Can Harps Get Too Responsive?

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Can Harps Get Too Responsive?

Postby orb mellon » Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:45 pm

A question for the experts:

I have a Delta Frost in G that I have trouble playing in tune when on the neck rack. The low note draws bend so easily that any chording is very hard to keep in tune. Contrast this to out of the rack and held, it draws easy but can be kept in tune with reasonable breath control. I've had harps blow out on me and go totally out of tune, but harps getting too responsive? Do the reeds break in so much that the harp can become too responsive? Should I try a new draw plate or should I assume that this is just a Delta Frost characteristic. FWIW I love these harps. I really can't imagine that I blow too hard. I don't try to play over anything more than my own acoustic guitar.
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RE: Can Harps Get Too Responsive?

Postby dblues » Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:55 pm

It would seem to me that you are drawing too hard even though you think you are not. It may be just your initial attack. You might try regapping those first few reeds (slight increase)

Later,it's time to make some music
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RE: Can Harps Get Too Responsive?

Postby bosco » Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:44 pm

The low note draws bend so easily that any chording is very hard to keep in tune.

First of all, I believe that "pitch" is the term you are looking for. A harp is either in tune or it is not, and the reeds can be bent out of tune, usually by drawing too hard.

I think your playing has probably progressed to the point where you have more power than you realize. The one and two hole draws especially, can be temperamental and are prone to overdrawing and the note is easily bent below the intended pitch. They are the longest reeds in the harp and have the most surface to catch the most air.

New harps will "break in" and become easier to play, but a harp cannot be TOO responsive in my opinion. At this point you need to play with more control and less force. Draw with a steady slow breath...overdrawing will cause the note to bend and the pitch to drop.

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RE: Can Harps Get Too Responsive?

Postby watertore » Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:44 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-06-06 AT 11:46 AM (EST)]the bassier the tone, the easier it blows. I have a 14 hole marine band in C. I just have to puff on that one to get it working right. If I blow even a bit too hard, it will rattle like heck. It is 25 years old, because I blow it so easy. You can hear it on the song- my body can't take it no more. Walter

ps: I play about 90% of my songs on a harp rack. It is like learning another instrument.
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