[Harp-L] Comb Material and the Tarnished Blossom (Re-printed without permission)
Thu May 12 10:41:21 EDT 2016
From: greg at 1623customharmonicas.com
To: harp-l at harp-l.org
Sent: 2016-05-12 7:21:17 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] Comb Material and the Tarnished Blossom (Re-printed without permission)
One of my all time favorite You Tube videos used to be the Orange Blossom
Special performed live by Charlie McCoy. I would sit in amazement as I
would listen to that guy play. I'm sure I watched the video 200 times.
Something happened along the way, though.
I heard something. It was barely perceptible at first. I could hardly
make it out. I slowed it down and replayed certain segments probably
another 50 times. Still unsure, I watched an replayed the video again and
again and then, right
there before my eyes I saw and heard it! It was as obvious as a pregnant
nun. Charlie tried to conceal it with advanced cupping techniques and that
audience engaging smile, but how could anyone be fooled. That awful sound
I was hearing was from a PLASTIC COMB on a Special 20!!
The tone it was .. well.. fat, but thin, heavy on the high but light
on the low.
The sound was crisp yet edgy and it lacked the fullness and boldness of
wood or brass or polymer, aluminum, Kryptonite or Kevlar. I think I would
describe it as a plastic overtone. Actually, worse than that, Cheap
Chinese plastic overtone!!
Oh sure, he was playing at 1,000 beats per minute with the timing of a click
track, but that was just the allusion to cover up that deplorable plastic
sound. I don't know how I missed it in all those times I watched in pure
amazement. As the camera panned the audience, many of them clearly
noticed it, too. There was none of that clap and stomp usually associated with
a show-stopping performance of OBS. No, in fact, in a really awkward moment,
a wife stared at her husband in total disgust. Who knows what she was
thinking, but her look said it all.
Oh poor Charlie; If only he had spent less time practicing and more time
on the forums debating the important stuff. At least he would not be
standing in total embarrassment on that lonely stage.
No wonder Good Time Charlie's got the blues.
(Note to the fedora crowd: Remove your sunglasses and relax. This is
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