Too scared to tune!!

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    AvatarPaul Joseph

    Greetings everyone,
    Thanks for all the good information in these forums. This is my first post.
    I’ve been trying to take better care of my Yamaha P37D, which I’ve owned and gigged on for over a year. After consulting the forums here, I did successfully give it a bath (and I’m ashamed to admit how nasty it was in there!!!).
    It desperately needs tuning. I’ve read the forums, looked at the videos… and I just don’t think I have the guts to give it a shot! I’ve called a few music stores in the greater Atlanta area and no one does tuning. So before I HAVE to go in there and run the risk of destroying it by not knowing what I’m doing… is there anyone in the Atlanta or Chattanooga areas that you know of who I can hire to do the tuning?
    Thanks again –
    Paul Joseph


    I was scared too to break everything but one really out-of-tune note forced me to do so. I ended retuning the whole keys. I expected the reed to be much more thin, so there’s a good margin until you break something (Hohner26 for me).

    The reed gapping adjustment was a more difficult process as i learned the gapping didn’t have to be uniform (the high-pitch keys gap have to be REALLY REALLY small… i had some difficulties with the last 4 keys).

    I also learn that for playing my style (reggae roots), a well tuned melodica doesn’t sound too good for that .. but that’s another story. From now i would probably just only tune some specific keys which don’t sound good.

    I would really recommend the tuning experience, you will gain much knowledge on your instrument.


    Hi Paul,
    Not what you want to hear but just jump in and try it.
    The Yamaha is pretty robust so it can take a lot of tuning.
    One thing I do is use fine sandpaper or even an emery board instead of a metal file.
    They are much more gentle.
    The other suggestion is buy the cheapest melodica you can find and practice on it till you feel confident.
    Looks like the cheapest on Amazon right now is 13 or 14 dollars if you have prime. That’s far cheaper than anybody would charge to work on your Yamaha.

    If you are set on paying a pro try searching for accordion repair instead of a music store. You are more likely to find someone to try it or has the contact for the person that will.
    Sorry I can’t recommend anyone personally. There is a place out of Pennsylvania that says they will repair tune melodicas. I have had no contact with them just seen there videos and looking at their website.

    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë

    I agree with Kevin – get the cheapest instrument and give it a go – you’ll probably learn all you need to on this one instrument. I went though everything you’re going through some years ago. No one would agree to tune my melodica 🙁

    Eventually I was forced to try it myself, and now I’m making whole melodicas! 🙂

    AvatarAlan Brinton

    You will definitely want to learn to tune, Paul. Tuning a melodica is an inexact process. Practicing on a cheap melodica is a good approach. But tuning just a few of the reeds that are furthest off key can make a big difference. You might find that this is enough.

    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë

    True! These days I just tune the odd note here and there.


    I had Hohner USA tune a few of my more rarer melodicas. It costs about one hundred dollars a pop plus shipping if my memory serves me well. I soon realized that since I was buying the rarer ones used for $70 to $120 a piece, including shipping from Europe, it would be cheaper to just throw them out if they got real bad. However, even the really bad ones (out of tune) can be used for “bending” melodicas, and I have only thrown a couple out in the last several years. I find that most perfectly tuned melodicas go somewhat out of tune in my hands in just a few weeks of playing. But that is okay for what I am doing.


    AvatarAlan Brinton

    It should perhaps be pointed out that some melodicas are harder to tune (and gap) than others. I have found those most recent Hohner Piano models that you play, Tom, to be challenging. I agree that for your playing techniques, with so much manipulation of the sound, tuning is less of an issue.

    One of my basic tuning principles is that once you get the melodica where you want it, don’t go back and check it the next day! You’ll drive yourself crazy. Just play it unless and until it starts sounding off key.

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