sharing? Love the case, too. Custom made?
Lots of questions, too little time.
ShannonSeptember 14, 2016 at 2:19 am #7657
Thanks all, sorry I had not responded sooner, I have been off the grid a little. I hope to have something for you to hear soon. We have been working on a couple of new tracks, it’s just taking a little longer than what we had planned. I know a few of you have asked about seeing the inside of the Diamanté, unfortunately there are a few proprietary items that I can’t share at this time as we are in talks with a manufacture. So for now I must keep them off the internet, I hope you all understand. We recorded a small sample of the Diamanté on our next Monsters of Melodica release so you can hear what it sounds like and how it sounds to bend a note upward, in this case a very bluesy sound. As for the case, I originally started making a case from the same exotic wood to match the Diamanté, but realized quickly that it was not very practical because I would need a case for my case lol. I also made an ATA case that I will keep for possible longer travels. I did find a case that I could take on a plane (picture on the ones Alan posted) that I really like. It also comes with a leather music folder that wraps the case and an accessory bag that straps to the side. The feature I like the best is that it also doubles as a stand for the Diamanté on stage. If someone tips over the case, the Diamanté stays in the padded case. Constructed of fiber glass and covered in brown leather. Shannon asked the question regarding one of my previous statements “The more keys the better”. It is true I like more keys. I started this project a long time ago and at that time I was thinking more about a compact sized keyboard. As for the reeds, I used the reeds from a Clavietta during the build process and was Lucky enough to find (2) sets never used and still wrapped in waxed paper from a gentleman in France. One set is installed in the Diamanté now with a spare set in a dedicated tool kit I am putting together for the Diamanté.
Melodica-MeSeptember 14, 2016 at 6:26 pm #7662Henry LowengardParticipant
That’s a real beauty! Putting a lot of thought into maintenance is a ground breaking idea! I’ll have to look for Monsters of Melodica when it appears!September 15, 2016 at 3:38 am #7663BinyominParticipant
That looks just beautiful! Nicely done!September 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm #7664LowboyParticipant
I will buy one. I will buy two! 🙂 Unbelievable instrument Oscar. What a great effort. It raises the general perception of the instrument from that of student/hobbyist/enthusiast to that of professional. I like others, can’t wait to hear it. It seems like it has nearly all of the characteristics of a dream melodica.
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