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Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp. It's Weird, but it Works!

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:20 am
by Brendan
On the seal, it's counterintuitive. When you look from behind at the SlipSlider you can see air gaps and you think "This harp will be very leaky!" But in practice it's not. Two main reasons:

1. Moisture from your breath quickly builds up and moves via capillary action to fill gaps between the parts.

2. You actually hold the harp together with your hands. Pressure from fingers against the thumb presses the top and bottom halves closer together.

As long as the two halves look flat to your eye, which can be adjusted using the magnet screws, the gaps between are small enough to be filled with breath moisture, and I find the SlipSlider plays much like a standard harp.

You can enhance the airtightness by adding some solution to the breath moisture. That could the old-school dipping the harp in water, licking the two halves to add natural saliva, or adding non-toxic commercial products like chromatic slide oil or Vaseline.

I'll shoot a video today showing these and various other aspects of the SlipSlider, such as playing with a mic.

That "other thing" due for release is coming soon, just waiting on a third party to register the patent in China.

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp. It's Weird, but it Works!

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:29 am
by Brendan
Here's an in-depth SlipSlider demo video, answering FAQs and demonstrating amplified playing with a handheld mic:

That 10-hole overdraw features, thanks Roverharp!

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:20 am
by Brendan
Another discovery with the SlipSlider...

When the drawplate is shifted to the left, you get a 4-hole tongue block octave all the way up the harp, on blow and draw! Plus, the draw note is always higher than the blow in the octave block.

This makes octaves super easy to do throughout the range. Just maintain your embouchure and race up and down the harp: simple, accurate and fast. Starting at hole 4, here are the notes in each octave block for a C harp (high note in lower case):

4/7 - Cc. Dd.
5/8 - Ee. Ff.
6/9 - Gg. Aa.
7/10 - Cc. ---

If you want the B octave on hole 3 you need to get it with the harp in default no-shift position, and it is still a 5-hole split. All your low octave splits remain the same, then do the left shift at hole 4 to maintain the simple 4-hole split up into the middle octave.

With a right-shift of the lower draw plate you also get 4-hole splits, but they are different: the blow note is above the draw everywhere. Interesting but not so useful I think.

2/5 - Ee. Dd.
3/6 - Gg. Ff.
4/7 - Cc. Ba.
5/8 - Ee. Dd.
6/9 - Gg. Ff.
7/10 - Cc. ---

One 'effect' you can get is to maintain a single split on one hole and shift the draw plate left or right. The blow split stays the same but the draw note changes. Here's an example for a 4-hole split on holes 4/7:

No shift: Cc. Db.
Left-shift: Cc. Dd
Right-shift: Cc. Ba

All the above is for Richter tuning of course. I'm in the process of making a SlipSlider for PowerBender and PowerDraw tunings. Looking forward to explore that one, as it relates to tunings I actually use myself!

But the new Richter splits above should be quite interesting for tongue-block players to explore :-)


Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:03 am
by Brendan
Yesterday I got the Seydel and Easttop versions of the SlipSlider working.

Seydel is the quirkiest because it has wider hole spacing than other harps, and less space at each end of the comb to place the magnets. To fit them you have to do some extra work on the reedplates and covers, making the attachment screwholes into slots, and extend the comb outward a little. The slots can be formed with a file or rotary tool; once we have Seydel listed I'll make a video showing how.

The good news with Seydel is that the greater width of the harp means it's easier to grip for the sliding action than the small Hohner Marine Band type.

Easttop have two main types of sandwich diatonic: the popular low-cost T008K/T008S with central coverplate screws, and the pricier Blues Player type with four cover screws (like the Crossover). I've designed a SlipSlider for each type.

They have a nice heft and extra rigidity due to the thicker reedplates Easttop uses: 1.2mm, as opposed to 1mm for most other brands.

The Suzuki Manji version should be done very soon. That will cover the main popular brands; we'll get these up on the website later this coming week.

I also designed SlipSlider combs for regular breath tunings like PowerBender, PowerDraw etc. They require only one shift direction, a slide of the drawplate to the right.

This makes PowerBender and PowerDraw SlipSliders simpler to play than the double-shift Richter versions. But as with Richter, the SlipSlider format makes these tunings fully chromatic with bends alone, whilst retaining the ability to overblow.

