The melodica is not your regular musical instrument. It is not one of those instruments you will easily find in popular bands. It is also not the type of instrument you will find popular musicians playing during their tours. There are actually few musicians who have used the instrument in their records: John Lennon did in ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’; Beach Boys did in ‘Cabin Essence’ and that is just about it. This doesn’t mean that the melodica is not an important musical instrument.
Though the majority of people in the world know very little about melodica, it is still an important instrument for ardent music lovers. Other names for this fun woodwind instrument include Pianica, Pianetta, Clavietta, and Melodion. But what exactly is a melodica?
The melodica can best be described as a free-reed instrument that creates musical notes when air is blown through the mouthpiece and keys are pressed. It is similar to the harmonica and pump organ but unique in many ways. Though there are different types of melodicas, they all work with the same principle: they look like miniature keyboards but work like clarinets.
The melodica has a standard keyboard on its top which needs to be pressed for the musical notes to be produced. There is also a mouthpiece from where air needs to be blown into the instrument continuously to keep the sound coming. Pressing the keys opens up the hole in the side of the instrument that is connected to the mouthpiece. The opening of the holes allows air to flow through a reed and this is how the musical notes are produced.
The melodica is an instrument that is mostly used by enthusiastic instrumentalists. It is portable, simple to play, and can easily blend well with other instruments. It is also highly regarded in musical schools where they are used for teaching the basics of music. Since they are small and easy to play, they are great for getting people into music.
As mentioned earlier, melodicas are of different types. This makes it difficult for an individual buying for the first time to find the perfect option. Even people who are familiar with the instrument may find it very hard to choose one from the various models advertised by different manufacturers as the best. There is no need to fret, however, as Surf n’ Buy is here for you. To help make things easier, we will review the best melodicas right here and provide additional information you will need to make the right decisions about buying, using and maintaining the instrument.
Are you ready to buy the best Melodica in 2020? Here are the top products to consider right now:
Top 5 Melodicas
1. Woodnote ML-350BK
This is a beautiful black instrument from Woodnote, a company that has maintained a strong reputation for years. It is a 37 note piano style melodica that is easy to play and offers a nice tone. Like other models from the manufacturer, the quality of this instrument is hard to match and it is definitely one of the best options to consider.
The Woodnote ML-350BK has a simple but elegant black design. It features the always dependable plastic shell keys. The special keys are known for outstanding response, which improves the experience of the players. It will be easier for beginners to learn with the keys and more fun for the experienced instrumentalist. The player will be able to easily find the three octaves, which range the 37 special keys.
Another thing you will like about this instrument is the unique mouthpiece that is included. The mouthpiece has been specifically designed for the Woodnote brand and will help to enhance your experience with the instrument. There is also a top-quality flexi-tube that will let you hold the instrument in a comfortable position and play as long as you want. In addition to all that, there is a free Woodnote Soprano Recorder in the package.
To help you store your melodica properly and to make transportation easier, this instrument comes with a carrying case. It is not just a regular carrying case but a deluxe black case that you will love. The Woodnote ML-350BK is an excellent melodica by all standards. In spite of the unmatched quality it represents, this is an affordable instrument. A great instrument for learning and practicing, it is highly recommended by verified buyers as well as school teachers.
- This instrument offers surprisingly great range and tonality for a ‘melodica package’ so affordable.
- The build quality of the Woodnote ML-350BK is simply astonishing for an instrument so cheap. If you are conversant with Woodnote, you won’t find this too surprising.
- The plastic shell keys with outstanding response is an incredible feature that makes playing of melodicas easier and more fun.
- The deluxe black colored carrying case that comes with the Woodnote ML-350BK adds lots of value to this package.
- The only thing that looks like a downside to this great package is the fact that it doesn’t come with basic instructions. A beginner will definitely need someone to instruct him/her on how to play and take care of his/her instrument.
The Woodnote ML-350BK is an excellent Melodica. It is from a reputable company that never compromises in terms of quality. It comes with a lot of incredible features like the unique mouthpiece and dependable plastic shell keys. The flexi-tube is of the right quality and it comes with a deluxe carrying case to make storage and safe transportation easier. This is also an incredibly affordable instrument that has been highly rated by verified buyers and recommended by several school teachers. It will be a great investment for any enthusiastic instrumentalist or music student.
