[Harp-L] Copper/Stainless Steel Combs for Marine Band and Golden Melody

With regard to metal combs, I am not aware of anyone making Copper combs.
Copper is way too soft.  Brass, on the other hand, is an alloy made from
copper and zinc and is harder and more suitable for making combs.  I have
seen a few stainless steel combs here and there but to my knowledge, nobody
is currently offering them.  I make combs out of wood, Corian, Aluminum,
Acrylic, Brass and Hogany.  With all due respect to Vern, I absolutely
disagree with the notion that comb material has no affect on tone.  Vern
states, "Both acoustic theory and empirical testing at SPAH confirm that
comb material has no affect on harmonica tone."  Nothing has been
"confirmed".  That's just an opinion.  In the past five years I have
manufactured and sold 1000's of custom harmonica combs and have engaged in
100's of conversations with my customers via email, phone and in person.  I
have yet to have even one customer who has told me that Brass combs did not
make their harps louder and/or brighter.  Quite the contrary.  100% of
those who have offered feedback have used those exact words.  Brighter.



I also conducted a workshop at SPAH 2013 I called, "The Great Comb
Debate".  About 30 people participated.  At the start of the workshop I
surveyed the room and it was evenly divided between "believers"  and
"noon-believers".  Within 5 minutes there were no more non-believers.  The
difference was pronounced and obvious to all.

Bear in mind, that "different" does not necessarily mean better or worse.
If you like a brighter tone, that difference might be better to you, but it
could just as easily be less appealing to someone else.  I have no agenda
here in trying to convince anyone that they should rush out and buy a brass
comb.  I try to accommodate everyone by making combs out or six different
materials.  It doesn't really matter to me what your preference is.

I do agree with those who assert that the biggest reason for the
 improvement in response and tone from installing a custom comb is due to
flatness.  An airtight harp plays better than one that isn't.

With regard to reed plates.  That is sort of the Holy Grail.  People have
lots of great ideas about reed plates.  There are plenty of examples of
homemade Frankenstein harps that demonstrate alternative tunings or some
other theory.  However, the key is getting them manufactured in sufficient
quantities and quality to make them commercially viable.  Therefore, for
the time being, we are relegated to using the reed plates offered by
Hohner, Suzuki and Seydel.


*Tom Halchak*
*Blue Moon Harmonicas LLC*
*P.O. Box 14401 Clearwater, FL 33766*
*www.BlueMoonHarmonicas.com <http://www.BlueMoonHarmonicas.com>*
*(727) 366-2608*

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