An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

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!
EdvinW
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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by EdvinW » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:00 pm

I'll have another go at what could be done if we could invert the blow/draw notes in a single holes, i.e assuming the blow note and the draw note in a single hole could change place.

Spiral tuning has a lot of chords and is good and intuitive for melody playing. A disadvantage of the Spiral is that all chords only go upwards from their root, and thus get rather boring compared to the larger chords of Richter based tunings. Also, many chord progressions force you to make large jumps that make you sound like a beginner at a piano. One, or maybe two, invertable holes could fix both these issues!

Take a look at this combination of Spiral and PC with notes in hole 3 interchangeable:

Code: Select all

            ⇅          (⇅?)
Blow: D  F# A  C# E  G  A  C  E  G
Draw: E  G  B  D  F# A  B  D  F# A
Intended to play in D or Bm, the bottom end has all the common chords with notes from this scale, while the top prioritise useful bends. When the button is pressed, there is a nice 2nd-position-feel major chord around the hole-4 D, and the Bm blow double stop in holes 2 and 3 would make the key of Bm feel more rooted than it typically does on a Spiral. Releasing the button gives you back the low non-inverted chords D, Em, F#m, G, A and Bm.

IF it is not much harder to make two holes than one, you could include hole 7 as well to gain an Em and half a G, and basically make the draw notes one long D chord. That's just *if* though. Just the one hole would remove many of the disadvantages of the Spiral.

The range of this harp would let it play most fiddle tunes, with the typical normal range of a trad fiddler being a little over two octaves from a G to a B. The only major drawback I can see that's left from the Spiral is the lack of a proper bend in hole 4.
Last edited by EdvinW on Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brendan
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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by Brendan » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:48 pm

Thanks for the charts Edvin. You are really good at coming up with useful tuning schemes for any harmonica configuration :)

However, I wonder if we're talking at cross purposes? You talk about dual-function reeds as if the reeds themselves can be played as blow or draw. I guess you imagine reeds with zero offset, such as are used in the Bawu and other Chinese flute-type instruments. If that's the case, you have misunderstood my meaning - I guess I was not clear about it.

In my design, the harmonica reeds are in pairs, and have normal offset/gaps. It's just the way that the air is directed to them that changes. It's easy to understand this concept with a stock diatonic harmonica. If you take the blow and draw reedplates and swap them around on the comb, the hitherto blow reeds will become draw reeds, and the draw reeds will become blow reeds. That's because the player's air is hitting them from the opposite side.

This is what's happening with my dual-action reed mechanism. Does that affect your concepts of the chord harmonica made from chromatic reedplates?

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triona
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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by triona » Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:23 pm

Brendan wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:48 pm
However, I wonder if we're talking at cross purposes? You talk about dual-function reeds as if the reeds themselves can be played as blow or draw. I guess you imagine reeds with zero offset, such as are used in the Bawu and other Chinese flute-type instruments. If that's the case, you have misunderstood my meaning - I guess I was not clear about it.
That is exactly what I thought of that it would be like too.
Therefore my wondering about how it could work and my open questions, especially about gapping and other constructional features.

Brendan wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:48 pm
In my design, the harmonica reeds are in pairs, and have normal offset/gaps. It's just the way that the air is directed to them that changes. It's easy to understand this concept with a stock diatonic harmonica. If you take the blow and draw reedplates and swap them around on the comb, the hitherto blow reeds will become draw reeds, and the draw reeds will become blow reeds. That's because the player's air is hitting them from the opposite side.

This is what's happening with my dual-action reed mechanism.
As I understand it right now: You switch the airflow mechanically from one conventional reedplate with blow reeds only to another conventional reedplate with draw reeds only? I.e. the second one is just like the first one, but turned the other way round?

Brendan wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:48 pm
... with a stock ... harmonica. If you take the blow and draw reedplates and swap them around on the comb, the hitherto blow reeds will become draw reeds, ... That's because the player's air is hitting them from the opposite side.
That is exactly what I have done with the lower reedplate in my diatonic Easttop Mini Bass. So I turned a blow only harmonica into a blow and draw harmonica. But I am not really satisfied with the new ergonomy yet.

Brendan wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:48 pm
This is what's happening with my dual-action reed mechanism. Does that affect your concepts of ...
My ideas are possibly affected by this at least. I must think about this newly.


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Brendan
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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by Brendan » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:58 pm

Hi Triona, all correct. Sorry, I guess I didn't explain it clearly to start with.