2. Easter 37 Key Melodica
This is an excellent choice for individuals who are just starting and are not sure of what to expect from a Melodica. Easter is a budget manufacturer that produces both 32-key and 37-key melodicas that are affordable and friendly to beginners. This particular model is the 37 key option that has the right features to make the experience of playing it enjoyable. It has a compact and handy design. It also comes with a carry bag where it can fit perfectly for easy portability.
The Easter 37 key melodica is an affordable instrument that you should consider for many reasons. Though it is regarded as a budget option, this instrument has a pleasant sound that you will easily fall in love with. It has keys that are clearly on the lighter side but maintain decent pressure consistency to make learning easier and playing fun for different kinds of users.
As hinted above, this melodica is an excellent option for all kinds of players. It supports two playing modes that are ideal for users at different levels. Advanced and pro players can comfortably adopt the standing position by using a mouthpiece. Beginners, on the other hand, can play more comfortably by placing the instrument on their lap or table and using the extension hose.
Another remarkable thing about this instrument is the phosphor bronze reed it has: this is pretty surprising for an instrument at this price range. These reeds are essential for producing the rich consistent intonation needed from the melodica. As long as the instrument is perfectly tuned, the reeds will help to keep the sound clean and sweet.
- This is one of the most affordable 37 key melodicas you will find anywhere. The valuable package also comes with the necessary accessories you need to get started.
- The body of the Easter 37 key melodica is made from ABS non-toxic engineering resin which is safe and healthy. The use of phosphor Bronze reed and Copper Base is also commendable for such an affordable instrument.
- Thanks to the extension hose that will let you adjust your playing stance, the instrument offers two playing modes. This makes it easy for beginners to learn faster and also allows the experienced players to play in an upright position without any fuss.
- The Easter 37 key melodica comes with a 30 days unconditional money-back guarantee. You have nothing to use by trying it out.
- Light pressure key is an issue for many players.
- Though the build quality cannot be classified as bad, it is average at best.
The Easter 37 key melodica is a compact and handy instrument you will enjoy playing anywhere. It is a budget-friendly melodica that will appeal to beginners who are looking for a simple and affordable instrument to start their musical journey. It has the necessary features to support such new players and will also appeal to experienced instrumentalists. With all the accessories it comes with and the carry bag, this is a valuable package for all.
3. Yamaha P37D, 37-Key Melodica
When a brand like Yamaha comes into the picture, you will know that you are looking at a top quality musical instrument. The Yamaha P37D, 37-Key Melodicais a pro-level instrument that belongs to Yamaha’s new line of Pianicas. It is a lot different from most of the toys on the market and represents the perfect choice for serious instrumentalists.
Like other top-level melodicas, this Yamaha product has 37 key fingerboard, three full octaves plus one semitone. The keys are also smooth and easy to play. The tuning of the instrument is tight and accurate and the sounds are warm and pleasing. It features reeds that are anti-corrosive, meaning it will reliably produce balanced sound throughout its lifetime.
Another remarkable feature of this melodica is the fact that it doesn’t require you to blow harder when you have pressed three or more keys on the fingerboard. The air pressure required to keep the sound coming will remain the same even when you have pressed down two or more keys. This means the player will be able to save his/her breathe while playing and avoid unnecessary fatigue. This makes it ideal for extended performance on stage as well as long hours of practice.
The Yamaha P37D, 37-Key Melodicais primarily made of heavy-duty plastic. It can take a few knocks without suffering any damage. In spite of this, it is a lightweight instrument, weighing just about three pounds. It also comes with a carry case to make storage and transportation easier.
- Yamaha is a reputable company and this instrument is one of the best they have produced in the Pianica category. It is well made with the right materials for durability.
- The Yamaha P37D, 37-Key Melodica features a full three-octave keyboard that guarantees solid projection and stable intonation for top-level performance.
- The air pressure needed to keep the sound coming from this instrument will remain the same no matter how many keys the player is holding down. This is different from what is obtainable with other melodicas.
- The Yamaha P37D, 37-Key Melodicacomes with a quality hardshell plastic case that makes it easier to store and transport the device safely.
