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Brendan Power
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PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 & CX-12 Jazz

The CX-12 chromatic caused quite a stir when it was released by Hohner in 1992. Packed with innovative ideas, its instant snap-together assembly represented a radical departure from traditional screwed construction. The unique housing combining mouthpiece and covers in one part looked great, as well as being really comfortable in the mouth. It incorporated a quick-release slider with a coil spring, another first in the conservative world of chromatic harmonica design.

Being so radical, the CX-12 tended to polarise opinion amongst players: they either loved or hated it! Enough loved the CX-12 to make it an instant hit and an enduring modern classic whose popularity has not dimmed in over 20 years. I was one of the smitten, and have lovingly hacked the CX-12 into many forms ever since it came out. As well as using it on my own gigs and recordings, it formed the basis of several of the most successful models in my early years as an online seller of custom harmonicas (my unique CX-16, CX-14 and CX-10 chroms). More recently I have used it to make my THS DoubleChrom

The CX-12 is indeed a wonderful chromatic, but it suffers from two main flaws: a loose-fitting slider, and a comb with over-large air chambers. The stock slider is not very airtight, and noisy to boot. The comb's large reed cavities mean that the highest notes suffer from Helmholtz Resonance coupling, where the resonant frequency of the mouth/comb chamber clashes with the pitch of the reed. This flattens the pitch of the highest reeds and makes them feel unresponsive. I have tackled both issues and created solutions, which I'm now offering to all who love the CX-12 and want to get the most out of it.

PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12
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CX-12 PowerSlide

My lasercut custom slider is finely designed to exacting dimensions, and each one is hand-sanded to just the right thickness. Slightly wider and significantly thicker than the stock slider, it gives a perfect fit in the slider channel for quiet operation and optimum airtightness. I have made a video showing how it can be fitted to the slider button, and how to sand the comb to ensure smooth running of this precision part. Because of the hand-sanding element it is not cheap, but it will give you a striking improvement in response that will make playing your CX-12 so much more pleasing.
PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide for the Hohner CX-12
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CX-12 PowerComb

Building on the experience of my 3D printed PowerCombs for traditional Hohner chromatics, I've created my first lipped comb for the CX-12 and CX-12 Jazz. Considerably more complex to design and make than the ones for traditional chroms, it took a lot of hard work and testing to perfect. To make the front lip and slider base I combine the 3D printed body with a laser-cut stainless steel slider baseplate, bonded to the comb and hand-sanded flat

However the main feature of my CX-12 PowerComb is its radically changed internal profiling compared to the stock item. It comes in two versions, Advanced (single ramped) and Extreme (double ramped). Both reduce chamber volumes significantly to combat Helmholtz Resonance Coupling and improve reed response. The effect of this is especially noticeable in the top holes, where the reeds play more easily and without pitch flattening. The Extreme is theoretically more efficient throughout the range, but in actual playability there is not much between the two types - it's personal preference.

They may be made using 21st century technology, but these combs are individual craft items. After they are printed there is a considerable amount of hand work: sanding the reedplate surfaces flat, bonding on the steel slide slider base, sanding it flat and general finishing. All that is reflected in the price. However I believe you'll feel they are worth the money when you start to play! Added to the improved playability the many colours to choose from give the element of making your CX-12 more of a personal instrument. See the video on fitting your reedplates to the PowerComb.


Jazz Adventurer BILL BARRETT demos the CX-12 PowerComb and PowerSlide


Buying Advice

We currently offer PowerCombs in four popular colours (black, red, green, blue) but you can get the best deal of all if you choose the Pot-Luck option (where available) for which you may receive one of the four core colours, or a different colour entirely. Why not live dangerously and save money? (N.b. For Pot Luck we will send the Advanced or Extreme option you choose where available; if not you will receive what's in stock.)

All prices include international shipping. Orders of £60 or over are sent with Tracking also (you can include a mix of items from the website to make up the £60).

Before you order, check out my Hohner PowerPlugs option. These allow you to keep your stock comb whilst adding the performance advantage of PowerComb-style internal profiling in the critical top octave. They will also save you a lot of money!

Hohner CX-12 PowerComb

Colour:

Version:



£60-65 depending on colour
(Price per comb reduces progressively for multiple buy.)

Hohner CX-12 PowerSlide


Add to Cart

£35
(Price per slide reduces progressively for multiple buy.)

