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Miscellaneous Diatonic harmonicas, harps, gob irons...

Sunray

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Sweet Dreamer

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Heaven
I got overly ambitious and bought a whole set of harps in different keys. I also got a harp book with CD, and a Harp Instruction video on DVD.

Unfortunately I have COPD respiratory problems. Playing the harp simply takes too much out of me and sends me into asthma attacks. I think it's the combination of suck/blow that does it. So the harps just sit there on my shelf taking up space. I really need to put them out in my next yard sale. I simply can't play them. I just don't have the respiratory health to do it. In fact, this may ultimately apply to the sax as well.

I may need to confess that I'm just not cut out to be a horny guy. I'll have to stick with strings, percussion and keyboard.
 

Sunray

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Thats a real Bummer mate ...

Sorry to hear that SD ....

I can't imagine what that must be like ... :(

Take things a bit more gentle and you may find a way to enjoy your instruments ...

But your health is absolutely the most important thing mate ....

Be Cool ... :mrcool

regards ... ;}

PS - I will never get to Heaven ... So I won't make an offer as the shipping will just be too much ... ;}
 

cherrybyte

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109
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Exmoor, West Somerset
basically a c harp and a c# strapped together with a button to divert air via one or the other... nightmare bits of kit.... unless you're stevie wonder.....

Well(anorak on..!!) IMHO..the ability of any instrument to play 12 tones(western music) renders it 'Keyless'..My saxes are not 'keyed'(pitched yes, but that is different)..my bass guitar is not 'keyed'...Damm this is starting to sound like SOTW...but anyway to me a chromatic harmonica cannot be 'keyed'...anorak off..:)
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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Well(anorak on..!!) IMHO..the ability of any instrument to play 12 tones(western music) renders it 'Keyless'..My saxes are not 'keyed'(pitched yes, but that is different)..my bass guitar is not 'keyed'...Damm this is starting to sound like SOTW...but anyway to me a chromatic harmonica cannot be 'keyed'...anorak off..:)

not sure if you're following theory of how harps operate- the C chromatic defaults to a C major scale unless the button's pressed down. for a harp layer its a C instrument. Ok- theoretically it's not in any key in particular but any harp player will be thinking of it as a C harp with 'add ons'- that's just how the philosophy of harps work, you've always got a 'base' key to work from.
 

cherrybyte

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109
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Exmoor, West Somerset
not sure if you're following theory of how harps operate- the C chromatic defaults to a C major scale unless the button's pressed down. for a harp layer its a C instrument. Ok- theoretically it's not in any key in particular but any harp player will be thinking of it as a C harp with 'add ons'- that's just how the philosophy of harps work, you've always got a 'base' key to work from.

Ahhh...I get it..!!!
 

kevgermany

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To add to what Jules said, the holes on a harp are numbered, and the note each hole plays depends on whcih key it's in. So to change keys, you just get a harp ina different key, but blow the same note numbers. Same goes for chromatics, but the button can make it easier to gt the notes that are missing on a nomal diatonic harp. Having sid that the note arrangement makes blowing them a real b....r. So I support Jules' views.

If you really want to see/hear what a chromatic harp can do, look up Larry Adler...
 

cherrybyte

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109
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Exmoor, West Somerset
To add to what Jules said, the holes on a harp are numbered, and the note each hole plays depends on whcih key it's in. So to change keys, you just get a harp ina different key, but blow the same note numbers. Same goes for chromatics, but the button can make it easier to gt the notes that are missing on a nomal diatonic harp. Having sid that the note arrangement makes blowing them a real b....r. So I support Jules' views.

If you really want to see/hear what a chromatic harp can do, look up Larry Adler...

Larry Adler is great although for many years 'Private Eye' had a real downer on him..but I suppose its think 'Piano K/B' having said that there must be 'chord combinations'..triads..??.. possible
 

kevgermany

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... having said that there must be 'chord combinations'..triads..??.. possible

In general the holes are a third apart so you can play some chords. But it's pretty limited, due to the hole pattern and the combination of blow/suck needed for the different notes. Add to that is the button which affects all notes... So on a C instrument CEG is possible, but you can't add the 7th or the b7th.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_harmonica
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
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503
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Heaven
Saxophone Bum - (A blues harp debut)

Ok, here's my harmonica debut on the Saxophone Cafe. :mrcool

I found my blues harp in my desk drawer. I haven't played it in years.

I post this only in the spirit of embarrassment, and in the hope that it might incite a real musician to post some real music after realizing that when real musicians fail to post sound clips it only leaves the door open for the amateurs to go hog wild. :)))

http://users.csonline.net/designer/ideas/bum.mp3
 
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Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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brighton by the sea
Wouldn't exactly describe myself as a professional- and i wouldn't exactly describe this tune as slick, but i've always liked the feel and oversall energy of "Run Billy Run" here- http://www.myspace.com/roadkilljesus ......
 

losaavedra

Member
Messages
153
Locality
Rojales, Spain
I can do a bit of blues harp, usually just to pad out some multi-track effort. These are from around four years ago ...
http://soundclick.com/rojalesbluesband
My 10-hole harp collection comprises mostly beaten up key-of-As (for blues in E) and an Ab for Eb blues ... 'cos that's the only key I can do keyboard blues in (after a fashion!).
I'd be interested in any opinions someone may have on Harley Benton harps. Thomann do a set covering 12 keys for 37 Euros which is a darn sight less expensive than the Hohner route. But generally my experience of different-make and cheaper harps is that the notes won't bend.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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brighton by the sea
I'm always a bit suspicious of cheaper harps- like you say, bending can be a lot tougher as well as (in the majority of cases) their basic tone isn't really as storng, especially up on the high notes....
 

