[Harp-L] Harmonicaster Mk II @SPAH

Ronnie Schreiber autothreads@xxxxx
Mon Aug 13 14:54:46 EDT 2018

I was hoping to have the latest version of the Harmonicaster electric 
harmonica available for sale at the 2018 SPAH convention but the design 
was finalized a couple of days ago, and I only finished testing it 
today. Also, my nephew is getting married on Thursday in New York and 
the logistics of doing both a vendor booth in St Louis and attending the 
wedding weren't practical.

I will, however, the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, be in 
St Louis on Tuesday to show the Mk II Harmonicaster to Will Wilde, a 
touring British harp player, who will be at the convention. Many of the 
revisions in the Mk II are based on feedback (no pun intended) from 
Will, who has an original Harmonicaster. Will fronts a touring hard rock 
band and he's excited about playing loud amplified harp without worrying 
about feedback.

If you'd like to check out the latest version of my gizmo while I'm in 
St Louis, please drop me a text message to 248-632-6804.

If you saw the original Harmonicaster at Prof. John Shirley's 
presentation on new harmonica technology at last year's SPAH, we've made 
significant changes to just about every component since then, resulting 
in a better, more responsive musical instrument.

Here are the major changes:

* Based on a very clever idea of Brendan Power's, we're now having 
Seydel make us custom draw reedplates that let us to move the draw 
pickup forward, allowing us to eliminate the mouthpiece.

* You now play directly into the harmonica. All conventional draw and 
blow bends are possible, pitch is more accurate on the higher pitched 
notes, and you should now even be able to do overblows providing you 
have the skill and have the reeds set up for that technique. Getting rid 
of the mouthpiece also improves responsiveness and action.

* Because all the reeds and pickups are now aligned, each pickup is 
getting signals from both reedplates. This makes the Mk II a little bit 
louder than the original.

* The Harmonicaster's pickups were already wound and wired in a 
'humbucker' configuration and the instrument is fairly quiet at rest. To 
make the Harmonicaster Mk II even quieter, we're now grounding the reeds.

* We've replaced the thumbwheel volume and tone controls on the bottom 
of the unit with slide potentiometers up on top. The Bourne slide pots 
are higher quality and they let us use space more efficiently. The Mk II 
is smaller and lighter than the original Harmonicaster.

* The old-school screw on microphone connector on the bottom of the unit 
has been replaced with a standard 1/4" jack coming out of the side. It 
will accommodate even bulky Neutrik plugs.

* The original Harmonicaster was held together with self-tapping screws 
going into plastic. We're now using socket head machine screws and 
captured steel nuts for much more reliable and durable fastening.

As I mentioned, if you're going to be at SPAH tomorrow and would like to 
check it out, drop me a text message to 248-632-6804.


Ronnie Schreiber
The Electric Harmonica Co.

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