A lovely little instrument, the Melodica. One of us here had one when he was small, and it was his first instrument. They have effectively been around since the 1950’s when a German company, Hohner, invented them for want of a better description. We say invent, but that is really a misnomer because the idea of the instrument has been around in many places since the 1800s with the earliest record of it in Italy.
Hohner took the basic idea and turned it into an instrument that was playable and of course, marketable.
Well done to them!
Nowadays it is used by a variety of people in a variety of scenarios but is often used as an introductory music instrument for young people, especially in Asia where it is very popular.
It has had its moments as an instrument, and we are sure we haven’t heard the last of it, in ‘big’ songs by ‘big’ bands.
Well not anyone you’d immediately know or think of.
There was John Lennon (Strawberry Fields Forever), The Kinks (Sunny Afternoon), Beach Boys (Cabin essence) and even Blur and Depeche mode has used it, so no one important really!!!
The keyboard covers two or three octaves and is small and light and easy to play.
So let’s have a look at some of the best Melodica currently available and find the perfect one for you…
Top 10 Best Melodica On The Market 2020 Reviews
1 SUZUKI M-37C Melodion Melodica
There are very few musical instruments where the playing technique crosses over into other disciplines, but with the Melodica this is the case. You need keyboard skills to start with, and then there is breath control like a woodwind instrument. Not that easy.
This is the Alto Melodica from Suzuki. A higher level instrument. The body is made from metal, and it has an attractive vinyl-like finish and it sturdy and built to last. It is a popular choice in musical education departments in Asia and so with it being used daily be children then it needs to be tough to withstand that.
It has one standard trumpet-like mouthpiece and one flexible tube extension tube with a mouthpiece. This extra tube is approximately twenty inches long. The 37 keys give it a good range of octaves, and it features phosphor bronze reeds for great sound generation. It has a spit valve to remove unwanted condensation and water build-up.
One important thing to note about this instrument is the size of the keys. In some models, the size of the keys are scaled-down, but on the Suzuki, they are close enough to be considered full-size piano keys which will be a great help to those used to the piano.
A further issue to consider is that because Melodica has not got a tuner, you need to make sure the instrument you buy will keep its tune over a reasonably long period of time.
If you think this is a musical toy then forget it. It is well made and has a great sound and is a real instrument. It is priced towards the higher end of what you might call mid-range, but it is worth every penny — a quality instrument.
It comes with a sturdy carry bag.
2 Hohner 32B Piano-Style Melodica
From Hohner, effectively the company that gave us this great little instrument, here is there 32B piano-style Melodica.
We are assuming that Hohner has produced this instrument as a tutor or for someone wanting to try one out and who doesn’t want to spend a lot. Having said that everything you need is on board to make a great sound. It is called the ‘instructor’ model as against the student model, and the only differences are the instructor has more keys, and the sound of the instructor is slightly better.
This is a soprano melodica and has the 32 keys that are of a three-quarter size and easy and comfortable to play, and it has its mouthpiece extension.
It has a heavy-duty cloth carrying case that has been well made and is designed to last. The body and casing are made of plastic that is hard wearing and will take a few knocks. It has a spit valve to remove unwanted moisture from use.
The Hohner Melodica is a creative instrument that allows a certain level of experimentation of all genres of music. We think that is the appeal of this instrument in that whilst it has a unique sound, it allows the user to try out a variety of styles and music easily. Whether you are playing chords or a lead solo part, it allows you to be creative.
Of course, they are also a whole load of fun, which is one thing playing music should be about.
It’s difficult to describe the sound. There is a little bit of sax, maybe a bit of accordion, a little harmonica, they are all in there with a keyboard — quite an instrument.
Price is set realistically, and this is a great contender for best Melodica.
3 Puff-n-Play 25 Key Melodica
The Puff ‘n’ Play twenty-five key Melodica is made by the rather classically sounding Schoenhut company. The company was created in the 1870s by German immigrants to the US who had been wooden toy manufacturers.
