Author Topic: Sanding the Suzuki Comb  (Read 12642 times)

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Offline Jimmy Halfnote

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2016, 08:45:00 AM »
Enjoying your experiences Smo-Joe, the 'different faces' now that was attention to detail :).
              Back at the comb surface, you mentioned plastic not being suitable for parts that take wear and tear, well how about plastic being subjected to a strip of metal with numerous punched square holes pressed down tightly and being rubbed across the plastic face, throw in a bit of spit to make a kind of engine valve grinding paste...... ? Now that strip of metal ( the slide) could grate hard wood, yet, nearly everyone thinks that doing away with a metal backing plate is a great innovation and makes the harmonica more airtight, yeah ? for how long ? But the manufacturer meanwhile has one less part to make, another wee manufacturing profit. Wouldn't a better idea have been to make the the fence ( lip) completely of metal and bonded to the comb, Brendan has gone some way in this direction with his power combs. Everyone should bear in mind the principle of mass production, keeping manufacturing costs to the bare bone, one small screw less multiplied by millions is progress ....... on the balance sheet.

                                                                                                jh.
                   

Offline Norm

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2016, 09:06:15 AM »
Quote:  how about plastic being subjected to a strip of metal with numerous punched square holes pressed down tightly and being rubbed across the plastic face, throw in a bit of spit to make a kind of engine valve grinding paste

Exactly.  I was pleased about Brendan's addition of the metal strip, as well.  That would be an interesting question for Suzuki:

On the two-piece mouthpiece models, have they had to sand comb faces -- and the edge of reed plates -- to repair the kind of wear to the comb face you've described above. 

My guess is that with time and use, it would eventually be inevitable, unless it were stripped down and cleaned every day, and even then it might be necessary.  That's only a guess, though.

Cheers,

Norm
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 10:18:04 AM by Norm »
"Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil"
Gen 10:21  And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2016, 11:16:57 AM »
I think I would know about it if the plastic face of the Suzuki chromatic combs was being damaged by the use of the slide.
And I have had zero complaints about that.
I do think it is worth my while to examine and occasionally flat sand the replacement combs I install.

Offline Norm

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2016, 08:27:34 PM »
Thanks, Gary,

Norm
"Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil"
Gen 10:21  And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2016, 11:49:20 AM »
I don't remember sanding my Suzuki combs but I've sanded some Hohner combs. The only harp I have now is my 64x. I sanded the comb on it a while ago. For a sanding block, I went to Lowe's and bought a piece of smooth tile and then put a sheet of 500 grid paper on top. I didn't wet it like I think A.J. said but I think it is a good idea. Probable a smoother finish. When sanding, I put an even, light, pressure on the whole comb. I don't know if you can see it very well on wet sand paper but on dry sand paper, once you start sanding, you can definitely see where the low spots are by the difference in coloration in the plastic. Only sand just enough so that all the coloration is homogeneous. I've done this on both black and clear combs. Very easy to pick out the low spots and also know when your finished. Keep in mind, when you start seeing the low spots, you don't sand any differently. If you see a low spot somewhere in the middle of the comb, don't start using more pressure in the middle. Just keep putting equal pressure through out the whole comb untii the low spots are gone.

I know there has been different opinions on weather or not to sand the combs. But this is what I've found. When I sand the combs, both face and read plate sides, I get a better response from the reads. The reads need to have a certain amount of air before they start to vibrate. I do not play very loud. Sometimes I come into a note very softly and if there is too much air going out other places besides the reed, like mouth piece parts or tiny gaps between the read plates and comb, the note will not start to vibrate when it should. Personally, I think putting anything gooey or gluey in or on a harmonica should be the last resort. Just my opinion.

Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2017, 02:53:00 AM »
"it's true. a harmonica can be too tight."

   I wrote a number of times about gently building a layer of paint on one side of a Hohner Super 64 slide. I felt that the air loss through the mouthpiece decreased so that the mouthpiece became about as tight as the mouthpiece on my Meisterklasse.
   Then I applied paint to one side of my Meisterklasse's slide, thinking that I would have a world beater. That was maybe five years ago, so I can't remember exactly the problem that came up, but there WAS a problem. The slide moved easily, without added friction, but getting the reeds to sound was difficult. I think there was a resistance to my blowing.   It still does not make sense to me.      When I removed the paint from the Meisterklasse's slide, the harmonica went back to it's normal self.        I conclude that a harmonica can be too tight.

   Applying the paint and sanding high spots very slow., and if you ever damage the slide, you have to throw it away and  start applying paint to a new slide. I am about to pay Mike Easton to decrease the slide clearance in a Super64X, by removing some metal.           And sometime soon Wally P. will do the same to an EastTop 64.

    Talk about a love of fiddling around with small things and adjusting them, I hand made pockets for some shirts. Some shirts that I wear in the office do not have pockets when they leave the factory. And then, one shirt has French cuffs, so I carved chopsticks to thinner diameters, made cufflinks and painted them black. The pockets are good, but the cufflinks are elegant.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 04:20:09 PM by Ed McCullough »

Offline Jimmy Halfnote

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2017, 08:50:56 AM »
 Why would you take metal from the mouthpiece of the 64x to tighten up the slide, when it is much easier to do it on the comb , and not so risky ?

                                                        jh.

Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2017, 01:45:15 AM »
J.H.,
    In a Super 64 the mouthpiece has two straight rails that rest on the backplate. The slide is between the mouthpiece and the backplate, in the thin void. To reduce slide clearance, you can make a thicker slide (my paint method) or reduce the thickness of the rails.    This is similar to filing down the edges of the U channel in a 270 mouthpiece assembly.
   Altering the face of the comb will do nothing to change the slide clearance between the mouthpiece and the backplate.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 01:48:31 AM by Ed McCullough »

Offline Jimmy Halfnote

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2017, 04:57:34 AM »
Yes Ed , but for anyone else reading who is thinking of the same, with models with no back-plate , you can achieve the same result by rubbing down lightly the edge of the comb/lip, ( after level-ling the comb), if over done it can be corrected by sanding the comb face slightly again. Anyone who may be tempted to work on the mouthpiece themselves could ruin it by digging into the wall of the rail, plus the comb is a cheaper part to replace if disaster strikes.
            It slipped my mind the 64X has a back plate, perhaps this could be worked on rather than the mouthpiece, although what i remember the Hohner back plates are very thin, can they be removed on this model ?

                                                          jh.

Offline Jimmy Halfnote

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2017, 05:16:05 AM »
 Forgot to mention, Easttop manufacture a replacement brass comb for the 64x , which according to Winslow improves the performance considerably, not cheap, but not expensive for a brass comb.

                                                                   jh.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2017, 10:47:08 AM »
Ed's right. Sanding the comb front won't reduce the slide clearance on a Super 64. There is a back plate on these, but it can be left off so that the slide rides on the comb. In which case, sanding the comb makes sense, only to provide a good flat surface. When I removed the back plate, the slide gummed up more, so I reinstalled the backplate. I thought I'd tape the slide to reduce clearance, and discovered I'd already done that! It's still more leaky than my SCX 64, which doesn't have a back plate.

Reducing the clearance by modifying the mouthplate isn't just a matter of filing the bottom edge of the piece. There is a ridge, or channel, inboard of the bottom edge, that rests on the back plate, which is not easy to access. The least risky operation would be to tape the slide, or as Ed does, thicken it with paint. Tape won't last as long, but it is renewable, and reversible.

Tom
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Offline Jimmy Halfnote

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2017, 12:55:42 PM »
 You are not with me Tom, sanding the face of the comb is not exactly what i meant, that is only the first part of the operation ( when there is no back plate), if you read my post again you will notice i mentioned sanding the the LIP, the slither of an area where the mouthpiece rails rest.

                                                           jh.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2017, 11:29:52 PM »
You are not with me Tom, sanding the face of the comb is not exactly what i meant, that is only the first part of the operation ( when there is no back plate), if you read my post again you will notice i mentioned sanding the the LIP, the slither of an area where the mouthpiece rails rest.

                                                           jh.
Gotcha! I stand (sit ;)) corrected.

T
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Offline carlrosetti

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #43 on: January 25, 2017, 03:19:59 PM »
I've thought about sanding my comb on my SCX_64,but it plays so nice the way it is,I've decided not to.  I have 2 and they both play great out of the box...and they are played alot!

Offline mozharp

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2017, 11:23:20 AM »
I flat sand the front of my lipped combed harps. But I haven't bothered yet on my plastic-combed Easttop. Should I? It seems really air tight already; maybe they sand it at the factory?

Offline carlrosetti

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #45 on: April 18, 2017, 06:34:33 PM »
Easttop already sands down their plastic combs. 

Offline Wendellfiddler

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #46 on: March 06, 2018, 06:34:58 PM »
In the book, Love of Chromatic Harmonica, the author suggests a mod to the SCX model Suzuki and I'm keen to know if anyone has done it and whether it was successful - or even worth the trouble.

The author claims that the Suzuki's comb is not perfectly flat on the face that meets the mouthpiece backplate. He says that this should be sanded by using 500 grit sandpaper on a perfectly flat surface such as a piece of glass.
He claims that there will be a dramatic improvement making the instrument much more airtight.

I'm pretty sure I don't want to bigger up my axe but if this mod is as good as the book claims then I think I should go for it.

Has anyone tried this? Did it work?

Cheers, Harry


I do this on every Suzuki I own.  It makes a huge difference - if not to the airtightness, definitely to the slide action.  Night and day - However, 500 grit.  Hey that's wayyyyyy to rough.  You could use 500 to flatten it - and carefully - but then you need to use 1500 and then a jewelry polishing stick to make if smooth and buff it back to original slickness.   Try it on any Suzuki and you will be amazed how the feel and sound of the slide changes - silent and smooth.  You can so some polishing of the slide too - if you don't you may notice scratches near the spring end where the unpolished slide grabs at the edge of the slide slot - sometime at the bass end too.  After you flatten the comb and polish the comb side of the slide you won't see that anymore - or feel the drag the scratches are indicative of.  Hard evidence of the difference!

Doug Tanner
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 06:36:59 PM by Wendellfiddler »
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2018, 07:33:47 PM »
Japan used to do this at the factory, but not lately.
It does help, and I am willing to do this under warranty.
If you experience a problem that indicates this might be the case, call us at 800-854-1594. I'm at extension 4410.
Gary

Offline Wendellfiddler

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Re: Sanding the Suzuki Comb
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2018, 10:24:25 AM »
That's a great offer from Gary.  Worth considering.   

Gary - any idea when they stopped doing that?  I really haven't noticed a lot of difference over the years although I haven't bought many new ones real recently.

If sending your harp to Gary doesn't work for you, there is, I'm pretty sure, a video link on Brenden Power's website demonstrating the basics of this.  It's important not to go too far with the sanding because you can make the lip/overhang too thin. There's usually a depression at each end of the comb - you don't need to eliminate that, just flattening the surfaces around the chamber holes is all that is needed - it really doesn't require tons of sanding.  I think the smoothing of the comb side of the slide on the comb contact side is even more important for silent action - if not for airtightness (which is pretty good out of the box anyway).

Doug T
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