- Some individuals will find this product expensive. The price is decent for experienced instrumentalists who know exactly what they want but beginners may think twice about spending so much for a melodica when there are affordable options readily available.
The Yamaha P37D, 37-Key Melodicais a top-quality instrument that differs from the cheaper options in many ways. The professional-grade Pianica contains 37 solid soft press keys and is well-built with the right materials. It has fully clear, toned up and anti-corrosive reeds that help to keep the sound clear and warm. You will also obtain solid projection and stable intonation from the device without straining yourself to keep the air pressure steady. Overall, it is an excellent little device for educators and professional musicians but may be a little too expensive for beginners to acquire.
4. SUZUKI M-37C
This is an excellent instrument from Suzuki, a reputable Japanese manufacturer known for the quality of its products. The Suzuki M-37C is well built with the right materials. The body is made of metal and it has an attractive vinyl-like finish. Though it has a minimalist design, it looks very great and will stand the test of time, thanks to the materials used.
Like other melodicas featured in this buying guide, this instrument has 37 handed adjustable weighted keys for proper sound-making or wave projections. The keyboard is also three-octave long, allowing you to play a wide variety of chords and single notes. The consistency of the key pressure is spot-one. Air pressure required to keep the sound coming is also constant, as long as you are forming notes of up to three keys.
The Suzuki M-37C is considered a higher level instrument due to several factors. From the build quality to the minimalist but aesthetic design, almost everything about this instrument is spot on. The size is simply smart, making the instrument easy to handle. It comes with three different types of mouthpieces to make it even more versatile. There is a standard mouthpiece for all kinds of players; there is a trumpet style mouthpiece for experts; there is a flexible tube mouthpiece that is perfect for beginners who need to adjust their playing stance to master finger placement and patterns.
Like other top-quality melodicas, this instrument comes with a carry bag. This one is a soft gig bag that makes storage and transportation of the instrument easier and safer.
- In terms of design, this is one of the most impressive melodicas. The size is pretty smart and easy to handle and it is made of metal and has an astonishing vinyl-like finish.
- The Suzuki M-37C is a very versatile melodica. There are three different types of mouthpieces for all kinds of players.
- This is a very durable instrument that will survive frequent drops which is one of the major reasons it is recommended for beginners and students who are likely to drop the instrument accidentally.
- The Suzuki M-37C has high-end features that make it a great choice for professional performers.
- This is not an affordable melodica.
The design and build quality of this instrument is among its most exciting features. It is made with the right materials and the size is perfect for easy handling. As a full 3-octave 37-key melodica, this product produces the right sound quality for all kinds of users. It is also a versatile instrument with three different mouthpieces for different kinds of players to choose from. It is popular among musical school students and will never disappoint. The only issue you may have with this instrument is the price. If you can afford it, the Suzuki M-37C is an excellent melodica by all standards.
5. Hohner S37 Performer Melodica
This is an intermediate melodica that is perfect for advanced students and amateur performers. It is the sort of instrument you can start with and keep with you till you start performing on the small stage. There are so many impressive things about this instrument including the fact that it is a full 3-octave 37 key melodica. The compact design is another thing that will quickly attract you to the instrument. The sheer quality of its pitch and tone will give you a better idea of why it is called performer melodica.
The Hohner S37 Performer Melodica is a well-built instrument. Like other products from Hohner, you can see that there is no compromise in quality: the construction is sturdy and durable. The quality of sound you can get is also impressive for an instrument in this class. It features bronze reeds which are partly responsible for the bright, clear tone. The breadth and richness of the sound you can get from this instrument is simply astonishing. This is the major reason most advanced students continue to use it even when they start taking up their early performance gigs.
Another impressive thing about this instrument is the fact that it comes with different mouthpieces to suit different playing positions. There is a small mouthpiece fits directly into the instrument and allow you to play in a standing position. There is a long, flexible hose mouthpiece that will allow you to place the instrument on your lap or set it on a table. The Hohner S37 Performer Melodica also comes with a carry bag to make storage and transportation easier and safer.
- This is an excellent choice for players of different levels. It will be a reliable companion from the early days until the student gains mastery of the melodica.
- The Hohner S37 Performer Melodica has an attractive design.
