RE: New Harp from Tombo

jrross wrote:
> As for other Tombo diatonics, I'd guess he feels that they don't really
> offer anything different enough from the LO to make it worthwhile (or
> profitable).  The Ultimo is quite nice, using the same reeds as the LO
> (if not reed-plate and comb), but has some truly wretched covers.
> Moreover, it really isn't a substantially different design.  

I got a couple of Ultimos as a gift this summer, and they are currently my 
favorite harps, bar none.  Far from being "wretched", I find the covers far 
more comfortable to play than the Lee Oskar/Major Boy cover style, which has 
the end tabs, a la Marine Bands, Special 20s and the like.  Full length covers 
like the Ultimo (and the Suzuki Promaster and the Hohner Meisterklasse) prevent 
your lips from encountering the cover edge when you slide down to those low 
notes or up to those high ones.  This may not be a different design, but for me 
it's a subtantially better design.  

My Ultimos did require that mating surfaces at the ends of the covers be filed 
flat to create a good seal at the corners, and the back openings are rather 
low, which has a dampening effect on the tone, in my opinion.  But this is an 
advantage for me, as I prefer these harps for practicing at low volumes.  I 
feel that the chromed brass covers help in this regard as well.  Seems to 
dampen some of the tinniness that I dislike about the Oskar design.  

The quality of the Ultimos is definitely very good, as good as any Lee Oskar 
I've ever seen (which is to be expected, I guess) with the normal caveats for 
overbend squealing, etc.  I'm interested to see the new Aero, and wish that Lee 
would allow some of these other harps to be imported into North America 
(listening, Lee?).

- -tim

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