Suzuki B-24 Bass Melodion

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  • #2025
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Monsters of Melodica uses this melodion, so maybe Oscar knows something about the problem I’ve had with the Suzuki B-24 since it was new — Leakiness — and the problem has gotten worse. Kevin and I have discussed the small baffles (as I’ve referred to it) on a couple of Suzukis. On those models it’s a small rubber patch that expands and contracts as notes are played or when you blow into the melodica with no keys depressed. On the B-24, the entire cover of the reed chamber has a similar baffle. In the photo, you can see the indentations on the inside of the cover that correspond to the bumps on the outside. As you play notes, the entire baffle expands and contracts (but does not inflate). In addition to leakage, my B-24 is badly out of tune. The baffle/cover is also troublesome to remove; as you can see in the photo, there are 11 screws with oblong washers. I have been careful to keep the washers in line with their original positioning. Tightening the screws reduces the problem minimally. This is only the second time I have removed the cover, and the gasket is in good shape. I applied silicon lubricant to the gasket, which helped only minimally. Possibly sealant is needed along the seams where the baffle is glued to the cover. It looks like it would be suicidal (melodicacidal?) to try to remove the baffle from the cover.

    I like the sound of this melodica, but I can’t play it.

    "                               "

    #2026
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    #2027
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Hello Alan, thank you for your comments on the Monsters of Melodica video, they are greatly appreciated. Now for that bad boy . I now own the Hammond BB the Suzuki B-24 and the Hohner Basso, and they are all three basically built the same way. The bladder on the back side is the cause of most of these melodicas problems. I picked up the Basso about a month ago it worked and sound great, for about an hour. I started to loose air at low C and below, funny thing is that at E above low C the melodica played well I played a little more and slowly it got worst. I opened the back side and discovered a small hole maybe 2MM long. I went to my garage and got a tube of “Latex” caulking NOT “silicone” you need to be careful some materials react bad to silicone. I placed a small layer “very little” let it dry and then put another thin layer. I let it dry over night and played it in the morning and it worked great. Unfortunately the more I played it more holes appeared, Basically the bladder was deteriorating. it was old and it had signs of dryness. I called Hohner and got the “We will have to look into this and get back to you” that was 3 weeks ago. Alan can you shoot a picture of the bladder straight down and not in an angle and place a rule next to it. I think I can use the same material on the Basso. And I think I can get that bladder from Suzuki hopefully with no pre cut holes.
    The bladder does not stay inflated, you should see it fill for a second then it will leak out
    (normal) also the tuning will be off if there is a hole (its kind of like bending notes).

    Melodica-Me

    #2028
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    That sheds some light. The bladder on mine is in new condition with no sign of holes or deterioration. The measurements in the photos here are a bit misleading visually. In each case the rule starts right on the edge although the metal clip gives a different impression, Sidewise the cover has a bend; the measurement straight across is about 4 and 1/8″; with the rule wrapping against the bend, it’s about 4 and 3/16th. Lengthwise, it’s a bit over 11 and 3/4″. Dealing with this melodica may be beyond my pay grade in any case, but I’m curious about it.

    #2029
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Alan, Thanks for the photos. Quick tip. the best way to play the Bass melodica is to fill the chamber a second before you need to play a note. example.. counting 1, 2, 3, 4, on count 1 you blow air in and hold until the end of 4 on beat 2, 3, 4, press a key down and off on 4.5 and air back in on beat 1. Practice this until you can shorten the gaps and build up your lungs, this one takes a lot of air so don’t try to hold them to long they will either go out of tune or when you play your next note it will not have enough air to sound. obviously the faster the tune the longer you can make you air last the slower the tune your air will run out faster.
    Melodica-Me

    #2031
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Thanks! I’ll do that.

    I just noticed an irregularity in the rubber stripping on the inside of the cover of the B-24. It’s visible at the left bottom corner in the photos. I had seen this when I opened it earlier but forgot about it. I wonder if that could be the problem. Any suggestion about what I might do there?

    #2033
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    A further note for those who haven’t opened one of these up. In the first photo you see three small round holes inside the reed cover. It is through these holes that air passes through to the bladder. So there could be leakage from the bladder or from the reed chamber itself. It would be interesting to try blocking the holes to help isolate leakage, but also to see how the melodica plays without the bladder. I tried blocking them by pressing down the bladder on those holes but couldn’t do it effectively.

    #2034
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Alan, the reason the bladder is there and the holes are there is to balance the amount of air that goes into the chamber, if the holes are blocked you would get uneven volume from the keyboard smaller reads would be louder and less air would be needed. The lower notes which need more air would suffer from lack of air. In the Hohner Basso the bladder is glued down in a couple of sections that separates the air flow, bigger section for the lower octave, smaller section for the higher octave. These melodicas require a lot of attention to performance technique, in other words you can’t blast out notes, you have to use finest or you will damage the bladder. I have noticed that the Hammond BB seams to have a better airflow that the Suzuki or the Hohner, across the entire keyboard. I am not really sure why since I really have not paid to much attention to the mechanics of it, I have enough issues playing them lol.
    Melodica-me

    #2042
    AvatarKevin
    Participant

    That was going to be my suggestion Alan, Blocking the holes and by-passing the bladder. I can’t see how it would hurt as long as you didn’t play extremely loud/hard? I can’t see the bladders advantage? Unless you are trying to play both ends of the keyboard simultaneously I think your airflow would be as even as it is in any non-bladder melodica? I must add though I’m going by your pictures and description, I don’t own one of these myself nor have I seen one in person.

    #2043
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I’ll take Melodica-Me’s word on this one, especially since he has experience with bass melodicas and can actually play one. I’ll go back the comment I made in another discussion to the effect that this is just a different kind of cat that has to be played differently. I’m guessing that the small buffers/bladders on the other Suzukis (M-37C and A-34C) serve a similar though more limited purpose. It seems apparent that the bass melodica is a more difficult instrument to play. When I’ve been playing for friends, they want to hear the B-24 even though I’m struggling with it. They like its sound. So I won’t give up on it, but maybe my attention should be on playing bass parts with Band-in-a-Box accompaniment. That would be a good kind of reading and playing exercise for me anyhow.

    My B-24 does have a serious leakage problem, though, and I may try blocking the holes to see if I can isolate that. You might be right that if it’s played softly or if you’re not jumping octaves, the bladder doesn’t matter so much. But it’s also harder to control how loud I’m playing on this melodica, though that may be partly because of the bladder. And the bladder surely contributes to the kind of delay in response that bugs you, Kevin.

    #2188
    Avatarjazzman1945
    Participant

    Alan, thanks for Your information! However, I am disappointed; wanted to buy it for my melodicаs jazz trio; but as can be seen,
    isn’t worth In jazz, rhythm on the first place!

    #2190
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I’m delighted to see that you have joined the forum, jazzman. Your comments and performances in other forums and in videos and audios have stimulated my interest and contributed a lot to my understanding of the melodica. You are an innovator and, so far as I know, the first professional melodica educator. Perhaps we will hear more encouraging news about bass melodicas and Jazz from Melodica-Me, as time goes on. He is the man to figure it out.

    I notice that you are using the Hammond 44, although I think I remember that you were disappointed with it when you first bought it.

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