- It is a sturdy and durable instrument, thanks to the build quality.
- Thanks to the bronze reeds and other important features, the Hohner S37 Performer Melodica produces clear and natural sound that will impress any audience at all.
- The keys are likely to go out of tune sooner than other models
- The Hohner S37 Performer Melodica cannot be returned for hygienic purposes.
Are you an advanced student or an amateur that has started receiving stage time? Do you want the right instrument to make the transition from practice to performance easier? The Hohner S37 Performer Melodica is an excellent choice to consider. The 37 keys, full 3-octave melodica is a good instrument for early performers. It is well built and the sound quality is incredible for an instrument in its category. It is also an affordable device that has all the accessories you need to get started. There is also a zipper case for storage. A simple warning though: there is no returning of this instrument once you order it.
Types of Melodica
As mentioned in the introductory part of this article, there are different types of melodicas. Knowing these different types is important for anyone interested in the instrument. Understanding the different types of melodica is also important for experienced players when it is time to buy an instrument. We will discuss the different types based on different criteria:
Materials: Plastic vs. Wood
Melodicas can be classified according to the material they are made of. While the majority of them are made of plastic, some are primarily made of wood. You may also find a few melodicas made of metal. While wooden instruments are known to produce warmer richer sounds, plastics ones are more popular for affordability and ease of maintenance. Most of the products featured on this list are made with top-quality plastics and they are safe and healthy.
Sizes and Octaves
The number of octaves offered by a melodica is another important criterion for classification. Generally, they are available in two or three octaves. There are some that have two and a half octaves. For beginners, two octaves or two and a half octaves instrument is okay for a start. This is because a new player is unlikely to play the entire 3 octaves. Advanced players and professionals, on the other hand, need full 3-octaves melodicas. The 3-octaves instruments offer a wider variety of chords which the experienced performer can play.
Melodias are also classified according to the voice ranges they offer. Generally, they come in the following ranges:
The sopranos are the most commonly used type of melodicas. They have the highest range and are mostly patronized by performers. It is also normal to find students learning with soprano melodicas. This type of melodica is played with both hands, with one playing the white keys while the other concentrates on the black ones. Many of the models you will find come with an extension tube that will allow you to place the instrument on your lap or on a table to improve comfort.
Alto melodicas are slightly lower-pitched when compared to the sopranos. They are also very common and are used by learners and pro players. Melodicas in this range can either be played with both hands or with a single hand.
Tenor melodicas provide a lower range that offers a deeper sound. They are not too common but cannot be described as rare. This type of melodicas can easily be played with one hand, with the other holding the instrument firm. It is also possible to find models with an extension tube that will allow the player to rest the instrument on a flat surface and play with both hands.
This is the rarest type of melodicas. They are the lowest-pitched among all melodicas and are used exclusively for playing bass notes. They are mostly large and expensive. They are not considered ideal for learners.
Like other free reed instruments, melodicas need tuning to keep the sound quality great. The good news is that they generally need less tuning than most other instruments in this category. There are rare cases of some that have tuning issues right out of the box. Tuning a melodica is not always easy but it is recommended that you learn how to do it. Tuning the instrument involves filing the reeds to change their pitch. You can have an expert help you with this initially but learn how to handle it yourself for subsequent tuning issues.
Best Melodicas for Beginners/Students
Are you starting your musical journey fresh and want to start with a melodica? Do you play a few other instruments but want to add the melodica to your portfolio? The best product to consider is MD.QIND Melodica. This is a 37-Key Melodica that has a superior aerodynamic design. It comes with a plastic elastic long tube, short mouth and a carrying bag. It is an excellent choice for the beginner who wants to master the instrument.
Best Melodica for Advanced Users/Professionals
Have you already mastered the melodica and consider yourself an advanced player? Are you a professional player looking to buy a new melodica? The best product to consider right now is the Yamaha 37-Key Melodica (P37D). The instrument has all the features you need to perform on the big stage and is very reliable. It is also a well-built instrument that will stand the test of time.