I experimented with Vaseline as a gasket solution for internal sealing - it works well :-)

The video showing how to finish the raw parts of a SlipSlider ready for assembly will be out this weekend. This is the cheapest option for players who are experienced with customising their harps.

One more version coming will be a Lucky 13 SlipSlider. That should be fun to design and test :-)

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:47 am
by CrawfordEs
That is great news!
A lucky 13 with a regular breath direction comb is something I can see myself having fun with.
I have ordered one of your current models already, I assume the current version will only work with Marine Band Richter and Paddy Richter, and similar patterned reed plates? Will there be future versions for regular breath direction tuning for all of the harmonica types?
Are there plans for a Hohner 364 version? I have a couple Bebop tunes 12 holers that might be fun with a slider.
Are you finding the blow bends to be more expressive and have more depth than what we can get from a half valved harmonica?
Also as to the Manji version, I assume it will work for any Suzuki sandwich style reed plates, but only the Manji cover plates?
I’ve pulled the valves out of my Thunderbird and am working on getting used to playing it that way. It’s weird having not used valves in a while. I think I might need to tighten up the gaps a bit.
Do you notice any major changes needed from your normal reed setup to get all the new bends working smoothly?
Sorry about pestering you with so many questions, I’m a total geek when it comes to harmonicas.

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:48 am
by Lizzy
Great News for me too!. A Slipslider comb for powerbender and powerdraw...What are the main design difference between this and a regular comb? I play powerbender Seydel session or Seydel classic.

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:11 am
by Brendan
Thanks for the interesting comments/suggestions Crawford and Lizzy.

There are various ways you can design a sliding reedplate harmonica, and they have unique tuning outcomes. Zombor's original prototype had a 7.5mm travel on the drawplate and a simple upper comb. That gives its own new bends. Another way is to move the upper reedplate/comb, which has its own hole/tuning outcome. There are others too.

Mine is different from Zombor's in that it has a special comb design with narrow tines. This gives a short travel of the lower plate and a unique tuning system on the new bends, which I believe is more intuitive and user-friendly than other systems. Though Zombor is the inventor of the sliding reedplate concept itself, I've taken out a provisional patent on the comb and other new aspects of my design (eg. the tuning scheme and reed-dampener).

That's by way of preamble - to indicate I'm only talking about my approach, and it's not the only one possible. To answer Lizzy: For Richter tuning, my comb changes shape at hole 7 to accommodate the reversed breathing pattern in the top octave. For PowerBender/PowerDraw and other regular breath tunings the comb pattern stays the same all the way up, and only a right shift of the lower drawplate is needed. It's easier to make and play, but because a lot of the extra bends are already integrated into PowerBender you don't get as big an extra benefit that the SlipSlider gives to Richter. I will extend the PB/PD comb shape to the Seydel and Lucky 13 versions in time.

Hohner 364? Maybe, but it's a low priority right now... Yes, the new blow bends are far superior to the ones from half-valving, because they are interactive reed bends, not isolated reed bends. That means they can be controlled at pitch and have a better tone. Yes to the Suzuki questions. So far I've done no reed setup at all on my samples, they have standard gapping, tuning, no embossing. I will get to that in time, but right now am too busy completing orders and designing new brands/models.

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:24 am
by Lizzy
But i assume that i can use the first version of the comb shape for Seydel Richter even if i use session steel powerbending tuned reedplates? Or do i missunderstand it? What about Seydel 1847 classic comb design? I would think this is easier to design a slipslider comb to than session steel?

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:28 pm
by Brendan
The harmonica tuning is what determines the comb shape in my approach.

PowerBender reedplates will not work on a Richter SlipSlider. They will physically fit, but you wouldn't get the desired new bends. For Circular Tuning the comb shape would be different again.

Other approaches to the sliding reedplate concept might not require tuning-based comb shapes, but they will have different new bends.

For Seydel I'm using the 1847 reedplates.

Re: The SlipSlider - a Revolutionary Blues Harp.

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:46 am
by Lizzy
Thanks Brendan for sorting out my questions. :roll:
I just have to wait for a Seydel powerbender Slipslider.
I also guess that Unibender is set to pause because of new circumstances.