PowerPatches

PowerPatch

One of the main attractions of the innovative Hohner CX-12 chromatic harmonica is the quick and easy snap-assembly design. This is enabled by using a large back-spring to hold the comb/reedplate unit inside the one-piece mouthpiece/cover shell. It works well - until you drop the instrument... In many cases this leads to one of the back-springs slot securing parts breaking off, after which the whole harmonica is useless.

I've often been asked for a fix - and here it is, my CX-12 PowerPatch!

PowerPatch for the Hohner CX-12 PowerPatch for the Hohner CX-12 PowerPatch for the Hohner CX-12 PowerPatch for the Hohner CX-12 PowerPatch for the Hohner CX-12
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The PowerPatch is a specially designed 3D printed internal patch that gives the spring a new seating position. Since the CX-12 shell and the PowerPatch are both made of ABS plastic, it's easy to attach using plastic weld cement. Watch the video to see how it's done.

FITTING NOTES

I just supply the PowerPatch; you'll need to source the plastic weld cement. Just put "Plastic weld cement abs" into Amazon or eBay and you will get lots of choices. (This is the cement that I use.)

If your ABS cement is not the thin wicking type, you can coat the PowerPatch with thicker weld cement and move it into position before pressing against the shell. In that case hold the spring in from the outside to keep it in the right position before pressing home.



Buying Advice

The PowerPatch costs £15 for one piece, £12.50 for two, £10 for three or more.

All prices include international shipping. Orders of £60 or over are sent with Tracking also (you can include a mix of items from the website to make up the £60).

Hohner CX-12 PowerPatch

Colour:



£15

Check out the unsolicited comments about my PowerCombs on Slidemeister, the premier chromatic harmonica chat group.

SUZUKI 12/14/16 HOLE CHROMATICS

" Hello Brendan, just wanted to let you know that i'm extremely pleased with the power comb i got from you yesterday for my scx-56. More airtight instrument, and faster reed respons through the whole register, but especially in the top register. Top notch product and i will for sure get one for my spare scx-56 also Take care and keep up the good work. regards Terje "

Terje Karlsen, Norway (January 2017)
" Hey guys just want to say thanks for the comb and what a nice tone the harp has now! It's not so much in volume( I actually think the harp is slightly lower ) than with the original Suzuki stock, but the reeds feel warmer and I can articulate notes better( at least to my ears) I have been playing chromatic harp mainly blues in first position for about 7 years ( don't ask me why!)and I had switched from Horner to the Suzuki scx series about 4 years ago however I've always thought that they were kinda harsh tone wise, not anymore! Thanks to your power comb! "

Marcos Da Silva, USA (October 2016)
" The comb arrived this morning at 10.30 and is now in place. The chrom sounds great, looks great!!! Now I has two updated super chroms, the scx54 and scx 64 for tonights concert. "

Bengt Kärrman, Sweden (October 2016)
" Sometimes harmonica players have problems even with their combs. In my case I could no more fix the mouthpiece to the comb.The thread did work no more. I than bought a new one, a Power-comb. It arrived, I screwed the reed plates on this comb. While working I wondered the date printed in the reed plates :June 1980. After having replaced the old comb by the new one I tried to play. I was astonished. The old comb has not sounded as well as this one. The tone was richer and even the response has amended, although the instrument must have been constructed in 1980 and we already live in 2016. After this experience I can recommand the 'Power'- combs. "

Ulrich Müller-Froß - Germany (May 2016)

Hohner Super 64 Chromatics

" Brendan, you've done it again! I've been playing my Super 64 extreme comb conversion now for a few weeks. Smooth, balanced, even up and down the harp through all four octaves. Effortless response in the top octave. You’ve really got it dialed in.

