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Melodica players?


bloodsample

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Hi all,

 

Does anyone here play the melodica? It seems like the perfect portable acoustic "keyboard".

 

I will probably be getting one some time soon, I'm just wondering if anyone here (who plays or knows about melodicas) knows where I can find some good melodica-heavy music, any good melodica artists or places where I can see videos of people playing melodicas?

 

It looks like a fascinating instrument and I want to get some influences/inspirations from people who have perfected the instrument.

 

The music I will be playing with it will mostly be either brazilian or macedonian/serbian folk music.

 

Any thoughts/comments are welcome.

 

Thanks.

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Here's what I know: Oddly enough, Nat King Cole played one on television once, and the American Pop band the Hooters used them, and that's where their name came from - slang term for a Melodica is "Hooter."

Since the sound is so accordion-like, try accordion music. There's lots in the Eastern European, Italian, and Irish traditions. Not to mention Mexico!

I miss my Melodica. Lost it at some gig somewhere and it was a couple of weeks before I noticed it was missing, and by that time I was unable to retrace my steps to try and get it back. Haven't been able to prioritize buying a new one yet. Hohner showed a nice inexpensive one at NAMM a year or two ago. Called it a "student model."

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I have a very nice Hohner 36 key melodica that was built back in the 50s. it's alot of fun to play. I like playing Round Midnight and stuff like that. minor key middle eastern stuff and indian stuff sounds really good on it too. you hear alot of it in reggae and dub stuff. Augustus Pablo is famous for playing it on some of the great King Tubby dub records.

 

basically, you can only play melody, with the right hand, cause you have to use the other hand to hold it. if you have the "hose" tube thing hooked on, you can set it on a table and play with both hands. you always have to have wind powering the sound though. it's something most keyboard players are not used to. if you are playing chords on it, or a rhythm, to sound like an accordian, you can run out of breath.

 

instruments that create a similar sound are the accordian, and the harmonium.

Kickin' it on the Keyboard Corner...
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I have a newer Hohner -- they are great for covering harmonica parts! (or concertina, etc).

 

You can get a nice one online for under $90. You will find off-brands for much less, but I like Hohner.

"Oh yeah, I've got two hands here." (Viv Savage)

"Mr. Blu... Mr. Blutarsky: Zero POINT zero." (Dean Vernon Wormer)

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Hi blood

I too play the melodica. It's heavy on reggae/dub music, but you can use instead of accordion on balkan music as well. In my group (www.happydogproject.com) we play some odd balkan/greek music and i use it with some delay - it's really good sounding in gigs. I use a Hohner melodica and another one (sorry, i dont' remember the name of the maker...)

As far as players, i think the more profilic is jamaican Augustus Pablo, who played melodica on most of his songs. Check him out

Good luck with this "accordion of the more poor"

Yannis

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Steely Dan's Donald Fagan plays melodica all over the SD albums, notably on "Babylon Sisters" (a classic) and "Godwhacker".

 

Ben Folds plays it on "Selfless, Cold, and Composed". He uses the plastic tube attached to the mouthpiece and puts the melodica on top of his piano.

 

I'd check out great harmonica players like Toots Theilsman, Lee Oskar, even classic Stevie Wonder, for examples of great phrasing that you can adopt to melodica. Check out Gregoire Maret, a brilliant Swiss harmonica player who recently joined the Pat Metheny Group for "The Way Up". His discography is on his site, http://www.gregoiremaret.com/

 

BTW, there is a beautiful Pat Metheny ballad, "Antonia", that features accordian but it would be great for melodica. It's on the album "Secret Story".

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My favorite way to use it is with toots theilman-like, donald faganesque blues solos; not that I always succeed. But I alas, haven't used one in a couple of years; mine got "misplaced", too. This thread makes me perk up and maybe get my hands on another one!
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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daviel: I was actually considering getting the HM-36 (36 key hohner) but the thing that made me scratch my head is why it costs literally twice as much as the HM-32.

 

Is the quality of the HM-36 that much better that it would cost twice as much to get 4 more keys?

 

Regardless of the answer, I will probably get the 36 key as I don't want to limit myself too much (even thought its just 4 more keys, those 4 keys make the difference between being able to play a song and not)

 

If, as you say, the 36 key has better tone as well, then I don't think I can go wrong.

 

Again, thank you all for your input.

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Originally posted by bloodsample:

Wow, I really didn't expect so many melodica fans :)

Just don't bring up the subject of "KEYTAR", OK? :eek:

 

 

Uhhhhhhhh, I shudder to think about it.

 

 

(Wanna see my thong?)

