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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Open back
Open back
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138 posts
May 09, 2022
11:47 AM
Why don't all decent harps have open backs? If it is a real advantage to have the back open (more volume), such as on the Hohner Rocket, why not on the Special 20? Is it a cost thing?

Both are good harps.
68 posts
May 09, 2022
1:44 PM
I don’t really care about the volume aspect.
The reason I only use opened backs now (crossovers) is that it allows me to adjust reed action at any time
ted burke
942 posts
May 09, 2022
7:50 PM
Much has to do with the feel of the harmonica in the individual's hands. This is true of guitarists who prefer special models and years of production over others because the instrument of choice, aside from technical advantages, "feels right" when they play it. I find too many open back harps to be too large in the hand, which isn't kind to my arthritis. Your mileage, of course, may vary on this topic.
3678 posts
May 10, 2022
8:57 AM
The idea of the more open back is to give the harmonica greater volume and projection and if you ever buy a custom harp, opening up the back is one of the very first things that they do. As in the case with the Marine Band, the ones made prior to the 1980's were much more wide open in the back than they are now, but they were at their most wide open prior to WWII. The MB Deluxe and Crossovers are opened up the same way as customizers do it for the same reason, plus there's actually less metal being used on the cover plates since around the 1950's.

With harps tuned to equal temperament, a more closed up back actually mellows out the sounds of a chord being played on them, especially if and when played really hard.
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
10399 posts
May 10, 2022
10:12 AM
Open backs give you a brighter sound. Closed backs give you a warmer sound.

It's got to do with how many times the sound reflects inside the harp before making it's way out... sound box acoustics. Personally, I usually prefer the warmer sound from a more closed back. My amp takes care of volume for me.

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First Post- May 8, 2009
7070 posts
May 13, 2022
8:17 PM
I’ve tried both. I used to open the backs but now I never do. All that stuff seems really unimportant to me now. I like the harp to be in tune and easy to play. Other than that I try to interfere as little as possible.

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