I'm fairly new to MBH, so my apologies if this has already been done, but I've gotten into colorful combs in recent years which has made it much easier to quickly determine which key is which. Below are some of my combs. Feel free to share your pics also.
Special Thanks to: Randy Sandoval, Chris Reynolds, Chris Michalek
The purple comb is a new material which will soon be available from Chris Reynolds - www.blowyourbrassoff.com
The brass comb came from Chris Michalek - www.buddhasgarden.net (Chris' web site will be back up soon.)
Corian combs came from Randy Sandoval - www.genesisharmonicas.net
Last Edited by on Jun 08, 2010 1:14 AM
I especially like the golden Golden Melody with the golden comb.
The combs below are from virtue who posts here from time to time. Transfering the money to Russia takes a little getting used to. But virtue is an absolutely stand-up guy and the combs were really cheap - so I couldn't resist.
To make it worth the effort I bought a whole bunch, but it was worth it - they were literally ripped off my hands here in Germany.
Here I replaced the crappy Blues Harp comb with one of the acryl combs.
---------- YT - Music isn't created... it's evolved.
Last Edited by on Jun 08, 2010 5:34 AM
Yummy guys, especially Todd's centrefolds!!! I need some combs like that but it's hard to source them here downunder. I'm gonna chase them up for sure via you guys and those mentioned. Tell me Todd, the original GM comb has that split chamber thing happening about half way down, but not on those customs, any difference with/without? (wouldn't mind a sexy comb like that for my new SBS 14 hole already showing swelling!) Thanx guys , from the 'far deep south!'.......:~)
I don't think the center piece you're referring to makes any difference at all. Chris Reynolds makes combs for the SBS as well. You should check with him about shipping to Australia. I think Randy does SBS combs also.
Yes it's all for 70EUR plus shipping of course. This is an amazing WORK OF ART. I think he just started, so the introductory prices are dirt cheap.
Vyacheslav's email is stanpu @ yandex.ru phone nr +792 SIX 204403 ONE (replace words with numbers - antispam protection)
I think I'll cooperate with him and feature his combs on my website after some time. Will make it easier to buy from outside Russia. I just need to figure out how to pay him because I'm outside Russia myself...
Last Edited by on Jun 10, 2010 7:26 AM
Check out these other cool combs available from Randy Sandoval at genesisharmonicas.net. None of these harmonicas are mine except for the black one, which is a Pro Harp II w/ Special 20 reed plates, on a Corian comb.
Todd -- Those are awesome! Thanks. Have you tried the round hole models? If so, how do they compare to the slotted? Are most of these "drop-in" replacements? I would love to upgrade a few BH and MB models I've got. Is anybody offering a large comb for MB #364 and #365?
No, I've never tried the rounded holes on a diatonic. With these combs, you can simply attach your reed plates to them - the combs are pre-drilled. As for the large Marine Band 364 & 365 models, both Chris Reynolds and Randy Sandoval offer these. In fact, I think Chris said he had several of them in stock. You may want to check with either of them. Their web sites are listed below as well as some pictures of Chris' harps/combs. Hope this helps!
Chris - www.blowyourbrassoff.com Randy - www.genesisharmonicas.net
Thanks for the support Todd! If anyone is wondering, I don't make the round hole combs anymore. They take forever and I lose my as# on them. Those Chris Reynolds combs are beautiful. The filework is truly high art. Great work Chris!
My Goodness! More eye candy you guys! I've just bought a Steve Baker Special down here in Oz, and within half an hour the comb has protruded a millimetre (Aussie spelling) or so!! Sent it back and the distributor accused me of dunking it in water and playing heaps (had it TWO days) Anyway, I'm on the lookout for an alternative but after seeing Todd"s photos (what amounts closer to porn) I think I am in love..! I'll check your sites out guys, Thanx!
i open the backs of my Harps SP-20s with a dremal then 12 fine wet sand giveing a smooth finish don't want no sharp edges cutting me:)
I been looking at custom combs because i don't realy like the hollow skelital combs if there are better why not give them a look:)
Ps Bro i don't know how to say it,I'm not being rude the harp looks great the open back is cool,, but man that ugly bolt stuck in the back ruins the finished product:( like Building a Hot rod car and finishing the job of with a plastic petrol cap it just don't look right:(
Maybe a small brass rod epoxyed in place would look better:)
Todd, I have to agree the bolt looks a little rough compared to the rest of the harp. It looks like it's in a spot where it would never really have to be taken out. I wonder if there is a way to gussy it up a bit. Maybe you could Dremel it to look like a Roman column or something? Or find something at a hardware store that looks less like a screw.
I haven't seen any harmonica examples, but I really like the Steampunk aesthetic. It seams that with all the brass in a harp it would be a natural fit.
