Any news?

A space for players interested in my specialist harmonicas, alternate tunings, instructional material, recordings etc to ask questions and share information, experiences, videos etc.
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IaNerd
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Re: Any news?

Post by IaNerd » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:16 am

Brendan: Does your math account for the use of enharmonic notes in a layout?

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Brendan
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Re: Any news?

Post by Brendan » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:22 am

Yes. It's based on 12 chromatic notes per octave over 4 octaves (the range from hole 1 of a G harp to hole 10 of an F# harp). Actually it should be 48 reeds to cover all the notes, not 47.

This is the stock of reeds a company would need to keep. They could be blow or draw reeds depending on orientation, and be combined in any tuning.

The comb design would determine which reeds will fit in which chambers. A conventional comb with diminishing length chambers would impart some restrictions on which range of reeds will fit each chamber, but one with universal size long chambers could have all low notes - to make a chord harmonica, for example. And the combs could be long, short, any size you want. Of course you need coverplates to fit, but that's a separate issue.

To answer your question about enharmonics: Whether one harp has ten C notes or not is irrelevant. As long as the reed stock is available you can mix and match them as you please :-)

Lizzy
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Re: Any news?

Post by Lizzy » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:48 am

Long time since i heard something about the development on Unibender, retuned chromatic, modular reed harmonica or other new directions. Something you want to share with us Brendan?🙄

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Brendan
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Re: Any news?

Post by Brendan » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:40 am

Hi Lizzy, All of these and more harmonica products/parts are in various stages of development, but in recent months I've been away travelling, as well as become focussed on a collaborative recording project - which is currently taking up quite a bit of time.

In a general sense, discussing new products before they arrive and putting intended release dates on them tends to raise expectations and put pressure on me to deliver. If delays occur it can cause disappointment, and make me feel I'm letting people down. It's my fault I've allowed that to happen in a few cases. I now think it's better to do the talking after there is something concrete and publicly available to discuss, rather than prototypes and intentions.

In the fullness of time new stuff will appear! That's as much as I want to say at this stage :-)

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Re: Any news?

Post by Lizzy » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:13 pm

I understand completley. I was mostly interested if the development have taken any new directions or if any ideas was abandoned. :)

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Brendan
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Re: Any news?

Post by Brendan » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:08 pm

Actually one area I have been exploring, just for fun, is alternative approaches to damping reeds inside diatonic harmonicas to get pure sounding, loud overbends.

My Overblow Booster is one way, inspired my Masaru Hashimoto's design for the Suzuki Overdrive. It encloses the reeds in outer comb chambers, which are stopped by the fingers, or the rear hinged Booster Bar. It works well, but I wondered if there were other ways to do the same job without a large rear fixture. I tried a slide to close the apertures, but it didn't seal well. There are other hole-closing possibilities, but sealing is a considerable issue. The Booster Bar gives good sealing and I haven't come up with anything better in that direction for the present.

Henry Bahnson was the first to try try mechanically damping reeds with his Overblow Harp in 1990, using two sliders that moved across the reed slots (see pic). Jim Antaki has a project on the go to offer an updated version of this, the Bahnson II: https://www.turboharp.com/harmonicas_future

I never tried a Bahnson harp so decided to make a version of my own to see how it worked. Hmmm... unsatisfactory, at least in it's basic form. it does the job of damping the reeds, but because they swing through the slot, as the slide moves across it hits the vibrating reed. No harm done to the reed, but there is a undesirable 'clinking' sound that makes the basic design pretty much unusable for nice-sounding music.

I tried a more sophisticated version, where the slide is enclosed in a housing that lifts it away from direct contact with the reedplate and allows for reed swing. This does work as long as the slider has close tolerances in its housing to seal well, but is really complicated to make: about 12 separate parts have to be lasercut or 3d printed, including the button and spring. Though fun to try as a 'proof of concept', I feel it's not a commercial proposition because it would be so expensive to manufacture.

