I found I had to create an entirely new harmonica to achieve an authentic sound for Chinese and other Asian styles. I first used it on my album New Chinese Harmonica - you can hear clips from it here. I soon found the harmonica was great for playing Western melodies more expressively too, and started using it on my gigs. The album and live shows generated many requests for the harmonica itself, so here it is: the AsiaBend!
Bending on the AsiaBend is exactly the same type of interactive-reed draw bending as on diatonic 10-hole harps. The scale is similar to the middle octave of a diatonic, or Solo tuning on chromatic, with a 3 octave range. So it will be easy for both diatonic and chromatic players to adapt to. The layout is:
SLIDE OUT: C E
G C | C E
G C | C E
SLIDE IN: D F A B | D F A B | D F A B
These are draw notes only. The notes all bend down to the adjacent
scale note below with the exception of the G (bends down to E) and
the left-hand C (bends down to A). Blow notes don't sound in normal
playing but there are overblows on every hole, slide-in and out,
which give these notes: C#,D# - F,F# - G#,A# - C#,C (they
are repeatable in all octaves).
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" The AsiaBend is fabulous and I hope to learn a few good tunes on it. It's a lot more intuitive than I thought it would be. "
Steve Watne, USA (August 2016)
" I received the chromabender. It is a beautiful instrument and I love it...I am accustomed to bending and I am happily getting used to this instrument. "
Chris Harrison, USA (July 2016)
The ChromaBender harps arrived yesterday. I spent about an hour with them last night. Since I had arranged to take a long over-due day off work today I spent three hours working through some exercises and then played with friends on fiddle, whistle and guitar. Well I could go on for a while but the short of it is that this D may be the best harmonica I've ever touched. The G will need a little tweaking on the 3 and 4 draw so I've downloaded your videos to try that for myself. But this D is just amazing. I love playing whistles but this harp is going to get equal time.
Thanks brother. These are really special.
Michael Hawke, USA
" I have had the ChromaBender for a couple of days now. I really enjoy trying to work out new phrases. It's like learning to play a harmonica all over again (I'm a Diatonic player only, until now). The different tones and bending notes really makes playing this harp fun, and possibilities are endless. You got a lot more than just a normal chromatic. This is really going to be to good. My feeling is that it's going to be a seller. Can't wait for more keys to come out once you really get going. Thank You. "
" It arrived this morning and is FANTASTIC!
... I am mainly a chromatic player - a pale imitation of Toots and Gregoire!! The Chromabender is the most exciting harp I have played for ages. And it is beautifully made and weighted.
All the best. "
" Hi Brendan I received the chromabender today . I love it! As soon as I opened the case I played samba pa ti by Carlos Santana then tried some simple blues and pentatonic scales and all the notes are here. This harp and your other innovations are fantastic additions to a world ruled by purists and technical elitists.Please continue to breathe new life into the harmonica.I hope more people will support the advancement of your x-reed tech and usher in the new age of incredible out of the box harps. "
" The ChromaBender is a wonderful instrument. I enjoy playing it.
To be a little more specific, after playing the ChromaBender over the last week I can say, historically, it is the first real attempt to address the challenges of chromatic harmonicas. There are no uncontrolled air leaks making bends so much easier and the full spectrum of notes are playable especially at the high end.
It's the first harmonica (both diatonic or chromatic) I thoroughly enjoy playing without complaint. "
Bryan Ferguson (owner of three ChomaBenders!)
" Letting you know the ChromaBender has just arrived. First impression is how little air is required to sound all the notes. The reed tolerances are very tight indeed, as mentioned on your web site. Thanks for another wonderful creation to join my arsenal of three SUB30 Ultrabends and one PowerBender! "
" Cher Brendan;
J'ai bien reçu votre nouvelle merveille "ChromaBender" ce matin et je suis enchanté vraiment par la qualité de vos réalisations;je vous remercie encore une fois du fond du coeur.
C'est une réussite!excellentes continuation!
(I received your new wonder the "Chromabender" this morning, and I am truly delighted with the quality of your accomplishments; Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. It is a success! Keep up the good work!)