My Suzuki Bass Melodion

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  • #3637
    AvatarKevin
    Participant

    Hello there!

    My name is Kevin, and I’m a melodica enthusiast who recently joined this site. I’ve known about melodicas, melodions, and pianicas for a number of years, but up until recently haven’t made as strong of an effort to explore them in-depth. I’ve had a few different melodicas over the years (mostly cheap knock-offs), and I also have a Hohner Ocean Melodica that I practice on now and again. I recently got a new Suzuki model, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on it, as well as get some of your opinions on the ways I can explore the instrument.

    I’ve had the Suzuki B-24 Bass Melodion for a few days now, and overall I am very pleased with the instrument. I’ve wanted to have a higher quality melodica for some time, and after finding it on sale through Amazon, it was something I couldn’t ignore any longer. As I may have mentioned on my profile, I have learned both piano and brass instruments when I was younger, but what I did best with was the tuba. I really enjoy the bass register, for a variety of reasons, and I think it does quite well with my temperament. But more importantly, because of playing that instrument, I am already familiar with the kinds of difficulty that larger wind instruments presents, and have always enjoyed the challenge it affords. And quite honestly, I think that this melodion presents itself as a harmony of the various instruments I’ve played: the portability of a trumpet, the use of a keyboard, and the lower ranges of a tuba or euphonium.

    Thus far, I have adopted the method of preemptively filling the chamber with air before the starting of passages, and working within the limitations of the various parts of the instrument, such as keeping to simpler note structures for the first 8 “pedal tones”, two note chords for the middle 8 “drone” section, and reserving the higher register for more complex solo or improvisational passages – all of these are things I would do if I were still playing the tuba or baritone. I think this is a good start, and as I further develop the skill, there are a few things I’m considering:

    1. Practicing intonation exercises, and learning what limitations exist for phrasing
    2. Learning about similar instruments which have a similar tone, mechanism, or function within music
    3. Seeing if circular breathing, or similar techniques are feasible with the instrument and my skill level

    I really enjoy this instrument, for all of the aforementioned reasons, but also, oddly enough, because it is unique. Though there are certainly other melodicas which could arguably have a better tone, the concept of a bass melodica or melodion is something that has fascinated me since I first discovered these instruments. And though much of my playing will be for my own personal enjoyment, I am excited for the possibilities that an instrument with a similar function to a small accordion will have when I play with others – particularly in situations with friends who are also playing similarly portable and endearing (and budget conscious) folk instruments.

    I love music theory, and taking up responsibility of the bass and chord notes of a song is far less of a burden for me, and much more of an exciting challenge. That being said, there is quite clearly a significant learning curve to using this instrument – particularly with maintaining phrasing, and staying on beat. For this reason, I would appreciate any advice that you might have for how I can better accommodate the melodica I have chosen for my primary instrument.

    I look forward to your responses…

    #3639
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Kevin,

    Welcome to the forum.

    It is very refreshing when someone has a personal and unique vision and commits to forging new ground. Good luck with that. In addition to some of us sharing our advice, it sounds like you will bring a unique perspective to us as well.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #3641
    AvatarKevin
    Participant

    Thank you for the warm welcome, Lowboy 🙂

    I’ve always been a geek for music theory, but since I got out of high school, I have mostly stopped playing musical instruments. I’m very happy that I’ve finally found an instrument that works for me in the ways I’ve been searching for, and I’m very excited with the prospect of sharing my experiences with this melodion (and others, potentially) with all of you.

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