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Miscellaneous Comb and Paper thread.

old git

Tremendous Bore
Need some help and valued opinions from the like of Nick, Tom, Jon the F, Andy the Glass and yc.

Having problems with my comb and paper set up. Everyone acknowledges a far better instrument than a Kazoo, with hand beating and cryogenic treatment or without. I’m not sure whether the comb should be metal or plastic as subtle differences are discernible but which is preferable and for a pro like myself, most reliable.

Have noticed recently that the colour of the toilet tissue used has an effect. Wondering whether it is worth investing in a few sheets of San Izal available at £5-75 per sheet on the Devil’s Junkyard.

Leap in and help please, especially those who specialise in non tenor comb and paper as your input on playing techniques and theory would help in the quartet, choir and big band being planned.

Also interested in the amplification and psychology of the instrument and together we can make this the most popular place to post on the caff©.
About the paper: on the cheap side, chines made paper (the kind you can find in poundland) does the job, but if you want to achieve THE SOUND you must buy the Acme Ultimate Comb Paper, available from one specialized shop in Arizona (no website). It goes for $12.99 a sheet, but if you work it properly, it lasts a lot.

Metal or plastic is a urban myth: the shape is the essential thing. Unless you find one of those wonderful vintage bakelite combs, but they go for a lot of money on ebay.
We could never afford the real izal so had to make do with newspaper, random comb's some with teeth missing, original name the Thornton heath accapella and jazz nutters. Always got caught due to the black teeth ours not the comb's.
Always best to run your comb through a well brycreemed quiff before adding Izal medicated paper.
This combination works well with mutton shoulder bones for that authentic cockernee sound.
Thought you would have known this. You're slipping.
The tooth spacing is the thing to watch. I used to have an aluminium comb that was superb (wonder what happened to it?). The material was immaterial (if you see what I mean) - it had the perfect spacing. The response was perfect - octave leaps and stuff were a doddle.

Paper's a bit problematic these days. Izal was ubiquitous back then but it's a bit difficult to lay your hands on the stuff now. Unscrupulous dealers seem to have cornered the market in the best quality. Some grades of tracing paper appear to be reasonable substitute.

Back in the old days, I used to use a contact mic if I was in a loud band otherwise you'd get too much feedback and the paper could rip. One of them clip round the ear type of mics (a la Kate Bush) might work. I hooked the contact mic up to a home made fuzz box (I know it was probably a bit excessive but this was the 70s and a prog band) and a wah-wah pedal - got a bit spacey. Good times. I miss the spirit of experimentation. <sigh>
Nowadays quality control in comb-making is rubbish. I need some good vintage one.
Any suggestion?
I heard that in Memphis there is a guy that uses the original Elvis' comb, but I cannot afford that kind of collectors' items.
It took a while before the Comb and Paper caught on as a musical instrument. The first attempts were made in Egypt some 3 - 4000 years ago. But there were no real market for an instrument made of a bone comb and papyrus. There were very few people with the needed lung capacity. And those that had bellows powerful enough only broke every tooth in the comb. Still they managed to play OG's favourite tune, the sound of silence. And he rejoiced.

It was not until late 1700, when some bugger had nicked the last page of Revelations from a finely printed bible with specially prepared thin sheets belonging to William Boyce, suddenly being overwhelmed by a large sot cloud therefore mounting the paper over a brass comb to make a makeshift sot filtering device, that the true beauty of the instrument was discovered during a violent cough attack. And OG rejoiced.

Ever since the material of the comb, teeth spacing (on comb and player I might add), paper thickness, coating and so forth has been constantly debated. But I have found that if you clamp the paper to the comb with wooden pegs, the harmonics of the instrument will be so much better than merely holding it with the hands.
For some real jazz funk you would need one of these. AFRO COMB 6011-500x500.jpgBest paper, label from a bottle of red strip maybe.
Dejan Cosic (Play That Funky Music) :thumb:

A Short "Comb" intro Starts @ 1:26 Minutes - [then vocals]

Have a listen to his Improv [Solo] Comb which starts @ 2:58 and ends @ 4:00 Minutes :clapping:

PS - Don't forget the Spoons for a Backing Track ...

Jeb**ti! Dobro!

I feel like buying a tv now.
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I think that in the overall pedagogy, the importance of historical tunings has been overlooked. Much can be learnt from the literature of related instruments, such as this
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Tracing paper --- that's the stuff!

I thought baking paper was THE stuff...

anyway, how do I stop my lips from tickling? should I apply a good layer of suitable lip-salve, take a hearty swig of something 40% proof at any (or is that every?) suitable pause in the music (so I don't notice the tickle) or limber my lips up under the mistletoe (available as locally as the Sorbus tree in the back garden, here in the mistletoe capital of the UK) ?

Your thoughts most welcome

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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