But what if you could somehow move reeds around so that the non-bending reeds were in the same airstream as a lower reed, thus allowing them to bend? That's the concept behind the patent-pending SlipSlider harp.
It's made in two separate parts, with the draw reed attached to a sheet of super-slippery Teflon (the space-age food grade plastic coating that lines non-stick fry pans). The two halves of the harp are held together with magnets, which also locate them in the neutral position for normal play. But when you want the extra bend notes, you just slide the draw reedplate a few millimetres to left or right with a small adjustment of your grip.
Slide to the right, and hey presto: you can bend the lower blow notes! 2, 5, 6 and 7 blow are suddenly juicily bendable. The high blow bends remain the same, so you can play Jimmy Reed style over the top and middle octave. It's really cool and very soulful.
Slide to the left, and now you can bend your high draw notes! 8 and 10 draw now bend like 4 and 6 draw. In fact, you can play the top octave in exactly the same way as the middle octave, which stays the same as normal during the shift. Just transfer your favourite middle-octave licks up there with identical bends and breathing patterns - so easy, and so expressive! The reason it's easy to adjust to is that the rest of the harp remains exactly the same in each shift, so you can flow through the octaves. Release your grip and the magnets snap the draw plate back to the middle position, for normal harp play with overblows and all the stuff you're used to.
Check out the videos to hear it in action, and click on the tuning diagram to see the note layout for the three positions.
All the Richter playing videos will apply to all harmonica brands. Specific making assembly videos for each harp model will be added to the pages relating to them.
A SlipSlider for PowerBender, PowerDraw, Wholetone etc!
With Seydel you can order an alternate version of the SlipSlider for regular-breath tunings where the draw note is always higher than the blow in every hole, like PowerBender & PowerDraw. It only requires one shift direction and needs no rocker-arm assembly. Check it out in the video and info on the Seydel tab.
If you are really tech-minded and want the lowest price you can choose to buy the loose Raw Parts and do all the finishing work yourself - check out the step-by-step video showing how. This option is best for customisers and players who are experienced with working on their harmonicas; without good tool skills you could mess up one of the steps. If you choose the Raw Parts option, the responsibility for doing the job successfully lies with you. If in any doubt, buy the finished PowerParts to attach to your reedplates/covers, or the fully assembled SlipSlider harmonica.
The only downside of the Crossover and MB Deluxe is their small size, which makes gripping the harp for the sliding action slightly more difficult than for wider harps like Suzuki and Seydel. However, adding suitable grip tape compensates for this. As with all SlipSliders, adding a very light coating of a food-safe grease like Vaseline to the upper comb will enhance the seal between the two halves of the harp.
Tech 1: Preparing the Raw Parts for Assembly (PowerParts Raw Parts Option)
Tech 2: Assembling Your SlipSlider (PowerParts Assembly Option)
" The harmonica plays like a dream, I was a bit concerned about the air tightness when I first see the concept, but in action, I can overblow 456 and overdraw 789 out of the box, 10 is a bit squealing but I think that's just my technique. This is WAY better than the OOTB crossovers I've had in the past, so the air tightness is definitely not an issue.
In terms of the notes, from my little experience with it, I can now play the b3 in the lower octave which I wasn't able to get with OB, and I can get the same juicy bending trill between the major 7 and root as the PowerBender running in the middle octave when playing 2nd, much stronger than using OB, and much more musical and tonally pleasant.
It is totally a game changer for sure. "
Wenchao Li (May 2018)
" I purchased a SlipSlider Crossover in G a bit ago and have been digging it... Took a bit of time to figure out a method to prevent slipping fingers but in the end I came up with a nice grip system using a few brass finishing washers and a spot of hot glue; it works well and looks great. ... I really appreciate your ingenuity! "
Harp, from Brendan's Forum (May 2018)
" I finally put my SlipSlider together. This is fun. I haven't done much with it yet, just noodled around, and haven't decided yet how I'm going to do the grip modifications, if any. With Thunderbird covers it does pretty well, maybe just a small dab or two of clear E6000 glue on each side will do the trick. In C having the blowbent Eb and Ab available is going to be nice. The ease of disassembly for cleaning and adjusting alone is a great plus. If it works as well in the Lucky 13 regular breath direction models my other harmonicas are going to get dusty. "
CrawfordEs, from Brendan's Forum (May 2018)