Will’s Make Chromatic Harmonicas

The newest harmonica manufacturer out of China and in my opinion currently one of the most interesting ones is Will’s Make. They are at the fore front of new harmonica development and inventions. Besides relying on modern CNC manufacturing facilities for creating outstanding harmonicas they also experiment with metal 3D printing. 3D printing has been getting more precise over the last couple of years. In addition, the price for 3D printing manufacturing  has come down.

CNC manufactured harmonicas

RE-DEL-12completen.jpg
Will’s Make RE-DEL-12: 3 octave harmonica. The top cover does not show any screw holes.
The stainless steel comb can be equipped with different reed plates from Hohner

 

FYWT14compl.jpg
Will’s Make FYWT14: 3 1/2 octave chromatic harmonica with separate channels cut into the cover plate similar to the CBH 2012/16

 

FYWT12compl.jpg
Will’s Make FYWT12 and FYWT16: the concept is similar to the Hohner CX12 chromatic. These model are made out of brass.

ML-12 with new magnetic lock system:
3 octave chromatic with stainless steel comb, brass cover plates and new magnet system*.

* No screws needed to attach cover plates to comb.

This prototype was a collaboration between Will’s Make and me.
I appreciate all the valuable design input they provided to make the new magnetic lock system a reality.

chrom2.jpg
Will’s Make new concept chromatic ML-12: besides a stainless steel body, fitting Seydel Saxony reed plates and silver plated brass covers, this prototype comes with separated channels (similar to the CBH 2012/16). Covers can be easily taken off via a new revolutionary magnetic lock system.
Demo of magnetic lock system

This harmonica encompasses a lot of useful  features found in other chromatic harmonicas and even more:

Slider package:

  • half moon shaped mouthpiece (similar to Seydel Saxony)
  • slider has only minimal contact points to reduce friction and stickiness (similar to Polle Silver Concerto)
  • slider package consists only of mouth piece and slider (similar to the Easttop chromatic)
  • pockets are cut into mouth piece and comb to reduce slider friction (similar to Harmonica Art chromatics)
  • extended slide button to increase area for finger placement (similar to Tombo MU-01)

Comb (stainless steel):

  • fits Seydel Saxony reed plates (with long-life steel reeds)
  • reed plates can be separately attached to comb, 11 screws on each side (similar to Silver Concerto)

Covers (silver plated brass):

  • single reed chambers (similar to e.g. CBH 2012/16)
  • carved out channels (below mouthpiece) to retain moisture when playing (similar to Polle Silver Concerto)
  • new unique magnetic lock system which helps to take the covers off within seconds for maintenance work or cleaning (new feature)

Update:

ML-12 AW (all Ebony wood)

ML-12 AW made for Seydel Saxony reed plates

ML-12 Silver Helvetia

This is my newest acquisition of the ML-12 series, my new ML-12 Helvetia
with silver covers and titanium comb and mouth piece.
The graphic represent the Swiss mountains and the traditional Swiss Edelweiss flowers.
This is my 15-year Swiss anniversary edition.

ML-12 Silver Helvetia

ML-14
A new 14-hole (3 1/2 octaves) version based on the ML-12 design was just finalized and manufactured. The ML-14 uses Hohner Meisterklasse reed plates. The brass comb and covers are silver- and the stainless steel mouthpiece gold-plated. Some of the specific ML-14 design characteristics, like acoustic openings on the backside of the comb, were provided by Rocky Lok of the renowned King’s Harmonica Quintet.

ML-14collage
ML-14 with magnetic lock system

RC-16
The newest addition coming out of Will’s Make factory is the 16-hole chromatic RC-16.
The instrument comes in three different versions:
1) aluminum alloy comb and body, all silver
2) brass comb with silver plated brass covers and gold plated mouthpiece
3) brass comb with gold plated brass covers and gold plated mouthpiece (limited addition)

What is special about this harmonica is the new trapezoid shaped comb.
According to Will’s Make, it creates a larger resonance chamber increasing the sound volume while reducing the weight of the comb.

Suzuki (SCX64, Sirius 64, Fabulous) or Easttop 16 holes reed plates can be used.

RC16silver
RC-16 with aluminum alloy comb and body, from my collection
rc16goldN.jpg
RC-16 limited gold addition with brass- comb and covers
rc16rp
The new trapezoid shaped comb creates a larger resonance chamber

 

All three models: RC-12,14,16 with aluminum comb and covers

3D printed harmonicas
As mentioned before, Will’s Make is experimenting with new 3D printing technology.
One great advantage is that the harmonica body and mouth piece can be manufactured in one complete unit.

3dprint1.jpg
Will’s Make 3d Concept harmonica: the body and mouth piece are manufactured in one unit. The below picture shows the hollowed out comb.
3dEvolution.jpg
Will’s Make new 3D advanced prototype: the harmonica does not need any screws. The reed plates are attached to the body via clamps. Covers and mouth piece are one unit.

4 thoughts on “Will’s Make Chromatic Harmonicas

  1. Mark,

    Congratulations on your final design and prototype! You must really be enjoying your new harmonica!

    After seeing a YouTube video link on SlideMeister to Will’s Make, I contacted Will’s Make. (I don’t use Facebook, so I sent an email to the address listed on the YouTube video.) I got a nice reply, asking what parts I wanted them to make. The simple answer: every part except for the reeds, which I intend to get from Seydel. I have an email out to Lars Seifert, Seydel, regarding the range of stainless steel reeds available through the Harp Configurator. I’ve found some anomalies in the listed reed pitches.

    I’ve been working on a design for quite some time, but never got around to making all the required drawings. I don’t have CAD/CAM software, so I’m using Libre Draw 5.0 to make orthogonal drawings. My “idea” is simple: a 27-hole, 54-reed harmonica with no slide and requiring no windsavers. The 54-note range covers the entire human voice range from D2-A7. (The lowest two notes have to be hand-tuned from E2 reeds, which is the lowest pitch listed by Seydel. No problem, I can take the pitch down a whole tone rather easily.) Since I’m stuck at home due to COVID-19 (no, I don’t have it nor anyone in my immediate family), I figured I’d resume work on the drawings. At the least it will provide information to Will’s or whoever I can get to enter the design in CAD/CAM, to work out any “snags”, and then make the parts. Do you have CAD/CAM software to make the preliminary designs or did you use something else to convey the design ideas to Will’s?

    My last communication to Will’s was four days ago. I wanted to make sure that I would not be restricted in my personal use of the drawings and ideas after they do their end of the work. I don’t have a problem if they want to make a commercial product without any “royalties” or even acknowledgement of my (perhaps minuscule) part in the design and manufacturing process; I just don’t want “strings” attached to whatever I decide to do with my ideas in the future. So far, no reply regarding this issue. Did you have to execute a non-disclosure agreement with Will’s?

    Without getting into detailed pricing or commitments to any fixed price, what did it cost (approximately; ball park) to get from start to finished product? How long did it take to go from design to finished product?

    Thanks for any information you would be willing and able to share!

    BTW, I tried to email you directly from the Harp-L post, but the email address that linked was to Harp-L, so I figured I’d give this a try.

    Thanks for your help!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s