Left hand harmonicas?

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triona
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Left hand harmonicas?

Post by triona » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:27 am

Since this is off topic where it comes from, and since the theme might be interesting for the one or the other to discuss, here is the citation of a new user:

crimsonchrome wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:32 pm
hello brendan and everyone...hope this my first post doesnt make me seem like a know-it-all. im seeking to clarify things.i have read with great amusement on a forum dated 2017 that brendan was selling to few left handed combs. others may disagree but a harmonica is made to be held in the left hand.....low notes to the left.........therefore it is a left handed instrumant....i have seen on this forum and others about players asked how they as lefthanders...adapted to the instrument....well im sure there are numerous exceptions.but by and large if you are playing a harmonica held in your left hand...and are lefthanded.....you are not having to adapt to anything......the proper way no offence is to hold the harp in your left...hand...if you are lefthanded you arent ....with exceptions.....adapting to anything...you are delighted that you match the instrument! more clarification: allow me an ilustration to make my next point....if you salute someone right handed..its called....a right handed salute....if you shake hands right handed its called......righthanded handshake....then why is it that if i place the harmonica in my right hand ....upside down or not....why is this called LEFT HANDED playing?....why do some harmonicas books tell the lefty to reverse hands and play the harp in their right hand? why reverse someone who already has lefthand coordination down pat...because they are left handed?....finally with much admiration and respect to the engineering and playing genius of brendan....maybe the sales of the so called lefthanded combs...werent as expected because most but not all lefthanded ....lefthand playing chromatic players will will want the slider button on the right side of the harp.....so they can help cup/control/ etc with their right because most but not all lefthanders ..playing left handed will be holding in their left....having the slider button on the left while holding in your left is cumbersome...and requiers adaptation where none is needed .....most but not all leftys have the slider button on the right..."right" where they want it.....so to be clear if harp is in your left you are playing lefthanded.....if its in your right hand you are playing.....wait for it....right handed so the combs on this site.....and others as well as reversible silder buttons.....should be marketed as reversible slider buttons....not left handed for the reasons stated above.......thanks for letting a lefty explain that harps are already left handed and to call them any thing else is not only confusing.but incorrect

My opinion and my experiences:

1. Concerning the holding of a harmonica and cupping, hand wahwah and similar hand technics it is fully irrelevant, if one is using the right hand or left hand, respectively the handedness of the player. As well it is fully irrelevant, if one is playing a harmonica with the low tones to the left and the high tones to the right - as it is done and taught usually, or if one is doing just the other way round.

It is merely a matter of convention and of beeing used to. Usually anyone is playing a harmonica in the way of having done it playing the first time and then having learned it further on and has got used to. Musically and technically that does not make any difference.

Following this there is no need of any "left hand instrument" at all, concerning any harmonica type without a slide.


2. The only thing where handedness is affecting the use of a harmonica is the slide. Concerning the occasional use of a slide on a normal chromatic when an accidental note (# or b) is required, it does not really matter, whether the right or left hand might be used - no matter which one is the "main" hand of the player.

Anyway, Seydel is offering their chromatics with left hand slide unit optionally, by their harp configurator - for just a few bucks more:
https://www.seydel1847.de/epages/Seydel ... rrency=EUR

Image


Severe issues first might come, when using the slide lively and very often, especially when using it to create more or less fast rhythmic patterns, lively passages of trills and alike, constantly hammered throughout longer tunes, fast dance music, reels and jigs, uneven beat etc. For me as a right handed player it would be quite difficult to play a slide harmonica in my style and my usual speed with the "wrong" hand.

Maybe these isues are less when a left hander has got used to handle the slide properly with the "wrong" hand (i.e. the right hand) from the scratch. That is what I presume the most left handers are doing since left hand slide harmonicas are not the common default. (And at least they are more expensive, if available or even known at all.) Left handers might correct me in case of error. But crimsonchrome's (a left hander's) post seems to confirm this too.

It is the same when one has got used to play any harmonica "the other way round" (low = right, high = left) and therefore is handling the slide with the left hand from the beginning. Playing a harmonica the default way or otherwise does not depend on the handedness of the player, but does matter right handed players as well, when they are used to play the harmonica "the other way round".


