PLASTIC COMBS NOT FLAT FROM FACTORY
An unnamed top chromatic harmonica player shared this…it appears that plastic comb harmonicas including the Hohner 280C, the Suzuki SCX, and the Suzuki Sirius models (among others) have injection molded combs, and as the plastic cools at various rates based on thickness when manufactured, the upper face of the comb which interfaces with the slide and mouthpiece LEAKS. In other words, the mouthpiece and comb do not seal well.
So, I took my Suzuki Sirius 64 which formerly took alot of breath to play (just assumed it was the phosphor bronze reeds…never thought of leaks) removed the covers, and the mouthpiece and slide, pulled off the reed plates and removed the slide spring.
Then took 500 grit sandpaper and laid it on a level glass surface, laid the top of the comb on the sandpaper and began sanding the top of the comb gently.
Darned if the fellow was not right, I could see various portions sanding down, which obviously were simply not flat upon manufacture. It took half an hour, gentle sanding, and constant washing, cleaning and drying, then inspection to actually ensure all was right. Time and again, I had to keep going to get all the bugger.
But when I was done it had a uniform smooth surface on top…perfectly smooth.
Care must be taken to go slowly and apply even pressure all along the top as you press the face of the comb into the sandpaper on the glass surface. I flipped the direction of the comb often to ensure equal sanding end to end.
When I reconstructed the harmonica, it was like another instrument, very airtight: the difference was astounding.
Benefits? Easier and FASTER play of all notes, especially the low notes, and much easier bends, simply a better instrument in all ways.
Then I did the same to my other plastic comb harps with equal results.
The world-class player told me that doing to the harps often makes the difference between being able to play a fast difficult piece at speed, or not. As this player is one of the best in the world, I believe ‘em.
Good to know as an airtight harp is the beginning of marvelous.