I read about people that offer custom harps for a stout price. I am curious what you folks think of this and if you think paying for this is worth paying for. I realized about every harmonica has some small defect out of the box but many if not all can be cured. After getting the reeds set, plates flat what can a customizer (sp) offer?
Another question. Where is the best place to get the tabs on songs you like but are not well known? I want to get them for the Quincy Jones album You Got It bad Girl, circa 1972. The Sanford and Son theme song is also on it. Its the slower pleasing music like Love theme Getaway, also on the album. Help is needed and appreciated.
From what I’ve read as a newbie a lot of the customisation is related to set up, you’re paying a skilled person for several hours work getting it to be just right. They can also swap out parts for custom parts that are, I’d guess,just better tolerance or different materials. It doesn’t seem mystical, so much as care and attention and specialist skills.
The other thing they seem to offer is custom tuning - some manufacturers offer popular alternative tuning but of you just needed a specific thing, a customiser could do it for you.
Seems to me the most of it you could do yourself but the pro would likely do it better than you or I could.
Im sure there’s more to it than that and I’m happy to enlightened on that.
I have a C A 2 tuning device and it works as well as anything else I have seen. Keep in mind when using such a tuner your note varies somewhat as your air flow is not constant. The rest seems to be making sure the comb and reed plates are flat and the reeds flat when moving through the plates. Not much else left other than narrowing the reed space when moving through the slot if you want to. I have seen a video of a fellow making the space between the reed and plate a bit closer. I suppose this will result in sharper notes with less effort.
If I get my notes within 5-10 cents they are set. I cannot comment on replacing anything not broken or cracked on a good harp with the exception of the comb from wood to plastic. After that all the important parts are set. If there are no air leaks and the tuning done not much else left. Some want to sell you a new harp and will not work on one you own.
I may try to learn how to close the slot space on the reed plates to make a note sharper and easier to play but it will be learned on a Walmart harp. Frankly I am not yet good enough to get this precise but do feel knowing how to do it and having the correct tool kit would be good in the long run. Paying someone $100 plus for the tuning, closing air leaks, adjusting reeds and closing the reed gap seems high to me. It cannot be hard to learn and mistakes not costly on a $15 harp. I can get the plates straight as well as changing out the comb and making sure its flat. The real advantage I see is with very narrow reed slots sharper notes with less effort would be the biggest benefit. Just my opinion.
Totally agree, a harmonica isn’t a complicated device and setting it up to play well is the sort of thing I expected to be doing to some exent even before i ordered my first one a coule of months ago. I’d taken it apart to have a look within the first couple of days. I appreciate what skilled foks can offer as services, but I’m an instinctive tightarse, so I doubt custom harps are in my future.
I did see a Brendan Power video where he was using nail varnish to close the gaps, this is something I might try;
Thanks. I have the tools for the task. I’ll make my mistakes on a cheap harp. There is just so much we can do to improve the harp. If someone that was very good would do it on one of mine I would try it but all I have found was one tech that wanted to sell me another Crossover even though I had just got a new one. That raised both eye brows.
For tuning I got a C A 2 and its user friendly. Not very expensive and its what the economizer used. Rockin Ron sells them and he seems like a stand up guy. He also sells complete tool kits. I am not going to become a harp surgeon but need to be able to do the basic set up. Its just for fun and getting too technical is not gonna happen. I do what helps the harp and they way to learn is the same for maintenance and learning to play. practice. I started focusing on single note improvement as the type of music I like requires it be correct as the slower stuff is my favorite.
Thanks again and follow the yellow brick road.
Hey I’ve been playing for like 32 years and just spent $250 on a Joe Spiers harmonica, and for me at this stage in my journey it was a smart move. I’ll be buying more, and I’ll share more details about all that soon. But I think it would be a waste of money for beginning/intermediate players.
I’ve played several custom harps. For me, they were nice but not worth the price.
I buy Suzuki Manji’s. They’re great out of the box. Admittedly, I have them retuned to a “just compromised tuning (providing an even sound); use Andrew Zajack combs; and add supports for the covers (so they never gets squished) from Tom Halchack at Blue Moon. Harmonicas. That gives me everything I need. I just can’t justify $200 and up on me
Roger that. For me where I’m at in my journey, my Spiers harp was worth every penny.