X-Reed Harmonicas is a partnership of two men with a rich track record in harmonica innovation: Brendan Power and Zombor Kovacs. They met in 2006 when Brendan was performing at a harmonica festival in Budapest, Hungary - Zombor's home city. United by a common fascination with improving harmonica performance and each with a long list of radical harp experiments to their credit, they overcame the typical inventor's tendency to keep things close to their chest and started sharing their most secret ideas. The old saying "Two brains are better than one" was never more true than with Brendan and Zombor! Each brings unique strengths to the partnership.

Read our Mission Statement for more information.

Brendan Power is well known in the worldwide harmonica scene as a player, recording artist and harmonica innovator.
Zombor Kovacs is an amateur harmonica player with an amazingly inventive brain, combined with extensive mainstream engineering experience.
Brendan has over 20 albums to his credit and has done session work for many leading music names and Hollywood films (see credits here), but is equally passionate about harmonica innovation.

Soon after he started playing in 1976 Brendan started pulling his harps apart and tinkering with every aspect. His list of "harmonica firsts" is long and impressive: many original tunings including Paddy Richter & PowerBender, invention of Half-Valving for diatonics and chromatics, first use of Blu-Tack for reversible retuning, first extended-length Stretch Harps, The Slide Diatonic, the CX10, CX14 & CX16 chromatics, the Slide Hook, Double-Diatonic harps made from a chromatic, the first two-piece chromatic mouthpiece assemblies, special wide-bending harmonicas for Chinese music and lots more.

Brendan was one of the two independent inventors of the X-Reed harmonica type. He created the world's first working 30-reed 10 hole harmonica in New Zealand in 1989, a triple-reed design made from a Koch chromatic (click for photos). Inventions often become ensnared in legal issues, and this happened with the concept of extra bending reeds in harmonicas. In the process, development of the idea was halted for many years. It's a long, winding, fascinating story featuring several key players: you can read about it here.

But now, after a long period of court wrangling and design stagnation, the legal barriers to progress are in the past. Brendan is finally free to pursue his original vision, and has combined with Zombor Kovacs to offer adventurous players who want to explore the X-Reed concept the very best harps available.

Adept at CAD design and the owner of two CNC milling machines, as soon as he was taught to play Zombor started chopping up and reconfiguring his harps to create new possibilities. He invented a diatonic with a sliding reedplate that gave the player extra bending options, and another diatonic with a spring-loaded button to press down on the reedplate to make overblowing easier. Unaware of earlier work by Power, Scarlett & Epping from the 1980s/90s, Zombor independently designed an X-Reed Triple prototype in 2005 with rear valve vents, and a 40 reed all-bending harp the same size as a normal diatonic. He has also experimented with radical reed and reedplate designs, and has lots more ideas in the pipeline!

It was their shared propensity for innovative thinking that brought Brendan and Zombor together. Since they started collaborating by email in 2006 they've created several X-Reed Triple and Quad harp prototypes using standard harmonica parts. All of them work, but none so far has been commercially viable.

To launch X-Reed Harmonicas Zombor travelled to work in Brendan's workshop in Canterbury, England for three months from November 2012. It was a very productive time that saw the invention of the X-Reed OverValve Plate and many other joint innovations. Zombor returned to Budapest and the pair now develop new ideas with extensive use of Skype, along with intermittent visits to their respective cities to work together in the same space. Innovation continues apace and 2013 will see the announcement of several original XReed harmonica models. Watch this space!

Website designed by David Ireland.

David is an IT professional and amateur banjo player. David and Brendan became friends after exchanging music lessons for web development work. He met Zombor in a blues bar in Budapest.