Pocket bass extended, bass with draw reeds

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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Pocket bass extended, bass with draw reeds

Post by Boris_Plotnikov » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:33 am

I love my tombo pocket bass. Great response and great note layout. Next hole is dominant, previous hole is subdominant, lower row is parallel minor. And I can play power chords (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bXVNOVlV-g check my Nirvana cover using powerchords).
I tried to learn SWAN bass and I realized, I don't want to buy real bass, as it needs wide leaps to play regular bass patterns.
I want an extended pocket bass. E.g. upper row is F C G D A E B F# Db Ab Eb Bb (F? C?) and lower row like D A E B F# Db Ab Eb Bb F C G (D? A?) or something like that with 24 or 28 holes. Why not yet?

Another idea. Is it really impossible to make bass with draw reeds? With similiar layout or layout like third between draw and blow.
E B F# C# Ab Eb Bb F C G D A E one plate (e.g. blow) and G D A E F# C# Ab Eb Bb F C G (e.g. draw). 13 holes, powerchords. Duplicated notes can be of different octaves.

Both concepts are not for playing melodies, but how often do you really hear melodies on regular bass harmonica.

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Re: Pocket bass extended, bass with draw reeds

Post by CrawfordEs » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:14 am

That Nirvana cover was really cool!
I have an Easttop pocket bass, similar to the Tombo but has an additional pair of notes (Bb and G).
I like your idea of an extended version, maybe repeat the pattern across 2 octaves or more to allow short walks.

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Re: Pocket bass extended, bass with draw reeds

Post by triona » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:56 am

Nicely done.
That is exactly the way I play this wonderful little instrument too.

1. It is not impossible to build a Blow-and-draw-bass, at least technically.
For a test I turned around one of the reedplates on my Tombo pocket bass. The draws come clearly in the same sound as blown. The approach and the loudness is equivalent. I just cannot imagine, why this is not available by mainstream manufacturers. (Belive me, I already did a lot of recherche.)

2. The design of the comb of the Tombo and of the Easttop (an exact copy of the Tombo + 2 more notes) does not allow just turning around a reedplate, depending on different length of the slots. And for a playable layout there must be the reed in opposite order on the draw plate. (I can supply photographs and construction plots if you like.)

3. Tombo does not want to make combs in different design and neither reedplates in other tunings than the existing. (I already asked the chief designer of Tombo 2 years ago. It is against their marketing policy.)

4. The only way to get this is to build one by yourself.
I have planned this. But the realization will take some time.
Maybe anyone here has more capacities free and could achieve this faster.

Manufacturing of a fitting comb maybe is best by 3-D-print.
Custom manufactured reedplates in high quality are available here:
They do mainly reedplates for accordions etc, especially using steel reeds. The place is about 100 km away from my homeplace.
The cost of a reedplate in the dimension of the Tombo reedplates were about 20 € each, considering small series, as roughly estimated by Mr. Titlbach, the chief of the company.

5. I presume that the fat and loud sound is due to the fact, that there is only 1 reed in each slot. This gives an optimal leakproofness as required for these large bass reeds. The chromatic Contrabass by Tombo (blow only as well) follows the same principle and has the same fat and loud sound like the Pocket bass. I recommend to keep this feature for blow and draw as well.

Maybe anyone here likes to make a try on his or her own.
I could help with this if wanted.

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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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Re: Pocket bass extended, bass with draw reeds

Post by Brendan » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:16 am

Interesting thread! And cool clip, Boris :)

As someone who has modified existing big bass harmonicas for sliders (a very tough project in design and making!) I share your and Triona's wish that they could be designed differently to be smaller and blow/draw. The big ones are so cumbersome, heavy and expensive! But the double-reed sound is very nice: fat and grunty. And some players master the way to play them very well - the human body is very adaptable!

Thanks Triona for the reports of your research into this. I haven't looked at the Tombo bass, but I'd be willing to work with you and Boris to make a comb that allows you to switch the reedplates around. Please tell me more about how it works: tuning, reed layout on each side etc. Some photos would be good too.

I know that Czech Harmonikas company Triona - they make great stuff, and do some work for Seydel too. I bought some reeds from them a couple of years ago to make a harmonica with accordion reeds. The idea was to make the loudest harmonica ever, with big steel reeds. I designed a special comb for it, and it works :) But then I got busy with other things - this thread has reminded me to go back and look at it again.

Most accordion reeds are carbon steel which theoretically should rust, but I found if the prototype dries out well after playing there is no rust. However you can get stainless accordion reeds also, so there should be no barrier to building harps with them, normal scale or bass.

I did make a compact blow/draw chord harmonica with accordion reeds also - will look again into that also. Too many projects, not enough time!

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