CUSTOM HARMONICAS. Please give your review of the best Custom Harmonicas

I swear I just posted this then came here and saw you got them in

Um that’s why I used the Las Vegas Death Ray to dust it! :o

Hope you don’t mind. That LVDR seems pretty cool:!/


Will keep you posted…Need a few days to put them through their paces! :slight_smile:

Stay Tuned!!

SPD On The Job!

Yeah okay - So the Turbo Harps I’ve been waiting on finally arrived this week. :smiley:

Well, the cover design itself is clever and unique, and I’ll explain more about this later. :slight_smile:

So I began putting them through their paces. All seemed okay there. :slight_smile:

Yet while working on my Lee Oskar C to re-gap it a bit - With screwdriver in hand, I decided to open up a Turbo Harp to see what’s what under the reed plates. ;D

And I discovered… :o

Well, okay, sorry to be so cryptic - But am going to call them early next week and ask a few questions. Seeing as how there’s a 30-day Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee on their products - Again, I have to speak with them first. ::slight_smile:

At this time, if you’re interested in getting Turbo Harps, well, okay. However, I would suggest holding off for a short time until I can get back here and give a more in-depth report. 8)

Overall, for now, I’ll just say my feelings and initial review are: Mixed! :stuck_out_tongue:


Keep on Harpin’!

Thanks for Reading!

SPD On The Job!

Don’t keep us waiting, come on what’s in there? Glue, Jam, Feathers, dinosaur eggs, anthrax?

Do they play fine?

Don't keep us waiting, come on what's in there? Glue, Jam, Feathers, dinosaur eggs, anthrax? Do they play fine?

Answer: Interesting Stuff; No; No; No; No; and Yes.

So as not to leave you hanging too much, fellow harpsters and harpsterettes, I’ll just say this about that -

Meaning: For all the hype, the customization I would’ve expected was for lack of a better word: Lacking! ???

Laters All…

Which model did you buy?

SPD, did you get the Turbo Twenty or the one that is in a bundle? We need more details!

Four of these Turbo/BXs:

C, A, Bb and Low F, with four different color lids too.

It’s not the lids I’m dissatisfied with. But am boxing up three and sending them back tomorrow after I call and explain why.

Will keep you posted.

SPD Out!

From reading the description I wouldn’t expect to see much difference from a standard harp.

First what I purchased:

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.

  1. 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.

From Dr Jim:

Thank you for taking the time to write us such a detailed and thoughtful letter regarding our BX harps. You are correct in your assessment that these harps are not intended to be radically modified. The main distinguishing feature is that we enlarge the sound chambers within the comb of two (sometimes three) of the holes.

In my humble, albeit professional, opinion, the lateral strut in the chamber has no affect whatsoever on the aerodynamics or acoustics of the instrument. Conversely, the volume, length, width, and taper do have an effect on the coupling of the player’s embouchure and the reed.

We will be whipping up a TurboSlide for you in the next few days… Please do let us know your preference of key.

If you are feeling adventurous, then you might consider trying our Turbo/AX-S20. Unlike the BX, this harp involves a unique design feature, the TurboLiner that you will see nowhere else. It is designed primarily to facilitate overbending.

Again, thanks for your interest in our products, and for your constructive feedback.

All the best,

Jim “Turbodog” Antaki, (PhD)

To Dr Jim:

Howdy Jim!

I called to speak with Christine, but got your answering service instead.

To let you know then, I’ve not given up on TurboHarp just yet!

I actually enjoy this Low F harp of yours. Yes, I know it’s a Spec20 with a slightly modified comb; however, I do like playing it; and the sounds it makes are great!

Sure, I’m still going to do the little plastic to wood comb makeover project on my Spec20s and others I’m working on. And then I want to use the TurboCover I have to hear how it all comes out!

However, the place to get the wood combs is going through some makeovers and renovations of their own. And they’re on backorder now. So this may take a while longer!

Nevertheless and being said - I really thought about which TurboSlide I might be interested in. Figuring I’m not up on Country music - And now would be a nice time to try some – The majority of the music I currently have plays in an “A” key on a “D” harp!

Plus, there are several bends and overblows throughout. Can do some bends, not the overblows. And at the same time, I’m figuring with this slider being able to do what you’re saying - There’s really no reason to go out and get a country-tuned harp or try making one myself. Know what I mean?!

So why not give this TurboSlide in D a real chance, eh?! Sounds like it’s going to be a lot a fun, I know!!

At the same time now - I would like to get one cleaning kit and one ozone sanitizer. I do clean my harps; but it can be a real chore when you’d rather be doing something else.

Additionally, when I eventually try the wooden combs - Well no matter how well sealed/prepared they may be - Still by comparison natural wood has a bigger tendency to attract ‘unwanted whatevers’ than plastic anythings at that!

So I’d like to put this product from your catalog to work while I can be free to do those something else’s - Know what I mean?!

If all this sounds good - Give me a call and I’ll place the order on my credit card.

Hope all is well with you on the west side of the PA highway. It’s raining yet again over here today on the east side! Ugh!

Thanks so much for your time and consideration.


Finally, from Dr Jim:

Thanks for your message; and sorry for brief reply. Racing to meet deadline, and preparing for 8 hour faculty meeting tomorrow. (Ugh!)

Chrissy is on vacation, so I’ll let her take care of the transaction. In the meantime I’ll get to work on your TurboSlide.


So this is where we are today (Saturday).

In my humble opinion, I believe our correspondences were as much fair and friendly as they were informative.

I do like TurboHarp for their products as well as their people.

I am definitely looking forward to see how this TurboSlide really works and holds up:

Plus, there are a few other items I’m interested in from TurboHarp as well.

For the present though, I welcome any comments and/or questions which you may wish to field now!

Thanks for reading!

Keep on harpin’!

SPD On The Job!

The Turbo Slide looks amazing! Too bad it’s really expensive… I want to hear about the cleaning kit and the ozone sanitizer. I’m really interested in their cleaning products. I guess all my money next year is going into harmonicas.

So you are getting:

How about:
I think this sounds pretty interesting too. It would make cleaning easier.

Well Ace:

It does look interesting - The TurboSlide that is.

Since it’s virtually new, don’t know how many are out there. Except for Dr Jim’s demo vid, not even Mr Steve “Turbo Puppy” Harvel has shown up with anything yet:

Steve Harvell’s “DeWalt” home made harmonica case !

“Turbo Twenty” E flat harmonica ! ( Gin Hills Boogie )

We can only hope, eh?

But yes, the first two cleaning items are what I’m interested in.

Actually, I was going to get the Ultrasonic when I first placed my order. But couldn’t budget for it; then two weeks later the Ozone Sanitizer appeared.

Since I don’t have jewelry or anything like that to clean with the Ultrasonic, am going the Ozone Sanitzer route.

Will keep you posted!

Rock on, yo!

That’s cool! Good luck with your new harmonicas and cleaning supplies. Can’t wait to here about it and i want to know how it works!