rusty gate syndrome

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rusty gate syndrome

Postby rookie » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:26 pm

OK, second question - one of the tunes I was playing last night was completely between 6 and 9 holes, the first time I've ever done that. In fact, it's not that often I've played anything above the 6 outside of scales.
But man, it sounded terrible. Possibly some of it was due to the excess moisture mentioned earlier, but it was squeaky, tuneless and basically just really hard to play smoothly - ie very stop start.
Actually, a thought's just occurred to me writing that - would it be better to use tongueblocking for these notes rather than puckering?
Any suggestions gratefully acted upon...
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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby barbequebob » Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm

In the top register, it's easier to get the blow note bends with a pucker than a tongue block, but it CAN be done that way too until the key harp you use gets beyond a Bb, and then the TB bends are harder this way. There are no draw note bends (overblows/overdraws are different), and your main problem here is breath control, which you need to take considerably more time to develop PROPERLY, because your entire approach say loud and clear that you play with an extremely excessive amount of breath force (AKA playing them way too damned hard all the time). Once you get some real breath control happening, your playing will be much better, smoother, have considerably better tone, and you will have more agility overall. This is something that I absolutely CANNOT EVER overstress to you.
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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby rookie » Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:13 pm

To be honest, and we've discussed this before, I really don't even wanna think about bending with TB at the moment, having worked so hard to get it via puckering. And the tune I was playing doesn't even involve blow bends, so that's not an issue either.
Actually that reminds me - hope this isn't a grandmother/eggsucking interface scenario, but the other day I discovered a great way of checking my bending technique. I've just started 'playing' guitar so have bought an electronic tuner, so when I wasn't sure if I was getting the blow bends down right, I suddenly realised I could use that to keep a check on the step differences - it sadly revealed I haven't cracked it yet. And it also confirmed a suspicion that I'm still not getting the full bend out of 1 hole on my A-harp. The Hering 1923 does take a bit more effort though, I've discovered...
Anyway Bob, thx again for reinforcing the breathing advice!
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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby dblues » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:20 pm

Your statement "one of the tunes I was playing last night was completely between 6 and 9 holes....." has me slightly baffled.
The same notes exist on holes 1-5, although you must bend hole 3draw a whole step to reach the same note(octave lower)as hole 6draw. I am assuming you were playing a major diatonic harp.


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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby barbequebob » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:59 pm

Actualy, because the Hering Vintage Harps uses a thicker reed plate and much tighter reed slot tolerances, if anything you should be needing considerably LESS air to make the bend happen in hole 1 draw, and you only have 1 bend there, and it's a half step down in pitch.
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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby rookie » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:59 pm

Erm, dblues, your post has me slightly baffled too! I think you must have assumed that I'd transferred a tune I know from the lower holes up to the higher ones, but it's not that - just a tune in the Barrett book for holes 6 to 9. But regardless of that, I can't see how that would make any difference to getting poor sounds out of the top holes. (I was playing a major (D) by the way.)

And Bob, sorry, but I was a little bit careless when I wrote about the bending. I do know the 1 bend is a half-step, but I've still had a bit of trouble getting the 'full' change - and that's on the D harp, not the A. And I should have said "The Hering 1923 does take a bit more effort TOO" (not THOUGH) as the hole I have difficulty with on that one is the 2 hole (THAT's the A harp). But it needs less effort, you say? Very strange...
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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby dblues » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:54 pm

OK, I got ya. But I still don't understand why it's more difficult. I really would like to help you but I've been playing so long I've forgotten what it was like when I was first learning. Maybe that's why I don't comprehend this "difficulty" sorry. How long have you been playing?


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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby barbequebob » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:50 pm

If it's the 2 hole draw, there are 2 bends in that hole, based on 1/2 step increments and if you're having difficulty, it's cleary because you're playing too hard and those who do, this is more so in the note bending process and they REALLY use too much force and so it doesn't happen and with the tight reed slot tolerances and thick plates, if anything, it's EASIER and the only harps easier are expensive customs so it comes down to your playing technique.
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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby harp54 » Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:23 pm

I'm intrigued. A song with harp playing 'completely' in holes 6-9 on D harp is real high. Can I ask what position you were playing in. Maybe the name of the song?
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RE: rusty gate syndrome

Postby rookie » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:26 am

Harp 54, apologies for the non-response. Was away for a few weeks and then been so busy I couldn't get time to write a reply that would properly answer your question...

Anyway, there's no song name. For anyone with David Barrett's Basic Harmonica Method, it's Jam 12 and it goes something like this...

6+ 7 8 6+ 6+ 7 8 8+ 9 8+ 8 6+ 7 8 6+ 6+ 7 8 8+
9+ 8+ 8 6+ 7 8 7+ 7 6 6+ 7+ 6+ 7 8
6+ 6+ 7 8 8+ 9+ 9 8 6+ 7 8 8 8 8 8 9 8
7+ 7+ 7+ 8 7 6+ 6 7 8 7+ 8+ 9+ 9+ 6+ 7 8

First time, I've written harp tab, so hope it gives you some idea. And as for position, maybe you can tell me. I have a real problem with music theory...

Anyway, I have had a few ideas of my own on this since posting. Firstly, and obviously, after a bit more practice it began to sound better (but not great). But I've a theory that if you hit a wrong note at the low end, it doesn't grate as much so you don't notice it as much as when it's at the top. Sort of selective hearing.

Unfortunately, I've barely touched a harp in the last couple of weeks. I used to fit in over half an hour each on harp, keyboard, and guitar every night but now my fingertips have hardened, I seem to becoming a bit obsessed with plankspanking and devote all my spare time to that. But I'll be back soon - I've spent too much on harps and instructional material to give up for one thing...
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