How to Play Melodica – Basics
It takes practice and patience to play the melodica. If you are a novice with the instrument, the basic things you need to know before you can begin to practice include the following:
Holding the Instrument the Right Way
Many beginners/student melodicas come with flexible tubes that allow you to place the instrument on your lap or a flat surface and play conveniently with both hands. Even if you are using the tube, it is still important that you learn how to hold the instrument. It is easier and better to hold the instrument firmly with your left hand and press the keys with your right hand. The right hand should be relaxed with the fingers slightly bent to move easily and hold down the right keys even as you blow into the instrument. If you are playing an instrument that requires both hands, you can hold the instrument with both hands on either side. Play the white keys with one hand and play the black ones with the other.
After mastering how to hold the melodica comfortably, the next big thing to learn is breath technique. Controlling your breathing while blowing into the instrument is very important. If you have played any free reed instrument, this can be easy but if you are just starting, it will take a while to acclimatize with the instrument. For quitter notes, you need lighter breath and for stronger breath, you need to blow harder. You may have to use a whistle-like breath to create some sound or use your tongue to create short staccato bursts. Be mindful of how hard you will blow as that can force the reeds out of alignment.
Learning finger placement and patterns is another critical aspect of learning to play your melodica. This will take time but you will certainly get there. The first rule is to ensure that your hands are always relaxed and your fingers slightly bent. You should also try to play with a light touch as that will help you learn quicker. Start with simple, short riffs and work your way up.
Books and Practice
To facilitate your progress, invest in a tutor book. It is rare to find a melodica package that comes with a tutor book so you need to buy good instructional books. If you have a tutor, things can be a lot easier. Your tutor may also recommend the right book to buy. Also, remember that practice makes perfect. Practicing regularly is the surest way to master the instrument.
How to Clean Your Melodica
Cleaning your melodica is a good maintenance practice. To clean out spit that has accumulated inside your melodica, hold the small button at the end of the keyboard and blow through the mouthpiece. You can wash the mouthpiece with soap and warm water when it becomes dirty but unscrew it before doing that. If it is made of brass, use a brass cleaner. To clean the inside of the instrument, use a pipe cleaner. You need to slide the cleaner in carefully to avoid displacing the reed. You may also need to open the instrument to clean the inside, depending on the brand/model. Use disinfecting wipes, brass cleaner or a polisher if necessary.
Other Maintenance Tips
- Clean the inside of the instrument only when it is absolutely necessary
- Do not use harsh detergents or chemicals to wash any part of the instrument
- Tune the instrument whenever it is necessary
- Store your melodica carefully and always use the carry case during transportation.
There are accessories you need to play your melodica and take good care of them. While you may get some in the original package, there are some you will have to buy independently. Here are some of the most important accessories you need to get started with the instrument:
URBEST 20.9” Flexible Melodica Tube with Mouthpiece
This is necessary for players that will like to place the instrument on their laps or a flat surface.
Melodica Key Stickers
These are important for learners; they will help you recognize musical notes until you master them.
Easy Classical Masterworks for Melodica
This book features some of the best works of the most renowned composers and will help you master your instrument.
Roche RT15 Thomas Mouthpiece Cleaner
This is a topical antimicrobial cleaner that will help to keep your mouthpiece clean, healthy and safe.
MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 6 Pack
Affordable packs of cleaning cloths to keep your melodica looking new and in great condition at all times.
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
A value pack, bleach-free disinfecting wipes that will clean and disinfect your instrument for the sake of your health.
Melodicas are important instruments for enthusiastic instrumentalists and individuals who are making their ways into the world of music. They are simple to play and will make the musical journey of many players easier. In bands where they are used, they blend easily with other instruments and contribute meaningfully to the final record.
Just like other instruments, melodicas are of different types and come in different grades. No matter your experience level, it is important that you buy the best instruments for the right musical experience. This is why we have reviewed the best melodicas in 2020 here and made other recommendations.
The Woodnote ML-350BK is an excellent device for all kinds of players. The Easter 37 Key Melodica is an affordable option that is most suited for beginners/students. If you are an expert or professional melodica player, the Yamaha P37D 37-Key Melodica is the perfect instrument to buy right now.
At Surf n’ Buy, we believe that shopping online shouldn’t be too hard. This is the major reason we have researched extensively to identify the best melodicas you can buy right now. This buying guide also features important information that will help you to master your instrument and take good care of it. We sincerely hope it helps you as much as possible in your musical journey.