Two Voices

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United Kingdom
Suzuki Manji Diatonic Harmonica (M20)

It finally arrived this morning and I haven’t put it down since I got it. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at and play! For those interested I found out it has been named Manji, after the Mr Manji Suzuki who is the founder of the company. Harmonicas are his passion, so the fact; that he has put his name on this one after hand building his first one 70 years ago say something about this instrument!

Its cover plates are Stainless Steel with Phosphor Bronze Reeds and Wood/Resin Composite Comb. I did end up spitting out a few bits on the initial inhale notes! Comes with a reasonable hard plastic protective case with a nice lining in the box to protect the piece whilst in your pocket!

In my opinion this is a great harmonica (as a novice) and is worth the extra money for its high quality and much improved playability. The draw bending is slightly different than on any of my Lee Oskar or Hohner diatonic. I like it and find it a lot easier! I would say it is down to the air-tight construction making bending, overblows and overdraws much easier than on most other diatonics I have. It has a nice bright sound but not too bright and I’m finding the single notes play very nicely in tune. The chord playing is also smooth and full with great intonation.

Straight out of the box I noticed it has a lowered reed gapping which no doubt helps with overblows and overdraws. However, if you aren’t an overblow player, it might be worth raising the reed gaps slightly to avoid notes sticking when attacked quickly. This is very easy to do as it has screws, unlike the commonly used nails to attach the reedplates.

Now I’m of to learn ‘Love Me Tender’.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
3,802
Locality
brighton by the sea
Suzuki Manji Diatonic Harmonica (M20)

It finally arrived this morning and I haven’t put it down since I got it. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at and play! For those interested I found out it has been named Manji, after the Mr Manji Suzuki who is the founder of the company. Harmonicas are his passion, so the fact; that he has put his name on this one after hand building his first one 70 years ago say something about this instrument!

Its cover plates are Stainless Steel with Phosphor Bronze Reeds and Wood/Resin Composite Comb. I did end up spitting out a few bits on the initial inhale notes! Comes with a reasonable hard plastic protective case with a nice lining in the box to protect the piece whilst in your pocket!

In my opinion this is a great harmonica (as a novice) and is worth the extra money for its high quality and much improved playability. The draw bending is slightly different than on any of my Lee Oskar or Hohner diatonic. I like it and find it a lot easier! I would say it is down to the air-tight construction making bending, overblows and overdraws much easier than on most other diatonics I have. It has a nice bright sound but not too bright and I’m finding the single notes play very nicely in tune. The chord playing is also smooth and full with great intonation.

Straight out of the box I noticed it has a lowered reed gapping which no doubt helps with overblows and overdraws. However, if you aren’t an overblow player, it might be worth raising the reed gaps slightly to avoid notes sticking when attacked quickly. This is very easy to do as it has screws, unlike the commonly used nails to attach the reedplates.

Now I’m of to learn ‘Love Me Tender’.
cheers for the review, must pick one of these beauties up soon (by the way, what's different about how it draw bends?)
 

losaavedra

Member
Messages
153
Locality
Rojales, Spain
Good heads up on the Suzuki. I checked my harp collection and it seems I sorted them out into the ones that can do bends and those that can't. The 'goers' are currently 3 Hohner Blues Harps (C for G blues, A for E and Ab for Eb), a Hohner Pro Harp (A for E) and a Hohner Big River Harp (D for A but not my favourite key for harp). The rest of my collection are real cheapos that don't bend at all, mostly from China and one from Lidl that although it appears very well-constructed just doesn't do the biz. There's something on the net about taking harps apart and messing with the reeds to improve the playability but I've mislaid the link. Currently my shopping list includes an F#/Gb of some kind to support my 'other' keyboard key of C#. It's 'dem black notes I love ... my keyboards could almost do without the white ones!

Those of you in this thread may be interested in the following link to John Walden's site:

http://www.johnwalden.com/

There are links on his homepage to You Tube contributions, etc.

John & I did several things together (studio stuff & gigs) in the 60s when he was still in the UK. He's in the Philippines now. He's one of the best harp players I've come across.

Paul, thanks for the link to Sonny Boy. He was in the UK in the 60s, with the Yardbirds (Clapton's early days) as backing band. I used to go see them every Saturday in a pub in Croydon, also caught the Sonny Boy / Yardbirds recording night at the Craw Daddy in Richmond. What a night!

Oh ... I also have the same question as Jules w.r.t draw bends on the Suze(!) and ... just to show my ignorance ... what's an 'overblow' and/or what does it do? I spend an awful lot of time sucking the things (for blues - occasionally remembering to breath out) but my blows are mostly trills!!!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Not sure on the draw bends, but an overblow is literally that - carefully blow a note harder to get the next one up. Necessary on a diatonic, cos there are some missing notes that you sometimes need.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
3,802
Locality
brighton by the sea
Not sure on the draw bends, but an overblow is literally that - carefully blow a note harder to get the next one up. Necessary on a diatonic, cos there are some missing notes that you sometimes need.

and only works on the high notes...
 
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