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Fully valves vs half valved survey

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:41 pm
by harpdog123
I made a small survey of non-harmonica musicians to determine which harmonica they liked the best. It's a very hard thing to measure due to different players, different tempos, different engineers, etc. Here's the bar graph and the survey comments. Many of the commenters had the same opinion as my own. I have a theory that the vast majority of harmonica players are in their own bubble and do not care what the audience thinks. The surveyees were asked to compare David Naditch's harmonica sound to Brendan Power's. They both play lady be good and the surveyees were told to focus only on the sound of the harmonica and not the players.

Re: Half valved vs Fuly valved All 12 Response

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 12:46 am
by harpdog123
I didn't share all twelve comments on the half-valved vs fully valved. Here's all 12.

Re: Fully valves vs half valved survey

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:10 pm
by Brendan
Comparing the sound of half-valved and fully-valved chromatics is an interesting idea... Choosing the same tune helps give a comparison.

I assume my version was this one:

Which recording of David's did you select?

The only caveat I'd add would be that, in addition to comparing two harmonica sounds, you're also comparing two different players! I have my own sound/style, and so does David. Others will sound quite different, even using the same kinds of harmonica as we do. Since it's easier to find fully-valved chrom player recordings, I did a quick search for other versions of Lady Be Good on chromatic harmonica and found these:

You can hear that, even though their chromatics are similar to David's they have their own distinctive sound and approach to the tune, which some of your listeners might have preferred to both David and me!

Re: Fully valves vs half valved survey

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:50 pm
by harpdog123
Yes, many variables so it's hard to know if it was the harmonica they preferred, the player or the engineering. This is David Naditch's version of lady be good. An ideal survey would be someone like you playing both types of harmonicas under identical conditions. I wanted a bigger survey, but it was difficult for me to find people willing to take the time. I was hoping that market research might open up some closed minds. I'm sure you're right about your theory that harmonica players are traditionalists. When Roly demonstrated his harp wah many players said things like "I prefer the sound of a cupped hand". Roly said something similar to what I said about harmonica players being in their own bubble. He said that a lot of harmonica players don't like the harp wah but his audiences do. He said that many non-harmonica playing members of his audience will always ask him about the harp wah after every performance. The non-harmonica players in the audience don't care about tradition, they only care about what moves them.

Re: Fully valves vs half valved survey

Posted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:20 pm
by November_SSN
I'm more of a fully valved person, but that's because that's the type of harmonica sound I was exposed to as a kid, which makes it nostalgic. Half valved is nice, too, but it isn't "my" sound.