Author Topic: Brendan Power Comb Received  (Read 5420 times)

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Offline Tim Atwell

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Brendan Power Comb Received
« on: September 03, 2015, 09:41:48 PM »
yesterday i received from england one of brendan powers' 3D printed combs for the various 12-holers designed around the 270.  these would include the mellow tone, the hard bopper and the 270 deluxe, as well as the 270.  the price for the front-sanded, advanced model is 40 british pounds, shipping included, or $62 dollars american.

brendan sends the comb and six metric screws.  there are 12 clearance holes for screws drilled thru the comb, though according to the instructional video on his website, i will be using only five of them in assembling my hard bopper.  my job is to drill 5 clearance holes thru the top plate, and 5 smaller corresponding holes thru the bottom plate that will later be tapped.  all of these holes are along the back of the comb.  the 4 holes (2 on each side) that sit between the channels and the cover screw holes are not used.  the ends of the plates are held down by the cover plate screws alone. 

because of the way the channels are made, there is more "meat" at the back of the comb and there is plenty of room for the clearance holes at the back of the low end.  the channels are squared off at the back, and the rivet heads on the draw side drop right in.  no light comes thru the back at all.  the spacing left to right is just right.  you don't have that problem of the blow rivets pressed against the comb on the low end and the draw rivets pressed against the comb on the high end, as i had on both my old and new hard boppers.

i'll keep you "posted."

« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 09:44:23 PM by Tim Atwell »

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2015, 06:33:27 AM »
Did you get the one with the really reduced chambers at the top end Tim? I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on how these smaller chambers effect the reed response and sound in the 3rd octave.

Offline Tim Atwell

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2015, 08:52:17 PM »
there are two versions, advanced and extreme.  both versions have progressively more reduced chamber areas beginning with hole two.  this is done simply by progressively setting the floor of the chambers higher and higher.  in addition to this the chambers are ramped.  the advanced version has ramping on the draw side only.  the extreme version has ramping on both the draw and blow sides.  i have the advanced version.  i would say that in hole 12, the single-ramped version has a chamber area 1/4 the size of the standard chamber, with no raised floor, and the double-ramped version an area even smaller.

the comb on my new hard bopper has raised floors in holes 11 and 12, so they are already reduced ALMOST as much as those on the power-combs.  some of my other old combs have no reduction at the top at all.

i'll watch the instructional video one more time before i start drilling.  the metric screws that brendan sends have an outside diameter of .059" and the american 0-80 screws have an OD of .058".  since i have drills and taps for the 0-80's i will go with 0-80's.  also the 0-80's have more threads per inch than the supplied metric screws, so i may get an additional thread when tapping the reedplates.

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2015, 11:43:42 PM »
If I'm not mistaken, and I could well be, I believe that the steel screws are self-tapping through the brass reed plates. With the right size pilot hole of course.

B/

Offline Silberhorn

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2015, 06:26:51 PM »
I fitted one to my Hohner Super Chromonica Deluxe and it is like a new (and much better) instrument.  Response and volume are excellent.  It was a simple job to transfer all the bits over as no drilling was necessary.  You will be amazed at how much better your harmonica sounds, although mine still keeps hitting wrong notes!
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Offline Norm

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2015, 09:13:37 PM »
Hi Silberhorn,

That's a pretty good endorsement.  If you don't mind my asking, did you get the advanced model or the extreme, or did Brendan Power have any kind of recommendation for which model to get?

Thanks,

Norm


I fitted one to my Hohner Super Chromonica Deluxe and it is like a new (and much better) instrument.  Response and volume are excellent.  It was a simple job to transfer all the bits over as no drilling was necessary.  You will be amazed at how much better your harmonica sounds, although mine still keeps hitting wrong notes!
"Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil"

Offline Silberhorn

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2015, 04:28:17 PM »
I used the Advanced model as I wasn't too sure what the Extreme version was and it sounded dangerous!  All I know is that it has really improved the standard Hohner Super Chromonica Deluxe.  Sadly I am fighting off a cold at the moment so have not had much chance to play it lately.  :(
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Offline Norm

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2015, 05:33:44 PM »
Thanks, Silberhorn. Sorry to hear about the cold.
 
