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Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:00 am
Please forgive me if I'm missing something here, Brendan, but it seems that only harmonicas left on your website are the Asiabends. I was looking for a Chromabender but it comes up as out of stock, and now I see some people suggesting it has been discontinued. Is this true? And what of your other innovative versions? Have they been discontinued too? If so, do you mind if I ask why? The Chromabender, in particular, sounded perfect for the sort of thing I've been looking for.
I really like the idea of the Asiabend (and especially the absence of valves), but I'm not too keen on the "draw only" idea. Is there any chance you might develop something like this that works on both draw and blow?
Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:11 pm
The Asiabend is great. You will get used to the all draw faster than you think. It just takes a different kind of breath regulation. There is some discussion deeper in this board on them.
I missed the ball also on Chromabenders, unfortunately. I probably would have picked up a set if I was paying attention when they first came out. I recently picked up a used C on a trade and only learned over the weekend that it is really a great harp.
Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:14 pm
Thanks for your input, Sachlaw. I have no doubt that the Asiabend is great; it's just not quite what I am looking for.
I guess the real point of my post, though, was that I don't understand why a perfectly good line of harmonicas should be discontinued, especially when there don't seem to be any real alternatives to them available out there.
Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:29 am
The ChromaBender was discontinued due to problems with the maker, Hering. They have been taken over by new management and communication, always difficult, became too tiresome to deal with. Eventually the hassle factor outweighed everything else and it was simply easier to cease dealing with the company any further. Sadly I am not the only one to have reached that point over the years.
However the concept of the ChromBender, an X-Reed Solo tuned harmonica with 3 reeds per chamber, is not dead. If you really want one, there are various ways to do it:
1. Make your own. If you understand the X-Reed principle and can tune reeds, you can make one from a standard chromatic with an old-style mouthpiece, like the Hohner 270.
2. Pay someone to do the job. If you don't have the skills, pay a customiser to do it for you.
3. Buy it from Seydel. Their Configurator allows you to input alternate tunings, which will allow the ChromaBender reed layout to be made, in many keys. Their Deluxe model chrom has the right kind of mouthpiece. You will need to set the reed gaps but the tuning will be done by Seydel.
4. Wait for my new 10-hole UniBender, coming very soon. This is a quad-reed X-Reed harmonica using two diatonics behind a single mouthpiece. It can be tuned in Solo tuning. You can see/hear it in the last part of this video:
I hope that helps. How do those options sound?
Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:22 pm
Thanks for the comprehensive response, Brendan.
Sorry to hear about your issues wth Hering, but I know what it's like when structures change and communication channels break down. Frustrating. You didn't consider having Easttop make them for you?
Regarding the options you offered, I think the idea of waiting for the Unibender might suit me best, particularly if it comes in solo tuning (more my style). When do you expect these to be available? I don't have the confidence, the dexterity or the eyesight to attempt the kinds of mods you speak of.
Incidentally, I realise you're living in the UK now (and have been for a long time), but I wonder if you might still be in touch with the scene over here and have any suggestions as to a customiser/technician in New Zealand these days - preferably in the Wellington region?
Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:26 pm
Hi Simon, the UniBender will be the last of the TwinDiatonics to be released, I still need to test it a bit more, But within two weeks it should be ready to release. It could be configured in Solo tuning from Seydel.
To be honest I don't have up-to-date knowledge of the NZ harmonica scene.
There is this site run by a guy called Greg from NZ, who used to do some tech work. Lots of info there; I suggest contact him:
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:31 am
Thanks again for all your help, Brendan!
Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:11 pm
I just finished making my own chromabender.
It was a bit of work, but was not as hard as I expected.
I’ve even started another! Well, actually I’m going back to my first attempt.
The one I finished is in C, made from 270 reedplates. C6 tuning.
It’s fun. I haven’t really played it yet but just finished it today after work. The glue on the windsavers is drying now.
My next one will be from an old Koch harp. Paddy Richter tuned, and maybe I’ll set it to bend down to the next note in the scale instead.
Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:54 pm
I’m having trouble with some of the bends, I did not valve the x reed plate at all. All reeds on that plate are lightly embossed, flat gap, and are 2 semitones below the corresponding active reed.
Do you think half valving the x reed plate would help? Or would that defeat too much of the reed interaction?
Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:01 am
Well done on making it!
Not sure why you're having trouble with the bends (I presume you mean the new blow bends mostly?). Maybe it's just a matter of practice, since you won't be used to blow bends in the lower range I assume. But if the harp is airtight and gaps are god they should kick in easily.
You don't want to put any valves in that will interfere with the airflow between active red and x-reed. Assuming you put your x-reeds on the bottom reedplate (as with the ChromaBender), and it's in Solo tuning, you should not put on any inside valves holes 1-3 or an outside valve on hole 4 (or the eequivalent notes in the top octave).
However, you would benefit from OverValves. These are valves that go above the reed itself. I put them on my original 1989 prototype, you can see them here:
http://www.brendan-power.com/harpgeeks. ... _hole_harp
This was in Richter tuning BTW. I call these housings OverValve Plates, and used them on the Suzuki SUB-30 custom X-Reed harps. Here's a video explaining:
For Solo, you'd have three of these holes 1-3 and one on the inside hole 4 and equivalent in higher octaves. In holes 1-3, these stop your air from coming in the x-reed slot when you draw, so they give better response on your draws and draw bends; same for the blow OVP on hole 4.
The ChromaBender didn't have these but we had them in the pipeline. Would definitely include them on a future model, along with a slim comb as on my 1989 model.