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My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:08 pm
by Alan
I finally got a 3d printer and was able to put this together.
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Without the harmonicas
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I have three big sixes in my BE GooD tuning so with those in place you have power chords in half the circle of fifths.
F,C,G,D,A,E
I put a regular big six in whatever key I want to play Richter on for a given song so I can solo in whatever position makes the most sense for the song.

The first version I made like this was just with two stock Big Six harmonicas and wedges.
A folk big six is holes 4-9 richter in C so gives you C and Dm chords.
If you combine that with a standard Bb harp, (F and Bb chords)
Then you get the I IV V vi in F.

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:20 am
by CrawfordEs
Nice!
Easy changes too. Good work

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:34 am
by Brendan
Nice one, Alan! I like the simple design and use of magnets for quick changes - they are wonderful things :-) With a design like that I assume you must have printed with supports?

BTW can you remind us of your BE GooD tuning?

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:32 pm
by Alan
Yes I printed it with supports and a raft. Or maybe its a castle model.
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Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:53 pm
by Alan
I tried for a while to come up with a spiral tuning to allow me to play lots of chords. There are many different options on paper, but I found when I built one and tried it out I didn't like the way it sounded. To my ear, a harmonica chord sounds best when at least one note is repeated as an octave. Song chord progressions sound jarring to me when you jump too far up or down a scale which was a problem with some spiral tunings.

A power chord is a term I've heard used by guitar players with the idea being you just play a 1 and 5 of a given chord and it will sound fine with essentially any version of a chord. C and G together sound good when the band is playing Cmaj, Cmin, C6, C7 etc.

So I came up with a 4 note series on a big six with the first one I made being BE draw and GD blow which was the inspiration for the name BE GooD.
It lets me play chord accompaniament and do simple solos.
The C version is CG and EA.

This gives you a C power chord, an A power chord.
In C you get 1,3,5,6 which means the major pentatonic scale requires one bend.
In A you get 1, b3, 5,b7 so you get the minor pentatonic scale and the option for the blues scale.

With one in F(D), C(A), G(E) I have half the circle of fifths covered which allows me to play any song that comes up in the local bluegrass jam. (I think they're allergic to accidentals)

I then have a fourth slot open to put in a standard big six if I want to play richter tuning for a solo for any reason.

One interesting thing I learned along the way is that many harmonicas use nonferrous cover plates so magnets won't help them stay in place.

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:53 pm
by IaNerd
Bravo!

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:58 pm
by IaNerd
Alan: On this forum I have posted quite a few tunings which could be a good match for your hardware. I invite you to look into those.

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:17 am
by Brendan
I understand about the aim of getting adjacent notes in fifths, but how does it look in terms of hole numbers and blow and draw notes on the Big Six?

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:38 pm
by Alan
Assuming you stick with the pairs of power chords I put together you start one chord on the 1 and the other on the 5. So there are two options:

1 2 3 4 5 6
C G C G C G - blow
E A E A E A - draw

or
1 2 3 4 5 6
G C G C G C - blow
A E A E A E - draw

I prefer lower notes so I've chosen the lowest possible stock starting note for blow 1. In the seydel configurator that is G3 or higher, so I have some that start on the 1 and some that start on the 5 in the first blow slot.

Re: My modular chord harmonica

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:01 pm
by IaNerd
Alan: Are these available for sale?