Tuning Variables

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    Alan Brinton

    I’m tuning some of my vintage Suzukis and Yamahas this week, as I’m planning to give a few of them to my brother, and I’m noticing something on a Suzuki Study 25 that has not seemed to be a problem with current Suzukis and Yamahas. It is that on some keys, though not all, I’m getting significantly different readings with the melodica fully assembled and the melodica removed from its metal tray. Furthermore, when it’s out of its tray, I’m getting significantly different readings depending on whether I’m using the mouthpiece or not. When fully assembled, it’s a Melodion that’s awkward to play without the mouthpiece.

    I can work with the differences between in-the-tray and out-of-the-tray so long as I’m using the mouthpiece and assuming that’s how I expect to play the melodica. But I think my tolerance of plus or minus 3 cents is too tight for this instrument and for some other Suzukis for which it’s already harder to get stable readings than it is with Yamahas.

    I wonder if others who tune have confronted this issue. It seems likely that it could arise also in relation to switching mouthpieces. If your melodica has both a straight mouthpiece and a trumpet mouthpiece, for example, and you use both, are changes in intonation introduced by changing mouthpieces?

    The most noticeable changes related to whether the mouthpiece is being used are at the mouth end of the instrument.

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