FAQs

Q. I prefer a specific brand of harmonica. Can I replace a Key Cassette with one of my favorite harmonicas.

A. No. To begin with, the Harmonicaster Key Cassettes have coverplates designed to mate with the main housing. Other harmonicas simply won't fit. Also, the Harmonicaster works with steel reeds and magnetic pickups. The vast majority of harmonicas made use brass or bronze reeds that will not work with pickups. Finally, the Harmonicaster uses long lasting and beautifully toned stainless steel reeds supplied by Seydel, as well as Seydel combs. Though they are the same steel reeds and combs that Seydel uses for their regular Session Steel harmonicas, Seydel custom manufactures our reedplates, so even if you put Harmonicaster coverplates on a stock Seydel Session Steel harmonica, that wouldn't work properly.

Q. The front cover is latched with very strong neodymium magnets. Do they affect the tone of the Harmonicaster.

A. No. Since their positions are static and don't move the latching magnets do not induce a signal in the pickups. Please be careful when opening and closing the front cover. Those magnets are strong and you could be pinched and injured.

Q. Why do you use a treble bleed circuit on the volume control?

A. Because we think it sounds better that way.

Q. Can I replace the pickups with another brand?

A. We expect that aftermarket and OEM manufacturers will make pickups for the Harmonicaster. In the meantime we offer the Harmonicaster with your choice of The Electric Harmonica Company's own Neodymatic single coils, hand wound in our Motor City shop, or Lace Sensors made in California and developed specifically for the Harmonicaster. 

Q. Is that sustain that I hear?

A. Yes, like an electric vs acoustic guitar, the Harmonicaster sustains notes longer than a harmonica played acoustically or through a microphone, so the tone is naturally warm and rich even without the reverb and delaypedals many harp players use to fatten up their tone.  

Q. Will it fit in a harmonica rack, so I can play it and another instrument at the same time?

A. It depends on the rack. You might have to modify the rack but the Harmonicaster's shape should be easy to clamp.

Q. It looks big and heavy. Couldn't you make it smaller, and lighter?

A. Actually, no, and it's not big and heavy. The outside dimensions are barely enough to cover the pickups and other components. Understand that we have compacted all of an electric guitar's electronics into something that fits in the palm of your hand. Our benchmark for size and weight was a Green Bullet microphone and a professional grade harmonica like a Lee Oskar or Hohner Special 20. The Mk II Harmonicaster actually weighs about a half ounce less than what a '90s vintage Green Bullet with a harp weighs. It's easy to hold the Harmonicaster. A Green Bullet is  taller than the Harmonicaster and the overall footprint of the Harmonicaster is slightly smaller than than of a traditional rig. Remember, you also only have to hold one thing in your hand, not a mic and a harmonica.

Q. Can you change keys.

A. Yes. In seconds. In the dark. Without looking. See our Key Cassette section.

Q. What does RTFM stand for in the Owner's Manual?

A. Read The Manual.

Q. I play backwards/upside down, with the bass notes on the right and treble on the left. Can I play the Harmonicaster?

A. If you play in reverse style, you have two options. You can just turn the entire Harmonicaster upside down, or you can flip the coverplates on your Key Cassettes. The second choice will slightly change the loudness balance between the blow and draw sides but the audience shouldn't hear the difference.

Q. Why is the Harmonicaster so expensive?

A. Before we get to what goes into the Harmonicaster, like we did with size and weight, let's make a fair comparison. A conventional rig includes at the very least a professional harmonica and a harmonica microphone. Many players find it absolutely necessary to use some kind of anti-feedback device. A typical rig with a Hohner Special 20 harmonica, a Shure Green Bullet mic, and a Lone Wolf Harp Shield anti-feedback peal, will cost you $315.99. Subsitute a Bulletini for the Green Bullet and you're up to $433.49. Then replace the Harp Shield with a Squeal Killer and you now have $533.49 invested in your traditional rig. We haven't even discussed custom and vintage mics or tracking down a rare Kinder AntiFeedBack +.

The basic Harmonicaster set costs $275 and comes with a Harmonicaster unit equipped with a pair of our own Neodymatic single coil pickups, and one Key Cassette in your choice of keys.  That's competitive with what you'd have to spend on a conventional rig.Lace Sensor pickups designed specifically for the Harmonicaster and a professional, foam lined case are available upgrades. When you consider the premium quality components we are using, and more importantly consider what the Harmonicaster can do, it's a bargain. We use Seydel Session Steel harmonica components, hand made in Germany.  Seydel custom manufactures reedplates to our specifications. Our pickups are *American made, either in our own Motor City shop or in California, by Lace Music in California. The volume and tone controls use Bourne potentiometers and Orange Drop capacitors. The cable connector is made by Switchcraft.

The Harmonicaster is a premium quality professional instrument.

*From imported and domestic components.

Other than screws and nuts, the rest of the Harmonicaster's parts are 3D printed in our own shop in the Detroit area. We use genuine Prusa printers, from the Czech Republic to make those parts, and made in the USA soldering equipment by Pace. The Harmonicaster is proudly Made In The Motor City, with final assembly again done in our Detroit area shop.

HarmonicaMicrophoneAnti-Feedback Device

Lee Oskar $43.99

Audix Fireball: $149.99Squeal Killer - $269.00
Hohner Marine Band $46.99Shure Green Bullet $119.00Harp Shield - $149

Hohner Special 20 $47.99

Blows Me Away Bulletini $236.50Kinder AFB - $369 (MSRP - No longer in production)
Hohner  Blues Harp $47.99Shaker Dynamic $79.99Kinder AFB Used - $500
Hohner Marine Band Crossover  $79.99

Shaker Mad Cat / Mad Dog $127.99


Seydel Session Steel $59.99Lone Wolf Jason Ricci Signature Microphone $237.00

 


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