The Soprano Melodica

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  • #6726
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I’m thinking it’s about time to devote a thread to the soprano melodica. The following models from the “big three” are identified by their manufacturers as soprano models.

    Suzuki Melodions:

    Button 1960 F4-F6
    S-27 63-75 G4-A6
    S-27 75-98 C4-E6
    S-25 65-87 F4-F6
    S-25C 87-96 F4-F6
    S-32 73-present F4-C6

    Yamaha Pianicas:

    P-S25B 73-78 F4-F6
    P-S25C 78-79 F4-F6
    P-S25D 80-83 F4-F6
    P-S25E 83-91 F4-F6
    P-25F 91-present F4-F6

    Hohner Melodicas:

    Button HM-900 1958-? F3-F6
    1st Series “Piano” HM-926 1960s B3-C6
    2nd Series Piano 26 1970s B3-C6
    3rd Series “Piano” HM-26 1980s-2011 B3-C6

    The Hohner models are arguably not soprano instruments, though each has an “alto” counterpart in relation to which it is identified as the “soprano” model. These Hohners have the same range as one of my favorite vintage Melodions, the unusual Suzuki A-26 (or “School 26,” 1972-87). I own and have played all of these instruments (though not in every iteration). I’m not a big fan of any of them other than the Hohners and the A-26 but decided today to get them all out, give the vintage models a water-vinegar bath, and do some tuning. The vintage soprano Japanese models are all much further out of tune than I have found their alto counterparts to be.

    I’m interested in information anyone has about additional soprano models and in the opinions of other Melodica Worlders about the soprano melodica and about specific models.

    #6727
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Corrections: The Suzuki S-32 range is F4-C7. The last Yamaha listed should be “P-S25F.” If I slipped up on something else, I’ll appreciate being corrected.

    Three models I forgot to mention:

    (1) The Mylodica Soloist, F4-C7. The melodica inside the wooden box, though, is a Suzuki S-32 Melodion.

    (2) The new Hammond SS, S-27 Melodion, F4-G6. I don’t have one of these so am unable to make comparisons with other Suzuki models.

    (3) The plastic tray Suzuki MX-27S, 1998-present, also F4-G6. I also don’t have one of these.

    #6729
    AvatarQuetscher
    Participant

    Hi Alan,

    great topic! The Eolina goes up to C7 but I wouldn’t call it a real soprano melodica because of its huge range and dark tone. The Vibrandoneon with its two sets of reeds is a true alto melodica (G3-E6) combined with a true soprano melodica (G4-E7!). These are the two melodicas with a soprano range that I know – I wouldn’t count the Suzuki Andes which goes from F5 to F7 but isn’t a real free reeds instrument…

    #6756
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I have recently posted about Yamaha and 1970s Suzuki soprano models and made some sound comparisons under the Yamaha P-S25. Some may not hear much difference in the comparison clips; I hear more when playing them. What surprises me, though, is that, contrary to my expectations, I prefer the sound and feel of the Suzuki, whose key action is also smoother and more even. Just as the Yamaha P-S25 has its alto mate, the familiar P-25, so is the early 1970s to mid-1980s Suzuki S-25 paired with the alto A-25. These two were commonly marketed as the the Study 25 and Soprano 25. They are both excellent performers. This iteration of the Study 25 is fairly easy to find at reasonable prices on auction sites. I have bought three, and all were in reasonably good playing condition. The Soprano 25 is rarer but sells at comparable prices. I highly recommend this handsome couple.


    Notice the short mouthpiece on the soprano. This is just the fitting from the melodica end of a Suzuki tube and is my preferred mouthpiece for the short Suzukis.

    #6966
    AvatarPavel
    Participant

    The Hohner HM-900 range is C4-C6, not F3-F6 and the Hammond is F5-G7 (!).

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