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This small free-reed instrument combines aspects of a harmonica and pump organ. It makes some pretty nifty sounds.

To play it you blow air into a tube that attaches to the side of the keyboard. When you press a key, a hole opens up and the air flows through the keys to make the desired sounds.

The melodica dates back to 1950. If you look at its history, you will find that it started to grow in popularity in the 1970’s in the reggae and Jamaican dub scene.

More recently, it has been used in pop music among other genres and has become a popular instrument among many famous musicians including bands like Oasis, The Beach Boys, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

As a beginner, you may wonder how difficult it is to learn. Good news! It’s not difficult at all, especially if you have ever played a piano.

This is a great instrument to start out with because you do not have to learn special hand placements as with other woodwind instruments.

But, there is always the question of which one is best? 

The best melodica for beginners will be one that produces great sound and quality; one that is solid and easy to use. 

But first, why use a melodica?

Why use a Melodica?

Many people enjoy using the melodica because of the distinctive sounds it delivers. If you have struggled with other wind instruments, but have the passion to play one, you’re in luck.

Because it is so easy to learn, even those who struggle with other wind instruments should be able to learn to play the melodica. 

Whether you are learning it as a student or are a professional musician the melodica is worth checking out. It is small, portable, and great for music schools or to use on stage.

If you’ve ever seen the Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, you will notice that Jon Batiste Plays a melodica at the beginning of every show.

Didn’t know that?

It’s a pretty cool tidbit of information as well as inspiration for any beginner.

Some people see it as a toy-like instrument, but it is so much more than that. It’s fun to play with, no doubt, but don’t let that discount its musical worth!

Options are always a plus and with the melodica you have the option to use it standing up with one hand or sitting down with two hands using a foot pump.

Some come with multiple mouthpieces so that you have the option of whether you want to stand or sit while you play whether or not you have a foot pump.

In either circumstance, the sound that comes out of it is relative to other wind instruments. In fact, its name may have made you think of its relative the harmonica.

You may think why not just use a harmonica?

Harmonicas make great musical instruments, but the sounds you create with a melodica are unique to the melodica. It’s a one of a kind instrument. 

It’s versatile. Adults and kids alike can learn to play this instrument. It’s popularity is growing in many genres of music and for good reason. You cannot mimic the melodica. 

What to look for in a Melodica

As a beginner, you do not need to go out and find the most advanced melodica there is. Simplicity is best when you are first starting to learn any instrument. 

  • Octaves: Melodicas usually come with either two or three octaves. As a newbie, two octaves will work best for you. You can use them to make simple melodies, which is all you need.
  • Voice Range: Most commonly used is the soprano melodica. It plays the highest ranges of the other available voice ranges. The other 3 types you will find are Alto, Tenor, and Bass. 
    • Alto is played with two hands and has a slightly lower range
    • Tenor is played with one hand while holding a handle in the other hand. It produces a deeper sound than the former two.
    • Bass plays the lowest range and is not very commonly played
  • Material: Melodicas are generally made with plastic or wood. You can find quality melodicas in both categories. The type you get depends on the sound you want. Some musicians prefer the deep tone of the wooden ones. 
  • Breath Support: Some melodicas require more breath support to play multiple notes. As a beginner, you want to start out simple and find one that doesn’t require an extravagant amount of breath support.

All in all, finding a great melodica comes down to great quality and certain attractive features that make it easy to use for a beginner.

Best Melodica for Beginners

HOHNER HARMONICA 32B Harmonica, Black

Coming from the original line of melodica’s, this is a classic. It is a great instrument for beginners because it is fun and easy to play.

This one is made of plastic, but that does not devalue its quality. The touch of the keys is smooth and the action of the keyboard is notable.

Its quality does not only come in the form of its material, but in its sound. Hohner melodicas are perfectly crafted to provide refreshing sound.

It comes with a mouthpiece extension hose, 32 keys, and 2 and ½ octaves ranging from soprano to alto. 

You have the option to play it standing up with the short blow tube or you can use it on a table top sitting down with the long blow tube. In either circumstance, the breath support you need is not excessive. 

This melodica is compact and portable so you can take it with you without the hassle of a bulky instrument.

To add to its portability, it comes with a deluxe carrying case of its own. That’s always a convenient bonus.

Pros

  • Easy to learn
  • Compact
  • Portable w/carrying case
  • Quality sound
  • Quality material 
  • 2.5 octaves
  • Great volume control

Cons

  • Higher notes can be slightly out of tune

CAHAYA Melodica 2 Double Mouthpieces Tube Set Pianica Melodicas Piano Style Portable with Carrying Bag (32 Keys, Black)

Made from ABS non-toxic engineering resin, the Cahaya Melodica is safe for everybody. It comes with 2 short mouthpieces and 2 long mouthpieces as well as a zip-up carrying bag.

In addition, you are provided with a cleaning cloth and an instruction manual.

With its smooth and reactive keyboard along with its compactly constructed body, this melodica is a great choice for beginners. 

Have you ever played the piano?

You can play single notes, chords, sharps and flats with the Cahaya Melodica, just like a piano. This also means that you can read sheet music and play it on this nifty instrument.

The difference is that you do not have as wide of a range since this is a compact instrument. Regardless, you are getting extra out of this little instrument. 

Its quality is excellent. It produces a wonderful tone and great response. The keys are sturdy and they have the notes engraved on them for your benefit.

Beginners of all ages can play this melodica. Kids love it. Adults love it. Its features are enough to attract any beginner. 

Pros

  • Extra Mouthpieces
  • Engraved Notes
  • Compact w/carrying bag
  • Can play like a piano
  • Safe material
  • Smooth and responsive tone

Cons

  • May be difficult to use if you have big hands

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