Yamaha Pianica P-25B

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    Robert Bronx

    I play the accordion and I wanted to get a melodica for my next trip in latin America. I wanted one that was smaller than the 32 key versions so that it could fit in my bag. I fell upon this beauty on Ebay and auctionned it as soon as I could.

    Luckily I won. It was being sold by some vintage gadgets/oddities store in Denver, Colorado.

    I knew this was a quality as soon as I opened the box; it has a metal casing; responsive reeds; and is tuned.

    Some notes were sticking near the mouthpiece. I opened it and found some sticky goo similar to beeswax & rosin that I use to fix accordions. That stuff was all over the notes and underneath them. I cleaned it but could not find the source and why it was there in the first place.

    It has spring mechanism that holds the keys using flat ended screws. You turn the screws a 90 degrees and they slip through a slit releasing the key.

    The reeds were a little dirty but clearly someone had tuned them. Good job whoever did it!

    If someone could explain to me how to hold it using that awkward strap, I would appreciate it.

    Anyways, I do not know what year the melodica is from but this thing rocks and I am very excited to bring it along on my next trip!

    Alan Brinton

    Hi, Robert, it’s nice to see that someone else is a fan of the early 25 key Pianicas. Congratulations! You have a rare item, in that this model is almost always found as the Tokai Gakki “Artist Ltd” Pianica. Tokai Gakki created and manufactured Yamaha’s Pianicas during the 1960s and beyond (until how late I’m not sure). I have all the 25 key Yamaha/Tokai Gakki Pianicas, and they are all good, but the sound of the ones made in the 1960s (including this one) is distinctive and special. The “P” designation was introduced around 1970, so when you see just “Pianica 25” or whatever, rather than “P-25,” that dates it as 1970s, in this case probably late 1960s to 1970, given the plastic case. This is all “to the best of my knowledge.”

    A lot of early Pianicas have sticky keys. This issue can be mostly remedied by soaking the instrument for 2-3 hours in a mixture of 1/3 vinegar, 2/3 warm water, periodically working the keys, then rinsing thoroughly, blowing it all out and letting it dry. If you search “Melodica bath” here, you’ll see descriptions of this.

    As for holding the Pianica 25, I’m not a fan of straps anyway, but these small melodicas are best cradled in the left hand, which allows you to move the hand around, and balance and manipulate it as you like.

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