Report on the Hammond Suzuki Pro 44 Hyper

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  • #6738
    AvatarTaylor
    Participant

    I just received my new Hammond Pro 44HP and have used it for just two extended sessions so far. It is too early to give a proper evaluation, but already I have an issue with it and would like to hear feedback if anyone can comment. I will play it extensively over the next couple weeks to see if the problem resolves itself.

    Three hours into my first session with it, a couple reeds in the lower register started to stick intermittently and failed to let air pass through. I had the exact same problem with my old melodion, a Yamaha P-37. At least the Yamaha lasted two years before the reeds began sticking. The Hammond only lasted 3 hours.

    Can anyone explain why this happens or how I can prevent it? Is it bad technique on my part? I assume it is moisture related and I try to blow as “dry” as possible. Using the spit valve to blow it clear does not seem to help no matter how much I do it.

    The Hammond tone quality is noticeably superior to the Yamaha. It has none of the honking sound that melodions can make. The reads produce almost an accordion-like quality, with a sweet hint of a “wheeze” characteristic that is especially noticeable when playing chords. Having 5 additional keys at the low end makes a huge difference and allows me to hit that final tonic down low where it belongs.

    The key action is great. The keys do not travel as deep as the Yamaha P37 and can be played with a quicker touch. The keys are half an inch longer than the Yamaha keys, which may enhance the action. The unit is about 3 inches longer than the Yamaha 37 and maybe a pound heavier.

    It has the built in mic and after researching amps I settled on a Krate PA50 dual amp. Again, my experience with it is limited but the amp has worked well so far. It’s compact, powerful, inexpensive, has decent controls and no buzz or hum. A melodion should never require amplification in an acoustic setting. I used the Krate during an amp’d session and it had way more volume than I needed with 7 other guys on amplified guitars, drums and vocals.

    Since all Hammond HP’s must come from Japan, I purchased the extended warranty. Hopefully I will not need it and the melodion fairy will come to my rescue…

    Taylor K.

    #6742
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Hi, Taylor.

    It is very likely that the reed gap needs to be widened on those keys, which is a relatively easy fix. When you open her up and look at the reeds from the side, you will probably see that there is for those keys no visible space between the reed plate and reed. Once the gap is opened far enough to see a space, the problem should be resolved.

    Alan

    #6746
    AvatarTaylor
    Participant

    Thanks Alan. The warranty might be void if I work on it myself, so I’ll give it more time before taking action.

    How would you increase the reed gap? It sounds like a job for ultra fine Dremel tools and a surgeon’s touch. I suppose I could practice on on old melodion.

    Taylor K.

    #6748
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Look at the Gapping 101 thread I started recently. Watch the video in particular. Gapping is something to be done carefully, especially on an expensive model like the Hammond, but we don’t need Ben Carson or surgical tools for this. A conservative way to start would be to use a plastic toothpick (I use Doctor’s Brushpicks — on my teeth as well!). You might need to use a razor blade or needle to get under the end of the reed and lift it just enough to get the end of the toothpick under there, and then raise it up gently several times and after a bit hold it there and keep upward pressure on it for a while. Be patient and repeat to see if that does the trick. The toothpick should be flexible enough so it can’t exert enough force to threaten the reed. Some reeds will respond well enough to just this to open the gap; others are too springy and require a more forceful approach.

    What you’re describing is fairly common with a reed or two on a Yamaha Pianica. If it’s the gap, it is unlikely to resolve itself. When the gap is too small, what typically happens is that the reed chokes and/or fails as you blow harder. It’s more common in more aggressive (more abrupt and louder) playing.

    I’m not sure what that Hammond warranty actually means. But I think it’s highly desirable to be able to tune your own melodica — at least with one you use a lot — and to do gap adjustments and such when needed. If possible, it would be good to work on a less expensive melodica first.

    #6751
    AvatarTaylor
    Participant

    Thanks, that’s good info. I’ll check out the previous thread.

    Also as a correction to my original post, the amp I purchased is not a Krate brand, it is a Kustom PA50.

    Taylor K.

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