3. The use of a harmonica with double slide - as e.g. the Hohner Chordomonica II - will enforce those issues. Ergonomically it is nearly impossible to handle the double slide properly with the left hand just by turning around the instrument (see pictures). And the double slide requires more sophisticated movements of the fingers than a common single slide. It feels more than writing than just pressing any odd button.

Image

above: original version of Chordomonica II by Cham Ber Huang, as produced by Hohner in the 1960-es until maybe the end of the 80-es, discontinued since long

below and to the right: new version of Chordomonica II, custom made by Bernd Kiefer, still available on special request


Image

detail double slide, new version

Image

above: original version of Chordomonica II, by Hohner, discontinued
below: new version of Chordomonica II by Bernd Kiefer



And sorry, there are no Chordomonicas for left handers, at least as far as I know. :( But since they are custom made anyway, maybe it is possible to get one built on request. The harmonica is based on a default Hohner 270 with special tuning and with a hand made and custom taylored slide unit. The slides are CNC lasered (or CNC water eroded maybe) from special alloy, individually or in small series. Btw Hohner does not have any spareparts nor even the tools for the manufacturing of the discontinued old version of the double slide unit any more.


dear greetings
triona
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

crimsonchrome
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Location: ohio usa

Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by crimsonchrome » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:42 pm

triona is quite right in the claim that there is no true "handedness" in the design of harmonicas ....in the sense that you can play it by holding it in either hand....right side up or upside down...........it doesnt matter which hand its in to operate and make music.....but it is left handed in the sense that many teaching books tell you to hold it in your left hand......this is the accepted and most logical starting place until you decide to do otherwise much like playing a guitar your usual starting point is playing it right handed.......before getting used to it that way as i have.....by flipping it upside down or restringing the order of the strings.....but then you have another option called a left handed guitar.........therefore my main point was calling chromatic harmonicas with the slider button moved to the left is not for "left handed players" because...if we go with your assertion triona....and one would be wise to do so...there is no "handedness" to harmonicas then calling a design of them for left handed players .....or right handed is incorrect......so why does seydel call their left side slider buttons "for left handed players"?...the proper name should be alternate side slider button or left SIDE slider button.....my point was that the harmonica is undeniably NOT right handed as brendan says somewhere on this site "the conventional right handed chromatic".....and seydel who i love.....is incorrect and offensive to me when they call a left sided slider button for "left handed players" most if not all left handed people will play the harp in their left hand as most instructors say ....in the case of a chromatic they want the slider on the right side where it natually is...with exceptions of course....also telling a lefty to reverse as some intructions say is crazy......give me an example of a musical intrument that is made to be more easily played right handed...yet the right handed player is told to reverse to the left hand?...there likely arent many....if any....so there is a big difference between teaching someone "you may use either hand and anyside up that is comfortable" then telling the lefty to start by reversing away from the hand that has the most coodination for that person.......btw this post and my prior one are not off topic.......the heading reads ..in part that is......."alternative harmonicas forum"......well a harmonica with the slider is mentioned....an alternative design of harmonica

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triona
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Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by triona » Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:25 pm

crimsonchrome wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:42 pm
..btw this post and my prior one are not off topic.......the heading reads ..in part that is......."alternative harmonicas forum"......well a harmonica with the slider is mentioned....an alternative design of harmonica

... btw: It was not meant that the topic itself were off topic to the forum. It only was meant that the topic was off topic within the very thread where it had been posted. Therefore I created a new thread. It is because it would interfere the discussion about alternative tunings of Power Cromatic harmonicas. And nobody interested in the topic of "left hand harmonicas or not" would search and find it in the other thread either. It has earned a topic of itself. Sorry in case of misunderstanding. No punch intended.

... btw 2nd: If you like you can introduce yourself here:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=12
So we know a little bit better to whom we are talking.
But only if you like, and if you want to stay here a little bit longer. There is no obligation to do.

... btw 3rd: The word "handedness" does not need the " ". It is an officially valid term in neurology which I found in the dictionary looking up a proper translation for the German technical term "Händigkeit". ;)


dear greetings
triona
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

crimsonchrome
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Location: ohio usa

Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by crimsonchrome » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:30 pm

no offense taken triona.....you seem very smart ....maybe you are a teacher or professor..... you seem so ....meant as a compliment....thanks for making the new subject line.......i look forward to learning from you and everyone here.... guten tag

EdvinW
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Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by EdvinW » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:18 pm

I do believe the hand you choose to hold the harmonica makes a difference. I do not believe some ways are wrong and others are right.
triona wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:27 am
1. Concerning the holding of a harmonica and cupping, hand wahwah and similar hand technics it is fully irrelevant, if one is using the right hand or left hand, respectively the handedness of the player. As well it is fully irrelevant, if one is playing a harmonica with the low tones to the left and the high tones to the right - as it is done and taught usually, or if one is doing just the other way round.