Cheers,

Norm
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Offline Balcom

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2015, 01:51:30 PM »
I've ordered both versions. Got few 270s to resurrect so I'm gonna try both ways. Just wonder if colours of combs affecting sound... could play Blue in green or Red Clay. BTW what colours you prefer?
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Offline Tim Atwell

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2015, 06:57:07 PM »
i bought the red comb, as i figured my chrom would be hot! hot! hot! after i installed the new comb.  i do think the other colors are awfully light (even the red could be darker) suitable for toys but not chroms.  anyway, i wanted something besides black or white.  the red goes well with my hard bopper, which is chrome plated.  when you first get the comb, that is a lot of color! but when you are done, all you see are the back and sides.

so here are some details relative to the installation of the comb, and then my impressions of my customized hard bopper.

there are a lot of fuzzy edges and long thin strands of abs on the comb.  it is easy to remove them by breaking edges with a fingernail or removing them with a tweezer.  don't be surprised if something gets between a reed and its slot and the reed does not sound.

it did not take long to install the new comb in my hard bopper, though i did not follow brendan's instructions exactly.  as brendan says in his video, two of the holes in the plates do not line up, so before disassembling your old chrom you are to drill a clearance hole thru the top plate and the old wooden comb, then lightly touch the bottom plate with the drill, leaving a mark on the bottom plate for drilling and tapping.  but why assume that two plates that are nailed separately to a wooden comb are lined up properly relative to each other in the first place?  so i disassembled the chrom and prepared the holes that line up, then assembled everything, and then prepared the fifth hole.  it all worked out.  (of course, brendan has been hacking harmonicas for many years, and he knows when you must pay close attention and when you can fly by the seat of your pants.  but i don't).

brendan supplies metric screws.  i installed the closest thing the imperial system has to the screws he supplied, the 0-80 screw, as i had drill bits and taps for them.  if you use 0-80 screws (5/8" long) make sure you get them with a philips head and not a slot head that will send your screwdriver flying.

after all the drilling and tapping, brendan clears away the burrs with a grinding wheel.  i used small countersinks to clear away the burrs by hand, since i thought that was neater looking.

for the most part, the plates dropped completely inside the channels at the back.  this was not the case with my old combs!  but at the back of the long reeds, where there is not a lot of spare room, i found that the plates were not dropping in completely.  then i realized that it is not the head of the rivet that is dropping thru at the back, but the glued end of the valve.  i checked for a build-up of glue around the valves and cleared it all away with an exacto knife.  after that, everything dropped into the channels, no light coming thru at all.

there is one thing that i did not do that was part of the instructions.  having purchased a comb with a sanded front, i did not sand the front after attaching the reedplates to the comb.  the idea is to get everything flush, of course, after assembly.  first of all, i checked the assembled front with a straight edge, and everything looked flush to me, and second, i do not think that, freehand, you can hold the narrow front of the comb and reedplates upright while you sand away.  the slightest movement side to side will ruin the whole business.  and equal pressure all along the length of the front?  i don't think so.  if anybody has any suggestions about how to do this properly, i'd appreciate it. 

third, i think there is a lot more leakage in the slide assembly, with its .005" clearance (my g48 has a .002" clearance) than there is between the bottom plate and the front of the comb in this case.  this very loose slide assembly, i think, is why brendan is so liberal with the lip balm or vaseline when assembling the slide assembly.  has anyone ever tried to remove material from the edges of the top plate to decrease this clearance?

the mouthpiece screws make their own thread the first time you screw them into the comb.

and that's it!  and is it ever worth it.  the sound is more solid, but still the hohner sound.  for ballads i might prefer the more full-bodied sound of my g48, but for something up-tempo, the lively quality of my "new" hard bopper might be more appropriate.  the playability is much improved, the reeds seem to respond instantly, with little effort, and there is less wasted breath.  it is a much more lively harmonica, and fun to play.  and if you are someone who says, "i never play in the upper octave," you may change your mind.  the highest octave sounds as easily as the others, every note, and the sound is sweet, not strident.  it is really remarkable.  i'll be looking for reasons to play "up there."

i have another hard bopper, and if my good opinion of the power comb holds up, i'll customize that one, too.



