[Harp-L] The "newest" Stradivarius of Harmonicas!

MundHarp@xxxxx MundHarp@xxxxx
Sat May 7 15:02:03 EDT 2016

Well said Vern!
In a message dated 07-May-16 7:53:46 P.M. GMT Daylight Time, jevern at fea.net 

IF the  listeners have any way of knowing what comb material is being 
played, or if  the statistical sample is small, then the comparison is 

In three separate comparisons at SPAH over a number of years,  listeners 
and players could not distinguish among comb materials as different  as brass 
and balsa wood.  In all of the tests, players and listeners  thought that 
they heard different sounds when the same harmonica was played  several times 
in succession.  Great pains were taken to keep the  comparison blind and to 
eliminate spurious variables, but to give listeners a  fair opportunity to 
demonstrate their ability to distinguish among comb  materials.

Some complained about the conditions of the tests AFTER the  results were 
known.  Among about 100 participants in these tests, not one  has done better 
than random guessing.  Some participants claimed that  they heard 
differences even when their recorded choices indicated  otherwise.  Some attended the 
test and said that they heard differences  but declined to participate by 
recording their choices.  Almost everyone  claims to hear differences.  So 
far, no one has been able to demonstrate  that ability under controlled 
conditions. Materials effects are a cherished  myth.

You may be a challenger in my years-old offer of a $1000  wager.  You win 
or lose the grand if you can or can’t distinguish between  any two comb 
materials of your choice in a blind comparison..  Putting  one’s money where one’
s mouth is brings wonderful clarity to this  question.  There have been no 
challengers in the 15 years that the  challenge has been open.  There is no 
moral question because it is not  gambling. If you really can recognize 
materials by their sound, it is merely  taking my cheerfully-paid money and 
shutting me up. It would worth $1000 to me  to learn that I am wrong.

Your notion that tone can be different for  the player but not the audience 
seems strange to me.  If the audience  can’t tell the difference, why does 
it matter?  IF the tone is affected  by comb material, that is the same 
whether you are playing and listening or  only listening.


> On May 7, 2016, at 6:59 AM,  Michael Rubin 
<michaelrubinharmonica at gmail.com> wrote:
>  Vern,
> At the risk of opening up a can of worms, I participated in the  comb 
test at SPAH where Tom Halchak had me and many other harp players play  the 
same brand of harp with different combs.  I definitely noticed  differences in 
tone.  He gifted me with a special comb, I think it was  brass and it was a 
favorite harp for a while.  A reed broke and it is  somewhere in the 
graveyard, but I should dig it up and put the comb on a stock  harp.
> Just my opinion, comb affects tone, if only for the  player.  Many 
audience members stated they also heard variety.
>  Michael Rubin
> michaelrubinharmonica.com  <http://michaelrubinharmonica.com/>
> On Sat, May 7, 2016  at 1:24 AM, Vern <jevern at fea.net 
<mailto:jevern at fea.net>>  wrote:
> Oh pshaw, Bob,
> I share your skepticism about  the features touted on the website.  I 
have the following questions and  comments:
> * Individual channel covers for each reed.   Many years a ago I had a 
Hohner 2016 with that feature.  I could not  perceive any special effect.
> * Brass comb and channels plus  SS covers.   It must weigh a ton.
> * Comb material  doesn’t affect tone.
> * Accordion-style individual  reedplates.   Has the hole-spacing grown to 
accommodate this  feature?
> * IF so and with cross-tuning, the button travel  could be very long.
> * Details smaller than half a wavelength  won’t affect the direction or 
reflection of the sound.  That stuff about  chamber shapes is pure BS.
> * If a group of listeners can tell  the difference between Psardos and 
Hohner Super 64s under the controlled  conditions of a blind comparison, then 
we can start thinking about paying $2k  for a harmonica.
> * What about valves?  They are the  things most in need of improvement in 
>  Vern
> > On May 6, 2016, at 9:50 PM, Robert Coble  <robertpcoble at hotmail.com 
<mailto:robertpcoble at hotmail.com>>  wrote:
> >
> >
> > I just received an email from  one Ron Wishnak touting the Psardo 
Chromatic 64. You too can pre-order for  only
> > $200.00 down payment, with the balance due and payable once  it is 
actually manufactured at some point in the
> > future. The  Silver Elite lists for "only" $2195, and the Gold Bar for 
"only" $2695. Get on  the priority pre-order list
> > now, and for "only" another  $2,000-$3,000 you too can be one of the 
first in line to. . .complain to the  BBB about
> > non-delivery?!?
> >
> >
> >  No offense to Mr. Wishnak, who is probably a very well-intentioned  
businessman. Why do I envision him playing
> > his innovative new  line of harmonicas on an old tune called "The Road 
to Hell is paved with Good  Intentions."
> >
> >
> > Link to the money quote:  http://www.philharmonicas.com/preorder.html  
> >
>  >
> > Why do I have an uneasy feeling I've seen something similar  before?!? 
Calling Brad Harrison. . .
> >
> >
> > If  Mr. Wishnak is legitimate, I apologize in advance, but I would 
think that if  he is familiar with the prior marketing
> > of the B-Radical, he  would eschew this business model.
> >
> >
> > Crazy  (but not crazy enough to anticipate or participate by sending 
good money after  bad) Bob
> >

More information about the Harp-L mailing list