Piano & Keyboards

Choosing the Best Melodica

Looking for the best melodica can be a challenge. There are countless options available and it can be hard to choose the best one for your needs.

Why You Should Trust Us

As a music educator, I know how important it is to find the best instruments possible for yourself or your students. I have played sub-par instruments and I know how frustrating it can be to not have high-quality instruments when you need them.

To help you avoid this, I found only the highest quality melodicas to recommend so that you don’t have to sift through pages of complicated information just to find what you need. I insisted on finding high-quality melodicas in each price range, and each of my recommendations is an instrument with a great sound, even those designed for beginning students.

I’ve searched for hours to find the best melodica you can buy. After several hours of internet research and comparing products from the top retailers currently available, I reached out to local experts in three different music stores to gain insight into their opinion.

I tested the best that each store had to offer in order to find the best melodicas on the market. I’ve considered options for each price range to make sure that you are able to find a quality instrument that you can afford.

 

Credit: Amazon.com

Top Pick: Yamaha P37D

Buy from Amazon

With high-quality sound for under $100, this melodica is well-suited for beginners or for more serious musicians looking for a performance instrument.

How to Choose the Best Melodica for You

Melodicas come in several different varieties that can suit a number of different needs. It is important to consider all aspects of the melodica before you choose what is best for your needs. Melodicas vary in the the number of octaves included, their range, and their material of construction.

Aside from these obvious differences, there are only minor variances between melodicas such as how much breath is required and how well the instrument stays in tune.

Size and Octaves

Melodicas are available in 2 or 3 octave varieties. Many beginner versions will only have 2 or 2 1/2 octaves, while those designed for more advanced players tend to have 3 octaves.

If you or your child are looking for a beginner instrument that is simple to play and will be used primarily for melodic lines, two octaves are all that is required.

For those seeking a more advanced instrument, look for one with three octaves. This will allow you to play a wider variety of chords throughout the instrument’s range.

Range

Melodicas come in several voice ranges:

Soprano – have the highest range and are among the most commonly used melodica type. They are typically played with both hands: one hand plays the white keys and the other plays the black keys. Many come with an extension tube that allows the player to lay the instrument flat and play with both hands.

Alto – melodicas are slightly lower in range but are nearly as common as soprano melodicas. They are also typically played with both hands but can also be played with one hand like a tenor melodica.

Tenor – provide a lower range that offers a deeper sound. They are usually played with one hand and held by a handle with the other, but many models allow the player to rest the melodica on a flat surface and play the keys with both hands.

Bass – lower in range and far less common that soprano, alto, and tenor melodicas.

Construction

Most melodicas are made of plastic, although some high quality melodicas are made of wood. There are many high quality plastic options available, but some prefer the deeper tone of the wooden construction.

High quality instruments of each material are available, and plastic is more commonly used by far. The added cost of a wooden melodica is not required to get a good sound and a high-quality instrument.

What is the Best Way to Use a Melodica?

The melodica you choose will depend on how you want to use your instrument. Whether you are looking for one instrument for yourself or a set of instruments for a class, the intended use of the instrument should lead your purchasing decisions.

For Beginner Musicians

A simple, 2-octave melodica is a great starting choice for beginner musicians. It allows them to learn the mechanics of the instrument without spending excessive money on a more advanced model.

For More Advanced Use

A higher-quality, 3-octave instrument is best suited for more advanced musicians. Instruments with finer construction tend to have a higher price tag, but the resonant sound is worth the added cost if you plan to use the instrument for years to come.

For Group Settings

If you plan to use your melodica(s) with a group, consider getting one of each voice range. Having an alto, soprano, tenor, and bass melodica will allows you to play a wider range of music as a group.

For soprano or alto melodicas to be used in a group or classroom setting, choose a melodica with a softer tone to control the noise when all the instruments are played together.

For Solo Playing

If you plan to use your melodica as a solo instrument, the tone quality should be the deciding factor. Choose a melodica with a clear, resonant tone to play melodic lines and accompanying chords.

Prerequisites to Playing a Melodica

Melodicas are a great beginner instrument for children or adults who have never played an instrument before. They combine aspects of wind and keyboard instruments to provide a well-rounded education.

Before learning the melodica, some background experience in piano is recommended. This allows you to become comfortable with reading music and playing the notes with the right hand before adding a breathing component. While it is not required, this will make the transition to playing melodica easier overall.