It is merely a matter of convention and of beeing used to. Usually anyone is playing a harmonica in the way of having done it playing the first time and then having learned it further on and has got used to. Musically and technically that does not make any difference.

Following this there is no need of any "left hand instrument" at all, concerning any harmonica type without a slide.

I learned to play the diatonic harmonica gripping it with my right hand, cupping it with my left, and played like this for many years. After someone remarked on my curious grip I started to experiment with the "correct" way of holding it, and found that I got different acoustics for the lowest when they where closest to the cupping hand. I was reluctant to switch at first as I couldn't at all reach the same level of speed and accuracy with the new grip, and for a while I thought I'd just try to make the most out of the more open sound. I started to use the new grip at times though, just to practice it, and over the course of a year or two I became as fluent with the new grip as I'd been with the old. Now I mostly use the "correct" grip, but switch back occasionally to get a slightly different sound or very rarely when I play tunes from long ago that feel more at home that way.

I'm happy to know both ways and I don't think of them as "wrong" or "right". They have slightly different sounds, and a good player will sound good with either style.
triona wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:27 am
2. The only thing where handedness is affecting the use of a harmonica is the slide. Concerning the occasional use of a slide on a normal chromatic when an accidental note (# or b) is required, it does not really matter, whether the right or left hand might be used - no matter which one is the "main" hand of the player.

Anyway, Seydel is offering their chromatics with left hand slide unit optionally, by their harp configurator - for just a few bucks more:
https://www.seydel1847.de/epages/Seydel ... rrency=EUR

Image


Severe issues first might come, when using the slide lively and very often, especially when using it to create more or less fast rhythmic patterns, lively passages of trills and alike, constantly hammered throughout longer tunes, fast dance music, reels and jigs, uneven beat etc. For me as a right handed player it would be quite difficult to play a slide harmonica in my style and my usual speed with the "wrong" hand.

Maybe these isues are less when a left hander has gbut ot used to handle the slide properly with the "wrong" hand (i.e. the right hand) from the scratch. That is what I presume the most left handers are doing since left hand slide harmonicas are not the common default. (And at least they are more expensive, if available or even known at all.) Left handers might correct me in case of error. But crimsonchrome's (a left hander's) post seems to confirm this too.

It is the same when one has got used to play any harmonica "the other way round" (low = right, high = left) and therefore is handling the slide with the left hand from the beginning. Playing a harmonica the default way or otherwise does not depend on the handedness of the player, but does matter right handed players as well, when they are used to play the harmonica "the other way round".
It might be that it's easier to learn to work the slide with your dominant hand, but once learned I doubt it makes much difference. Most string instrument players are right handed, but still use their left hand for very complex tasks. There are also many examples of very skilled players of stringed instruments who use their dominant hand for fingering the strings and pluck with their non-dominant hand, contrary to the norm. I would be very interested if someone could produce any convincing evidence either way is better than the other.

I suppose the name "left handed harmonica" stems from the fact that most players are right handed, and most players have the slide to the right. If I had two identical chromatic harmonicas, but with the slides on opposite sides, and a total beginner in need of an instrument, I might choose to give her the one with the slide on the side of their dominant hand, but I'm not sure.

Something that hits me just now is that having the slide to the left might actually be different, as this forces the player to hold the harmonica with the right hand, thus leaving the left hand free to cup the low notes in a different way than with the traditional grip. So the question is: Is cupping better with the slide placed on the side of the low notes or on the side of the high notes? This might be worth some investigations... :)
Edvin Wedin

crimsonchrome
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Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by crimsonchrome » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:52 am

