Suzuki A-27 (1963-75)


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    Alan Brinton

    I have had my eye out for one of these in playing condition for several years. This one arrived this afternoon. Price at Buyee 300 Yen (about $2.89). Japanese sellers do not seem to have a profit motive in selling their old melodicas, which encourages my faith in humanity (or parts of it at least). Delivery $52. A common problem with this model and its soprano stablemate, the S-27, is breaking or cracking of the hard plastic end pieces. I already had both an A-27 and an S-27, both with cracked or broken end pieces that seriously compromise the airtightness of the instrument, which I have not been able to successfully address.

    This baby is, except for a bit of superficial marring, in near mint condition. It has a deep and rich sound that makes it stand out among vintage Suzukis. The original tube is shown. It came without a mouthpiece, but any current Suzuki mouthpiece, such as the one show, works fine.

    Here’s what my earlier one looks like, photos taken from the original auction listing:

    Daren Banarsë

    Wow, what a design!

    Alan Brinton

    It looks better to me now that I’m able to play it. I’m reluctant to take this one apart, but Here are a few inside shots of my earlier one.

    I may dig that one out to examine more closely. Suzuki did some interesting experimentation on some of these early models, as did Yamaha.

    This design is far more sophisticated than is the case with its later 27 key models.

    André Sant’Anna

    What a wonderful instrument, Alan!

    Alan Brinton

    AND NOW…. Here are some more inside photos, just taken, during which process I made an interesting discovery.

    This is the original, the first Suzuki A-27. It’s a little tricky to remove the inner works from its metal tray. It does not slide out unless you bend the tray. Remove it by springing the front lip out just a bit and gently prying the inner melodica up and working it out. Then the reed cover can be unscrewed and removed. These reeds do not show signs of having been played much or of post-factory tuning. At the high end, there’s a bit of corrosion from exposure to moisture.

    The discovery is this: The pads that cover the rectangular shaped key holes when the keys are not depressed are uniform. However, the holes at the low end are larger than those in the middle, and those in the middle are larger than those at the high end. This is of interest because this is one of the featured “innovations” of the recently introduced Yamaha P-37E (“Adult” Pianica). I don’t know whether this feature is to be found on any other models. Possibly it is and I have simply not noticed it. From my comparisons between the Yamaha P-37D and P-37E, I’m skeptical as to whether this feature actually makes any difference.

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