Tokyo melodion/melodica festival

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    She’s got great playing technique on the melodion/melodica

    SUZUKI Melodion Festival 2014 AKEO MINAMIKAWA(pianonymous)

    A few French musette waltzes are being played on the melodion in this video.

    Are there any modern metal melodicas for professional melodica players?
    (Like the old Borel claviettas or other metal melodicas)

    By the way, has anyone got an idea of annual worldwide melodica/melodion sales numbers?
    These days annual mouth harmonica worldwide sales numbers seem to be around 10 million harmonicas.
    Is there any statistical info on melodica sales?

    And an estimation of present numbers of melodica/melodion players in the world?

    Alan Brinton

    Two fisted Melodica World member pianonymous.

    By “all metal” do you mean metal end pieces in addition to metal tray, Stephen?


    By all metal I mean the whole corpus of the instrument in metal(s), like the French clavietta or accordinas.

    The melodica-type music instruments of the 19th century were wood or metal instruments.
    The 20th century melodicas are plastic. Don’t the melodica players want metal ones ?
    Plastic is lightweight, but the sound isn’t great. A plastic melodica sounds harsh/sharp. And most melodica reed plates are low quality, with air losses.

    Top quality melodicas could help upgrading the status of the melodica in the music instruments family.
    The vibrandoneons, seraphones, and the likes are fine top quality instruments, just a bit heavy.

    Alan Brinton

    The closest thing to what you’re describing as “all metal” would seem to me to be some of the old models such as the Clavietta, which you mention, and the Yamaha Pianica 36. Both are mainly of metal construction and quite heavy, but they do both have plastic end pieces. I have never seen a melodica with metal end pieces, which would be too inflexible for a good fit and seal. Current high end Suzukis (and Hammonds) all have metal trays, but they generally have (in my experience) a harsher and sharper sound than plastic tray Yamahas.

    Heavy metal tray 1960s-70s Yamaha Pianicas and Suzuki Melodions are not hard to find on auction sites, at reasonable prices, and most of them are playable though in need of cleaning and tuning. I have described quite a few of these models in the Vintage Melodicas thread. Some of the Yamahas (for example the Pianica 36 and the original Pianica 32) have a very mellow sound. These models, as contrasted with the Clavietta, tend to be pretty air tight. They would seem to be viable options for the kind of look, feel and sound you’re seeking, Stephen.

    Because plastic is more malleable than hard metals, plastic is more conducive to good seals. “I just want to say one word to you. Just one word…. ‘Plastics.'” (1967)


    Interesting discussion – my plastic Yamaha is completely airtight, and sounds quite warm!

    Alan Brinton

    As you know, Daren, I have quite a lot of vintage Yamahas as well as the current models, and I don’t think there’s one of them that has a leakage problem, including the 1960s models. It’s also unusual with Suzukis. I think this is probably due to quality of construction (fit of the parts especially in the Yamahas) and to the gasket materials, which are less susceptible to deterioration than those in vintage Hohners and other European models. While we’re on this topic, I have noticed that the plastic used on Yamahas is a bit softer than that on vintage Suzukis, with which cracks and chipping of the end pieces are sometimes a problem and can compromise their airtightness.


    If you look at some horn catalogs online, you will now see trumpets, saxes, and other horns made of plastic. These seem to be professional grade instruments. Lowboy

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