hello edvin i agree with your way of thinking.....i do think as you do that it could be very useful to have someone try a chromatic harmonica with the slider button on the left.......the player may discover they have good coordination in there non dominant hand....i think you are on to an interesting way of looking at this.......btw i didnt mean to infer that there is a wrong or right way to hold the harmonica in whichever hand.....rather i was trying to correct what people identify as left-handed playing....for clarity and so some beginner doesnt start on their harmonica learning journey confused about which way to hold...which hand to hold it in......i am only seeking to correctly label what left and right hand playing is......its not what hand is the dominant hand of the player but what hand they PLAY the harmonica in.....example: im left handed dominant and i play with the harmonica holding it in my left hand so im both left handed person and left handed player..as opposed to my bass guitar playing in which im still a left handed person but i play it the way a right handed person does by string striking with my right hand and fretting notes with my left..........i just got irritated with people in books....you tube....this forum.....and others calling people playing harmonica with their left hand.....calling them right handed playing and vice versa.......for another example ...both the late william clarke and carey bell held the harmonica in their right hand......this makes them right-handed players irrellevant of that persons actual dominant hand is....left or right.......im just big on truth in labeling i guess lol.....i look forward to your interesting response

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triona
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Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by triona » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:50 pm

Since the forum system does not like some of my posts, I posted it as a link to a PDF eventually. Click at the symbol to enlarge.


dear greetings
triona
Last edited by triona on Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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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triona
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Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by triona » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:46 am

Image
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

EdvinW
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Location: Sweden

Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by EdvinW » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:15 am

I just realised we might be making this more complicated than it needs to be.

We use the terms 'right handed' and 'left handed' to refer to people with different dominant hands, but when applied to instruments and other tools the terms usually refer to the hand that the instrument is intended to be used with. Left handed scissors are scissors intended to be handled with the left hand, regardless of which hand the user normally prefers to use; it's first and foremost a tool for a certain hand and not a tool for a certain group of people. I am right handed, but I own a pair of left-handed scissors that I use on the rare occasion I need to cut something using my left hand. A right handed chromatic harmonica has the slide on the right side, to be operated by the right hand. A left handed chromatic harmonica is operated with the left hand. The holding of the harmonica is, in this context, considered a task that is secondary in importance to the operation of the slide.

Now the question arises: Is a "left handed player" a player who plays with his or her left hand or a player whose dominant hand is on the left? I don't think there is a fixed answer to t his question, but that it all depends on which context we're in. I do think, however, that the first interpretation is the most useful one in most circumstances. With the current norms for building harmonicas, there are thus many who I would call left-handed people, but right-handed harmonica players.

Does this sound reasonable or do I jump to conclusions here? Is the term "left-handed harmonica" still offensive?
Edvin Wedin

crimsonchrome
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Re: Left hand harmonicas?

Post by crimsonchrome » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:34 pm

the term ...lefthanded harmonica is not offensive to me or likely others in the context you and i are using. got a harmonica in the mail yesterday.the instructions with it says to hold it in my left hand....it makes no mention of what i should do if im left or right handed. so according to your wise interpretation....the harmonica is left handed because it is made.....intended to be played..left handed .so you are correct in the "intended use" way of thinking......i dont think there is any difference then if the harmonica is diatonic or chromatic...holding either in my left hand while cupping/doing wah wahs etc in my right....so hitting the slider with my right thumb or index finger feels natural to me....and likely to MOST natural lefties....i have at times flipped over my chromatic upside down to see if that was comfortable.......pressing button with my left thumb or index finger......it felt very odd no matter which hand it was in...the worst was holding in my left while trying to tap the button with my holding hand.....so the annoying thing is some harp makers with reversible slider buttons are quite incorrect when they call left side slider buttons "for left handed players"....im betting by huge majority naturally lefthanded people will first...play in their left hand and second ...want the slider button on the right......where it already is...i think and absolutley no offense to you or any right handers but right handers...being the majority of the population.....and nearly all products manufactured....are either intentionally right handed or not...are backwards to a lefty.......finally there is something TAUGHT to be played left handed...according to books and the instructions that come with the harmonicas.....right handed players are used to watching their lefthand friends adapt and or reverse...to most things....when rightys hear that something is intended for use in their lefthand their inclination is to do what? REVERSE HANDS.this is wrong leftys need not reverse anything.......the harmonica in the left hand is in the dominant hand in my case so why would i reverse it to my right hand other than because its more comfotable......being lefthanded i think i ought to know what lefthanded is not a righty....what about you? do you play with the harp in your right since you are right handed? what side do you want the slider on? is their any validity in my opinion that left side slider buttons are of more use to right handed players than left?

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