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Paddy Richter to replace Standard Richter?

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 7:39 pm
by Dylan Campbell
I've been playing for about 4 months, but have gotten a lot better than I predicted in that time which is probably due to this being the fourth instrument I've played. The one thing I keep pondering is why not just play paddy richter tuned harmonicas exclusively instead of standard richter? I don't play a lot of blues, playing mostly classic country, red dirt country, classic rock, bluegrass and folk. I can hit the 3 draw whole step bend easy enough but it feels out of sequence and I can't hit it reliably clean when playing at any sort of speed. I have two paddy richters and when I play them in second position I can pretty much improv any song by ear so it sounds very close to the melody. I can't seem to get that down with standard richter because of the 3D whole step. I know you basically lose the 3-6 blow octave for the 1 chord, and the low 1 chord needs to be played as an abbreviated 1-2 blow or 4-5-6 blow, but that doesn't make that much of a difference and you pick up the 2 minor chord on 3-4-5 blow. (I do chord a lot to keep rhythm) I guess my question is whether or not there is any reason to not just switch over to paddy richter completely? It seems like the better tuning, but I'm still pretty new and don't want to make a move I'll regret. Is it better to stick with standard richter and just play and play and play until it becomes a natural note? Thought the best person to ask might be the guy who invented the tuning :)

Re: Paddy Richter to replace Standard Richter?

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 7:40 pm
by Dylan Campbell
Also, I play most everything in second unless it's folk or bluegrass which I play in first.

Re: Paddy Richter to replace Standard Richter?

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 12:15 pm
by Brendan
Why not! As you say, Paddy Richter has a lot of advantages, especially for melodic playing, and works well for Blues too.

With any tuning, you gain some things and lose others, as you note yourself. It's down to personal choice which factors matter more. The only issue form a learning point of view is that all the Blues legends of the past you may be trying to learn from used standard Richter, so there will be some bottom-end licks you can't emulate perfectly. But that's, because you'll be creating a new set of nice Blues licks in Paddy Richter that might inspire others!

Re: Paddy Richter to replace Standard Richter?

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 3:08 am
by Tyler
I play a lot of rock, and there's plenty of times where I want that note cleaner, or even just a cleaner minor 3rd in second position.

Like you mentioned, you get the minor 2nd chord in 2nd position, pretty common outside the Blues. Playing 4th position has a low root note so you can easily play 2 octaves, great for minor playing in a first position feel. Fifth position has more control as well because the full minor pentatonic is there as well as a flattened 5th.

You lose octaves and some other tongue block techniques. It's definitely worth trying it out, if only for the creative boost you feel when you try new tunings.

Re: Paddy Richter to replace Standard Richter?

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 10:53 am
by EdvinW
I play Paddy Richter as my main tuning, and occasionally use standard Richter for special purposes. The two main reasons I can see not to switch to Paddy are

1: You lose much of the classical blues stuff, like some tongue blocking techniques and octaves.
2: First position major tunes will have less chords.

If you don't play much classical blues, or don't care about making the same sounds as the old masters, this weakens the first reason. As Brendan pointed out, the things you lose are replaced by OTHER things which you gain. You can do some nice second position chord vamping with a Paddy, and when you're used to that the standard Richter feels rather empty with only one blow chord.

The second point is harder to counter, and this is my reason to sometimes use the standard tuning; having the tonic chord available everywhere is nice! I feel this need so rarely though, that the advantages of the Paddy are just to large to make it a contest for which to use as my main tuning.

People have already mentioned some advantages of Paddy Righter tuning. The most obvious one I would say is the fourth position minor scale, which is available without bends and with all the chords you could wish for. I don't know what I would do without it! I don't play much second position (I mostly use other tunings when I want bendy notes in my home chord ;) ) but this also gets easier, not to mention cleaner, for many tunes.

What nobody seems to have mentioned is that Paddy Richter is also much nicer for third position minor, which I play quite often. To have quick, easy and clean access to the low fifth really makes a difference I think.

All in all, first position is really the only one where I personally feel standard Righter might have an advantage. My approach here is to learn first-position tunes on the Paddy, but then play them on a standard Richter when I want some extra chords to throw in. Also, if you just avoid 3B there are still plenty of room for major blow chords, so it's not like Paddy Richter is BAD for first position play. It's just that for some tunes the standard is a little better :)

For me personally the choice is a no-brainer: I'd choose Paddy over standard as my recommended main tuning to anyone not mainly focused on playing the blues. Without hesitation. Every time.

Re: Paddy Richter to replace Standard Richter?

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 3:44 pm
by Dylan Campbell
Thanks guys! I think I'll get a set of paddy richters and keep my standard set also. I almost never play the blues, but sometimes I play music that has a bluesy feel. I've found that the 3D whole step bend is used so much more than the half step bend in the stuff that I play that I just feel the paddy Richter tuning is a necessity for a lot of it. I don't feel like I need the blow octave in 1st pos very often since the 234 draw is there for the V Chord. I don't really mind working around the 3B on playing the I Chord in 1st or the IV Chord in 2nd...I just play the abbreviated 12B or 456B. I haven't ventured into 3rd or 4th position much but will look into it. I just feel like there are songs where it is super important to get that note cleaner and faster than the 3D whole step bend allows. Thanks for the input!

Re: Paddy Richter to replace Standard Richter?

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 7:22 pm
by triona
Dylan Campbell wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 3:44 pm
I think I'll get a set of paddy richters and keep my standard set also.
Best of all choices certainly. So you can always choose the harp suited best for the very piece to play.

And to talk about third position minor: For this I like very much "Dale King Open Irish Tuning" (= "Do it"). If you don't want to retune by yourself, you can order it by the Seydel harp configurator. There you can also look up the layout of this tuning: ... 01%28sp%29

dear greetings