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Any out of the box harmonica can be transformed into a quality instrument. After I’ve checked the instrument and carefully worked on the set-up of the reeds they will respond quicker, the sound will be richer, and all bends will be easier to play.
I round every possible sharp corner and edge, I check the alignment of all reeds, reed curvature is checked and corrected and all reeds are gapped for better response. After this the tuning is checked twice to make sure the instrument is perfectly in tune.
This process makes the harmonica feel and play better than any stock harmonica. That's why I call BenBoumanHarmonicas harps with the X-factor.
I only work on instruments that I believe in. The reeds have to last long, the comb has to be sealed to prevent it from swelling. The overall quality has to be of a high standard , therefore I use harmonicas that have proven themselves and that are built by a company with a strong, clear vision.
In the webshop you can start with my BenBoumanHarmonicas X-act. This is a standard Seydel 1847 or a Session Steel that is completely checked and all reeds are gapped for optimal playability and bending possibilities. Since 2014 the reedslots are mildly embossed to improve airtightness!!
For the more demanding players I offer the BenBoumanHarmonicas X-TRA and the BenBoumanHarmonicas X-TREME, available as a 1847 or a Session Steel.
Both models have embossed reedslots, reeds are individually curved for better response, the reed gaps are adjusted to the playing style and demands of the player. On the X-treme model I do some X-tra reedwork to make over bending more easy and stable.
For that I use special techniques that I learned from the workers from Seydel, a technique that they have been using for a very long time. This was already being done before the year 1900 !!
All X-models are customized in such a way that all playing techniques are made possible. Easy bendings, full rich tones, overbending, everything is possible with minimal effort.
When I work on a harmonica I use several unusual tools. Some I found by accident and some I made myself.
I'm still trying new tools to make sure I get the most out of my custom work on a harp.
These tools also allow me to set-up a harp in a short period of time.
For some details I use a stereo microscope ( 40x ) that allows me to check any detail that I want to be perfect.
For tuning I use the i-Strobosoft tuner from Peterson. When this tuner is set-up well it is a very easy and reliable tuner to use.
I tune 90% of my harps to a compromised Just Intonation tuning, using A=443 Hz as a reference.
Special tunings like Natural minor/Melody maker are free.
Equal tuning, pure Just Intonation or almost any other tuning is also free.