Introduce yourself

Anything apart from the two mainstream default harmonicas (Solo-tuned fully-valved chromatic, and un-valved Richter 10-hole diatonic). Alternate tunings, different construction, new functionality, interesting old designs, wishful-thinking... whatever!
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Location: ohio usa

Re: Introduce yourself

Post by crimsonchrome » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:24 pm

hello everyone...crimsonchrome a hobbyist diatonic and chromatic harmonica player....i look forward to learning from you

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Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:52 am

Re: Introduce yourself

Post by dodtsair » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:06 pm

Hello everyone,

At some point in my life I had decided that my left brain (math, logic) was much better then my right brain (music). I didn't want to be lopsided like a plumber so I decided to try to pickup some musical instruments as a hobby. I was an avid hiker at the time and wanted something I could take with me, chromatic, light, small. So I picked up a recorder, which I enjoyed until I tried to play a song and one note was off the bottom of my register. Recorders typically do two octaves, but the higher octave requires more skill and practice to play properly. So I decided to search for another instrument. I probably googled backpacking instruments and found the harmonica. Both the classical chromatic harmonica and the diatonic harmonica. While the chromatic harmonica did everything I originally wanted I quickly learned that all the expressive harp music was done on the diatonic harp. I quickly found myself fascinated and but also constrained, a chromatic harp could not bend, a diatonic harp could not play all music.

Which led to my left brain taking over again. I asked myself how pending works, watched youtube videos of xrays of someone bending, which was frustrating because it did not help me actually bend myself. I searched out professors and research papers on the subject. I studied reeded instruments and the science that made them work. Then my company went under and I got a severance package. I subscribed to Tech Shop and I started to tinker, trying to put answers to all my questions. Then I got a job, married, moved and have not been able to figure out which box all my harmonicas are in, and I have only now gotten the itch back trying to answer these questions, and at the same time giving my right brain some exercise.

Right now I play a seydel session steel Bb. I carry it in my pocket to work, and when things are not too busy I play it on break.

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Re: Introduce yourself

Post by LiverpoolHarmonica » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:26 pm

Hi All
I am Tom from UK Liverpool - I enjoy playing Diatonic & Chromatic Harmonica

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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:25 pm

Re: Introduce yourself

Post by arsen » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:00 pm

Hi everyone,
I didn’t introduce myself yet.
My name is Arsen.
I am playing harmonica 15 years with lot of breaks.
I am from Dublin but originally from Croatia. I have mostly played Richter tuned harmonicas. I play harmonica because I got RSI on my hands by playing guitar. Harmonica seemed to me like instrument with lot of possibilities without using hands a lot. I have spent lot of times trying to learn overblow and overdraw.
Since last year I play Irish music and I found diatonic harmonica too silent for playing on sessions.
I was thinking to play chromatic harmonica but as I am interested in lot of different music styles I would have to use button a lot. And this doesn’t work with my RSI. So I gave up on chromatic.
Until one day I have seen Brendan Power’s power chromatic. That looks like exactly what I need. I wery much appreciate Brendan’s work. I am also very interested in diminish, augmented, paddy Richter, solo-dorian, ed, melody maker...tunings. Actually I am trying to find one tuning that I am going to use for improvising over chord changes.
I think that is very hard on Richter. I. M.O. It is much easier if you have learned music first on some other instrument like for example Howard Levy.
There is one more issue that i didn’t properly learn breathing from diaphragm, so after long time playing i have some pain. So i was trying to reverse plates and try to play with blowbands, but i discovered that low notes produces some ugly vibrations on diatonic harmonicas. And also you lose throat vibrato i think.
So at the moment that idea is on hold.
I am interested also in customizing harmonicas. But just related with changing tunings and to make them more airtight. Before i did that for achieving better overblow as well, but not at the moment.
So last thing that i am trying to do is to make Hohner CX 12 “PC” tuned as airtight as possible, and learn to breath from diaphragm.
2 reasons:
1. According to my small research on internet I think CX 12 is loudest chromatic harmonica.
2. PC best suits me if i want to play irish music and improvise over chord changes on same harmonica.
I have learned lot of things in this forum. Thanks everybody for that.
Sorry for maybe too long intro. and my bed English.

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Re: Introduce yourself

Post by CrawfordEs » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:31 pm

Your English is fine. Better than my skills in any language.
And thanks for the intro, it is nice to know that we aren’t alone, that there are other people out there having fun with harmonicas and trying new things.
This forum is a great place for experimenters to chat, and occasionally get info from the chief harmonica experimenter himself.
Oh, Brendan can play like crazy too.
Check out his music if you haven’t yet, and see what he does with different tunings.
I’m listening to his Chinese harmonica album again, great sounds.