 



« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 07:23:48 PM by Tim Atwell »

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2015, 06:27:06 AM »
That all sounds good 8). I wonder if Brendan will produce a similar comb for the 280.

Offline Balcom

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2015, 05:12:45 PM »
Yes he did. You got choice of 10, 12 and 16 holers.
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Offline Jp

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2015, 05:48:48 PM »
I think technically his 16-hole comb is only for the old style Chromonica, not the modern 280: http://brendan-power.com/combs-hohner.php#16

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2015, 06:33:41 AM »
The modern 280 is a very good instrument, but I certainly think that the comb could be improved with reduced chambers at the top end and I'd also like enlarged chambers for the first octave.

Offline Balcom

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2015, 02:08:39 PM »
I'm sure Brendan working on it.
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Offline Tim Atwell

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2015, 08:28:44 PM »
having played my hard bopper with the power comb for a week now….

i can't say how the sound of the upper octave has changed, as i never played in that octave before.  the reeds are very quick to respond.  the volume level is lower than the two lower octaves, but these reeds have never been played before and may need some breaking in.

this is a new hard bopper, purchased about a year ago from antony danneker.  the sound was brighter than my old hard bopper, which is about fifteen years old.  with the new power comb, it is brighter still, but with a pleasant sound.  the sound gets a bit thinner beginning with the Eb in hole five or the E in hole 6, but it's not harsh.  i think this chrom would be perfect for the jigs and reels that some like to play (brendan, of course) and also anything that moves quickly, like gypsy jazz, anything with big jumps that require the reeds to respond quickly since the jump itself takes time.  my test for responsiveness is "take the A train".  the melody is not fast, but there are jumps that require the reeds to sound immediately so that you can make the jump to the next note.

i will now drill and tap my older hard bopper with the more mellow sound, and see how that sounds installed on the power comb.  you can see where this is going, as there is one more variable, advanced or extreme.  thank goodness the power combs are cheaper if you buy five or more, and that chroms are my only vice. 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 04:50:31 PM by Tim Atwell »

Offline Tim Atwell

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2015, 05:51:23 PM »
the new power comb did not seem to have much effect on the old hard bopper.  i'm afraid the old bopper may be played out.

so, fully committed to the new bopper plates, and knowing that this will not be my last power comb, i took it upon myself to reinstall the new plates on the power comb and then sand the front of the plates and the comb flush.  brendan uses 400 paper and then finishes off with something finer.  it's important to sand with the cover plates on.  first off, the covers protect the reeds (in case your hand slips) and help you to apply even pressure, and second, the cover screws are the only thing holding the very ends of the plates to the comb.  all other screws are at the back.

i started with 800 paper, just to get things moving, and then did most of my sanding with 400 paper, finishing with 800.  after disassembly, i broke the edges of the plates with a file, and cleaned up the comb with an soft toothbrush and then reassembled the chrom.

i thought that sanding the front flush would make the sound brighter, but it seemed to restore some of the mellowness to the chrom.  it also seemed to even out the timbres and improve the responsiveness of those pesky notes in hole 2, especially the draw F and F#.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 05:54:54 PM by Tim Atwell »

Offline harpe diem

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2015, 08:24:51 AM »
Hi,

Brendans videos are selfexplaining. It is worth to look at all of them - the 260, 270 and 280 ones.

I just modified my oldest harp from 1937, a Chromonica II, with the Power-comb (advanced model) and it is fantastic.
BTW, the holes are not drilled out, they are printed! These combs have so many intelligent details that it is hard to believe...
Weight is exactly as the pearwoodcombs, about 20 g for the 270 model.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE NOW! Beautiful, still mellow sound, fantastic response, a bit louder than the original, and an amazing performance in the upper octave, combined with best response in all octaves. 
And what a cool color (orange).

No more glueing on pearwoodcombs!

It is worth every single GBP. I think Brendan should offer the combs in an extra variety without holes for the reedplatefixation, because it will be easier to adapt the Powercombs to harmonicas that have been modified to screws before.

