[Harp-L] Harmo Torpedo

Leonard Schwartzberg Leonard1@xxxxx
Sun Aug 20 09:46:09 EDT 2017

Hi;   Thanks for your essay on the Harmo Torpedo.   Just about when I'm
finally starting to play a "song" (in other words, the folks no longer give
me dollar bills to STOP playing), I'm MORE CONFUSED than ever.   I'm
somewhat of a lower/middle intermediate harp player and trying to do ALL my
bends (on my Seydel Session Steels) through Tongue Blocking, which I'm
starting to do ok.   I'm not familiar (yet) with over (???).   What is (and
what is difference) overblowing, overbending, overdraw, overdrawing?   Do I
need your Torpedo Harp for this?   Can I use my Session Steels?   Do they
need to be specially tuned?   What notes will I hit (that I'm not hitting
now) with these other techniques?   Seems like Jason Ricci uses some of
these unusual techniques.   Why is he using them?   How does he know when to
OB, OD, OBend, OBlow, Regular Draw, Regular Blow, Draw Bend (1/2, whole, 1
1/2)?    Thanks, Leonard

-----Original Message-----
From: Harp-L [mailto:harp-l-bounces at xxxxx] On Behalf Of dh at xxxxx
Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 7:33 PM
To: harp-l at xxxxx
Subject: [Harp-L] Harmo Torpedo

Hi everybody,


I just saw a few reviews of our Harmo Torpedo on Harp-L and I thought I
could just say hello and give you some more details.


First of all I want to thank all the customers who spontaneously posted
reviews about Harmo products purchased with their hard-earned money here on
Harp-L as well as on Amazon, Harmonicaland and blogs.


Here are some more details about the Torpedo, a bit of history behind it,
its goal and what's done to it :


The Harmo Torpedo is a very simple idea I had back in the early 90s after I
started playing Joe Filisko's custom harmonicas At the time they were only
$70 a piece and I was a young pro player who managed to order a few

To this date those harmonicas are still some of the best diatonic harmonicas
I have ever played

Very soon the price sky-rocketed and they became long to get (several months
delays) and very expensive (about $220 if my memory is correct)

As I couldn't afford them anymore / nor wait I started to customize my
Suzuki Promasters as I was endorsed by Suzuki for over 10 years

After some years, research, experiments I got my own technique down and
started to sell Suzuki custom harmonicas But that added to the price of the
harmonica and I had to sell the in the $120+.

As a player it seems absurd that you should buy a harmonica that you then
need to customize in order to play all the notes

Absurd that a harmonica out of the box is not airtight enough nor setup to
be the best it Should be

Absurd that you have to pay $250 or wait 6 months to get a good harmonica

>From then on I had this idea that I presented (starting in the 90s) to 
the major harmonica brands on the planet :

Make a diatonic harmonica that takes into account what harmonica players
have done with it and sell it at the same price as a standard harmonica

The diatonic harmonica was created to play only 19 notes the natural notes
you have when you blow and draw

Harmonica players / artists changed that to a 37 note instrument by finding
those missing notes and playing them "magically" : bends and overbends I
still do NOT understand how come in 2016 no major actor on the market has
tried to take this fact into account

After having presented my idea one last time in 2015 to some of the brands
you know and been told this was impossible to achieve I decided enough was
enough and created my own brand and company Harmo


What do you get in the Torpedo and how is it tested ?
A Torpedo is FULLY optimized for all overblows and overdraws as I don't
understand the concept of half optimization

Each reed is manually optimized using various techniques, each reed goes
through a several step process until it responds and play as good as I
evaluate it should

In order to make sure it does all notes are tested meaning that there is no
way a Torpedo would be sent out if the overblows and overblows won't play
when tested

The exception to this are the key of Eb E F and F# because the reeds are
shorter on those it is nearly impossible to get all the notes. They are
still fully optimized and we just sent out a few Es that played
chromatically up to 9 overdraw.


Is it still a good harmonica if you don't overblow ? 
Well as some reviewers pointed out if you're not an overblower the Torpedo
optimization will still serve you very well because the bends are optimized
and the overall airtightness and loudness is pushed to the max. 

What if you can get overblow 5 and 6 but not 1, 4 or 9 ? 
This is most likely due to technique. Overbending is not easy it requires
that you already master single note playing really well and bending. My
experience of 25+ years of teaching is that many people assume their
plucking and bending technique is good enough when actually there is still
room (or a hallway) for improvement. I have had the priviliege to help out
many students over the years and if you do it well you will eventually get
those notes out more easily than you think and each time you try (at least
on an optimized harmonica). It's also basically the same process as bending,
think about it when you started to bend you probably managed to bend 1 and 4
before you could get a triple bend on 3. The same goes for overblows 6 is
easier than 4 which is easier than 1 and so on. So if for instance you can't
get the overblow 4 on a Torpedo you just got well know for sure it worked
very well here before we sent it out.


Hole 2-3 Gaps : They are part of the process described above. I
intentionally open 2 and 3 more than the rest of the harmonica for a good
reason. There is no overblow there (actually there are but I don't use them
and believe there is no strong point to bend a note on an instrument that
already only gives you half the notes you play). At the same time if they
would be tighter you wouldn't get such a powerful sound when you hit them
hard for Blues / Country style of playing. 

Other gaps : With time or depending on your level and technique the original
gapping might be too tight for you. Adjusting gaps is very easy just need a
toothpick and slowly / gently push the reed a couple times in the direction
you want the reed to go. So if in time a reed get tacky or you leaks the
surest way to fix it is to adjust the gap again to your liking. I do not
recommend to adjust any gaps on a Torpedo you just bought because I will not
let one out of the shop if it wouldn't play perfectly well. 

That being said if after a while you still don't get what you want you might
decide adjusting the gap (slightly and cautiously) is the right solution.


Remarks about the comb edges : Thank you for pointing this out I hear you
and will take it into consideration in the future

Remarks about the pouch : Yes the pouch can be strapped to your belt

Remarks on the date / signature : each reedplate is dated (date it was
tested and approved) and signed


Good to know when you order a Torpedo : If you are not so much interested in
overblows or not on all the holes you can absolutely let us know and we will
adjust your Torpedo accordingly (it will probably end up even louder than
the standard one) Same thing if you really want it super airtight and closed
gaps on all the holes including 2 and 3 we will be glad to do it.


So once again thank you all for your interest in the Harmo Torpedo


I would like to suggest you to check our other products : 
Chromatic harmonicas: Angel 12 (C G and Low C), Angel 16 and Admiral 64
(brass comb)

Bags : Gig Bag 7 and Pro case
Labels stickers 

They are available for worldwide delivery from our website harmo.com as well
as Harmonicaland, Amazon, Walmart and Ebay 



David Herzhaft



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