I tried other internal flap damping devices that lowered down onto the reedplate instead of sliding across it, but so far haven't had success with them. Because of the extremely small working space under a harp's coverplates and the ideal of being able to maintain a cup whilst operating the mechanism, it's quite a gnarly problem!

An interesting alternative approach to using finger operation was patented in 2002 by William Vogtman: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20040123721A1/en

He shows a design with flexible coverplates that can be pressed down with the lips onto some internal damper flaps. In the drawings it looks ingenious, but also very complicated! Drawings are one thing, but frankly I doubt it could be made. Just finding a suitable material for the covers that gave sufficient lip support whilst being suitably flexible would be difficult in itself. But it's food for thought...

Maybe these musings will get you thinking too. Once you consider exactly what's required, you'll see getting the blow and draw reeds of a Richter harmonica damped fast and silently is not as simple as it might first appear!

I've given up for a while, but am continuing to mull it over. Just for fun :-)
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IaNerd
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Re: Any news?

Post by IaNerd » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:41 pm

Brendan: I imagine you are already versed on compliant structures/mechanisms, especially in regards to 3D printing. Here are some examples:

https://youtu.be/97t7Xj_iBv0
https://youtu.be/4TAjcK-7Kg8
https://youtu.be/qKPIRQ43980
https://youtu.be/M77TZd5AniA

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Brendan
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Re: Any news?

Post by Brendan » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:13 pm

Wow! Thanks for the links. That guy Larry Howell is some designer/engineer! Fascinating stuff :-)

Lizzy
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Re: Any news?

Post by Lizzy » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:28 am

Brendan wrote: "Because of the extremely small working space under a harp's coverplates and the ideal of being able to maintain a cup whilst operating the mechanism, it's quite a gnarly problem! "
And to me sealing is also one big issue overall.🙄
If you solve one thing another problem pops up instead.
Very rare if any solution is perfect for all needs. Some of them have issues you can live with and some of them you dont.
All depends on what every person needs or want to achieve.
From my personal preference i dont need to cup very often because i rarely play amplified. But i dont prefer to use/operate a mechanism if i can choose not to. However, to play chromatically in all major keys is one of my concern. I can easy achieve that with halfvalving or learn to use a diminished tuning (which i already do) I could also use a chromatic harmonica but i often prefer the diatonic approach overall and often have the chromatic only as a backup. But i am always interested in new solutions if you can use them differently and one of them is Unibender. To bend both up and down was to me a new approach(however, dont know the playability). Still heimholz and the need to tune reeds in odd pitches in concern but so far very few solutions can offer a perfect solution that suits everyone and you still have a cofigurator to solve the odd pitches with if you play Seydel (besides switchharp i cant use that many of Brendans great ideas if you play Seydel with powerbending tuning and i prefer Seydel🙂) but all this is only my needs and we all have different needs.

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Brendan
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Re: Any news?

Post by Brendan » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:02 pm

A bit of news... After much struggle trying many different approaches over the past few weeks on alternative methods for getting easy overbends on stock harps, I've finally arrived at a good solution. It will be an assembly that players can easily retrofit onto existing harps. I'm just now in the process of patent protecting it, and modifying the design for various brands. I hope to make this available before too long.

I've also taken out a USPTO provisional patent on my new valving system. I'm now adapting it to different harmonica brands and models and also going for a Chinese patent, as I believe it could inspire the sincerest form of flattery... ;-) When it finally emerges, I think it will surprise and please!

I'm also pushing on with making a commercial SlipSlider harp. I really believe in the long-term potential of this approach to getting extra bends and chromaticism out of the standard diatonic, for players of a wide range of abilities. Up till now the only ones available have been my custom versions, which are necessarily expensive since they require extensive hand modification of existing models. The high price is a disincentive for players to give the SlipSlider a go and discover for themselves the amazing new possibilities it creates - but I'm sure that once they do, many will love it! Based on that belief I've now simplified the design to the point where it can be factory made, which should lower the price a lot. It'll take some time to get it production ready; I'll update you on progress in a while.

And the UniBender is still coming Lizzy, don't despair :-)

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