[Harp-L] Harmonicaster Electric Harmonica Update

Ronnie Schreiber autothreads@xxxxx
Tue Nov 10 22:55:41 EST 2020

I have some exciting news about the latest version of the Harmonicaster 
electric harmonica.

For most of the past year I've been completely redesigning my gizmo, 
rethinking some basic design issues. Previous versions had the pickups 
external to the harmonica. That created a conflict between positioning 
the pickups and giving the player's mouth sufficient access to the harp.

Working with Jeff Lace, of Lace Music Products, we've developed a custom 
version of their Alumitone pickups that is thin enough to fit inside the 
coverplates of our harmonicas without interfering with the vibrating 
reeds. At just 1/16" (1.6mm) thick, and under 17 grams, it is probably 
the thinnest, lightest pickup made. Putting the pickups inside rather 
than outside the harmonica means nearly the entire harp is exposed to 
the player's mouth, accommodating any and all playing styles.

This week I received the first production spec Alumitone pickups and 
they sound great. They're 6-8dB louder than the Mk II's pickups and 
because of Alumitones' wide, flat frequency response they sound richer too.

The design is pretty much finalized and now that I know that the new 
style pickups work, and work well, I'll be moving forward with the project.

In the next few days, I'll be assembling a small number of validation 
production units and having pro players Will Wilde in the UK, and Carl 
Caballero here in Detroit test them and post videos. Assuming they are 
pleased with the results, I'll immediately start the first production 
run. I haven't yet decided if I'm to sell them via an IndieGoGo campaign 
or with a conventional online store, but I'll let Harp-L subscribers 
know whichever way I decide.

Also, one of the frequent questions I get asked is can I make a 
chromatic Harmonicaster? A chromatic presents a challenge because the 
pickups have to be equidistant to the reeds and on a chromatic there are 
reeds mounted to both sides of each reedplate. The distance between the 
two sets of reeds isn't much but it's enough to affect pickup output. 
I'm working on a prototype laminated bi-level pickup, with two sensing 
areas, each the proper distance from it's respective reeds, to work with 
a Seydel Saxony. If it works, I'm calling it the Chromaticaster (TM).

Ronnie Schreiber
The Electric Harmonica Co.

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