They were actually the largest toy manufacturer in the US at one time. They went through turbulent times through the Great Depression but came out the end of it and today are known for their toy pianos and small scale instruments for children like this Melodica.
There is a full 37, three-octave version of this instrument, but this model is the 25 key designed especially for children.
If you are going to start to get children interested in music and actually playing it, there are very few better ways of achieving that than through a Melodica. A variety of sounds, an introduction to a keyboard and wind instruments, they are great for kids to experiment and learn.
This particular model is aimed straight at the children’s market, especially for children aged 6 and over.
It is made from plastic and given an attractive blue finish and comes with its carry case, which is also blue. All very visually appealing. It weighs just three pounds, so is easy for the child to carry around. It has a spit valve for removing unwanted moisture from use.
The flexible tube is enclosed so it can either be played in a conventional manner or laid on a table and used more like a keyboard.
The keyboard might be short but still allows the playing of chords as well as individual notes, including sharps and flats. It is ideal for teaching and introducing kids to music.
This melodica is not cheap, though, but it is well made and durable and will be long-lasting.
4 Yamaha, 37-Key Melodica
Whilst some Melodica are aimed clearly for children’s use and seem to garner the impression they are a kids toy; there are others that are most definitely serious instruments.
Unfortunately, the ‘toy’ idea sometimes extends to the serious instrument. But if you have any doubts about whether they are a real instrument here is the proof. Instruments as good as these are sometimes called ‘Pianica’s.’ Maybe that is an attempt at distancing themselves from the Melodica name which as we have said has derived unfair connotations.
This is a pro-level sounding instrument. The tuning is tight and accurate, and it has a warm sound that resonates. In fact, blow it hard and you get quite a raucous sound from it — Heavy Metal on the Melodica. There’s a thought.
It has a 37 key fingerboard, three full octaves plus one semitone, and the key actions are smooth and easy. And the reeds are anti-corrosive which will give a balanced sound.
One interesting point in the construction of the instrument is that unlike with some, once you start pushing down more than two or three keys, you have to blow harder. With this, you don’t. The air pressure required remains the same.
It is made of heavy-duty plastic so that it will last and take a few knocks and comes with a hardshell plastic case. It weighs just three pounds and so is light and easy to carry.
This is a quality instrument with a nice sound and is a step up the quality level from some of the less expensive versions. This is rather costly though, and that might put some off even though it is very good and one of the best Melodica on the market.
5 Hammond 44 Acoustic-Electric Melodion
The very sound of the name Hammond. A bit like Marshall in the amplifier world. You don’t need explanations; it’s going to be good.
Actually, the name strikes terror into our hearts. We had a keyboard player who had a C3 Hammond which if anyone is aware of such things, was a beast of a thing. It was so big and heavy that it had to be ‘split,’ cut in half horizontally; otherwise, you couldn’t move it. Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman have all used them.
No such problems with this Hammond offering. This model has been designed in conjunction with Suzuki Instruments, and between them, they have included some novel ideas. One of which is the inclusion of a dynamic microphone to give you more sound. And it has a ¼” inch phono jack output jack for connecting to an amplifier or PA system.
To add even more quality to the sound, they have included some custom designed reeds to give you more top and lower frequencies than most other Melodica.
The playing style has also been changed somewhat. The keystrokes are now far shallower than you will find on most similar instruments. If you are used to a certain pressure weight on the keys, it will take you a little time to get used to them, but you will see the advantage.
It has been designed to incorporate three separate playing styles. Firstly the standard mouthpiece style, using a flexible mouthpiece to hold it at arm’s length and finally the long mouthpiece allows you to play it on a tabletop.
The sound? It’s a Hammond, great sounds and a variety that you can create yourself as you play. The price? Absolutely frightening, but if you want real quality I suppose you have to pay for it.
6 Hurricane Harps S32 Student Melodica
Hurricane Harps, perhaps better known for their range of harmonicas and other woodwind instruments have produced this great little Melodica. Essentially designed for beginners and students, it is well made and comes with a canvas carrying bag with a zip.
