Here’s the deal, harp freaks…
You send me a Hohner Crossover / Deluxe / Golden Melody / Special 20 / Rocket 10 hole diatonic harmonica in great shape and I re-do the reed plates for high performance.
This offer applies to the Hohner hand made series harps made over the last 15 years IN GREAT SHAPE with all screw construction. Please don’t send Marine Band 1896 put together with nails.
You can also have Rockin Ron ship harps to me for this deal. Just tell him what you are up to and he will know what to do.
I’ll set up the harp for:
– airtight, buttery bends up and down the harp
– over blow friendly reeds on holes 4, 5, & 6
– extra attention to holes 2 & 3, 9 & 10 to balance out the presence and clarity of the bent notes as melody notes
– a tuning formula very close to 19 limit just intonation for smooth chords while keeping the 5 & 9 draw notes on pitch for playing melody lines.
– reed action that balances out bending and over-blow playing without having reeds “blank out” from harder attacks that come from “adrenaline” situations…
Then here is your chance to turn your harp into a high performance machine at half the price of a full custom Marine Band harmonica. You supply the harp, I supply the skill and attention.
Here is what I do for this version of the overhaul:
1. Step one was to use a big ass heavy duty tool that a friend of mine made for me for moving reeds while still attached to the reed plates with rivets. He swore me to secrecy on the design of this tool and it’s one of those things I’ve kept under my hat for years cause I don’t want people getting mad at me for having an unfair advantage (or bugging me to “just show it to me I won’t tell anyone)
Anyhow I use this thing to center reeds at the root to make embossing more consistent. Some reeds are really off center from the factory – like diagonal. Most customizers just work around the reed as best they can, and over-emboss to close up the wide areas.
I also use this tool to close the space between reed tips and the end of the slot when they are too far away.
Here is a video of the before and after on one reed plate:
2. Make sure the reed plates fit the comb with no air leaks.
3. Emboss reed plates and shape the reeds – this usually means making about 3 passes to get the reed where I want it with various tests and a lot of plinking the reeds to make them settle. I fuss around a lot on holes 2 & 3 to get good raspy bends and also re-test all over blows in holes 4,5, & 6 and blow bends…
4. Rough tune the reeds and then let them sit for a few days.
5. Wax reeds in slots 2,3,4,5,6, 9 & 10 – this gives helps the bends and over blows in these holes, and gives you more control over high note bends ( and overdraws if your technique is good )
6. Two more tunings to dial in the reeds. Sometimes more. Testing for octaves smooth chords, in tune melody notes. The general temperament is close to 19 limit just intonation, but i tweak it a bit to give you a little more room for high note bends and a couple other things I like to hear in a harp.
7. Check harp with cover plates screwed on and tweak things if necessary if the screw pressure brings out some minor slot / reed alignment issues.
8. Test one more time and then get ready to ship…
These harps are very close to the flagship Custom Marine Bands that I have been making for $197. The full custom Marine Bands have some minor extra tweaks plus the custom combs and the re-shaped cover plates.
I am now taking orders for a small batch of these overhauls for only $95.
October update – The harps for October are sold out… Please contact me to get on the November list.
PS – if you have harps to send me for the hot rod treatment you can use this address:
PO Box 23, Boalsburg PA 16827