Hohner Rocket

Rocket Box iiiLet me introduce my new Rocket 88

There’s a right old rumpus down at the Harp Surgery! The Doc has taken delivery of his new Hohner Rocket and he’s been putting it through its paces. The verdict? It’s everything Hohner claims it to be – comfortable, responsive and loud. If you’re considering investing in a Rocket, we say go for it, you’ll love it! It’s great for blues, rock and pretty much every contemporary style. And just to get us in the mood, here’s some Pocket Rocket from the Fab T-Birds..

Listen to

For those of you looking for more information before you dive in and buy a Rocket, it’s time to grab your beverage of choice, turn the phone to silent, draw the blinds and enjoy a good graze through our analysis below. But just before we get going..

At the start of the 2014 when we had the pleasure and good fortune of seeing Kim Wilson in San Jose, there was rumour he would be playing new Rocket harps for the show, in advance of their official release date. Contrary to speculation however, he didn’t. Nevertheless, here’s a short video of Kim trialling the Rocket at the 2014 NAMM exhibition. (more…)

Hohner MS Replacement Reed Plates

Playing harmonica with thick specs

Heap O' HarpsOtis, the Harp Surgery postman, stopped in this morning for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. He delivered a lovely letter from Mr Clive Langhorn who was the Harp Surgery’s very first student many years ago. Clive is now a great blues harp specialist who performs around the South of England. He writes..

I have recently fitted the thicker reed plates (normal .9mm / thicker 1.09mm) to a MS Blues Harp, and it sounds good. Can you tell me why anyone wouldn’t use them, and if different keys may be affected differently using the thicker plates. Best regards,

It’s wonderful to hear from you Clive. I trust you are still entertaining the masses with your masterful command of the blues. Your question is most welcome and I hope you won’t mind me publishing my analysis, both for your benefit and for the benefit of our reader. (more…)

Hohner Blues Bender

Bright light city gonna set my soul

If you are ever in Las Vegas and have time on your hands, I strongly recommend you make your way to the Guitar Center at Town Square. This would-be European Altstadt has plenty of shops and restaurants where loved ones can relax while you lose yourself in an underworld of instruments and sound equipment. You will find everything from percussion, guitars and keyboards to amplifiers, DJ decks and PA systems. Walking into the Guitar Center is the musical equivalent of a trip to Willy Wonka’s.


Steve Weston’s Customised Harps

Fed up with purchasing harps from the US, trying to take advantage of the pound/dollar exchange rate, only to find the harps are more useless than the Pope’s knackers? I was! (See my San Francisco experience – recently repeated in New York).

Ever bought a new harp from your local music store, only to find it flats out after a week or two? And the store won’t exchange it. I used to fequently.

So I finally decided to swing the other way and splash out on a couple of Steve Weston’s customised classic Marine Bands – and enjoy all the personal service that comes with it. Now there’s no turning back!

Steve strips each harp down and seals the pear wood comb for moisture resistance. Then he drills and screws everything back together, which means you can replace the reed plates later if you need to. Finally he checks the tuning and services the harp. And there you have it – all for a modest £35 plus postage.

Unlike the US experience mentioned above, any hint of a problem and you ship your harp right back for Steve to check. My first two harps were slightly out on the the 1-4 draw octave, possibly as a result of my breathing technique. I rang Steve and demonstrated over the phone. He was totally supportive. No questions asked – if I sent them straight back, he would correct the reed response straight away. Which is exactly what he did.

Now that’s what I call good service and great value for money. You can check West Weston’s harp page by clicking right here. You can visit West Weston’s main music page by clicking here.