How to mute the sound of my melodica?

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  • #3643
    AvatarDidier
    Participant

    hello , It’s my first post on this forum.
    As a beginner I wish to train myself on the evenings, unfortunately the children sleep… I wonder if there is device to mute the sound ( like a practice mute for the trumpet), or if you have an advice.
    Does exist a 100% electronic melodica?

    #3645
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Didler,

    Welcome to the forum.

    Interesting question. I have been thinking about ways to minimize the projected sound of my melodicas so that the audience in a small venue hears more of the sound coming out of my amp than the acoustic sound of the melodica. I want to do this because I process the sound through effects pedals and want the audience to hear–ideally–just the processed sound.

    My ideas include: (1) partially surrounding myself with sound-adsorbing tiles or panels including a sound adsorbing rug, (2) using a clear plexiglass drum shield, (3) attaching some sound absorbing materials to my melodica, (4) using a microphone isolation shield, and (5) trying to get my amplified sound as loud as possible without feedback, so I can play softly.

    The last two ideas will not help you as they are intended for performance. I have not tried to implement the first three ideas yet as I am still thinking about which direction could be best and least intrusive on a stage.

    I can tell you, that if you buy a melodica with the sound holes on the back (there are only a couple of models like this in the world), you can hold the back of the melodica tightly against your chest, effectively muting it. It is a funny position to play in, but I do it fairly often. If you play softly in this position, the melodica volume is reduced substantially. Maybe if you had one of the melodicas, you could put tape or other materials over the holes.

    Note: Many melodicas have holes on the back for ventilation and maybe some sound tuning, but only a few models actually direct all the sound out of the back side of the instrument. On most melodicas, the sound is projected out through the keybed.

    So, I think for now, the best advice I have is to go to the room farthest from the children, shut all the doors in between, and play softly. If you develop a good technique for muting your melodica, let us know.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #3646
    AvatarDidier
    Participant

    Thank a lot for the detailed reply Lowboy. Do you have a particullar model in mind with sound projected by the back?

    #3647
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Dudler, this may sound funny but it works. When I really got into my melodica I was playing it at all hours of the night and well I think you know how my wife felt. What I did was get a cardboard box and lined it with foam on every surface and played my melodic in the box it took about 75% of the sound and was able to close the door and not irritate anyone lol. I now have a room dedicated for practice and no longer use the box. Note if your opening on you box is to big you can put a towel over it and that helps a lot as well. It is something you need to get used to but it does work.
    Melodica-Me
    Monsters of Melodica

    #3648
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Sorry Didier, not Dudler
    Melodica-Me

    #3649
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Didler,

    The Hohner Piano 26, 27, or 32. The shorter ones (26 and 27) are slightly easier to handle. Of course, to hold them against your body requires that you do not use the handle on the back, but rather hold them at the bottom (end opposite the mouthpiece).

    These models are no longer in production but you can buy them pretty readily on Ebay and other auction sites for roughly $30 to $80 dollars.

    Note that Hohner makes several models loosely referred to as Piano 26s and Piano 27s. The one with the sound holes on the back look like this:

    Hohner Melodica

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #3650
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Melodica-Me has a great idea that does not cost anything.

    Melodica-Me, can you provide more details? How did you hold the melodica and the box at the same time? Did you prop the box up and stand in front of it with the melodica pointing into the box?

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #3651
    AvatarDidier
    Participant

    Lowboy: Thanks a lot for the informations! Mine is the Honner Student 32 which seems identical to the piano model. I tried to close the aligned holes on the back with a self adhesive door seal, but I haven’t notice an improvement.

    Melodica-me:An isolated box around the melodica is certainly a good idea but mine must be transparent, I have to see the keys! I will think about it.

    #3652
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Hi Didier

    Welcome to the forum. I like to practise silently at least 50% of the time. This means no blowing, so I can work on just the finger movements. It’s great to do late at night, or even while travelling…

    #3653
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Love your box idea MM 🙂

    #3654
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Really simple Lowboy, the box was approx. 18″x18″ enough to get my melodica and hands in you can still see the melodica, but if you want to completely close your view just place a towel over the top and let it drape over loosely. It is not the cone of silence it just reduces the over all loudness of the melodica. Do this in a room with the door close and it works great. I place the box on a folding table and sat in a folding chair. No rocket science here. I used cheap foam I purchased at a material store, the one I purchased was 1 1/2 thick used for upholstery. Box was free and foam cost about $8 bucks I had some glue so I was only out the foam.
    There you go.
    Melodica-Me
    Monsters of Melodica

    #3656
    AvatarAndre
    Participant

    Hi guys!

    This is a quite interesting post!
    I also would like to find a way to reduce the volume of the melodica.
    For playing at night, to not upset my family inside the house and also the neighbors.
    Normally I compose a melody during the day time, and I go on practicing it trough the night, playing the melodica really low.
    Quite often I am playing so low, that a lot of keys don´t even can be heard. This is not a bad thing per se.
    The problem is that it is hard to improve the melody, and of course composing new ones.
    Sometimes I get a bit frustrated because normally it is at night that I feel more creative.
    I guess there is more creative energy during nighttime than during daytime.
    So I think I will try this box idea.
    Maybe it would be a temporary solution for this “problem”.

    #3660
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Didier, the melodicas Lowboy mentioned are from the 1970s and are completely different from the current Hohner Student 32. The 1970s Hohners, Piano (or HM) 26, 27, and 32 models are lower in volume.

    I have another suggestion, though it will work better with some models than others. If a Melodica is somewhat leaky, it will play, but at lower volume. So if you partially depress the spit valve button or lever, that will mute the sound. A few melodicas have a screw-off spit valve cover, which can be loosened. The ones I can think of, though, are expensive, the Suzuki Pro V37 and the vintage Hohner Piano-36, which is otherwise loud. But you could also just get an extra inexpensive melodica like the Student 32 and loosen screws on the reed chamber to make it leaky.

    #3677
    AvatarDidier
    Participant

    Thank for the infos Alan! I think i’ll open the beast soon for my knowledge.

    #3694
    AvatarSteven Morris
    Participant

    If you play softly, your instrument will go sharp. Is it possible to get a new instrument for practice and tune it REALLY flat so that you can play it quietly? Of course you’ll have to adjust the reed height as well.

    On my instrument, I have tuned the higher notes flat because they were sounding so loud. I think can get a more mellow tone this way as well. However I have not taken my instrument to the extreme… I think I have a couple of extra reed plates. I may experiment with this to see if I can accomplish two things: 1. Quieter instrument and 2. Mellower tone.

    Before I try, does anyone have any experience with this?

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