 

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00064CI0K.16._AA260_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

 

 

:P:wave:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Hi Bloodsample: I think you want the best; you're paying for the pro grade instrument. IMHO the 36 is worth it. If you get the 32, I'd bet lunch you will upgrade! Get the 36 now, so you do not add the cost of the 32 to the already high price of the 36. Just my 2 cents ;)
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Does anyone know if they make the 2' tube for the 36-key? I've only seen it offered for the 32-key, but I have a 36.

 

John Medeski often plays melodica to end concerts, especially acoustic concerts. Brian Haas of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey also plays melodica quite frequently.

 

For Brazilian music, check out Hermeto Pascoal. He plays a lot of melodica.

 

David

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Hohner came out with a very inexpensive student model Melodica last year. I think it's $50 or so. It might be the way go get started. The tone of the most expensive models is way better, way more expressive. But to get started, the inexpensive ones work great.

 

I love the Melodica. A lot of great keyboardists play them. Richard Leiter, one of Keyboard's contributing editors, plays one on just about every gig. He's awesome at it.

Ernie Rideout, Private Citizen

Gee, that was quick.

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I've wanted to get a melodica ever since i got into this little Australian band called The Cat Empire. They do pretty diverse groove based music, poppy but covering reggae, ska, hiphop, jazz, crazy latin and Greek/Italian sounds. And the keys player has a melodica sitting on his rhodes which he uses heaps for accordian type lines. Verrrry cool!

 

Hey Aussie folks, you heard these dudes? From Melbourne i believe... you may have mixed feelings about them it you have :D

Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?
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http://saintgui.free.fr/Old/Melodica/Contenu/Images/metheny_fagen.jpg

 

Well? You KNEW I had to post this sooner or later, dintcha? :rolleyes::P

 

Hi BloodSample. :wave:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I'm a fan of the melodica too. I have even played it in concert sometimes. It's basically a mono instrument, maybe with the occasional double note thrown in as a surprise... I used to have a Hohner, which got lost many years ago - but recently, I bought a new 36-note unit, I can't remember the maker but it's very good. I love to use it in ethnic/mediterranean style stuff, but I do attempt a jazz ballad every now and then... :)

 

I would add my advice for buying a big, professional one. Toys get old fast - especially if they sound like one.

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Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:

Well? You KNEW I had to post this sooner or later, dintcha? :rolleyes::P

Damn, that looks like Metheny but it can't be:

1.) Not wear the same white/blue striped shirt that he's had since 1977 (is that a NECKTIE?!?)

2.) Not nearly enough teeth showing

3.) Weak "guitar face"

Sure comes close though.

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Originally posted by Mark Zeger:

Damn, that looks like Metheny but it can't be.

S it is Metheny. :) Check out the properties of the pic.

 

=======================

 

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l m n o puppies.

 

s a r puppies.

 

c m, c m p n?

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Originally posted by garrafon:

How do you amplify a melodica? (I have no familiarity with the instrument, so please excuse my ignorance).

I was part of the sound crew at a festival recently and one of the bands had a melodica, they only used it for one song though. I was setting up drums and guitars, someone else saw to the melodica, so I cant remember exactly but I'm pretty sure all we did was stick a 58 on it. The guy had it sitting on top of his keyboard, which he was playing at the same time, so he used a flex tube for the melodica. It sounded great!
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I used to use one in a band years ago, mostly to sub for accordian on a silly polka song. During the Iranian hostage crisis, we briefly did "The Ayatollah Polka" (to the tune of the "Beer Barrel Polka") with lyrics too inflammatory to post.

 

Love the Dan Fagen/Steely Dan use of an under-rated and under-utilized instrument. This site has a pickup designed to work with the melodica. Much better than trying to mike the thing.

 

http://www.melodicas.com/melodicas.htm

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I love the melodica! The tube definitely makes it easier to play and IMHO makes you look marginally less dorky. It's great for Stevie Wonder-like harmonica solos - I used to play it on a cover of For Once In My Life.

 

R.

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With Augustus Pablo, you probably want to start with East Of The River Nile - I think it's still in print.

 

Bernie Worrell plays melodica on some P-Funk records. Off the top of my head, I remember that he plays the melody line on Bootsy's "I'd Rather Be With You" and Funkadelic's "Nappy Dugout"

 

There's a great melodica solo on Bernard Wright's "Haboglabotribin'", from the album 'Nard.

 

R.

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Here is the melodica I have. Sounds nice. It's reasonably light. (Made of plastic.) I heard the mono or double note comment above, but I play a lot of 4-note chords on mine and it sounds fine.

 

Blowing the high E and F together will send any hearing creature running in terror!

:D

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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