Customized Harmonicas

BY CARL JOHAN HÖRNFELDT

A customized harp is a harp that’s been tweaked to its limits. It’s certainly possible to put in a lot of work on a harmonica, but time is money and you need to zero in on what works for the player. Everyone has their own particular style. This makes the instrument unique, since the sound that comes out of it can be so very different.

First you have to understand that the player is the main ingredient in the sound—some say as much as up to 90 %. With that in mind, the equipment provides the rest. I’d like to argue that the harmonica itself has a much bigger impact than what people generally believe. A well-tuned, responsive and airtight harp is worth its weight in gold. I bet you all have a favorite in your case. The whole point of a customized harp is to have only favorites. A goal that’s possible to attain, only it ain’t cheap. You pay the customizer (me) for the time spent on each harp. Needless to say, the more work, the higher the price. That’s why it’s so important to understand what you want out of your harp. If you’re a skilled overblower, you might like a harp that readily responds to this technique. On the other hand, you might simply need a great harp that works and is in tune, so if this is the case, I’d recommend an optimized one. The number of players that actually need—and can control—a fully OB harp is not that many. Think before you buy, you don’t want to throw away your money, now do you?

If you order a custom harp from me, you will get a MB with screws and a comb in the material you request. Corian is what I prefer, it’s a very robust and good material for harp combs that doesn’t react to water, which is pretty important when it comes to harps. The cover plates will be opened up for better airflow and the reed plate will be sanded down for maximum airtightness. The harp will be tuned to compromise tuning 443 Hz, unless otherwise specified. Each reed will be embossed and gapped to your preference. And if you like, I can set it up for OBs. This last aspect is absolutely not something you need, your harp will play great after the customizing anyway. For the best results, it’s very important that you communicate with me throughout the process.

That’s pretty much it! Oh by the way, I use Dick Sjoeberg’s HarpTuner and it’s a stunning invention for us harp geeks.

For more information about Customized harmonicas please contact me info@fatharp.com