Re: [Harp-L] was XB-40 bending, now making plastic combs tighter with silicone

Bluesified Concerto... it's an Elk River modified octave harmonica for blues playing I started offering a couple of months ago. It's made from a Seydel concerto, it's Richter note placement, two harmonicas with a divider in the middle. For example, the C, on the top reedplate is a regular C richter harmonica and the bottom reedplate is a low C richter note-placement harmonica. 
It's intended to be played, of course, both sides at the same time for the octave sound. 
The harmonica itself is just two Richter harmonicas with a divider in the middle. It's a knittlinger-style harp, so you have a blow and draw reed in each hole. Thus, bending, like a blues diatonic is possible once you remove the valves. But if you just remove the valves, there are some issues. The main issue is that sure you can block one side and play that side like a regular blues diatonic, but when you hit both sides for that full octave sound, there is an imbalance of compression... so I have to do a lot of things to balance that out so that the chord on one side doesn't lag behind the other - they both sound at exactly the same time. One of those things is application of silicone in certain places. Another is a specific gapping combination. 

There's a more better description and video demo here:

David Payne

Elk River Harmonicas Forum now available via Iphone app,

 From: Rick Dempster <rick.dempster@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: David Payne <dave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
Cc: Harp L Harp L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 7:55 PM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] was XB-40 bending, now making plastic combs tighter with silicone

Er....what is the 'Concerto', of which you write dave?

On 30 July 2012 14:42, David Payne <dave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Zombor is dead on with this. Kitt Gamble turned me on to non-toxic aquarium silicone. The problem with those hollow plastic combs is there is a very small area of comb that sits against reedplate. It's just a little line. Reedplates are stamped out, so they are never perfectly flat. They have slight undulations. Now on a flat wood comb, if you have an undualtion, it's no big deal cause it redolates (just made that word up) by the time you get to anywhere air can leak to.... but on a plastic comb, air can leak inside the comb itself.
>So silicone stops this.. You don't necessarily need a syringe or anything fancy. Your finger will do. What you are doing is basically smearing a VERY THIN coat of silicone on the comb surface - that very thin line of plastic - at the edge of the hole where it meets reedplate. I put a very small amount on the comb, then wipe it off very lightly with a finger - it takes just the right amount off, a rag takes off too much, a scraper or knife isn't consistent enough - then take a scraper and scrape off excess on the sides.
>There's a lot more to the bluesified Concerto than yanking off the appropriate valves. The harmonica shouldn't really work like it does, there's a major balance of stuff that has to be redone for the blues side to respond and bend by itself, yet the two sides respond in unison when the full two-harp octave chord is played without one side lagging slow or weak in the full chord.. I guess I'm revealing a little trade secret here, but non-toxic aquarium silicone plays a big role in making that possible It's applied in some places, but not others. controlling those leaks plays a role in balancing out the two sides... that, the valve arrangement, the gap setup and where the silicone is applied makes it work like its supposed to.   
>Less is most definitely more when applying silicone. I use so little because when you use too much it gets on the blow reeds and the Concerto is pretty tight inside the holes, since there's four reeds (in groups of two) in each hole.  Right before I put the reedplates back on, it doesn't really look like there's silicone on the comb at all, that thin comb wall just looks kind of shiny. Besides chromatics, the Bluesified Concerto is the only thing I use silicone on.
>David Payne
>Elk River Harmonicas Forum now available via Iphone app,

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