[Harp-L] Re: Hohner's chromatic comb patent

David Pearce harpdog123@xxxxx
Thu May 12 12:00:21 EDT 2016

I predict that mixing plastic with other materials in the comb will open up a black hole from which the harmonica community will never be able to escape.
David Pearce

"I had to chuckle seeing "The Great Comb Debate" resurface for the umpteenth
time. Here are a couple of relevant points:


Just for the record, the 10-hole diatonic test that Vern and I did together
at SPAH a few years back was invalidated by an imperfect test harmonica, so
shouldn't be cited in any discussion. We did our best, talking the test
through exhaustively beforehand via email, and came up with an excellent
concept for the harp. It had added weights to mask the differences in comb
weights - but unfortunately the reedplate fixing was not good enough. You
could see air gaps between the comb/s and plates; the harp sounded airy and
there was not sufficient mating between the parts to determine the effect of
comb materials, if any. That perfect mating of plates to comb is very
important in any test of this kind, because it is central to the issue.


Richard Weiss, Hohner's product manager, has patented a very interesting
chromatic harmonica comb that I understand will be released by Hohner
sometime soon. Check it out:




It's pretty innovative. The two main features I can ascertain are:


1.      The main structure is injection moulded plastic. However, because
the wall thickness is thin everywhere, it allows small chamber volumes to be
shaped without the danger of uneven cooling of the hot plastic when it comes
out of the mould. That is the main problem with current injection moulded
combs, making it impossible to fill in the upper chambers for an optimal


2.      Different comb materials can be inserted in wedge-shaped blocks from
the rear. These could be wood, stone, metals, whatever. They can presumably
be bought as a pack and the player can change materials if they wish.


This could be the ultimate harmonica to settle the Great Comb Debate! Or
maybe not. But it will certainly be an interesting chromatic harmonica to
try if and when it comes out as a commercial model.



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