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Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:39 pm
by IaNerd
I would like to share some thoughts:

1. I love this forum and, like others, am indebted to Brendan's vision and generosity in creating and maintaining it.

2. I've now posted over 180 times. Most of those posts regard alternate tunings.

3. With my science education career cut short by a progressive genetic disorder, and with two college-age offspring, I lack the financial ability to create--or have created--most of my ideas about tunings.

4. I have never been so good of a player/performer that I could effectively demonstrate the qualities of any tuning.

5. I have been reaching out to some truly accomplished players, to see if they might be interested in trying (on my nickel) some of my ideas. There may be some news to share about this in coming months.

6. My sense of what I have offered so far is, that it is like a pile of gravel--with (I hope) a few gems in the mix. I can't claim to know which is which; I leave that to the collective wisdom and experience of the harmonica community, present and future.

7. I deeply appreciate those kind and encouraging words that some folks have offered.

8. I salute the creative energy of people who teach, make and advance music.

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Mon May 07, 2018 3:56 pm
by Beelzebob
I'm Bob Millard, known as BeelzeBob at where I make the backing tracks we use there. If you aren't familiar with it, please check it out. It's free and been going for 17 years, although we haven't had a lot of activity in the last few years. But it's still a great place to practice and have a lot of fun as well. We're giving away a new harmonica this jam (a "jam" runs for several months) to the highest vote-getter. Getting back to myself, I'm 65 and have been playing harp since I was 18. I just play for fun, I've only played out once, and that was just to do some Neil Young fills for a friend. I love SBW2, always have and always will. I've seen so many of the greats but he died in '65 so I never saw him. I like the new generation of overblowers but I'll never learn how. Thank the blues gods that Brendan exists, a world-class harmonica player who doesn't overblow. Otherwise, I'd probably quit. Well, that's all for now.

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Mon May 07, 2018 4:12 pm
by IaNerd
"Thank the blues gods that Brendan exists, a world-class harmonica player who doesn't overblow. Otherwise, I'd probably quit."


Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Mon May 07, 2018 5:33 pm
by triona
Welcome here.
Beelzebob wrote: ↑
Mon May 07, 2018 3:56 pm
... I'm 65 and have been playing harp since I was 18. ...
Hi, I'm 65 too and have been playing harp since I was 17. :lol:
Concerning overblows, I just have started with them some months ago. Christian Inostroza showed me how to do. But I 'm far from beeing able to do them properly yet. I think I must practice more ...

Beelzebob wrote: ↑
Mon May 07, 2018 3:56 pm
... Brendan ..., a world-class harmonica player who doesn't overblow.
Oh, I think he does - at least since he has finished his Asia-Bend. :D
Btw, the Asia-Bend was the reason for me to try to begin with overblows too after nearly 50 years playing the harp not even knowing that they merely exist. :lol:

dear greetings

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:26 pm
by EdvinW
I just joined and thought I'd introduce myself:

The name is Edvin Wedin and I started to seriously play the harmonica around 2011/2012 (I was born in '89). Before this, I had mainly been playing various woodwind instruments, like flutes and ocarinas, but some other instruments as well.

I have a passion for musical instruments and their construction, and I've been developing and building flutes since I was a teenager. I got my first harmonica in high school, but quickly discovered that the Richter tuning it had made it very difficult to play the songs I was used to playing on my other instruments, so I put it away and forgot about it. After hurting my hands a few years later, I begun to think about the harmonica again, and found that Lee Oskar offered alternate tunings. This idea opened my eyes, but I found the tunings they offered no better than the Richter. Discouraged by my earlier attempts, I started to look into how I could make the harmonica a playable instrument. I found that if I raised 3 blow one full step, I could play most of the songs I used to play on tin whistles! (in what I now know to be first position) While searching the web for a method of tuning a harmonica myself I found that other people had had the same idea, and encouraged by some forum post I combined the reed plates of a Richter C and a MelodyMaker G to create my first Paddy Richter. This has been my "home tuning" ever since. From the leftover reed plates I made myself a spiral tuned G harp with d as its lowest note(emulating a tin whistle), which I brought to a course where I learned my first "real" Irish tunes (I knew some songs with lyrics before then).

From the start I have been carrying harmonicas wherever I go, playing daily while I walk or waiting for the tram. Most of what I play I think would qualify as traditional music, mostly Irish and Swedish, but I also enjoy good pop tunes or whatever style happening to come my way. I mostly play single note melodies with occasional chords.

I've always been interested in modifying and creating instruments, but as other interest they go up and down, and I have been locking into many other instruments. The last year or so has been a harmonica period, and I have put way too much time into thinking about how to best tune harmonicas to accomplish various results.

