New Harmonica Patent & other associated stuff

	As far as I'm aware, Dr. Bahnson has already patented the
"Overblow Harp" - and it does make the overblows a lot easier to get,
plus it allows you much more control over their pitch (i.e. you can
*bend* the overblows! - weird stuff!). The downside is that it's
difficult to play runs using overblows effectively, because the
mechanism operates on the reed itself, so you can get "plinking" type
noises if you go at it too fast. I guess that it comes back to the old
"it depends what you want to do with it argument". My understanding is
that a manufacturer was/is interested in it, but I have heard no news
since the first prototypes were produced - which had some (largely)
cosmetic and ergonomic problems that needed to be sorted out - I'll see
if I can find out more.
	Which brings us very neatly to the Koch (and the new(ish) Slide
Harp). The Slide Harp is the exact same thing as the Koch, except that
it is "half valved" - in other words, it has valves on all the blow
reeds in holes 1 to 6 and on all the draw reeds in holes 7 to 10. It
also has nickel plated reed plates. Like so many things harmonica, the
Koch and it's cousin are great ideas badly executed. If you can get
them airtight, they do have their uses - you could introduce Stevie
Wonder type semitone trills into your blues playing, for instance, and
make it a little jazzier, without sacrificing all that you do in terms
of chords etc if you use a chromatic to do it. As I say, both models
leak like sieves, which seems to be mainly the fault of using the
"old" (now used on the 270) 4 part mouthpiece assembly, together with
engineering tolerances you could drive a Churchill (sorry - Sherman!)
tank through. These things can quite readily be remedied with some
judicious filing and adjustment and general rebuilding - it's down to
whether you want to be bothered to do it or not. (See review in
"Harmonica World", Feb/Mar 1993 - (unashamed plug!!))
	They also only make them in one or two keys (I think - it
wasn't until I spoke to Winslow that I discovered that the Auto-Valve
is available in keys other than C - it seems that each national office
for Hohner gets to pick and choose what they will supply in any given
	I just got hold of an SBS harp in LOW G! You can't play it too
loud, because of the length & weight of the reeds, but it makes a great
noise - the lowest note on it is the G below the lowest C on a 64 - I
hope they're generally available 'cos every home should have one!

See ya - Steve.

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