Does anyone know of a melodica technician / tuner

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  • #4565
    AvatarTom Teasley
    Participant

    Greetings Melodica Fans! I’m so glad to know of this site. Anyway, I’m learning to tune a melodica. Handiwork is not really my strength… It’s of little concern when I’m experimenting with $100 melodica that I’ve already gotten some use from. I’m thinking of getting one of the more expensive Hammond models. I’m a little more hesitant to work on that with my current skill set. Might there be someone here or an accordion technician people know of that could help me until / if I get me skills together. TIA, Tom

    #5330
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I recently contacted George Miklas — http://www.harmonicagallery.com/repair

    This guy seems to know what he’s doing and to be dedicated to his craft. He summarized his services as follows:

    I charge $50 per hour to tune Melodicas and I have a 6-9 month back up – first in, first out. Work currently on my workbench was received 7 months ago. I also replace individual reeds at a fee of $50.00 per reed.

    My method to tuning… The middle octave is tuned to A=440 according to electronic tuner. Then all notes are tuned to that middle octave. Finally, I check fifths and triads across the entire range (exception: I don’t check triads on the bass models)

    As I might assume that you already know, the tuning on melodicas is effected by the back pressure of the case assembly. Therefore, I take all tuning readings with the instrument fully assembled. I disassemble / assemble the instrument 5-8 times throughout the course of tuning.

    A Suzuki/Hammond Pro44 will take 3-4 hours to tune completely.

    In the past three years, I have retuned 8 Hammond Pro44, 2 Suzuki Pro37, and 2 Hammond B-24H

    I was inquiring about replacing a bladder on a bass melodica and may hear more from him on that.

    #5333
    AvatarBinyomin
    Participant

    I spoke to George as well, and he sounds like he knows what he’s doing. He’s also an excellent harmonica player.

    From what I can tell, though, there is no way to know exactly when you will get your instrument back from him, and so, unless it is unplayable AND you have $200 + (shipping both ways), it’s not really a solution for a gigging musician, at least for the Hammond 44 that I’d otherwise consider sending him. He works other jobs, like driving a bus seasonally, and so depending on the time of year, his turnaround can be slower/faster.

    I imagine there’s room for a dedicated melodica tech to make it, now that there’s been so much more interest in these instruments of late.

    I’d be interested to know of any other recommended tuners in the USA, especially ones with reasonably quick turnaround times.

    Any suggestions?

    #5334
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    When I was looking for the reed plates for the Hammond 44 I spoke to George as well, and as you state he wants your melodica there to work on when he gets back from bus duty, and yes he quoted a 6-9 month period he holds your melodica, well that was totally unacceptable in my opinion. Yes he is knowledgable but I want someone dedicated to the craft. My accordion repair man repairs and tunes melodica in the same method George does and charges approx. $75 to $100 USD per melodica and does a great job. He also repairs and tunes for a lot of top musician in the LA area and that’s all he does. It’s Daves accordions in Atwater CA. He has several repair techs working there so the most your instrument will be there is 2 weeks and maybe three if he is really swamped. Note when I spoke to George he could not even get the reed plates and suggested I call Hammond USA direct of which they could not help me at all. I emailed a music store that I bought some melodica stands from in Japan and they shipped me two sets of reeds and some gaskets in a week. It is great that George has a good following of clients and obviously he is good at what he does, but $200 to tune a melodica with shipping is crazy. Heck a cent or two off is not going to stop the show.
    For $200 bucks buy a decent tuner some tools and a handful of cheap melodicas and learn how to tune your melodicas. Learn to make jigs like the ones at the Hohner shop to make tuning fast and easy. Ok the rant is over.
    Melodica-Me

    #5338
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I tune my own melodicas and wouldn’t pay anyone else to do it because (1) it’s not that hard and doesn’t require a very demanding skill set, and (2) my results are satisfactory in relation to my own expectations. I know some others here tune to a higher standard and have the skills to do so. The typical tuning issue, is a few notes that are noticeably off, and that’s easy to deal with. It is also satisfying to do one’s own tuning and develops a better feel for the instrument. Meaningful tuning for me requires taking the melodica and putting it back together again at lest 4-5 times. Retuning to, say, 440 from 443 is a bigger job, which takes me a day or two of multiple tuning sessions.

    #5339
    AvatarTom Teasley
    Participant

    Wow! Thanks guys. I slept on this thread and am so glad I just noticed all of the kind and useful responses! I’ve got some time off coming up and SEVERAL melodicas that can use some tuning. I’m going to practice and use the video supplied here. I’ll prob damage a few but they aren’t really useful as is now. I very likely will check back when I have enough experience to offer a specific and (hopefully) intelligent question. Thanks again for all the feedback! – Tom

    #5345
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    There has been quite a bit of earlier discussion here that’s worth reading, Tom, including some about whether to tune to A=440 or higher. I started out tuning to 443 because that seemed closer to how they came from the factory, but then my mind was changed in discussion, and now I aim at 440 or 441. Reeds can snap pretty easily where they are connected at the base, but this has only happened to me once with a reed I kept fiddling with — I think it was already gone bad.

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