Sadly, Hohner has recently discontinued all these 10 hole chromatic models, but there are millions in use and their owners have a particular affection for them. They have a lovely tone and the small size makes them great for cupping - but they all suffer from warping and cracking of the raw pearwood comb.
The Universal-12 PowerComb incorporates
'ramping', sloping surfaces beneath the blow and draw reeds, to reduce the internal chamber volumes throughout the range.
The first person I knew of to use ramping in chromatics was the British
harmonica player and designer Doug Tate, co-creator of the Rennaisance
chromatic. He hand-customised his 270 chromatic with ramps, using filler
material and hand filing, and they became known as Tate Ramps. I'm now building
on Doug's work to offer the advantages of Tate Ramps in my PowerCombs using CAD
design and 3D printing.
It's well known that, in the high range especially, free reed performance can be adversely affected by Helmholtz Resonance Coupling if comb chambers are too large. There is no chance of that occurring with the PowerComb.
" I can't really tell you how excited I am about how well your Power comb works for me. I'm completely over the moon!
Years ago when I bought my first Chromonica, I was a bit late in discovering a gentleman in Las Vegas who made acrylic Combs. He had recently passed away. I've not owned expensive instruments. My first was a Chromonica. Then I purchase a Super64. I moved on to a Herring Velvet Voice, then onto a CX12. My most recent acquisition before returning to a Chromonica was a Suzuki SCX-48.
I thought I had found a really great harp with the Suzuki until I got my new 270. The Chromonica feels more open, more organic than the Suzuki. BUT, my Chromonica with your POWER comb feels like a perfect instrument. I'm not sure I'll ever try meisterklasse or any of the aluminum combed instruments. But if or until I do, I intend on sticking with the 270 and your POWER comb.
Thank you so much! "
" It plays much better than before. It takes much less air and all notes are playable, specially the high notes. It became a new instrument.
Göran Hed, Sweden
" 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
" 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. "
" 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
" 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... "
" 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. "
" 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."
" 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
" 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 GlÃ¤ser - Germany
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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 "
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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! "
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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. Youâ€™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