Harmonicas with Modular Reedplates

A space for players interested in my specialist harmonicas, alternate tunings, instructional material, recordings etc to ask questions and share information, experiences, videos etc.
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triona
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Re: Harmonicas with Modular Reedplates

Post by triona » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:07 pm

EdvinW wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:19 am
A serious harp player who is not totally focused on a single genre should see the sense in owning at least one modular instrument. Just imagine going to a gig, knowing that in your bag sits precisely the harp that you need for every song!
But you should be aware, that just this application usually is covered by a chromatic harp. I don't want to discuss here the (mostly slight) differences in sound etc. But this fact seems to me to cut down the target group for the modular harp remarkably.


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

EdvinW
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Re: Harmonicas with Modular Reedplates

Post by EdvinW » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:05 pm

triona wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:07 pm
EdvinW wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:19 am
A serious harp player who is not totally focused on a single genre should see the sense in owning at least one modular instrument. Just imagine going to a gig, knowing that in your bag sits precisely the harp that you need for every song!
But you should be aware, that just this application usually is covered by a chromatic harp. I don't want to discuss here the (mostly slight) differences in sound etc. But this fact seems to me to cut down the target group for the modular harp remarkably.


dear greetings
triona
I didn't mean that you would be ready to change the harp on the spot, but that you could set it up before a gig, practice with it, and then keep it this way for as long as you need. If it turns out to be long, you might buy a harp with this tuning to save the work of reassembling the modular harp so often. In this way, I don't think a modular system would necessarily be that bad for business for a company like Seydel, as it could possibly make people more inclined to buy alternate tunings if they may try them first.

I am aware of chromatic harmonicas. They do have all the notes, but no chords to speak of. A modular harmonica would let you put together any feasible set of chords, choose which notes should be bendable, and so on. After all, people DO use diatonics in all sorts of tunings, and not everyone go to a chromatic whenever their Richter harp falls short.

I feel most at home in Paddy Richter, spiral tuning, harmonic minor and standard Richter, in that order. If I would buy 4*12=48 harps to cover all keys, I would have to be really certain that I choose a model that I will always be happy with. I would have to buy instruments that I would probably never use, to have them just in case.

For instance: At present, when I want to play a song in in a dorian key, I normally play it in third position on one of my Paddies, or maybe in first position on a Natural minor. (adding this tuning to the list, I now need 60 harmonicas, not including that in some keys I have more than one) Third position has the disadvantage that it has way less chords than fourth position (on a Paddy or standard Richter). The natural minor harp has the disadvantages that I need to buy twelve of them, and also use a different breathing pattern from what I am used to. Also, the natural minor has no parallel major chord, and no sub-dominant (no III and IV chord) in first position, and these are kinda useful.

If I could just get a Paddy-tuned harp and raise 5 draw one half step, it would still feel like my home tuning and I could use all the cords and techniques I am used to. Sure the two solutions suggested above work, but in many cases the result would not be as good. Similar arguments could be used for other modes and for songs with odd but important accidentals. Today I often compromise when faced with difficult songs, with the PowerBits I wouldn't have to.

I might be too optimistic here, but I think that there should be enough players who would pay the price of say five harmonicas, if it would spare them from buying a bunch of just-in-case harps that would probably see years between every use, and in addition would let them try out any new tuning that pops up. "Sure I have a spiral-tuned B harp!", "You say that this Irish tune I played in A mixolydian is too low for your vocal range, what if we raise it to C?", "This Wilde Rock tuning that Seydel are flashing on their front page, I wonder if this is something for me?"

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Brendan
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Re: Harmonicas with Modular Reedplates

Post by Brendan » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:39 am

Thanks for the ruminations on this topic people, interesting and helpful. I was away in India for a while and laid low with Giardiasis since I got back, but am recovering now and getting back to various projects - including this one.

I sent off some reedplates for slicing into strips by a couple of companies, which came back recently. They have done a nice job, and I'm now negotiating prices for larger batches. It's a stab in the dark, but if I can get a decent price I will go ahead with this project and see what happens. Will keep you updated on further developments.

CrawfordEs
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Re: Harmonicas with Modular Reedplates

Post by CrawfordEs » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:49 am

Are you also still considering doing something similar with accordion reeds?
I had a giardia today infection a couple years ago, not fun, I feel for you.
Get well soon. My energy dropped to around zero between the dehydration and the flagyl, but once my system was clean recovery was quick.

EdvinW
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Location: Sweden

Re: Harmonicas with Modular Reedplates

Post by EdvinW » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:49 pm

The problem of chamber lengths has been brought up.

Couldn't this be handled by using long default chambers, and filling the back of them with some modular piece? Sort of like the Power Plugs?

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Brendan
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Re: Harmonicas with Modular Reedplates

Post by Brendan » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:59 am

Yes, or Blue Tack could work.

However I'd be adopting a single lipped comb model of harmonica for the reedplates, so any custom comb alternatives would be up to the owner to get made.

I have prices in for slicing the reedplates and they are acceptable, so next step is to try a few brands/models to choose the best option. A bit more Rn'D before committing to the project, just to be sure I have everything sorted. Otherwise it will be an expensive folly!

Yes Crawford, I would not wish a Giardia infection on anyone. A very nasty little bug - thank goodness for antibiotics! If the warnings about their impending demise are true, we are in deep trouble...

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