Another new harmonica from Sonnyboy's Music Store. As with their previous offerings, Sonnyboy's Mojo was made for them in China to their specs. This harp has a traditional sandwich-style construction, rather than the combs with recessed reedplates of their previous models. The comb appears to be ABS, but is mostly solid, unlike the hollow cross-section of most injection molded ABS combs and is somewhat reminiscent of the comb used on the Suzuki Manji. It is also sanded nicely flat top and bottom, providing a good seal against the reedplates. The reedplates are plated brass and attached with eight Phillips head screws. The covers are stainless steel with a nice black finish, with the name and hole numbers screen printed, rather than embossed or engraved, giving the covers a very smooth feel
The sample I have is in the key of C and first impressions on taking it out of the box were very positive. It feels as nice as it looks, with no sharp edges or harsh corners. I was a little surprised when I first played it, as it is tuned in 7-limit Just Intonation, the traditional fine tuning for diatonics, with ultra smooth chords and the noticeably lower tuned 5 and 9 draw. I'm not certain, but I think that this is the first time I've played a Chinese-made harp that was in JI out of the box. The tuning is very well done on the sample I have for review, with the exception of some very slight beating on the 1-4 blow octave. Root notes are tuned relative to about A=443Hz. The reed adjustment is also very consistent, giving a good response over the full range of the harp, draw and blow bends are all easy to hit cleanly. As is typical with Asian-made harps, overblows and overdraws are a bit squeaky. This could probably be improved with some careful reed adjustment, but it is unlikely to be an issue for 99% of the people who buy this harp.
The Mojo is definitely a good choice for the blues player who wants a more traditional sound, but who doesn't want to deal with the problems often associated with wood combs. Available in the keys of G, A, Bb, C and D, the price is £22.99 with free postage in the UK, making it quite competitive with mid-priced diatonics such as the Hohner Big River. I've said it before, I'm very encouraged to see some big improvements in quality from certain Chinese harmonica manufacturers in recent years. This harp is definitely indicative of good things going on over there and I look forward to seeing this trend continue.
For more details about Sonnyboy's Mojo, visit www.SonnyboysMusicStore.co.uk
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