Tested model: Marine Band in C customized by
The Marine Band is probably the most well known
bluesharp. It has been played by professional players for decades.
Still, it has some drawbacks, the biggest being its wood comb
which can swell and hurt the lips.
Tim Moyer proposes a customized Marine Band with
the original pearwood comb sealed with natural beeswax. The
harmonica is assembled with brass machine screws and precisely
adjusted for optimum response, projection, and dynamics. If
required, Tim can provide an overblow setup with proper gapping
and reed profiling.
Here are more details by Tim:
"I start by removing the covers and drilling
the plates while they are still attached to the comb, to ensure
that they remain properly aligned. Comb holes are overdrilled
to allow the reedplates to be positioned on the comb
according to the players preferences or style choices (tines
flush with the plates, or slightly recessed). The combs are
sanded to a flat surface where they meet the reedplates, and
the front edges of the comb tines are rounded to make playing
more comfortable. I also round the four external corners of
the comb, and then seal the comb by dipping in filtered, unbleached
beeswax. All the wax is removed from the external surfaces of
the comb, so that wax will not contact the plates or the players
lips, tongue or mouth. Reedplate corners are rounded to match
the comb corners, and are made smooth. The front edges of the
reedplates are polished to a mirror finish. All screw holes
are edged to remove stray filings. Reeds are polished to remove
previous tuning scratches and other imperfections. The reedslots
are lightly embossed, so as not to create too bright or brassy
a tone quality. Reeds are moved deeper into the slots toward
the rivet end, and are arced slightly upwards to provide tip
clearance for improved responsiveness. Reeds are tuned to players
specifications using fine abrasives. During the tuning process
reed orientation is adjusted as needed for optimal clearance,
to remove any rattling or buzzing. Cover plates are drilled
to match the comb, and the back flanges are peened flat to give
maximum projection and optimum dynamics. Reed plates are mounted
to the comb using three brass or stainless steel screws internally,
and the covers are mounted using four stainless steel screws
and nuts. The harmonica is meticulously tested and adjusted
for optimum action before being shipped to the customer."
- Beautiful instrument. THE bluesharp!
- Customized instrument. Very airtight, responsive and easy
- The overblows are clean and can be sustained with vibrato.
- The harp can still be played hard without choking the 4th,
5th and 6th blow.
- Tim's service is great.
- It is mandatory to master the overblows to play chromatically.
Tim also proposes to customize any bluesharp of
How to play it:
The Marine Band being a regular richter harmonica,
playing chromatically implies to master the overblows. See the
standard richter harps chromatic playing
Listen to the sound samples:
In our opinion these harps really make the chromatic
playing reachable. The main problems inherent in the overblows
are drastically reduced, allowing a good overall sound and a
rather good expressivity. And these harps are so small that
one can bring them anywhere!