Suggested re-tuning for the Hohner PentaHarp

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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IaNerd
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Suggested re-tuning for the Hohner PentaHarp

Post by IaNerd » Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:09 pm

I ordered four Hohner PentaHarps and have given them a short trial. One quick niggle: PentaHarp is a misnomer. This tuning is a repeating minor hexatonic blues scale. Obviously I was not invited to the focus group. Another niggle: Hohner claims that every draw note is bendable. Well, sort of. The draw bend in holes 2, 5 and 8 drops by about half of a semitone. Not super useful, imo.

Here I will discuss this tuning in context of a Gmin harp.

First and foremost I am absolutely unnerved by the lack of a bend from D to C#. I understand that the philosophy of this tuning is to make such bends unnecessary. But to my mind this is THE bend that makes the blues scale so bluesy.

I also miss the major I and IV chords on the low end. This tuning has some interesting dyads and loads of double stops, but no usable triads let alone dom7 chords.

The re-tuning below is my suggested remedy for both of these issues. I will probably try it out on either my Gmin or Amin harp.
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IaNerd
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Re: Suggested re-tuning for the Hohner PentaHarp

Post by IaNerd » Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:20 am

I just noticed that my re-tuning (above) has a proper Gmin7 chord from draw 3 to 6, and then that same chord is implied (sans root) thereafter. Sweet!

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winslowyerxa
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Re: Suggested re-tuning for the Hohner PentaHarp

Post by winslowyerxa » Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:30 pm

Re the bends on PentaHarp:

I've considered half-valving (draw slots) the harp, partly to get rid of that annoying rattle on the Draw 2 caused by the Blow 2 chattering, but also to give a fuller sound on the blow notes and also make them bendable as single-reed bends.

Doing that would, of course, require cutting out the struts that run from one comb slot to the next. Which is fine, they have no effect on the structural strength of the comb after manufacturing, or on the sound of the harp.

As to *not* having to bend for blue notes, that's true in first position, but try playing it in 10th position instead and they're all there. You can also play either major or minor types of scale at will through the entire range of the harp in that position. A few nights ago, I did this live, in C on an A PentaHarp, and it worked well:

https://youtu.be/GgaRw2OOmc8

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IaNerd
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Re: Suggested re-tuning for the Hohner PentaHarp

Post by IaNerd » Sat Apr 02, 2022 3:04 pm


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