[Harp-L] MB-30 and the practical realities of custom harmonicas

Brendan and Zombor at X-Reed have just released the Marine Band based 30 reed harmonica, with some help from Richard Sleigh.

At more than $400 each, these instruments are an expensive prospect, and would be a fork in the road for most players. I went down a similar road over 10 years ago, with Neil Graham custom Hohners (www.neilgraham.com.au). My thoughts are these:

First, consider the proposition with the X-Reed MB-30. It is a radically new instrument, based on the all time classic Marine Band. Knowing Brendan as I do, the design, the business model and support (I'll get to this later) would be well considered.

Many players can get by on 6 keys. So, an X-Reed MB-30 set would be a little over $2500, assuming all keys are available (hopefully they will be).

Out of the question to spend this much? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Most serious guitar players will have spent that or more on their instruments. Likewise drummers, horn players. Why should we be any different? Surely we're not lesser musicians...

I made this outlay around 10 years ago, and have 10 of Neil Graham's custom diatonics. The money was hard to find, but I've never regretted it. I suspect that a like investment in an MB-30 set, or a set from another first rate customiser would provide similar value.

However, for it to work there must be a robust servicing arrangement, at reasonable price, with quick turnaround. Neil Graham does this for me.

For an X-Reed MB-30 set to make sense, there needs to be a similar commitment to servicing, explicit and up front. Other customisers should be likewise.

After 10 years, with regular serving, my Neil Graham custom diatonics are as good as ever. Hopefully, in 10 years time there will be a generation of X-Reed MB-30 players enjoying similar service from Brendan and Zombor.

If so, then the instrument will truly be a diatonic revolution.

Tony Eyers
...everyone plays

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