Jan

 

Offline Tim Atwell

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2015, 09:02:07 PM »
i e-mailed brendan about this, combs without any holes. 

because, as you say and as i did not realize at first, the holes are printed and not drilled, brendan would have to change the design program to print a comb without holes, he would charge an extra 20 GBP per comb.

my purpose in wanting a comb with no holes, except for those in the front that accommodate the bumpers and mouthpiece screws, is to implement a design that i have for an external spring and a system for removing one cover or reedplate at a time.

Offline harpe diem

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2015, 04:24:14 AM »
Keep in mind, that the structure of the Powercomb is a "hollowbody" in some partitions. Otherwise the weight of the comb would be much higher than the pearwoodcomb.
There is enough "flesh" around the holes, that Brendan set, but it might be different on other segments of the comb.

Have you tried the new Hohner combs for the 270 family? They are looking quite similar to Brendans advanced comb. Best choice for the "woodies" among us...


Jan

Bluesy

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2015, 11:13:48 AM »
Keep in mind, that the structure of the Powercomb is a "hollowbody" in some partitions. Otherwise the weight of the comb would be much higher than the pearwoodcomb.
There is enough "flesh" around the holes, that Brendan set, but it might be different on other segments of the comb.

Have you tried the new Hohner combs for the 270 family? They are looking quite similar to Brendans advanced comb. Best choice for the "woodies" among us...


Jan

Jan:
Have you got a link?

Bluesy/

Offline harpe diem

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2015, 11:36:36 AM »
Hi,

I bought my Mellow Tone at bax-shop.de

The Hohner Cshop has a photo of the elder comb posted. To be sure you`ll get the new comb, you can write an email to the customers service (Gabi Hand). Normally they answer within 3 days.

Her mailadress is : GHand@hohner.de  phone: 0049-7425-20-343

Good luck,

Jan
« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 11:55:34 AM by harpe diem »

Chriske

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2015, 06:28:44 AM »
Keep in mind, that the structure of the Powercomb is a "hollowbody" in some partitions. Otherwise the weight of the comb would be much higher than the pearwoodcomb.
There is enough "flesh" around the holes, that Brendan set, but it might be different on other segments of the comb.

Have you tried the new Hohner combs for the 270 family? They are looking quite similar to Brendans advanced comb. Best choice for the "woodies" among us...


Jan

Indeed, these print are rather 'hollow', depending on the settings of your slicing-software.
If you will drill the holes yourself, these holes will not be straight. It all has to do with the internal buildup of the comb. It's up to the printer operator to choose what kind of infill the printer will work with(shape and density).
Drillbits Ø1.8mm as Brendan suggests are very thin, so while drilling these drillbits will be forced aside between the infill 'ribs'. But maybe you are lucky and will be drilling perfectly in the middle of that honeycomb structure.  If the infill is very dense, say 100% there would be no problem at all.

The pictures showing different infills from abandoned parts. Needles to say these infill structures are not visible on a finished print of course.


Bluesy

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2015, 09:27:16 AM »
You have to use a small drill press with a very sharp bit.

B/

Chriske

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2015, 10:02:16 AM »
You have to use a small drill press with a very sharp bit.

B/

I do...!  I have some experience... ;)
Just printed a rather large project (telescope). A few times had to drill a very small extra hole in one of the parts(forgotten in the original design). But in the end had to redraw that part.
Say a 3 mm drillbit and higher is ok, but 1.8mm...hmmm... A drillbit 1.8 mm drilling in the edge of a honeycomb-infill will bend, trust me on this one.. ;)
If the drillpress's rpm is high enough maybe it would work, but.... Problem is when you do that both, ABS and PLA, will melt and stick onto your drillbit. Resulting in a messy hole.
When working with a lathe or milling machine, working on printed parts, I always use a rather low rpm. Same with a Dremel, lowest rpm.

Chris.

Bluesy

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2015, 01:54:01 PM »
You can use a high speed set-up if you lubricate the drilling. It actually works better than slow speed drilling. But you have to keep it cool. And allow the drill to do the work.

