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.