North Side Has Harmonic Convergence

North Side harp maker wins state innovation contest

A North Side harmonica maker has been named the state’s most innovative entrepreneur for an “early stage” company.

Brad Harrison, whose namesake Harrison Custom Harmonicas is located at 3501 N. Southport Ave. (#123), beat out 130 companies, all of which applied to Innovate Illinois.

"Even though my company makes harmonicas and I was up against tough competition in the medical field, people could relate to what I was doing," Harrison told business writer Brad Spirrison.

“Founded in 1998, Harrison Custom Harmonicas incorporates patent-pending technology and designs into its instruments to allow for more efficient production and easier playability,” Spirrison writes. “The company has also built custom harmonicas for several musicians including Bono, Bruce Willis, Mick Jagger and Sugar Blue.”

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s statement announcing the award says that, “There are no other harmonica manufacturers in the world producing the reeds that Harrison does.”

On his company’s Web site, Harrison says his harmonicas produce features such as:

  • Remarkably bigger Fat tones
  • Ease of playability
  • Incredible crunchy tone
  •  A dramatic increase in volume
  •  Better intonation and response
  •  Precise tuning
  • Extreme Longevity
  •  Versatility
  •  Effortlessly able to overdraw/bend

Whatever he’s doing, it’s working

“We are now at a 180+ day wait for a Harrison Custom Harmonica,” he says on his site.

Last spring, after winning a smaller competition in Rockford, Harrison said he began playing harmonica after picking one up at random at a party.

“The whole point is to make the harmonica more appealing, a more popular instrument to play,” Harrison said.

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