[Harp-L] Double Reed Plate Harmonicas
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- Subject: [Harp-L] Double Reed Plate Harmonicas
- From: Tom Halchak <info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2016 15:26:53 -0400
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I have been following this thread with interest for a couple of reasons.
First, the quote about compression which started the conversation was taken
from Robert Hale directly from one my FaceBook Posts. (Robert â you have a
habit of doing this. If you want to know something, why donât you just
come to the source?) Second, I dare say that I have built more Double Reed
Plate harps in the past year than anyone who will read this. That doesnât
necessarily make me an expert. However, it is a safe bet that I have had
more conversations with people who are actually playing Double Reed Plate
harmonicas than most.
The question about compression is mostly parsing words. We all agree that
thicker reed plates effectively increases the volume of air in the chambers
formed by the reed slots. Each time the reed swings through the slot it
moves more air. Nobody has disputed the notion that it results in a
harmonica that is louder. If you bore out the cylinders on an engine to
make them larger, it increased the displacement and raises compression.
Why would the same principal not apply to a reed plate? Regardless, it is
just a word, but a it is a word that is frequently employed by people who
have had the pleasure of actually playing a Double Reed Plated harp instead
of sitting around their PCâs theorizing about the meaning of a word. When
a harmonica player says that a certain harmonica has a âdarkerâ tone or a
âwarmerâ tone, what does that mean? If we were in the same room and could
both listen to the harmonica in question and we both used the same
terminology to describe it, then we would have a frame of reference.
However, if I try to describe the tone to you via a post on an Internet
forum, how do you know what I mean?
Moving on, I am pretty much a free enterprise kind of guy. If a new
restaurant opens up in town and you see people lining up waiting to get in
night after night, it wouldnât be a stretch to think that thereâs good food
to had inside. I have been offering Double Reed Plate Special 20âs, Marine
Bands, Golden Melodys and Manjis for over a year. The response from my
customers has been universally positive and most who have bought one have
come back for more. I donât plan to stop offering them any time soon â if
you catch my drift.
Several people have comments that the increased reed swing makes Double
Reed Plate harps vulnerable to reed failure. This is the conventional
wisdom which I have heard ad nauseam. I donât dispute that notion but will
add two thoughts to the discussion. First, maybe 5 â 10 years ago, broken
reeds were something to worry about. But today? Really? Who out there
doesnât know how to replace a reed or doesnât have a relationship with a
harp tech who can do it in their sleep? If anyone buys a Double Reed
Plated harmonica from me and has an issue with reeds breaking, donât worry
â Iâll fix it for free. In addition, Double Plates does not necessarily
mean TWICE AS THICK.
As Lockjaw Larry asked, âConsidering this, would there be benefit of three
reed plates, or perhaps more? If two plates yield louder playing would
even thicker plates play louder? Or is there a thickness of diminishing
It seems that there is a diminishing return on thickness. Prior to writing
this post, I called my good friend Richard Sleigh to discuss Double Reed
Plate harps and coincidentally, he told me he had done exactly that and
there was no added benefit. So it begs the question of, can you find an
optimal thickness that offers the best of both worlds? One that will
deliver the increased volume and responsiveness that we consider to be
positives while at the same time minimizing the risk of the reed breakage
associated with Double Reed Plated harps? Perhaps it is already has.
*Blue Moon Harmonicas LLC*
*P.O. Box 14401 Clearwater, FL 33766*
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