I'm looking forward to receiving the second Super comb, and the two just ordered for my Sirius 64's. I'd recommend these to anyone who wants to take their instruments (and playing) to the next level. Thanks for a great product at a very reasonable price. "

Steve Malerbi - USA (September 2016)

Hohner 10,12,16 Hole Chromatics

" This is to let you know how pleased I am with the 260 comb and round hole (Herring) mouthpiece - the fitting process went well - the old comb fell to pieces! Thank you very much for an accurately made and high quality product. "

Peter Weedon, UK (March 2017)
" Just want to let you know, Power Combs arrived today. I already installed one on my old 10 hole Chordomonica. It fits perfectly and plays great! Also the video instructions were very helpful for installing the new comb. "

Andreas Gläser - Germany (July 2016)

Hohner Traditional Lipped Comb

" I received and installed the 270 comb, in addition to the 64 comb that I received earlier. The 64 comb was a nice incremental improvement over the stock comb. I like it. The difference with my 270 Deluxe using your comb is astounding. Wonderful. I had tried one of your regular 270 combs with it but I couldn't get the alignment right so it was a touch leaky, so I went back to my Discovery 48 comb. With your new lipped comb even a klutz like me can get it right. The response, especially on the high notes, is much better. Thanks for your wonderful combs!!! "

Steve Molitor - IL, USA (June 2016)

Hohner CX-12 PowerComb / PowerSlide

" Received my X-12 comb + slider and installed them right away. Inhanced the quality of tone( more volume, clearer notes) and smooth playing, especially in the high register. Great design. "

Paul Nuydens - Belgium (Jan 2017)
" Just a quick note to say a big thank you for the combs for two Hohner CX12s (C & G). They were easy to fit and with the new sliders have made a significant improvement to both instruments."

KD FARR - UK (Dec 2016)
" I truly admire your concept of reworking a beautifully designed harmonica and providing two solutions to its main inherent weak points, that's brilliant! "

Steven De bruyn - Belgium (Nov 2016)
" I recently bought a CX-12 Power Comb and Suzuki Power-Comb from you for one of my students. I just thought I'd drop a short note to say how how impressive they were. In particular the CX-12 (I got the extreme version). It's now possible to bend all the notes the entire length of the instrument whereas before there was no response whatsoever, the note would simply choke as soon as you put any pressure on it. And this was on a fully valved instrument, I have yet to try it half-valved. Anyway, my student was so impressed that he's just got me to order another one. I'll be recommending this upgrade from now on all my chromatic students. "

Michael McInerney - UK (June 2016)
" Thanks very much for your super quick posting of the CX12 Power slide and comb. I had this old CX12 which was for me duff and not worth playing, and then I had broken the black casing trying to get the very stiff spring plate out. Having purchased a replacement CX12 Jazz casing from Hohner (much better front); I've just fitted the reed plates to your Power comb (nice and easy), slotted in your slide:- I've now got a really nice playable harp. The slide action is particularly good. "

Guy Gibbons - UK (June 2016)
" I really love the new CX-12 comb and slide; I had no trouble whatsoever refitting my harp. Responsiveness has definitely improved -- thanks for a great set of products! "

Jay Stanley - Ben Lomond, CA, USA (May 2016)
" I ordered three powercomb and powerslide for all my CX-12 (customized) ... after installing them I realized right away that make the CX-12 more playable, more responsive and more accurate in the dynamic response, also facilitated the execution of double notes. I am very happy with this purchase. Now I have the perfect 'Hohner/Power' CX-12 [I think :-) ] ... CASING of the CX-12 Jazz, reed plates of the CX-12 Gold (thickness 1.2) and Powercomb with Powerslide !!! Thank you "

Paolo Daniele - Italy (May 2016)
" Great Lords of Valhalla. It is a mind blowing difference. In my small musician world, this harmonica is bigger than cold fusion. I've had about 12 gigs to check it out on. From blues n jazz to my comparatively lame Irish on St. Patrick's: this harp is transformative. Maybe not as big as the development of vision but certainly as big as the thumb. A more specific break down coming Up. As well as a video. Stoked. Thank you Brendan! "

BILL BARRETT - Los Angeles, USA (March 2016)
" After everything is installed, Wow! What a difference! I've never played a chrom as good as this! This is beyond imagination, I could never thought there will be this much of a difference the comb and slider can possibly make. I'm only an amateur player so I won't be able to give you any feedback from the professional player's perspective but the improvement for me is really obvious. The CX-12 instantly feels like a 10 hole diatonic, effortless bending and I can feel reeds vibrates differently when the air pressure changes, which you can only normally get on a good diatonic harp. The tone is more tight and packed with more attack as well. Thank you very much again for offering these precious upgrade to me, I love them so much! "