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Re: Introduce yourself

Post by triona » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:18 pm

welcome here.

arsen wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:00 pm
1. According to my small research on internet I think CX 12 is loudest chromatic harmonica.
2. PC best suits me if i want to play irish music and improvise over chord changes on same harmonica.

1. That is true - as far as my experience. And many others say so too.

2. I have learned that for this the tuning has been designed. Since new I have one, and I will try to learn this.

dear greetings
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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Re: Introduce yourself

Post by arsen » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:56 pm

Thanks for reply CrawfordEs and Triona.
Yes i am following Brendan’s work since long time ago. When I heard first time his music I was wondering how somebody can overblow so clean and easy. I didn’t know about different tunings yet.
Thanks for info Triona.

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Re: Introduce yourself

Post by ROBERT TEMPLE » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:53 am

Hi arsen, nice to read your very interesting look at alt tunings.

I, too, have taught myself how to overbend, beginning just shy of two years ago. It is the best thing I have learned about the harmonica since I started playing in, yes, 1973. Having overbends on top of all the alt tunings is a huge plus. I don't look at alt tunings as alternatives to playing overbends, for me the alt tunings just offer different phrasing and chordal possibilities.

I am very much a fan of playing over Butterfield-style jazz/blues, funk, acid jazz/funk, boogie, West Coast jump/swing, bossa, Afro-Cubano and reggae rhythms and changes.

I love my Dorian harps a lot, and the Seydel Orchestra S is very handy, too. I made my Dorian harps using Lee Oskar's modular system harps . An example would be using a Bb MAJOR blowplate over an F NATURAL drawplate. Real easy, best "all-around tuning" for me, so far.

One other alt tuning I have come to enjoy, not sure what to call it though, is the layout one gets using the leftover reedplates from when making the Dorian harp. In this case, it would be an F NATURAL MINOR blowplate over a Bb MAJOR drawplate. See Lee Oskar's layout charts for his various tunings so that you can best understand this and other harps. One may still play the blues easily using mostly draw notes and draw bends, but using more blow notes on this harp will send one into someplace filled with sailors singing sea shanties and drinking songs. Pretty odd shift in style of music available and would [does] certainly surprise other harp players when played to them unawares. That particular harp's setup reminds/sounds to me a lot like the ED harp. I have one Easttop ED in "C". I wish that model was available in all or more keys. I had heard a year ago that the Easttop model would be available in more keys this year sometime, but I have not seen that yet, and here we are at year's end.

One thing that has helped me learn a lot faster on harps in recent years is to have a keyboard, any piano/keys. To be able to play/see the chords/melodies/notes you are playing on harp, on piano, is a real learning tool, certainly worth having a go at. If you don't have keys, you should if you really want to learn, grow and express yourself on harp, particularly on a diatonic that you can use overbends on, alt tuning or not.

Try to learn to set up your harps for optimal playing, ie overbend setup, if you haven't learned yet. Very important thing to learn and really helps one go places on the diatonic.

Keep exploring and have fun! Peace.

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Re: Introduce yourself

Post by Brendan » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:25 am

Hi All,

I've just been dipping into new members' introductions and re-reading earlier ones. What a diverse range of back stories and life/work skills we bring to this forum!

Over the years I've found one of the best things about playing and designing harmonicas is that it's brought me into friendly contact with lots of interesting people I'd never meet otherwise. They are way more advanced than me in their areas of expertise, and I often learn things I never knew in other fascinating worlds. Our Venn Diagrams happen to intersect with the harmonica, but often that's only the start of long friendships that can sometimes go on to become collaborations.

My business partnership with David Ireland is a case in point. I'm sure you'll know him, since David is the person who set up this forum, designs and runs my website, does customer service, posting - and much more besides! An IT specialist, David came to me for harmonica lessons over 10 years ago. After a while he decided he preferred to stick with the banjo, but in the meantime had noted that my self-made website was pretty damn clunky! He offered to improve it initially, and later that became a total re-design to something WAY better, which is always developing.

Over the years David has adopted further roles in the running of the business, taking over stuff I'm not so good at and allowing me to do more of what I enjoy most: design and test new harmonica ideas. He comes over twice a week to do packaging and post orders, and we're in regular contact over ongoing projects and issues. As well as being business partners we're good friends, helping and advising each other in other areas of our lives, and just having a laugh!

David is one of many, many friends I've made through the harmonica, and in this forum I'm meeting new ones. Thanks for your stories!


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Re: Introduce yourself

Post by jazmaan » Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:06 pm

Jazmaan here. I play altered tunings, Switch Harps, DM-48, etc. Here's an example of me playing a retuned XB-40.

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