History of X-Reed Harmonicas
X-Reed.com started out as a partnership with my good friend Zombor Kovacs, an inventive engineering genius from Budapest, Hungary. Zombor travelled to my home in Canterbury England in 2012 for an intensive period of Rn'D prior to launching the website in December of that year.
We started out with the biggest range of custom options and accessories for a whole new kind of harmonica: The Suzuki SUB30 UltraBend. The world's first commercially-made triple-reed harp, it's a good basic design but out-of-the-box performance was disappointing. Our customised versions fixed all the problems and turned the SUB30 into a harp players really loved (see the Feedback page).
Six months later we launched our first own-design harp, the 12 hole ChromaBender, the world's first all-bending x-reed harp in Solo Tuning, for chromatic players who wanted to get bluesy with their familiar harmonica feel and scale layout.
In early December 2013 our second original harp arrived, the 10 hole ExtraBend with the revolutionary X-Reed Z1 Comb - the first 30 reed harp to extend our unique OverValve concept to all 10 holes.
The same month we launched our most radical and exciting harp yet, the X-Reed MB30. Made from two iconic traditional Marine Band harps ingeniously joined together with intricate CNC milling by Zombor to add 10 extra reeds, it was undoubtedly the most soulful & responsive 30 reed harp yet made. We partnered with legendary US customiser Richard Sleigh to make the limited edition MB30-S deluxe model.
Zombor returned to Budapest to take up a job offer with an American-based engineering company, communicating with me via Skype and doing X-Reed work in his spare time. We continued our partnership but after a while it got more and more difficult to continue the business whilst living in different countries. In the end Zombor decided to withdraw and I've now taken over X-Reed on my own.
It's been a fairly seamless transition as, inspired by seeing Zombor doing it, I have taught myself CAD design and how to use amazing maker machines like 3D printers & laser cutters, which I started to employ to make all kinds of harmonica parts. These skills have allowed me to design new X-Reed harps independently.
August 2016 saw the launch of my first own-design X-Reed harmonica: the AsiaBend. It's a radical new approach to the x-reed concept, featuring all-draw bending, no valves, and allowing overblows. It takes x-reed bending expression to a new high.
I have more world-beating, barrier-busting x-reed harps in the pipeline, so watch this space!