The United States Patent and Trademark Office has two separate categories for harmonicas. The first one is 84/377, which is simply for harmonicas, which they describe as "Mouth-blown instruments usually sounding chords and rarely having keys". The other one is 84/378, which is for "Harmonicas with resonance chambers". Commercially produced examples of these include vintage models like the Hohner Chimewood and the Harmonette, which both had wooden sound boxes, as well as more recent ones such as the Suzuki Pipe Humming, which has the harmonica inserted into a metal tube. The problem with most of these instruments is that the harmonica and the resonant chamber usually comes as one unit. This is fine if you play everything on one key of harmonica, but is less than ideal if you use multiple keys and different tunings. Enter the SHS Harmonica Collet.
The Collet is a sound chamber that simply slides on to most standard 10 hole diatonics, without the needs for screws or clamps. Made of high quality stainless steel, it is approximately 1 3/4" in diameter and open at each. The player covers each end of the Collet with his or her hands and forms a chamber considerably bigger than would be possible with hands alone. Opening and closing the hands produces greatly enhanced wah-wahs and tremolo effects and I would expect it to help beginners start getting nice warm tones earlier in their learning curve.
It worked very well with most of the harps I tried, although the Hohner Golden Melody was an exception. The Collet is extremely well made, with no rough edges or sharp corners. Changing harmonicas can be done extremely quickly and easily, mid-song if need be. It can also be fitted with a small microphone, such as one of those tie-clip condenser mics.
It is a simple, well thought out and well made piece of equipment that does exactly what it sets out to do. The makers are based in Hungary and ship world wide at very affordable prices. For more details, visit their website at: www.shsharmonica.com
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