Tuning Tips


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  • #2127
    AvatarAlan Brinton

    I just stumbled upon a tuning alternative at http://bassic-sax.info/blog/?p=36567. The usual approach is to reduce mass at one end of the reed or the other. The poster recommends adding mass to the open end of the reed to lower (flatten) the pitch, in the form of fingernail polish, which has the advantage of not weakening the base of the reed.


    Ah, but have you tried it yet Alan? 😉

    Vintage Wurlitzer electric pianos use reeds and their various service manuals advise adding a bit of either solder or beeswax to the end of the reed to lower the tone.
    I’m in doubt whether that would be advisable for the melodica reeds. The Piano reeds are struck fairly strongly with a miniature felt-wrapped hammer instead of vibrating from blowing.

    The fingernail polish sounds like it might be worth a try on a junker some day.


    My first electric piano was the Wurlitzer 200A. I would tune it by scraping with a file lightly, similar to the melodica. When the reed would go flat constantly you would replace them. In the 10 years that I had 200A the reeds never went sharp they only went flat. The only reason you would have to flux and “Solder” lead to them was when you over filed, most of the time you would hit the note a little hard for a bit and it would compensate. I Also had a Fender Rhodes 73 suite case model as well. You would tune this by sliding a spring on a rod back and forth. Much simpler and cleaner system.

    AvatarAlan Brinton

    I have not tried adding polish, as I’ve taken a break after having seriously tuned the melodicas I use most. I think it would be easy to remove nail polish, though. But I think it’s an interesting question whether notes ever go sharp. My experience has been with either having some sharp to begin with or their going flat.


    I was going by what is on page 17 of the PDF (or page 14 of the actual manual) of this 200/200A service manual:
    I’ve got two Wurlis from different decades and neither have those little pyramids on the reeds? I have seen people write about this on some E.P. boards as if it’s a common sight?
    You are right though, my Rhodes is much easier to service overall but harder on the back.
    Anyway we are drifting far away from melodica content. Ha,ha


    just for info, nail polish work!!!

    finished tuning on my recently purchased simona
    better than scraping and weakening the base of the reed. and there is no damage to the tone…

    AvatarAlan Brinton

    Thanks, prodz.

    AvatarHenry Lowengard

    I’m definitely going to try this nail polish trick! If its easier to fine tune that way (and file off) I might even sharpen all the reeds, nail polish them, and then fine tune them back to where they should be.

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