New to melodicas – Left hander seeks advice


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    Philippa Collings

    Hi folks I’m new here and have just bought my first melodica. Very excited having sought a suitable one handed instrument for 25 years , maybe this will be it..I am a one armed left hander so although I will manage ok for the time being with a hose and playing the melodica flat on the table I would like eventually to be able to play it with the mouthpiece, it doesn’t look like there is anything available at he moment that is suitable so if anyone has any ideas on what could be done, I’d be very interested to know. Great site by the way, I really didn’t know these instruments existed let alone that they could sound so good. Thank you all for the inspiration, now I’d better get practising.


    Welcome Phillippa.

    This could be a crazy idea or a really good idea depending upon your outlook the result of some initial experiments . . . but, you could hold the melodica with your right hand and reach over the top of the keyboard with your left hand, playing the keyboard backwards with your left hand. Many two-handed melodica players provide accompaniment to their right hand using their left hand in this fashion. As a one-handed player, you would use only your left hand.

    Jimi Hendrix took a right-handed guitar and flipped it, restrung it, and played left handed. This put all the controls at the top of the guitar and not the bottom.

    The great bluesman Albert King flipped a right-handed guitar to play lefty and did NOT restring it. The controls and the strings were kept upside down. (The low E string on the bottom and the high E string on the top.)

    Hence, anything is possible.

    Whether you could actually get good at articulating passages this way could only be determined by trying it for awhile. This might result in you developing a very unique style and sound: something you may consider good or not so good.



    Hi Philippa, welcome to the forums! THere’s 2 ideas that spring to mind. The quick way is to place the melodica so that the keyboard is aligned with your left hand. This should mean the mouthpiece is pointing away from your mouth. Make a hose extension to reach from the mouthpiece back up to your mouth. Does this make sense?

    Another way would involve modifying the instrument. I’m not sure what your DIY skills are like… It would be a matter of removing both the mouthpiece and the moisture release section, and swapping them round.

    Alan Brinton

    Welcome, Phillippa. I’ll have to check through my files on this, but I believe the Hohner Basso Melodica came in a left handed version. The Basso is a relatively rare vintage Melodica that was introduced in the 1960s. Current Hammond and Suzuki bass Melodions are derived from the Hohner Basso.

    Bass melodicas are challenging, and a Hohner Basso, if you could find a left handed one (“L” model, if memory serves), would probably need repair. I wonder if Suzuki might also have an L version?

    Regarding Daren’s first idea: there’s a video of a Japanese woman playing two melodicas at once, one upside down with her left hand. It is some Japanese players, such as our own pianonymous, who do the most with the left hand.

    I’m away from my main computer right now. Otherwise I’d provide some links.

    Alan Brinton

    A button melodica (or other button instrument) is another possibility. The original Hohner HM-900 (first Piano 26) is an easy choice. It is no longer made, but there are plenty of them around at very reasonable prices, lots on eBay. Look carefully at photos and look to get one in very good condition for under $30.

    Hohner Soprano

    Although there are no reviews here of this model, it is well known and highly regarded. Sinbce there are lots to choose from, you’d be looking at photos to see a good finish, no chips or discoloration, including at least one mouthpiece, possibly two. If there’s a box in good condition with it, that’s a good sign. There are also the HM-902 alto, and a smaller Student model.

    Alan Brinton

    Oops! Not “Piano 26” since it has buttons rather than piano style keys — the first Hohner Melodica period, but continued being produced at least into the 1970s.


    Hi Philippa,
    I want to be sure we understand what you are asking?
    Do you mean a regular melodica where the mouthpiece is at the treble end of the keyboard?
    Or do you mean something where the keys are in reverse order? Where the highest pitched notes are at the left end of the keyboard when it’s laid horizontally?

    Philippa Collings

    Thanks so much everyone for your replies and suggestions I shall try them all -apologies for not getting back sooner but have been staying in the wilds of Sligo for the feadh Cheoil (all Ireland read music festival) and had little access to the internet. While there I took the yamaha 32 into an accordion maker and he doesn’t think the ends can be swapped around successfully – so I will keep my eye out for some of the models suggested. In the meantime I’m playing it upside down with the hose coming out from the mouthpiece end which works fine for the time being. I don’t think I can manage to play over the top of the black keys is too much of a strain on the hand and feels clumsy, maybe ok if the left hand is just playing the accompaniment but difficult for tunes. Maybe eventually I could get one custom made? Thanks again I’ll let you all know how I get on, cheers, Philippa

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