Re-engineering (Was Re: Suzuki Harps)
In reply to:
>Spence Pearson pearsone@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>cybermensch University of Colorado, Boulder
>Anyway, it got me
>wondering about some chromatic harps I've never tried. Specifically, has
>anyone tried the Suzuki Leghorn? Does its hole cover fit on the Chromonica
>270 ? 'Cause I might get it just to try the 270 with round holes. And the
>Hohner 16 hole chromatics--how does the Chromonica 280 with plastic comb
>compare to the super 64 at the same price, or the Larry Adler? And what
>does the Amadeus do for you at around 600 bucks?
In my humble opinion, our "old standby" harmonica manufacturer (no pun
intended) is more interested in mass production than quality of their
instruments. It is for this reason that there is an after-market trade
which specializes in modification of new, unplayed instruments. I believe
that your goal here is to modify your instrument so that it is more air
tight and comfortable. You are certainly not the first to do this and
perhaps I can shed a little light on the subject.
About trying the 270 with round holes, Jerry Murad has modified the old
280 mouthpiece to fit a 270. It is not hard, it does require a certain
amount of machine knowledge to either cut and splice the mouthpiece, or
to shorten and fill it.
Jerry's current project is in improving the air efficiency of the
MeisterKlasse 14 hole chromatic. He has taken the old style 280
slide and mouthpiece assembly and cut all of the pieces down to
the 14 hole length and has had remarkable success. There are three
elements of this modification which make the system superior to stock
1. round holes which focus the air stream;
2. a three piece slide as opposed to a two piece slide;
3. a shorter distance between the lips and reeds.
The most important of these factors is the three piece slide. The
stock mouthpiece is generally wide open on the underside and the
smallest void there will create a large air gap. When using the
three piece slide assembly as found on the 270 and old 280's, you have
the most air efficient slide available because the slide is contained
within on both sides and the mouth piece can actually be cemented to
the top of the slide assembly. To get a picture of this, refer to a
The second of importance is the distance from the lips to the reeds.
The stock MeisterKlasse mouthpiece is nearly .25" taller than the old
280 mouthpiece. Believe it or not, this .25" does cost the stock
instrument all of the punch of the 270.
As for the new 280 vs. the super 64, both of these harmonicas have
the two piece slide that I refered to above. Both of these harmonicas
have an "airey" sound which is attributable solely to the slide and
If I may assert my personal opinion here, there is no chromatic
harmonica today which will stand up to the sound of the 270 and
old 280. Both of these instruments had a common weak spot and
that was the wooden comb. The 270 had a weak spot being the
square holes (simply uncomfortable to the player). I believe
that if you scrape up some 270's and old 280's, give them all
plastic combs, and the 270's some modified mouthpieces, you will
then have the best air efficient chromatic harmonica known to all.
Remember, reed height also has much to do with the air efficiency.
George Miklas, Bass Harmonicist, Jerry Murad's Harmonicats
"Three Gs and an E flat....who would think that these four notes would
be the main theme of a major symphonic work?" Arthur G. Spiro, Ph.D.
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