@Nastyolddog: This is not my harp (though I wish it was) - it's a pic that Randy posted on FB. I'm sure he could easily replace the bolt with some type of support beam. I've seen him use beams in some of this other harp pics. What did you think about the way he opened the cover plates on the sides? I thought that was pretty neat-looking, though I'm not sure how it would affect the tone, if at all. I like how you opened up your Special 20 also - nice and clean. I switched to the colored combs because it's WAY easier for me to tell which key is which, since they're pretty much color-coded. I never did like those stick-on letters. I think you'd like Randy's Special 20 combs. I've got a couple of them and I love them.
@Nate: I agree - I think that stuff would make a cool-looking comb. I'm sure it's possible somehow.
Some of them do, some of them don't. Just depends on the material, color, etc. Randy can make any color or material you want - the customer picks the color. So I guess you are saying that Dennis likes pale tasteless colors? ;-) j/k To me, wooden combs are boring, but most people love them. I like vibrant colors myself. Dymondwood is nice though.
Randy is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet btw. I hope he's at SPAH again this year. Everybody loved his combs.
Don't get me wrong, I have some wooden combs that I do like, but I just like funky colors. And though they say the comb material does little to affect the tone, I do hear very subtle differences between materials. I really like the Corian and the Fantasy Marble a lot.
To the person playing it, there are some very subtle differences, but to an audience, even one with 98% musicians all blind folded, very few can really tell any truly noticeable differences. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Temporary as in you put something else in there or temporary as in you take it out?
How hard would it be to make a little snap on cover for the bolt out of the same material as the comb, or maybe something screwed in place by the bolt itself, that is, if the bolt stays in there?
I've only ever modified covers, not combs. I used the pinch and fold method to open up the back instead of Dremeling off the extra material. I was just doing it to see what an open backed harp sounded like so I didn't worry about it being pretty, but it seems the folded material gives the cover a little thickness right where it needs it most.
Once I get my new computer I'm going to start putting money aside for some more harp stuff. Maybe I'll try to make my own Steampunk harmonica.
That is very true, Bob - I would agree with that. I hear the differences mainly because I do a lot of recording with sensitive mics, but to an audience they can't usually tell. I will say that I've had more than one person come up to me afterwards to ask what harp I was using when I played that black Special 20 (pictured above) that Randy made, because they said it was really loud and bright sounding. And it isn't really a custom harp. He just did some very minor adjusting before he mounted it on the comb at SPAH.
Randy used to build harps with double-thick reed plates for louder harps, but I hear this fatigues the reeds much faster. Have you ever tried something like one of those? I'd like to try one sometime myself. I know the old pre-MS Hohner Cross Harps had thicker reed plates, and I really liked those.
Nacoran, I am waiting on some sex bolts. The brace is permanent. I cut the head off a 2mm bolt and screw the female sex bolt on each side. The ugly bolt is just there for now. I don't dremel the edge of the GM covers off, they are folded without any distortion at all. I just started doing quite a few double thick plates as I finally made a jig for lining the plates up. Way easier than trying to align them in a vice. As for reed life, they take very little effort to play. I just did some doubled GM's but the edge of the outer plate needs to be cut off or the ends of the covers wont sit flush on the reed plates. Most people fold MB covers just a little, but if you fold them then wrench the hell out of them with a vice they are very strong.
Todd, back in 1995, Winslow Yerxa, the author of the book "Harmonica For Dummies," let me play a custom MB with double thick reed plates plus tightened slot tolerances and after playing it with an extremely light breath force, I was amazed by its sheer volume, loudest diatonic I`ve ever played hands down. Winslow told me he had two of them and blew one out barely a month old and he`s not known as a hard player and he was told by Filisko that it would play incredibly loud but the tradeoff was that with a thicker plate, the reed has a wider, more aggressive swing but when played hard, the reed gets very badly stressed and will blow out very quickly. There never was a pre-MS series Cross Harp and I think what you`re referring to is a pre-MS Meisterklasse. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Cool! Thanks for the good info about the double-thick plates.
Yeah, there was a pre-MS Cross Harp that only came in C, G, D, and A. I still have one in C, but it looks awful and some of the reeds are bad. Charlie Musselwhite had one on the front of his Ace Of Harps album. But, I think they were very short-lived, because what soon followed was the MS series. I liked the pre-MS Meisterklasse a lot too, but players seemed to have mixed feelings about them.
Todd, when it comes to harps using a thicker reed plate, with the standard thickness being 0.90mm, anything over 1.05mm I'd NEVER let a newbie play because the vast majority of them play with too much breath force and with a double thick plate 1.80mm, if lasts them anything beyond a week before they blow its standard for most plastic combs and I've seen some combs that were not done properly. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte