Tagged: Suzuki Bass melodion gapping
July 29, 2018 at 8:53 pm #10092
I recently bought a Suzuki Bass melodion on Amazon and I’m having the same problems previously reported by many others here, mainly attack delay on bass notes. I read the discussion about the bladder on bass melodicas, but I wonder if anyone has ever tried to solve this problem by adjusting the gaps of the lower reeds. I couldn’t find anything about that here.
Thanks for replying,
glJuly 29, 2018 at 9:59 pm #10093
I think this is an effect of just the reeds being so massive and big so that they can make the deep sound they make.
Think about pressure vs. pressing a note. On a normal pitch melodica, its not unusual to get a degree of expression to your notes by bringing the air pressure up when you wish to play a note. It is very natural to use the breath this way. This makes the attack of the note sound just a bit softer. There isn’t a particularly noticeable delay, but if you compare your technique when playing staccato, you’ll find you’re getting a sharper start on the sound by bring the pressure up first then releasing it with a sharp keypress.
I too have noticed the lack of attack when playing the Melodion B24 – but find I can address it with steady pressure and sharp engagement of the key. The sudden air pressure burst when the key starts the reed vibrating quickly. Its literally a variation in your breath control against keying patterns.
I think you’ll find that getting sharp attack on the low notes of an accordion is easier with faster actuation of the valves and firm pressure against the bellows – big reeds simply require more and sharper air pressure to sound quickly.
DavidJuly 30, 2018 at 7:47 am #10094
Thank you David, the augmented length and mass of the lower reeds surely account for a longer attack transient and higher required pressure. Working on articulation and air column support can definitely improve the situation.
But what I noticed is that the situation is apparently very similar to a melodica in need of re-gapping, so I wonder if it’s just “same symptoms – different causes -> different solution”, or maybe be gapping could be part of the problem: after all, it looks like the Hammond bass is “slightly” more responsive, so there must be room for improvement on the Suzuki model.
glJuly 30, 2018 at 2:34 pm #10095
I guess you could adjust the curve/gap of the reeds to see if you can get a better attack pattern. I would be intensely interested in what you learn about the way the gap and curve affects the attack of the notes. Its a fairly rare player who even tunes his own melodicas much less adjust the gap and curve, hence the rarity of good information on it – but I’m one player who has tuned a good bit. The curve and gap adjustment is bound to be tricky for the low notes – the relationship between reed mass, gap, air velocity and column pressure. Proceed methodically, take pictures if you can, you have my attention at least.July 30, 2018 at 10:02 pm #10096
The problem, as far as I understood and seen, is that the bladder seems to be glued. So, before taking any maybe destructive action, I’d love to hear from someone with some direct experience.July 30, 2018 at 11:28 pm #10097
regarding disassembling the melodion? No, its not glued. Its probably just a bit stuck together with pressure and rubber gasket and maybe a little spit, uh, ‘condensation’, shall we say.
I haven’t taken my B24 apart, but I’m willing to to help you be more confident about how it goes together.
Expect information in the next day or two.July 31, 2018 at 8:31 pm #10101
Gianluca, David, I have replaced the bladder on the Basso and the Suzuki and yes they are glued at the perimeter of the bladder leaving the center unglued. I have attached a link where I discuss changing the bladder on the Hohner Basso. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the Suzuki replacement only the Hohner Basso. All three are very similar in construction. this is a step by step process you can follow.
Hope this helps you.
Melodica-MeJuly 31, 2018 at 9:00 pm #10102
Hi Melodica-Me, thanks! I had seen your guide and I was afraid that was the way to go with the Suzuki bass too. I think I’m not going to do that to a brand new melodica, unless it could drastically change the attack delay situation.
When you made the replacement, did you touch the reeds? Have you tried re-gapping them? Do you think it could solve the problem or make the situation better?
glJuly 31, 2018 at 10:01 pm #10103
Hello Gianluca, I did not gap the melodica since the only issue was the air leak. Once I replaced the bladder all worked fine. As I have mentioned in the past post, the three bass melodicas have the same issue. If you blow just a little to hard you will choke the reed or not enough and the reed won’t sound. I bought the Suzuki and the Hammond brand new and they both came with the same issue. The fastest Bass melodica is the Hohner Basso by far.
Melodica-MeAugust 1, 2018 at 7:55 am #10104
Hi Melodica-Me, thanks! Do you think the glue could be removed non destructively, i.e. with a heat gun o something else?
My bass melodica doesn’t seem to have air leakages: I had hoped some break-in might improve the situation, but it didn’t…
glAugust 1, 2018 at 9:01 pm #10107Alan BrintonParticipant
It seems that the more the bass melodica is played, the more delay there will be as the rubber bladder stretches. A couple of the bigger Suzuki models have a small bladder at the bass end. On one of mine, that was closed off by a previous owner. It doesn’t seem to me to make much difference on that one. But the bass melodicas require the bladder. I think Melodica-Me’s approach is the best alternative, changing the material of the bladder. It would be interesting to experiment with both thinner (or stretchier) rubber and thicker (or less stretchy) rubber.August 2, 2018 at 6:19 am #10111
Hi Gianluca, goo gone make a glue remover that works pretty good but you need to use very little and work it under the bladder slowly, to much and it can drip glue on other parts and then you have that to deal with. The first time I did this I use a knife but it had a burr on the tip and I scratched the finish under the bladder. This does not matter as it gets covered but I just don’t like doing that. You start by lifting a small portion of the bladder and then with a q-tip, wet the cotton head and rub the underside and it comes off cleanly. If you use an acetone and it drips on the plastic it will ruin the finish. The acetone works really fast, you just need to be very careful. I played the Hammond and Suzuki a very long time and no change as well.
Melodica-MeAugust 2, 2018 at 10:55 am #10113
Thanks Alan, Melodica-Me!
It’s my understanding that the bladder is required to even air pressure along the instrument: is that just for dynamics, or is it to be able to play chords across the range? In both cases, I think I could get rid of it and use it as a monodic instrument only.
I know we should trust Suzuki’s engineers, but I’m not convinced that a good gapping couldn’t improve the situation: I’ll have to risk ruining a 200€ instrument and make some experiment myself sooner or later 😉August 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm #10141KevinParticipant
“But the bass melodicas require the bladder.”
Can you elaborate on this Alan?
Have we discussed this in the past?
If So I’ve totally forgotten.
There’s a bladder on my M-37C and for the life of me I can see no use for it.”
I’ve thought of tearing it off and replacing with a duct taped sheet of plastic Because I find the M-37C difficult to sound quickly when playing softly.
The only thing I can see is that it protects the reeds from being damaged from a strong gust of air. Such as when you accidentally depress a key when blowing out the spit valve.August 6, 2018 at 4:27 pm #10144Alan BrintonParticipant
Good question. I’m afraid I’m not the one to elaborate on it, Kevin, even though I’m the one who said it. I’m quite sure that the depth of sound and resonance needed in bass would be lost without it. But I’m lacking in the technical knowledge to explain why. If I thought the bladder was unnecessary, I would have replaced it with a hard cover a long time ago, and my Suzuki would get used rather than sitting on the shelf.
We have discussed this before. I think the A-34C has the little bladder, and I think it’s a previous A-34 I have with the bladder opening covered over. I may be misremembering which model. When I compared the two instruments, I thought the low notes were easier to play on the bladderless number but that the sound of those notes was shallower, noticeable when the note was sustained.
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