The keyboard has 32 keys, three full octaves, at approximately ¾ key size and the instrument weighs just two and a half pounds, which makes it easy to carry around.
As usual, with a Melodica, it has a unique sound that can be made to fit alongside many genres of music, but they are so much more than that. Because you have a range of 32 keys, it can also give the option of practicing keyboard or piano technique if you wish.
But it is as a stand-alone instrument that it works so well. And is ideal for students learning about keyboards, woodwind breathing techniques, or just theory. A Melodica provides so many musical options, which is why it is so popular as a teaching instrument.
One of the most attractive things about this particular Melodica is that it is realistically priced. Not a complete budget instrument but placed nicely in the mid-price range. This is important because the quality of the build is very good. However, some might consider it expensive as a first instrument for a student.
It comes with two mouthpieces, the usual rigid piece and the extension allowing you to place the instrument on a table. And it has a spit valve to remove unwanted moisture from use.
This is a decent Melodica. Realistically priced it offers a good sound and is good value.
7 D’Luca M37-EVA-BL Blue 37 Key Jungle Melodica
Time to Rock n Roll with the D’Luca M37.
Just love the blue and black keys on this Melodica. They give it well how can you say it, ‘a look.’ Kids are going to love it. It has 37 keys with an impressive tonal range that goes from the F below middle C through to F.
This is an ideal first Melodica as a present or even as a learner instrument at school. It is both a supporting and a solo instrument, handling chords as easily as taking the lead tune. It is fitted with brass reeds that are known to be durable that will keep the instrument in tune.
Whilst it presumably has been designed with teaching new, and learner students, the quality of the instrument is quite surprising, and would not be out of place with a player who was more experienced.
As is usual it can be played in either of two ways, either hand-held using the strap on the back of the instrument and the mouthpiece or using the extension hose and placing the Melodica on a table.
It comes with a nice case that is of high quality and weighing just over one and a half pounds is easy to carry around. It comes with a spit valve to remove unwanted moisture from use.
Sound wise, it is very nice. Each Melodica has there own sound. Some are closer to harmonicas, some to the saxophone, but this D’Luca is closer to an accordion giving it warm tones.
As an instrument, this is a good example, and with a creative color scheme is sure to be well received. The price is set in the mid-range, which makes it an attractive proposition and a candidate for best Melodica.
8 Mugig Melodica
Mugig, perhaps better known for their manufacture of harmonicas, have come up with a good Melodica at a very reasonable price. It might not be as expensive as some of the others, but there is still a lot to admire about the instrument.
This is a 37 key size with three complete octaves, and the phosphor bronze reed gives you a clear sound. It comes with an extension hose which will allow you to play in two modes, either standing using the regular mouthpiece or sitting placed on a table.
It’s made of plastic but still has a decent sound if a little on the quiet side. One slight issue is that when compressing more than one key together, you might need to blow a bit harder to maintain a uniform sound level, but that is quite common with many Melodica. And has a spit valve to remove unwanted moisture from use.
It comes with a really very nice fitted case with a strap and a handle. It is made in China, and the build quality is fine.
As an instrument, it seems best suited to teaching and for new students. It does not sound loud enough for a quality performance level. Having said that the actual sound of the instrument is quite nice.
Children will love it as their first introduction to a musical instrument. Probably suiting a child aged four or five years old providing they have enough puff.
If you want to buy a decent sounding Melodica but do not want to spend a fortune, this one is worth a look.
9 IRIN 32 Piano Keys Melodica
If you are looking for a Melodica at a very cost-effective price because you are not sure that the person you are buying it for will take to it. This could be something worth considering.
It is a 32 key instrument with nicely balanced keys with a uniform pressure required to play. The manufacture is brief and to the point, and the instrument is small in size and very lightweight.
It is made of plastic colored in blue and comes with a nice bag for carrying and storage. It is made very much as a budget instrument so you cannot expect too much, but it has a nice tone, and it stays in tune, even at the top end.
