Marine Band MS vs. Traditional

How much different are the modular Marine Bands from the normal ones?  I've
grown to love my Marine Bands' sound and haven't found another harp that
sounds as good.  Golden Melodies supposedly (?) use the same reed plates, but
they don't sound nearly as bluesy to me.  Anyways, I've learned to overblow
and I've found that that adjusting the reed gap is definately essential
(thanx Winslow ... when's HIP Vol. 5 gonna be out?).  With my Golden
Melodies, this isn't a problem, but the Marines Bands have those wanna be
screw-nails and you have to pry them apart.  If the modular series aren't any
different, then this would be cool.  However, according to HIP overblowing
harp guide, the modular series have thinner reeds (which is why I gave up on
Lee Oskars).  Is this so?  If it is, forget it ... I'll stick the the
traditional Marine Bands.

Another thing, since I've fallen in love with Marine Bands, I've been
seriously considering buying a Filisko MB or two (or six).  However, I have a
few questions about them for those of you priveleged to own one.

1) Does the wood-treating change the tone any?  Do they sound exactly like a
standard MB?

2) How long do they last?  I know he bolts the coverplates on.  Can these be
removed constantly?  Can the reed plates be easily replaced with ones from
another MB?  Does the wood eventually wear out, even with the treatment?  I
can afford to buy a new MB every once in a while at $13, but not at $50.  My
current MB in A has this minor problem: the 6 hole seems to be getting wider
with each use.  It's only about 2 months old (how about that Hohner QC?), but
the wooden comb is warped which is magnified by moisture.  Since most places
don't let you return a played harp, I'm starting to think that they should
allow me to at least disassemble them first.

3) Exactly how much are they and where can you get them?  I know you can
order them from Filisko himself, but can you buy them at say, Kevin's, and
are they cheaper or more expensive?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Interesting tidbit: I went to see Whiteboy James this week (a very derranged
local cat), and Phil Alvin [The Blasters] was there.  He popped up on stage
to do a few numbers and while he was singing, he shoved a harp in his mouth
and let go of it with his hands.  By simply holding the harp with nothing but
his lips, he was able to play from a 1 blow, all the way up to a 6 draw
without touching the harp with his hands.  And it was a Lee Oskar at that.  I
guess that just shows what you can do when you can toungue-block and have a
mouth as big as Phil's...


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