The melodica is a free-reed instrument just like the pump organ and the harmonica. It has a standard keyboard on its top and is played by blowing air through the mouthpiece that is attached to a hole in the side of the instrument. When you press any key, the hole opens, which allows air to flow through a reed. We’ve also rounded up the top ten best melodica for the money and the Best Melodica Brand options currently on the market. Between in-depth reviews of each one and our buying guide, we’re pretty sure it will be easy to decide which melodica is the best one for you.
It is also known as a Melodion, Pianica, Pianetta, Clavietta as well as by other names.
When it comes to melodica, there’s a large number of choices from a wide range of brands. Therefore, choosing the best melodica for the money can be somewhat tricky. However, we’ve included everything that you need to know in this article.
We will therefore be showing you how to select a melodica, as well as, the three main factors you need to consider before buying one.
Types of Melodicas
Melodicas can be found in a variety of different classifications. They are as follows.
Soprano and Alto- Offer high pitched, thin-sounding notes. These Melodicas are often played with 2 hands. Alto is the most common and often considered the easiest to play.
Tenor- Tenors offer a lower pitch and are often played with 1 hand while the other holds the melodica. This is where the tube mentioned above comes in as you can also play them with two hands while blowing through a tube and the instrument is on a flat surface.
Bass- Bass is the lowest pitch melodica and also the rarest. It is as you could probably guess, used for bass tones.
Accordina: This is where the keys are replaced with buttons. They are often made of metal but some cheaper ones can be found made of plastic.
best melodica brands
1. Andoer 32 Piano Keys Melodica
ammoon 32 Piano Keys Melodica Musical Education…
- 32 piano style keys, easy to play and learn.
- With the short mouthpiece, you can hold the instrument with…
- With the long bendy straw mouthpiece you can set the…
$25.99Buy on Amazon
If you’re brand new to the world of melodicas, this basic Andoer model is the perfect option to get your feet wet without spending too much or worrying about the fancy options that come with other melodicas. This little guy is one of the most affordable melodicas out there – they don’t get too expensive, but Andoer really outdid themselves with the pricing on this one. And for that affordable price, you get everything you could want out of a basic melodica: 32 keys, two different mouthpieces (short and long), a carry bag, and great construction quality. Simply, it is one of the best melodicas for the money.
With this one I really do like how they include both a short and a long mouthpiece – if you’re new to the instrument, it’s a great way to try out both methods of playing it. With the short mouthpiece, you can hold the instrument up while playing. The long one allows you to set the melodica down on a table while playing so you don’t have to hold it up the whole time.
2. Hammond 44 Acoustic-Electric Melodion
Hammond 44 Acoustic-Electric Melodion
- The Hammond 44 incorporate a built-in dynamic microphone
- Designed in collaboration with leading harmonica…
$511.60Buy on Amazon
The Hammond 44 comes with a hefty price tag but is hands down the classiest, most well-constructed melodica on the market. It was made in conjunction with Suzuki Instruments’ world-renowned harmonica technology, so it’s much more of a “real” instrument than other budget melodicas can ever be. The sound is incredibly full and rich, and the included internal microphone means you can fit right in with any band up on stage without getting drowned out while playing.
If you’re serious about your melodica playing, you absolutely will not be disappointed with this Hammond 44. Everything about it oozes “premium,” and the performance of the instrument surpasses even its great looks and feel.
3. Hohner Performer 37 key Melodica
Hohner Performer 37 Key Melodica – Black
- 37 keys
- Tone range of F below middle C through F
- Bronze reeds
$79.49Buy on Amazon
Hohner calls themselves an industry leader in melodicas (as their original Piano 36 melodicas were made in Germany decades ago) and after trying out this Performer 37 I have to agree. This model features 37 keys (tone range from F to F, through middle C) and bronze reeds, and ships with a carrying case, a short mouthpiece that fits directly into the instrument, and a long, flexible hose mouthpiece addition that enables you to set the instrument down on a table or your lap while you play.
I was quite impressed with the breadth and richness of the sound you can get out of this Hohner after acclimating to the instrument for a few minutes. You can tell it’s a true Hohner in line with their renowned harmonicas just by the sheer quality of its pitch and tone. The 37 keys are fantastic as well, and really seem any 32 key melodicas seem a bit sparse in comparison. The Hohner 32b is a bit cheaper but also lacks the polish of the Performer 37 as it doesn’t include things like bronze reeds at the time of this review.
Fun Fact: Mr. Utley from the Coral Reefers, the band that tours with Jimmy Buffet, made the use of melodicas in concert mainstream and has referenced this one as being one of the best. It started in a small music shop in Myrtle Beach in 1969 before Jimmy Buffet’s concert that week. Utley used the melodica during ‘Volcano’ and it was so well received he hasn’t stopped using it since.
4. D’Luca M37 37 Key Melodica
Fever Melodica, Black (M37-BK)
- 37 piano style keys
- Zipper Protective Bag, mouthpiece and extension hose
- Ideal for students as well as advanced players
$39.95Buy on Amazon
This 37 key model from D’Luca is one of the few 37 key melodicas you can get at such a reasonable price and the best melodica that D’Luca offers. And don’t get me wrong, D’Luca does not slack on the quality here either. I’ve been extremely impressed with the overall construction and presentation of this instrument given how affordable it is when compared to some of the more expensive options out there.
As is standard, the M37 ships with a zippered carrying case as well as two mouthpieces – one short, one long & tubed. A big note here is that you can get the instrument in black, blue, red, or pink. This is a welcome sight in a world where most melodicas ship in the standard matte black, with no other options to be found. Personally I opted for the blue version, and I’m quite pleased with the richness of the coloring.
From a performance point of view, I do think this is an excellent “beginner” melodica of sorts as it covers three octaves. You’ll never get the highest quality tuning and pitch capabilities out of a budget instrument, but there really aren’t any glaring issues to be found with this D’Luca.
5. Yamaha P37D 37-Key Pianica
Yamaha, 37-Key Melodica (P37D)
- Pianicas are free-reed instruments similar to accordions and…
- Popular in Asian markets and are used primarily for general…
- The top choice for many educators and professional musicians
$110.02Buy on Amazon
It’s always encouraging to come across the Yamaha brand when instrument-shopping, and this 37 key melodica by Yamaha is no exception to that rule. The instrument itself is nothing short of beautiful, from the texture and weight to the rich almost-mahogany color of the case and chassis. Yamaha does not make crappy instruments and this melodica is one of the most well-constructed, well-presented melodicas I’ve ever come across.
When I got mine in and started playing, I was actually mesmerized by how rich and vibrant the sound is. It’s simply a joy to play away on this P37D, and I’m once again impressed at the consistent level of quality that Yamaha maintains in all that they do.
This melodica does ship with a case as well as both a short and long mouthpiece, and the case itself actually features a really cool built-in storage slot for the mouthpieces – you can tuck both away inside, close up the case, and be on your way with the entire instrument and all peripherals contained within. These refinements is why the Yamaha made our best melodica list.