The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

A space for players interested in my specialist harmonicas, alternate tunings, instructional material, recordings etc to ask questions and share information, experiences, videos etc.
jazmaan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by jazmaan » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:03 pm

My first Switch Harp demo - "Blues in Hoss Flat" played on two Melody Maker harps - one in Ab, the other in A.

https://youtu.be/7sULRSPsv4c

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Brendan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by Brendan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:53 am

Good to see you're enjoying your Switch-Harp David. I notice you use your index finger for the slide. Have you tried cupping like a normal harp and using your thumb? I find it's good for hand wah effects and getting that close cupped sound playing with a mic.

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Brendan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by Brendan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:00 am

Just read your earlier review David - thanks! The moving mouthpiece/slide does take a bit of getting used to but I find it comes quite quickly after a bit of playing. Sounds like that's happening for you.

Interesting comparison with the X-Reed SUB30. I appreciate your support over the years for my experimental harmonicas :-)

jazmaan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by jazmaan » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:59 pm

Ok, a week or two later and I'm no longer complaining about "lip friction"! It just took me a little longer than anticipated to adjust but now I'm fine with the movable mouthpiece. In fact I've even found a comfortable one handed grip for this beast that still allows me full slide motion.

Any other quibbles I have with the switch harp mostly pertain to my own choice of tunings, which I'm still mostly happy with. Every different tuning comes with its own set of pluses and minuses and that's true whether you're playing a traditional chromatic, a traditional diatonic or a switch harp.

The tuning I've started with is "Melody Maker". I chose it because I wanted some bluesy deep bends and I also like to have a few nice chords available when I play, especially a tonic chord as home base. To get bluesy bends and nice chords I had to sacrifice a bit of chromaticity.

Although the Melody Maker Switch Harp is completely chromatic, there is one note in the lower register, the 4th of the scale that starts with 1 blow, that is only available as a deep 2 draw bend. The middle and upper registers are completely chromatic without bends. But that 2 hole deep draw bend can be a bit of a bump in an otherwise smooth road. You can work around that bump by shifting things to a higher register or to other keys that don't rely much on that note.

The plus side is that my Switch Harp can "switch" between sounding pretty and sounding bluesy! Isn't that the Holy Grail for harp players? Ok, maybe there are some purist chromatic players who disdain those bluesy bends, but I'm not one of those!

That 2 draw bend notwithstanding, there are some very nice qualities to the Melody Maker tuning and I don't regret picking it as a starter. But if $$$ weren't an issue, I'd love to try some other tunings as well and I'd certainly like to hear from anyone who's already got a custom tuned Switch Harp. I know Mitch is using a Richter variant. Some of you who play only Solo tuned chromatic might want to try a Solo tuned Switch Harp, especially with Lucky 13's. In that regard I'd be very curious to hear if you prefer the Switch Harp to a half-valved Chromatic.

There's a LOT to like about the Switch Harp. I'd say everyone should try it - except that implies that just "trying" one for a few minutes will give you an accurate impression of its potential, and that's unlikely. I'd say everyone should try one for at least a few weeks!

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Brendan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by Brendan » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:30 pm

David: If your two Melody Maker harps are a semitone apart you have the deep draw bend on hole 2 slide-out as a slide-in blow note on hole 2.

On a C harp that would be the F note.

Glad you're liking it overall :-)

jazmaan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by jazmaan » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:16 pm

You're rignt Brendan - its the flat 5 (relative to 1 blow) that's only available as either a deep draw bend on hole 2 slide in, or a "in-between" draw bend on hole 2 slide out.

CrawfordEs
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by CrawfordEs » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:29 pm

You sound Great!
I really like my switch harp.
Mine is a basically a pair of half- Valved Paddy Richter's. I haven’t had as much time to play or experiment with it as I would have liked but it is a blast so far. The moving mouthpiece feels odd and unwieldy for about 20 minutes, and then it is no problem at all and feels natural. I can play fully chromatically with the button and bends, and can color every note with blow or draw bends or the slide. It’s a blast. I will probably be retuning some more reedplates so I can make other combinations. It’s awesome. You could build a case to hold a set of comb/ cover combinations and be ready to switch out in moments.

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Brendan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by Brendan » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:01 am

Glad you're liking your version too Crawford :-)

David: ah, you mean the F# on a C harp.

In Richter you would have two G# slide notes and could conceivably tune one down to F#, but it has to be a bend in Melody Maker tuning. However as you say you can get the F# as a shallow bend slide-out or a deep bend slide-in. Maybe one of those is easier.

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Brendan
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Re: The MiniChrom / SwitchHarp is Released

Post by Brendan » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:12 am

One other possibility, a bit over the top maybe:

There is a doubled C in hole 3 with draw slide-in. You could detune it to A#, detune the current blow 3 slide-in A# to G#, and detune the current hole 2 slide-in G# to F#.

However it would alter the slider pattern in those holes, and you'd lose a bend on hole 2.

Or leave hole 2 alone, detune the draw slide-in C in hole 3 to A# and detune the A# slide- in hole 3 blow to F#...

Probably not worth it, better to master the bend :-)

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