When not playing or thinking about the harmonica I'm perusing a PhD in mathematics, and during summers I go with a band of fellow jesters to various medieval fairs to play juggling shows. Also, I recently started to enjoy bugg, a Swedish swing-like dance (see Wikipedia!)

I don't know why I didn't register here sooner, but I have a feeling I'll become rather active here :)

Edit: Corrected my birth year..

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:50 pm
by CrawfordEs
This is definitely the place for harmonica loving tinkerers to hang out.
Paddy Richter is fun. So are many other systems.

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:31 am
by oldstudent
I greatly appreciate Brendan Power's willingness to explore many new ways of thinking about harmonicas. I agree that good ideas need careful exploration! (Indeed, this proposition is the foundation of everything in my day job as an academic professor.)

After playing standard diatonic, then chromatic, and then Paddy Richter harmonicas, I learned in 2009 about Andy Newton's discovery of fourkey harmonicas two years before. This seemed too good an idea to be ignored, and I was willing to do my bit to help explore its potential. So with the help of Seydel and their wonderful online Configurator, I got some fourkey harmonicas and began playing them regularly. But then in 2014, I realized that fourkey tuning is just one of a broader class of pentatonic tunings that can allow us to play full chromatic scales in a little no-slide harmonica with just simple draw bends (no need for overblowing). Since then I have systematically exploring the whole range of these pentatonic tunings. If Brendan does not mind, I'd like to start a new thread on pentatonic tunings here to share ideas about them.

Please let me make one distinction of terminology here. In another thread on "Pentatonic harmonicas" here, Brendan has used that phrase to mean a harmonica whose blow and draw notes together only include the notes of one pentatonic scale. What I mean by a "pentatonic tuning" is a note arrangement for harmonicas such that the blow notes form one pentatonic scale and the draw notes form a second pentatonic scale. So a harmonica with a pentatonic tuning then has the obvious disadvantage that each octave covers five holes, and so a 10-hole harmonica can only cover two octaves. But as I mentioned above, there is a big advantage that is the essential reason for us to consider pentatonic tunings: They allow us to construct harmonicas which are fully chromatic with only draw bends added to the blow and draw notes. In addition, having a full pentatonic scale in each breath direction can allow very fluid play of many interesting tunes, even as draw bends give us the ability to play anything in the 12-note chromatic scale.

So if Brendan does not object, I will try to start some discussion in a new "Pentatonic tunings" thread. Although my own exploration began with Andy Newton's discovery of fourkey tuning, I think that the right place to begin the discussion is with the more logically fundamental "pentabender" tuning. Compared to fourkey tuning, pentabender harmonicas are the "one-key" member of the pentatonic-tunings family. When you understand the basic properties of pentabender tuning, then you will be able to see where fourkey tuning comes from; and ultimately I'll try to show you what has led me now to the beautiful two-key member of the pentatonic-tunings family, which I have called "pentablues" tuning.

(Other references on fourkey and pentabender tunings are gathered at <>.)

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:55 pm
by CrawfordEs
Welcome aboard!
Anyone who has not tried 4-key or pentabender should give it a shot.
If nothing else it’s lots of fun, intuitive noodling around, and some interesting sounds.

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:51 pm
by triona
Welcome here.
oldstudent wrote: ↑
Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:31 am
... If Brendan does not mind, I'd like to start a new thread on pentatonic tunings here to share ideas about them. ...

... So if Brendan does not object, I will try to start some discussion in a new "Pentatonic tunings" thread. ...

Why should he do so?
And this is the place:

There are some people here who are interested in stuff like this, including Brendan. I think you are here within the inner circle for discussions of themes like this. Just keep on.

dear greetings

Re: Introduce yourself

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:24 am
I'm Mick Smith, new to study of harmonica playing. Tought myself young to play by rolling up my tongue. I could play simple tunes hands free no collar. Now I hear of tongue blocking and puckering. Maybe need to start from scratch.

I want to play trad irish so got a low D Orchestra solo tuned Seydel, and a Suzuki G chrome on order. Not interested in chords so far, just want to follow sessions with key changes. Other tunings are interesting, full chromatic familiarity not my goal, but need to follow D, G, A, C minimum + minors. Envision a G Slider with C#, G# or D with G# and C nat. plus ornament notes in key. I haven't mapped it out fully, hoped someone else had tried, may be too awkward. Also may want to get the chromaticism I desire from bends, if they are accessable and accurate without too much work. So many choices.

I'm pretty new to Irish, can follow tunes on guitar backup reasonably well and melody on mandolin and whistle on the slower tunes or ones I practice enough.

Harmonica is the only instrument I can safely practice while driving so its my new favorite.