Hohner Discovery 48 - any way to improve it?

Anything apart from the two mainstream default harmonicas (Solo-tuned fully-valved chromatic, and un-valved Richter 10-hole diatonic). Alternate tunings, different construction, new functionality, interesting old designs, wishful-thinking... whatever!
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Hohner Discovery 48 - any way to improve it?

Post by doktorsteve » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:42 pm

I have a Discovery which is playable and an old 270 in pieces. I find the Discovery is really quite hard to blow at the top end needing a lot of pressure to get decent sound level. The sound overall seems to be strangled and lacking in character. Compared to a diatonic it just feels like to be too much effort. I tried adjusting the gapping and got the 'dead' draw notes on hole 12 to sound pretty loud. This gapping business seemed hit and miss. What worked for one reed seems to have no effect on another.

I bought a bargain Power comb for the 270 which turned out to be an extreme. While I was waiting for the drills and taps to arrive to modify the 270 reedplates, I fitted the Discovery reedplates and the 270 metal mouthpiece to the Power comb. I literally just screwed it all together without sanding, just pushing the reedplates against the mouthpiece the best I could. When I tried it the sound was louder, responsive and with more interesting harmonic structure. Those quiet reeds in the top octave sang out well now. I did notice significantly less volume with the slide in so I suspect the air tightness was not so good on the lower plate.

So back to the Discovery. The reeds are clearly pretty good, at least on the Power comb , so where is the sound disappearing?
Could it be the plastic mouthpiece?
Could the comb be leaky?
Are the chambers too big?
Is there anything I can do to cure these problems?
Am I just wasting my time with the Discovery? Should I just fit the Discovery reedplates to the Power comb with the metal mouthpiece and put the Discovery comb in the storage box with the 270 reedplates?

Sorry about the long post


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Re: Hohner Discovery 48 - any way to improve it?

Post by Brendan » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:13 am

I suggest you post this query on Slidemeister:


I'm sure you will get lots of good advice there :-)

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Re: Hohner Discovery 48 - any way to improve it?

Post by doktorsteve » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:08 am

Thanks for reading my post and for the suggestion.

Clearly there is a lot going on here that requires investigation.

The Power comb evens out the top octave and somehow makes the reeds easier to excite. And more pressure = more volume.

The Discovery comb seems to hit a limit on the volume but has a tantalizing huge top D# and less air sound.
Maybe I will cannibalize the wood comb to make ramps.

More work required on this Frankenharp.

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