How would you tune this Starter or EasyPlay harp?

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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IaNerd
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Location: Iowa, USA

How would you tune this Starter or EasyPlay harp?

Post by IaNerd » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:25 pm

BASIC IDEA:

THIS IS NOT A REAL THING!
THIS IS NOT A REAL THING!
THIS IS NOT A REAL THING!
THIS IS NOT A REAL THING!

It is a digital representation of a fantasy of a real thing!

In my mind it would be full-length (i.e. same as a 10-holer).

Anyway, how would you tune it for beginners, klutzes or very occasional/casual players?

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Brendan
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Re: How would you tune this Starter or EasyPlay harp?

Post by Brendan » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:20 am

With such a small number of holes I'd want to maximise the range whilst keeping the scale simple for beginners, plus giving nice double-stop and chord intervals.

This pentatonic tuning ticks all those boxes. I've used it myself for a number of years, particularly on X-Reed harps, and recorded with it on my New Chinese Harmonica and Puff n' Saw albums.

It's actually the bottom end of Paddy Richter repeated. I call it Power-Pentatonic:

CD. EG. AB. CD. EG. AB

Here are the advantages:

Big range: two octaves in 6 holes
Small jumps for wide intervals
Tuning repeats in each octave, easy to learn
Even breath pattern, draw always above blow
All draw notes bend, very expressive
Two major pentatonic scales without bends (C & G)
Two major pentatonic scales w one bend (F & D)
Two minor pentatonic scales without bends (Am & Em)
Two minor pentatonic scales w one bend (Dm & Bm)
Harmonious double-stops, fifths and thirds

It would suit this basic 6-hole harmonica well, but also works nicely on single-reed diatonic or chromatics. On a slide harmonica I'd tune it to a Slide Diatonic, where the slider raises each note to the next in the scale. Since it repeats every 3 holes, here is one octave:

Slide out: CD. EG. AB.
Slider in: DE. GA. BC.

That gives more nice draw bends with slide in, as well as extra easy scales.

Simply raising each note a semitone gives nearly full chromatic ability with slide action, just one bend required to get all 12 notes:

Slide out: C D... E G... A B.
Slide in: C#D#. FG#. A#C

You could get full slide chromaticism by combining slide-up and slide-down tuning to omit the doubled C and get the F#:

Slide out: C D... E G... A B.
Slide in: C#D#. FF#. G#A#

For X-Reed harps I tune so the bends drop to the next note of the scale. Here it is in action on X-Reed harps:

First track blow/draw Power-Pentatonic:

KANGDING LOVE SONG
https://youtu.be/rjlIZLiFETg

(Most of the remaining tracks on this album are in all-draw Power-Pentatonic, an alt tuning for my AsiaBend).

Another blow/draw Power-Pentatonic X-Reed track:

CUMBERLAND GAP
https://youtu.be/wmYC2cO8n8s

Apologies, I've kind of extrapolated from the initial topic here! Interested to see what other options folks come up with for a 6-hole harp.

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