Offline Lockjaw Larry

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2015, 09:46:21 PM »
Would it be reasonable to fill the divets where the holes will be drilled with super glue or other firm setting filler?  That would make a solid, flat area to drill through.  I am aware super glue isn't compatible with some plastic formulas so I would recommend testing it in an inconspicuous area.
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Offline Tim Atwell

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2015, 09:51:23 PM »
the honey-comb quality of the interior of the power-comb may be the end of one of my schemes.  i wonder if i can get a sense of the interior from brendan one of these days.  i haven't seen the new hohner combs.  i tried to find them on the hohner website but no luck.

suppose you wanted to drill a 1/4" hole in abs.  would it be better to drill a 1/16th" hole, then enlarge it to 1/8th", etc., with successively larger drill bits, to prevent melting?

a couple of things about the power-comb.  some of the clearance holes in the power-comb are round and some are elongated, or oval, to accommodate different 270-style plates.  when you drop the screw thru the round holes in the reedplates and the round holes in the comb, they remain upright, but when you drop them thru the round holes in the plates and the elongated holes in the comb, they lean to one side.  make sure you get them upright before driving them.  it is easy to strip a fine thread.

i measured the clearance for the slide on the hard bopper that is now attached to the power-comb.  it was .006".  i filed .002" off of the top plate, and the clearance is now .004".  this has improved things.  i will file another .001" off of the top plate one of these days, and if things are better still, one more thousandth.  i will stop at .002" clearance if i get that far.



« Last Edit: October 12, 2015, 10:35:38 PM by Tim Atwell »

Offline Brendan Power

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2016, 03:03:14 AM »
Just saw this thread. It was really heartwarming to read your mostly positive comments on my PowerCombs. I'm so glad they are giving renewed playing pleasure to owners of the classic Hohner chroms, that's what it's all about.

Good points about the drilling and sanding. You can drill through the combs but a very thin bit might suffer some deflection due to the internal honeycomb structure, as Chriske says.

I've moved on to more complex lipped combs for modern 12 hole chroms and will be extending the range to 16 hole chroms like the modern 280 in time. Making 3d printed substitutes for them is quite a bit more tricky! So much time in testing to get everything right, as the tiniest detail that's off ruins the comb. Then it's back to tweaking, reprinting, re-testing... But I'm close, and have some other comb stuff nearly ready to release as well.

Will post the news on my personal SlideMeister board when the new parts are ready. Your unsolicited comments here are great encouragement to push on. Bp

Offline Tim Atwell

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Re: Brendan Power Comb Received
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2016, 10:38:20 PM »
received another advanced universal (for all 270 style hohners) power comb from brendan, and this time i put 270 plates in C on it, as opposed to the hard bopper plates i put on the first one.  (BRENDAN NO LONGER MAKES the comb that is dedicated solely to the short slot reed plates of the 270 in C, so these plates must be put on the universal comb.  so harp 2 has noticeably shorter reeds in the long channels of the universal comb.)

in this corner...
power harp 1:  new hard bopper plates, new hard bopper mouthpiece, old hard bopper covers, red power comb
power harp 2:  new 270C reedplates, old hard bopper mouthpiece, old 270 covers, yellow power comb

these two harps have a very similar sound. in the first octave, harp 1 is more focussed and darker, harp 2 is more diffuse and mellow.  in the middle octave, harp 1 is noticeably brighter and harp 2 more mellow.  the third octave is quick and sweet on harp 1.  it sounds easily on harp 2, probably due to the ramping, but doesn't compare to the response and sweetness of the same octave of harp 1.  still, if you have trouble getting anything out of that octave, i think the universal comb would improve things and get you playing "up there" even on a 270 in C.

harp 1 is much quicker in response, much better with faster tunes.  it seems much tighter, perhaps because the channels of the universal comb are made for the longer reeds of all 270 type reedplates , except those of the 270 in C.  harp 2 might be better suited to ballads and modern blues in first position.  at this point, the reeds of harp 2 need some breaking in.

harp 1 looks so much better than harp 2.  it is no contest.  the chrome plating/red comb of the bopper has it all over the nickel and brass/yellow comb of harp 2.  IMHO, harp 1 would look much better than harp 2 no matter the colors of the combs.  and it doesn't simply look better.  it looks sharp as heck.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 10:57:04 PM by Tim Atwell »