Re: [Harp-L] comb material

----- Original Message ----- From: "Tim Moyer" <wmharps@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 5:32 AM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] comb material

Does comb material make a differnce?  It does to me.  In combination
with other factors, it changes the way I approach the instrument.
Can the audience hear it?  They can certainly hear the differences
in my style and approach.  Can they hear the difference in comb
material?  Depends on how you look at it.

From my point of view, the best way to compare harmonicas or comb materials
is to have them played by a air pump that sounds a continuous single note. That avoids all of the human variables such as attitude, motivation, and inability to consistently employ the same embouchure and breath control. A scientific experiment seeks to eliminate or control for all extraneous variables. The only question that I wish to argue is: "Can humans perceive differences in sound arising from differences in reed material?" My answer is that so far no one has demonstrated the ability to do so. Anyone who can do it can win $1000 from me.

Widening the question to include subjective player physiological and psychological variables will make it virtually impossible to answer. It would become a question for the psychologist, not the harmonica technician.

From all of the theory and evidence available to me, pursuit of any desired
harmonica tone through choice of comb materials is a waste of time and money. Pursuit of dimensional stability and longevity favors plastic over wood and and metal over plastic.

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