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Stretch Harps

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:10 pm
by Roverharp
I've been experimenting with building some 11 hole stretch harps. I like this alternative size; still small enough to comfatably hold and you can use the stock cover plates which are just long enough to cover the extra hole. The tuning is essentially an extension of PowerBender into the top octave and I've made them in two variants:


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1	2	3	4	5	6	7	8	9	10	11
C	E	A	C	D	F	A	C	D	F	A
D	G	B	D	E	G	B	D	E	G	B

And, this one that is a little closer to Richter

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1	2	3	4	5	6	7	8	9	10	11
C	E	G	C	E	F	A	C	D	F	A
D	G	B	D	F	G	B	D	E	G	B

The great surprise was the relative comfort of the seam where the chopped reed plates meet. I had been prepared for a lip shredder that would make the whole exercise pointless. However, if you have reasonably straight cuts and gently sand it isn't really a problem. Having said that, I would love to be able to make these with SP20's but I find it quite difficult to get a true 90 degrees with the ABS, recessed combs. They warp and melt when trying to sand them down to the correct length and they have less mating surface between the chopped pieces. I've tried about five times to make a Stetch SP20 and only succeeded twice. Too expensive to keep doing that so I switched to MB plates and combs.

Of course, our host has that covered too and has in the past made Stretch SP20 that look great. How do you do it Sir Brendan?

MB 11-2.JPG
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Re: Stretch Harps

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:24 pm
by CrawfordEs
Nice idea.
I bet you could get Andrew Zajac to make you combs to fit.

http://harp.andrewzajac.ca/Combs

From his site:

Contact me about making a comb for your model harmonica. No extra fee applied - combs for most "sandwich-style" harmonicas offered at regular prices.

I have a couple of his combs and some experiments he built for me.
Excellent work and prices.
The combs are beautiful, bulletproof and can be cut and shaped further after you get them.

Re: Stretch Harps

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:56 am
by Roverharp
Yes, I like Andrew's stuff but they are all still sandwich style combs. I'm having success with the stock combs and when cut in the channel there is no seam at the front to come in contact with your mouth.

I just would prefer a recessed comb as I find then more comfortable and I play a little faster and more precise on a SP20 than on a MB. Plus, it would hide the reed plates seam. Blue Moon has nice custom recessed combs for the SP20 but I don't think they would invest in an eleven hole version for the one or two crazies out there chopping up perfectly fine harps.

Re: Stretch Harps

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:22 am
by dblues
I find an eleven hole harp ideal, having the 1st hole be (in the case of a C harp) GBlow, BDraw. With all the notes that can be played there, (2nd position Blues in G), for me, it's perfect. I usually half valve the harp too.

Re: Stretch Harps

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:42 am
by Brendan
Nice work Roverharp. Yes, hiding that reedplate join was the main reason I used lipped combs.

The key to sanding ABS is to keep the speed way down to avoid the melting you mention. Just do the sanding by hand, that will ensure it won't overheat. You can still use guides to make the cut at 90 degrees, then just clean up with a little hand sanding and you're ready to glue.

The nice thing about ABS is that it will weld together with suitable glue, like model aircraft cement.

I agree the 11-hole size is pretty handy, for retaining the original covers. But once you get the Stretch Harp bug you're bound to try some bigger ones, just for fun. The longest I made was a 16-hole :-)

Re: Stretch Harps

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:08 am
by Harmonicatunes
Keep in mind the Seydel 12 hole model, at http://www.seydel1847.de/epages/Seydel1 ... ts/11601LC

You can specify virtually any tuning, if it's feasible they'll make it for you.

Re: Stretch Harps

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:53 am
by Brendan
Sure, the Seydel is a very useful 12-hole harp option, but I'd argue not as much fun and satisfying as making your own Stretch Harp by hacking two together, and you can make any length you want :-)