RE: ultimo covers

Recently I called the covers on the Tombo Ultimo wretched.  While a bit
of an exaggeration on my part, I stand by not liking them.  I agree that
they are comfortable to the mouth, in a way similar to a Promaster (but
don't think that the MB/S20/LO style covers are notably less
comfortable--just different).  However, the constricted sound and lack
of projection from the absurdly small rear opening of these covers is
just, well, wretched.  The tone is fine, if you can hear it (because
tone is more player than harp, IMO), but they just aren't loud enough.
Playing softly merely takes some practice and effort--but if the
instrument can only get so loud or doesn't project, you can't just play
louder.  Fortissimo is fortissimo, and if I'm playing fortissimo and the
harp can't give me more than mezzo-forte, there's a problem.  If the
covers were simply opened up significantly in the rear, then I would
think them excellent.  As is, I have often thought of swapping the
covers for something else, as the rest of the harmonica is excellent.  I
want the full dynamic range of which a harmonica is capable, and with
the covers of the Ultimo, I can't get it.

Also, I said that the design isn't significantly different than the Lee
Oskar.  I still say that.  Really, the difference between the Ultimo and
the LO is not much greater than that of a Hohner 280 and a Super 64.
The basic design is essentially the same: ABS comb which surrounds the
reed-plates and creates a mouthpiece with metal covers attached by
screws.  I can easily list ten things that are different between the two
harmonicas, but I don't believe any of them are significant in terms of
design.  Even the cover-shape is a relatively minor thing, in terms of
overall design.  Now, in no set order, a Discrete Comb, a Marine Band or
Suzuki's Overdrive are all significantly different designs than the LO,
if that helps give an idea of what I might deem significant.  The Ultimo
is different in certain aspects, but not overall design, IMO.

On a final note--don't dis Norman.  He's a great asset to the harmonica
community, and he probably knows a lot more about the goings on at
places like Tombo than most.  I'm guessing that Lee Oskar either doesn't
think there's a market for the Aero (and he's probably right, you never
know), or he doesn't want to deal with the hassle of a new product
(different replacement reed-plates; different cases; different
literature; different ads; etc...), or maybe he hasn't even considered
it much yet.  In any event, the odds that the Aero will be distributed
in the US are probably slim.  But, if you really want one, either write
to LO and ask nicely for it, or do the simple thing and get one from
Norman--that's what he's there for:).

 ()()   JR "Bulldogge" Ross
()  ()  & Snuffy, too:)

- -----Original Message-----
From: owner-harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Robert Venables
Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 12:34 PM
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: ultimos,was New Harp from Tombo

The ultimos have extremely thick reed plates, & narrower, fastened with
umpteen screws,which do not fit LO, or even come close. They are very
comfortable to hold, and surprisingly loud & mellow. The coverplate
is minimal, but even the bottom draw on my low F does not 'buzz'. Some
of my
favorite harps have been ultimos, they overblow with minimal tweaking,
they don't last nearly as well as LO's. I havent seen any in alternate
Rob V
J Ross wrote
> As for other Tombo diatonics, I'd guess he feels that they don't
> 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.

- --
Harp-l is sponsored by SPAH.
Hosted by,

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.