RE: Subject: Re: [Harp-L] comb material

Brother Zombor and Harp-L:

Here is my opinion on the comb material debate as far as the wood vs.
plastic idea goes - 

The comb material having an effect on "tone" is relative to the way the
harmonica is held in the hands. That's my simplified way of looking at
the whole issue.
My rationale being that a ten-hole harp comb is not a 1 inch by 4 inch
chunk of material. After all of the reed slots are cut, about one third
to one half of the comb material is gone. Furthermore, this small amount
of comb material is being squeezed together tightly between two metal
plates by nails, screws, etc. Then, if that wasn't enough, when we hold
the harp in our hands, we are compressing the "tin sandwich" even more.
Blues players are especially tough on harps when used with bullet mics.
I have caved-in many cover plates over the years.
So, how in the world can one take a small amount of ANY material, attach
rigid plates to both sides of it then squeeze the crap out of the
contraption and expect it to resonate like a Stradivarious violin? 
In my opinion, the only way a harmonica would "resonate", if it could
resonate at all, would be if it were held at the extreme ends by only
the fingertips; and lightly at that. But who plays like that?
And finally, what is amplifying the harp? A raunchy amp? A PA system?
Even an excellent PA system "colors" the sound and tone somewhat.
Sometimes the sound is clear and too "glassy". Sometimes the sound is
bass-heavy and muffled. Properly amplifying an "accurate" harmonica tone
depends on too many factors, in my opinion, to worry about comb material
as the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I don't know. Maybe I'm all wrong. I just know how much happier I am now
that I quit worrying about combs and cover plates and judge the
legitimacy of my harps by how they respond to MY style of playing.

John Balding
Tallahassee, FL 

-----Original Message-----
From: harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Zombor Kovacs
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 4:21 PM
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Subject: Re: [Harp-L] comb material

Sorry, I did not mean to underrate the person who
started the comb material debate, I just thought it
was me, but if it is a measure of significance or
importance, I am not that important. ANd I did not
really pay attention who it was. 
Probably the reason why the topic does not want to die
is that idiots like myself, who are going to bed,
sleeping and waking up with the most wicked ideas
about how to reorganise reeds on reedplates, combs one
onto another to finally invent the nuclear rubylaser
driven harmonica with uranium reeds and plutonium comb
which would save the world are experimenting with
things many people have already experimented with,
invent things which are already invented and ask
questions which have already been asked and answered.
But the fact that the topic doesnt want to die
probably means that the harmonica is much more
complicated an instrument than a guitar (oops) and it
is not logical or obvious that comb material has
nothing to do with sound. It is obvious even for the
blind, that it must have to do something, since it is
THERE! And it still has nothing to do, or almost
nothing. Sorry for all this crap :-)


--- J Compton <jofjltn4@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hey, no fighting over who originally started
> this...we've already printed two thousand pictures
> of Jeff's face for our dartboards and we are *not*
> going to reprint pictures of someone else.  No
> matter who actually started it, Jeff is the one we
> are going to blame.  Besides, the picture printing
> budget is just about gone and we're not even a third
> of the way through the year.
> Since we've argued to death (again) something that
> apparently *doesn't* affect the result, how about
> discussing what does...or on what we think might but
> we just don't know it yet.
> As for what does (or might), how much work has been
> done experimenting with changing the comb thickness?
>  Most production harps seem to have about the same
> comb thickness (opening the door here for someone
> who has measured dozens of them to correct me and
> ridicule me for speculating where real data exists).
>  Is this an optimal thickness or just a traditional
> thickness?  I'd search the archives, but can't get
> there from work at the moment.  Please forgive me if
> a search would have yielded this info.
> Also, what might be the next big development?  The
> recent Seydel with the stainless steel reeds is an
> example...maybe.  Any prediction on what might be
> next?
> Jonathan "the future is hazy" Compton
> > Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 08:28:46 -0700> From:
> zrkovacs@xxxxxxxxx> Subject: Re: Subject: Re:
> [Harp-L] comb material> To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx> >
> WHen? Im not gonna check back. If it is so, I am>
> sorry. I thought it was me. But to me it doesn't>
> matter who it was. If it was you, its probably all
> the> same. > > Zombor> > > --- Jeff roulier
> <jroulier@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:> > > At 12:36 PM
> 4/19/2007, you wrote:> > > > >It seems I have
> stirred up still water (if there is> > >any saying
> similar to this in english) with the> > comb> >
> >material topic :-)> > > > > > Check the archives...
> I was the one who started this> > debate. > > > > >
> > >
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