Edvin: I just did a draft design for a dual-action reed version using a typical chromatic comb and two reedplates. Aaarrghhhh!!!! So far it comes out mechanically very complicated, and quite bulky in size. Even if I could make it, I think it will not sound good.

Unless a Eureka Moment strikes to reduce its complexity, for the moment I think I could only get one of these harps made on a diatonic harmonica basis.

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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by EdvinW » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:20 pm

Brendan wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:48 pm
Thanks for the charts Edvin. You are really good at coming up with useful tuning schemes for any harmonica configuration :)
Thank you :)
However, I wonder if we're talking at cross purposes? You talk about dual-function reeds as if the reeds themselves can be played as blow or draw. I guess you imagine reeds with zero offset, such as are used in the Bawu and other Chinese flute-type instruments. If that's the case, you have misunderstood my meaning - I guess I was not clear about it.
I thought this when I wrote my first post.

My second post concerns the mechanism you describe now, but for a selective case where only some holes are affected.

In my third post I acknowledge that I probably misunderstood, and my second paragraph begins "For my system from the first post, I had in mind reeds that would respond to either a blow or a draw. I see now this is not what you meant". I then go on to clarify my first post and add some new charts, with the aim of showing how neat it would be IF the Bawu- or Sheng-type DA zero-offset reads would work.

My fourth post (which you seem to have missed) lays out a way to make use of the system as you describe it, provided it can be made selective to affect a single hole.
Brendan wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:58 pm
Edvin: I just did a draft design for a dual-action reed version using a typical chromatic comb and two reedplates. Aaarrghhhh!!!! So far it comes out mechanically very complicated, and quite bulky in size. Even if I could make it, I think it will not sound good.
That's a shame! I have been doodling on some designs for this and there seem to be some potential for badassity. They are a messy though, even by my standards, and I think I'll spare you as it doesn't seem to be working anyway..
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Brendan
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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by Brendan » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:29 pm

Hi Edvin,

Sorry if I didn't grasp exactly what you had in mind from previous posts. As far as the chromatic option for this dual-function reed idea goes, hopefully a simpler design will present itself and make it viable, so don't give up on that idea. If you want to send a diagram of what you envisage (here or by email) it will be easier to grasp than with words, and might spark an idea of how to make it in a practical way.

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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by Brendan » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:04 pm

Getting back to the diatonic-only Reverse-Action reed harmonica option, which is currently the one I can make fairly easily, so far these seem to be the best suggestions:

1. (EDVIN WEDIN) Make a selective version, to get new chords/double stops in certain places. Edvin suggested Paddy-Richter could benefit by giving you a draw version of the 3 blow note with the mechanism activated, offering an all-draw fifth interval with the unaltered draw 4 note. This would work for PowerBender also, on holes 5/6, and PowerChromatic.

2. (EDVIN WEDIN) Another version which could be selective, is to just make the top octave change breath when the RA selector is activated. This will make the breathing pattern the same as the rest of the harp (draw reed higher than blow).

3. (EDVIN WEDIN) Selective reverse-action reeds to improve the chords and bluesiness of Spiral Tuning.

4. (RANDY WEINSTEIN) Randy prefers blow to draw bends. He could have them as options wherever the draw bends occur.

I think that's about the extent of it to date... (if I've missed anything, let me know). Edvin has come up with some interesting ideas for selective Reverse-Action reed applications (thanks for your clever creative thinking, as always!), but none is important enough I think to justify the time involved in making a diatonic of considerably more complexity than a standard one, which will likely as a consequence play not quite as well. It might be interesting to make anyway, just for fun, but I'm quite busy with other stuff at the moment.

I'll put it on the back burner for now, hoping someone will come up with a game-changing application that blows us all away, and makes it imperative to get it made and tested immediately!

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Re: An Idea in Need of an Application - Suggestions?

Post by Lizzy » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:52 pm

Even if i have get used to more blow patterns i actually prefer draw patterns.
Ex. G Powerchromatic playing in Bm pentatonic have most of the notes in a draw pattern. I dont know all tunings, but to me, it seems that not that many tunings can be played with minor pentatonic scales with the majority of the notes on the draw side. There are combinations of blow/bend notes but rarely on multiply draw notes or even draw/ one bend combinations. Asiabend is one of course :) Besides that diminished and augmented tuning but those tunings require many double bends either vertical or horisontal.

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