How Much Should I Spend on a Melodica?

Before spending money on any instrument, it’s important to know the appropriate amount you should be paying. While there are a number of different melodica models available for a range of prices, here are the types of instrument you should expect in each price range:

Student Range: $0-$75

These instruments will be inexpensive plastic options made to allow children or beginners to learn the logistics of the instrument. They will likely have a more hollow sound and less sturdy construction.

You can find quality instruments in this price range, but beware of inexpensive models which may not last very long.

Intermediate Range: $75-$125

Instruments in this range have considerably higher quality than those in the student price range. You should expect quality construction and materials for any instrument in this range.

Professional Range: $125+

Any instrument that costs over $125 should be of high quality and create a beautiful tone. You can expect a resonant tone and high craftsmanship for an instrument in this price range. Wooden models fall into this price range, and are often prized for their high quality sound.

The Competition

After hours of testing and research, here's the final competition.

InstrumentRatingCurrent Pricing
Yamaha P37D 37-Key melodica
easy musical production no matter how many notes are played at once$85.00
Hohner 32B Piano-Style Melodica
Hohner is known for high-quality instruments at affordable prices$44.99
Woodnote Beautiful Black 37
plays easily and produces three full octaves with a clear, pure tone that’s great for performances$36.99
Stagg- Melosta32Bl 32
keys span 2 ½ octaves, includes a tube to allow you to play the melodica on a table with both hands$35.87
D'Luca M37-BK 37
free cloth case and extension tubes for flexibility while you play$34.95
Suzuki STUDY-32
pitches bend easily on this instrument, making it easy to control the tuning over time$40.13
Hohner Performer 37
Designed for advanced students and amateur performers who need a bright, clear toneCheck on Amazon
SUZUKI M-37C
Features a metal body with a finish that looks like vinyl$186.99

Our Recommendation: Yamaha P37D 37-Key

Credit: Amazon.com

Buy on Amazon

The Yamaha P37D 37-Key melodica comes from a trusted company with a great track record for created high-quality, affordable instruments for students and professionals. This instrument is well-suited for beginners looking to learn a new instrument or for more serious musicians looking for a performance instrument.

The inner reeds are made of an anti-corrosive material designed to prolong the life of the instrument without needing costly repairs. These reeds are durable and provide stable tuning and intonation throughout the range of the melodica.

It includes the standard mouthpiece as well as an extension that allows the player to rest the melodica on their lap or a table to play with both hands. This gives you the freedom to play with one hand or to create a more versatile instrument played with both hands. You can easily switch between the two mouthpiece options as you decide which one you like best.

This model spans three full octaves, giving the player more versatility of melodies and chords played. You can play wider melodies and more key signatures with three octaves than you can with a 2-octave melodica.

One great feature of this melodica is that there isn’t a considerable amount of breath support needed to sustain notes. Some models require extra breath and effort to play 2 or more notes simultaneously. This model allows you to breathe easily and play full chords without straining the breath too much. This allows for easy musical production no matter how many notes are played at once.

Customers report that this melodica stays true to its claim of remaining in tune longer than most other melodicas. This is a great choice for frequent players, although some tuning will be required over the life of the instrument.

Tuning is simple and only requires a few basic tools, and previous customers agree that tuning takes only a few minutes. Taking the time to tune this melodica ensures that all notes are in tune for a considerable length of time afterward.

The only flaws of this model are its construction and its tone response. Plastic construction can be more flimsy than metal models. Although it is made of plastic, the material is sturdy and durable enough to last several years of use. The tone response can tend to be slower than other models.

The sound is still resonant and pleasant, but it may take more time to sound each note than some other melodicas available. These are minor flaws that don’t limit the musical capabilities of the instrument.

This model can be purchased for under $100, making it an affordable option for budding professionals while being attainable for even beginning musicians. This is a great choice for new musicians and experienced performers alike. Click here to view this melodica on Amazon.

Runner Up: Hohner 32B Piano-Style Melodica

Buy on Amazon

Because my top choice is in the higher price range, I’d like to give a recommendation for those trying to stay within a budget. The best option you can purchase for under $50 is the Hohner 32B Piano-Style Melodica.

This model comes from the lower-priced brand Hohner that is known for high-quality instruments at affordable prices. If you’re looking for a melodica to get you started or to learn the basics of the instrument, this is a great option with a clear sound and quality construction.