Its ideal user is a beginner, as it is easy and comfortable to play and as we have said inexpensive. The build quality is quite good, and even though it has a plastic construction and is very lightweight, it feels quite sturdy in the hand.
It comes with an extra hose to give it a longer connection as well as the traditional mouthpiece on the instrument, so both basic playing styles are possible.
The thing that surprised us most about this Melodica was its sound. It has a warm, resonant feel to it and is much closer to an accordion than a harmonica.
All things considered for the money you are paying for the instrument you are getting great value. We are obviously not saying its the best Melodica there is, but it is a really nice budget-priced instrument.
10 32 Key Melodica
Well, and now for something completely different. Well, not really, it just looks a bit different. It actually looks more like an accordion when it is in its case than a Melodica, but no, Melodica it is.
It is made by Sprill Enterprises, who have a somewhat limited range in musical instruments but nevertheless ain to produce a quality product at an affordable price.
They have done an impressive job with this Melodica as this is a great little instrument for a child to take their first musical steps. We should always try and make learning fun, and products like this do just that.
As the name implies, it has 32 keys on its keyboard and plays in both alto and soprano range. The keys are standard and not soft touch and are a good size for a child’s hand and creating the feel of a piano.
It has two mouthpieces. The standard mouthpiece on the instrument and a further supplied straight tube piece, allowing the instrument to be played while it is held in the hand or placed on a table.
It has a nice easy sound created in the main by anti-corrosive bronze reeds.
It is a great starter instrument to enthuse your child about the Melodica or maybe as the first steps towards playing the piano. If its the latter this instrument can still be used to practice basic keyboard shapes for a learner if there is no piano at home.
It comes with a hard case with a handle and is lightweight to make carrying it around easy. All things considered, this is a super little product. Not for the experienced player, of course, but as a child takes their first tentative musical steps, there are not many better products to help them.
Best Melodica Buyers Guide
It is a shame how the melodica has been labeled as a bit of a toy and not a serious instrument at all. Yes, it does come in its child-like designs because it is great for kids to learn on, and it needs to be attractive to them, but they are not all like that.
After all what would ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ have sounded like without it or The Kinks ‘Sunny Afternoon.’
We dispute it is a kids’ toy. If Mr. Lennon and Mr. Davies, two of the greats, can find a use for it, then that is ok with us.
They actually have an awful lot more potential uses than first come to mind, but essentially the question is are you buying one for yourself as an experienced player or for a child to have their first musical instrument.
If you are buying one for yourself maybe for live stage work, then there are a couple of very good options – high-quality instruments made by well-known reputable companies that sound very good. And then there’s another level up when really all we have to do to describe what the instrument is about is just say… Hammond.
The good ones do not come in so cheap because they are quality instruments and if you want quality you usually have to pay for it. But considering what you are getting and the manufacturer producing them they are not really expensive.
Lucky child is all we can say. These instruments are a great introduction to music for anyone.
Yes, sometimes they can look a bit toy like, but kids like toys don’t they. That makes it attractive to them, and like anything else, with a child, you usually have to gain their interest level first.
But their performance level is usually way beyond toy standard. There are some excellent non-expensive items we looked at that have been produced to enthuse children and maybe get mum and dad playing as well.
Simple to use and get a basic tune from they are a great teaching tool and at the cost a very effective one. And let’s not forget that this is the most popular musical teaching aid throughout Asia. That’s a lot of kids.
These are directly linked to what it will be used for. If it’s the first instrument, you will not want to go crazy in case it doesn’t work out, and there are lots of options here for a budget approach.
But whatever you decide you will be
buying a fun instrument that has its place in the music world, and the kids are gonna love it.
All together now…
“Let me take you down ‘cause I’m going to…”
So What’s The Best Melodica?
Well, we would be buying for a child to begin their musical journey, to have fun whilst learning, but to love playing and even just looking at their first instrument.
We would, therefore, choose the…
Black and blue keys, how rock n roll is that? Kids are just going to love it. That’s our choice for the best Melodica. A nice little instrument, well made and it looks the part.
Let’s hear it for the Melodica!