Leon Li - Melbourne, Australia (March 2016)
" Hi Brendan, Well done indeed. The CX12 power comb went on very nicely [I had to re drill one slightly misaligned screw hole in the comb when the plates would not perfectly line up. But this was easily done. ] The improvement in airtightness, responsiveness and overall sound is tremendous. One happy customer, "

Paddy Byrne - London, England (March 2016)
" Thanks for sending the combs and slider for the CX 12. They certainly do what I hoped for. It is a fun instrument, very airtight, plays beautifully in the high register and all the clunkiness had gone from the slide. Congratulations on that lot. I haven't played the CX12 much for a good while because of those little annoyances. I've rediscovered how bold and loud and responsive it is - serious fun now! "

Richard Weis (22 March 2016)

Hohner Universal-12 PowerComb

" Hi Brendan, It's a time ago, when I received your combs. After using them for several months now, I can tell you, that I love them! The air tightness is good and better than the wood combs after using them for a while. The tone is stronger and louder. Thank you so much! "

Susan Sauter, Germany (January 2016)
" it's been a couple of months since i converted my hard bopper to one of your power combs. it's done a lot for the sound and playability of this chrom. i really enjoy playing it now. the tone and responsiveness are much improved, and the upper register is sweet and effortless. i never even played these notes before, and now i look for opportunities to play them. "

Tim Atwell (06 November 2015)
" I'm a mechanical designer and i was thinking about create a plastic comb when i discovered the Universal 12 Power Comb. I just can say a big congratulation to brendan. I've test it and i 'm really satisfied by the airtighness provided and response of notes is involved too. Really good idea !!

Regis Roncin - Mellow man - Harmonica Chromatique Jazz (28 June 2015)
powerComb customer image powerComb customer image " When I'm working on one of my 20 deluxes, and I come to the realization that the wood comb is warped and not helping, the time from that discovery to having a new Power comb in place and working, is less than fifteen minutes. NO putting the comb in a vise, getting it wet, and looking at internet porn while it dries out almost flat...Fifteen minutes. Very nice how the installation went....I didn't have to do much of anything...

These combs help me get a big sound at a low volume, which is always a goal for every instrument I play. So I think it's a success, for sure... "

Jon Kip (19 June 2015)

Hohner Universal-12 PowerComb (for 270 Deluxe)

" I've fitted the new comb to a Hohner Super Chromonica 270 Deluxe and cannot believe how much better it is! The harmonica is loud and proud,very responsive and air tight. It was a simple task to change everything over and the result is truly amazing. This will be my main instrument from now on. "

Paul Braithwaite (24 June 2015)
" Now that I've had a chance to try it out, I'm extremely pleased. A new lease on life for a harmonica I'd more or less given up on."

Daniel Ungar (22 June 2015)

Hohner Auto-Valve PowerComb

powerComb customer image powerComb customer image " I have been a fan and adopter of the Hybrid Auto Valve/ Chromonica 260 modification pioneered by Rick Epping for several years. These hybrid octave harmonicas are loud, rich in tone, and perform well in traditional and Irish music sessions, stand alone or in a harmonica rack. I have built several using the original Hohner 260 Comb as the base for the Auto Valve plates, but found the 260 comb chambers needed a bit of work for optimal performance, particularly for the high octave reeds. When I saw that Brendan was designing a new custom Auto Valve comb that addressed this, with diminishing comb chambers and different chamber lengths on the shorter reeds on high octave side of the comb, I was very interested to try one. I received two Flat sanded and finished combs suitable and ready for Auto Valve plates, and a few prototypes that were slightly bigger and could accept screws for either a 260 plate on top, or an Auto Valve plate. This opened up the option of combining plates from the two harmonicas and potentially convert to a ten hole 'solo' tuning if desired! Pictured here are the first set of assembled conversions using Brendan's combs. The comb installation was very straight ahead. They are very air tight, responsive, and sound great. Fun colors too. The high octave reed response is very balanced. The harmonicas can be further customized, and altered to various tunings for more versatility. "Easy Third" tuning is useful for octave playing and fiddle tunes. Solo, Paddy Richter, Melody Maker, Standard Richter, and many other tuning options.

I recommend these combs to anyone who wants to transform their classic Hohner Auto Valve harmonicas into a new, powerful and dynamic, hybrid instrument. Brendan has come up with another winner with this Auto Valve custom harmonica comb. "

Burke Trieschmann - Open Door Harmonicas (19 June 2015)

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