The keys do not clack when played, and the height of the keys is even across the instrument. This melodica covers 2 ½ octaves and gives a high quality, resonant sound, especially given its low price.

This model can be found for under $40, which makes it a great choice for beginners who just want to try the melodica.

While it does collect some moisture on the inside, this can be easily cleaned by rinsing and drying the instrument. It doesn’t have the same sound and construction as the professional models, but it is by far the highest quality instrument you can find for less than $50. Click here to view it on Amazon.

Other Products to Consider:

There are hundreds of melodicas available today, and it was difficult to choose only two to recommend. These are some of my next choices that still give great sound quality and a long-lasting instrument in each price range.

Student Range (Under $75):

Woodnote Beautiful Black 37 Key With Carrying Case

This quality plastic melodica comes with a long-lasting fabric case and a free soprano recorder. It plays easily and produces three full octaves with a clear, pure tone that’s great for performances.

At just under $50, it is a good starter option for those considering more professional performances. It can also be used as a high-quality student model to learn the instrument.

It lacks the finer quality of more expensive models, but it’s a fine choice for its price range. The low price and high sound quality make this a great choice for classroom sets as well. Click here to purchase this melodica on Amazon.

Stagg- Melosta32Bl 32 Note With Case

Credit: Amazon.com

This is an excellent low-cost option for those looking to play a durable instrument with a good sound. Some customers compare it to higher-priced Hohner models, saying there is no distinguishable difference in the sound of the two melodicas.

The outer shell is durable so the instrument can last a long time, even when played by younger children. The keys span 2 ½ octaves and this model includes a tube to allow you to play the melodica on a table with both hands.

It can be found for $40-55, which is a great price for this student model. You can view this melodica on Amazon by clicking here.

D’Luca M37-BK

Credit: Amazon.com

This is a great beginner model due to its low price and good tone quality. It comes with a free cloth case and extension tubes to allow you flexibility while you play.

While this melodica doesn’t take much air to produce a sound, it does require extra air when playing 2 or more notes simultaneously. This can make it more difficult for younger musicians to create a good sound on chords.

It can be found for under $30, making it a great starter instrument for those on a budget. For a low-cost model, it has everything you need to get started on the instrument. To purchase or view more information, click here.

Suzuki STUDY-32BLK Alto Melodion

Credit: Amazon.com

This alto melodica has 2 ½ octaves of keys that are lower in range than the typical soprano melodica. It can be played with one hand or two when rested on a flat surface, and the tone is clear and full. The pitches bend easily on this instrument, making it easy to control the tuning over time.

Perfect tuning that does not warp much over time is one of the key features of this instrument. Although minor tuning is required no matter the instrument, this particular melodica holds its tuning very well.

It can be purchased for $30-40, making it a great addition to a collection or a good starter instrument for those looking for an alto melodica. Click here to buy it on Amazon.

Intermediate Range ($75-125):

Hohner Performer 37 Key

This is a model designed for advanced students and amateur performers who need a bright, clear tone. The construction is sturdy and durable, and the instrument can be played held in the hands or rested on the lap or a table.

The brass reed keys give you three full octaves, and a durable gig bag with an adjustable strap gives you a high quality way to carry the melodica.

Some customers report that the keys go out of tune more quickly than other models, and that this design requires substantial breath support to create a clear tone.

If possible, I suggest trying this model in a store before purchasing. You can find this melodica for $80-90 by clicking here, and it’s a great model for those starting out in performance.

Professional Range: ($125 or more):

SUZUKI M-37C

This melodica comes from the high-quality Suzuki brand that is famous for their educational instruments. It features a metal body with a finish that gives the appearance of vinyl.

Playing is made easier with a comfortable handle, and a gig bag is included to safely transport the melodica. It includes two mouthpieces and two tube length options that allow you to play the instrument with one hand or rest it on a surface to play with two hands.

This melodica has a great tone and many customers are happy with their decision to purchase this model. With a range of three full octaves and a consistently high-quality tone, this is a great choice that costs $170-$200 new.

This is an excellent option, and the main issue with this melodica is the high price. There are lower-priced models of similar quality available.

Sources:

Reviews from Melodica World: http://www.melodicaworld.com/list-post-reviews/
How the Buy a Melodica from Melodica Shack: http://www.melodicashack.com/how-to-buy-a-melodica

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