First what I purchased: http://turboharp.com/Products.asp?pid=1&tid=&did=&sid=
Four Turbo/BXs in: C, Vanilla; A, Cherry; Bb, Bubblegum Pink; and Low F, Mango.
Approximately was a 6 week waiting time. However, when I ordered them, the assistant did say the crew was heading to a harmonica convention the next day. So the delay was understandable.
And the best way to understand this review is to read through the following exchanges I had with Jim “Turbodog” Antaki, (PhD) President, AntakaMatics, Inc. Henceforth then, and with no further ado:
October 6, 2010
I received my order on these Turbo Harps approximately 10 days ago.
After putting them through some paces, I discovered that I’m not entirely satisfied with them.
Please allow me to explain why. To wit:
A) I do like the covers. I believe the design has something to do with Steve Baker who in his book “The Harp Handbook” said that a harmonica plays better with the covers off. Except for drilling screws on either end, he himself had no idea how to do it.
I thought about this too. Yet it seems your cover design solves this problem very nicely. Or is as close as anyone can/will ever get. So that’s a big plus there.
B) On the downside of this, when playing the harp in its open air design, condensation from one’s breath builds up quite fast on the reed plates themselves. Who knew?
Yes, I know ways to heat up my harps quite effectively when they’re ‘cold.’ However here, since this almost requires taking the covers apart and heating the inner workings up with whatever method one chooses – Well, too, it’s a bit inconvenient, yet workable to a point.
So that’s a small minus there.
C) The harmonicas play well. And they should because they’re Special 20 bases. And Special 20s are good out of the box instruments.
So once one gets them warmed up; once one starts playing – okay. However, the rounded cover design does make it ‘tricky’ to play using tongue blocking especially down in the lower register.
Not necessarily a bad thing; but it does compel one to rearrange their mouth a little differently.
Now all the above is generally okay. However, it’s when I got to here that I wasn’t exactly impressed:
D) In that I do work on my own harmonicas, when I fully opened up one TurboHarp, I saw the level of the customization done to it.
Both customizers Rupert Oysler and Richard Sleigh discuss removing the ‘ribs’ from plastic combs. Each considers them not only an actual design flaw; but also a hindrance in getting a full sound out of the instrument itself.
Here on the TurboHarps, by removing just two ribs – On the 2 and 3 holes – I was disappointed because I instinctively knew the customization didn’t go far enough. Had this been throughout the combs, I would’ve been thrilled. But at this time, I am not. Therefore:
E) Since I do work on my own harmonicas, I am in the process of ordering customized wooden combs for my Spec 20s and Golden Melody sets. Of course they have no ribs to speak of. Once I transfer my reed plates to these combs, I will go from there.
F) However, all is not lost with my business with you at TurboHarp.
I am returning three of the harps – C, A, Bb respectively; but am keeping the Low F.
- I don’t have a Low F Spec 20. And 2) Once I customize this with a wooden comb, I want to see how well it plays with the TurboCover on.
If all goes well from there, I just might be in the market for additional Turbo Covers on my other Spec 20s. But more the designer ones as the straight colors just didn’t do it for me either.
Be that as it may:
Again all is not lost here.
If you’re willing to exchange these three harps for one TurboSlide harmonica – I am willing to give this a go! I’m figuring you’re on the breakthrough here with making an upgraded version of the Bahson Overblow Harp or something of that nature. And that sounds exciting!
However though, if you are currently working on any upgrades to your upgrade, well, I would hope that if it is different yet similar in nature – Perhaps then you might be willing to give me a discount for any future models. Know what I mean?
Additionally, I am still interested in getting your harmonica cleaning units. But one step at a time.
As you will note, I have placed several additional harmonica innards and such I received from Richard Sleigh to practice on. Since he sent me plenty, I am sending you some as well for your Cash for Clunkers program. It’s a nice marketing idea at that!
In any event, please contact me at the above telephone number and/or email address if we need to discuss this exchange further.
Still, I thank you for your time and consideration.
And I look forward to doing future business with you.
Sincerely and Respectively,
Enclosures: C, A, Bb TurboHarp returns; additional harmonica parts.