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

Chris Hofstader cdh@xxxxx
Sun May 8 07:54:44 EDT 2016

Hey smokey-joe,

Thanks so much for the answer to my question. It sounds like the material used to make harmonica reeds is a lot like selecting one’s favorite fishing lure or fly (I do a lot of fishing). The ones that work “best” has little to do with which bait one ties onto their line but, rather, which ones in which they have the most confidence. When an angler feels confident in his lure or fly, he’ll work it more skillfully, be more patient and will catch more fish whether the lure costs $3 at a touristy place or $50 at a store where moe serious fishing enthusiasts might shop. I’ve caught fish on a very expensive Fennwick lure and by using nothing more than some aluminum foil that had wrapped a sandwich I had eaten.

I do sometimes buy a high priced, super fancy lure or fly. But, I almost never use them for actually catching fish but, rather, I use them to catch fishermen. When my buddies come over the house to hang out, maybe play some blues and the like, I like to show off my collection of fancy fishing gear and her the oos and ahs from my boys.

Increasingly, I’m realizing that there is a lot of “woo” in the harmonica world as well. Following the thread on the Stradivarius of harmonicas and some others here are the most compelling reasons to play harps that aren’t the super cheap entry level ones but, at the same time, the very expensive high end instruments probably provide little of actual extra value and the price/performance ratio leaps into a nasty space.

I’ve a friend in UK (now a musician even at the hobbyist level like me) who, on his podcast, will occasionally do a solid debunking of some sort of bs in the high end audio/stereo world. I’ve got some nice gear on which I listen to music but there are a lot of things on which one can spend a pile of dough that do absolutely nothing to improve the quality of the listening experience. For instance, at high end audio retailers, one will be offered a set of $5000 speaker cables and, guess what, using human subjects and objective measures like an oscilloscope showed that there was precisely no difference when using these cables or a $40 equivalent - fundamentally, the electrons don’t care if it’s a big fat, garden hose style cable or simply well shielded copper wire. But, they’ll try to convince you to spend thousands of dollars on cables that, in both subjective (human) and objective testing cannot be distinguished by something that costs 1% as much.

Thanks again for your lovely response, I really appreciate it and, being the beginner around here, I especially appreciate how everyone here shows such patience with me when I post my amateur queries.

Happy Hacking,

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