Re the overblowing discussion going on here:
Both Bart deBoer and Paul Brown say that the overblow breaks
up when they take their fingers off the reed.
Yes, this will happen. What you're doing with your finger is
isolating the draw reed, and forcing its pitch up. Because the
blow reed is out of action, it's easy to do. Once the blow reed
is released and is back in action, it's going to sound, because a
blow breath is being passed through it. At that point, you lose
control of the overblow unless you know how to control it. The
isolation exercise is just to give you the feel of the overblow.
It doesn't magically confer the ability to control it in the
normal playing situation.
You still have to find the right mouth position with the tongue
in order to force the draw reed to sound instead. This can be
done at first by playing hard, but ultimately, force is not
needed. However, it takes a lot of patience and experimentation
to find the right mouth position. The horrible sounding notes and
the not sounding at all are a normal part of learning the
technique. Just try to bend the note down, even though this won't
happen, and bear down a little more than usual. Eventually,
you'll gain control of it. I'd suggest Hole 6 or 4 on a C or D
harp to start.
As I suggested before, try lowering the reed offset (angle at
which it sticks up from the reedplate). This will make it respond
to softer playing. All overblow fanatics adjust their harps this
Re Todd's query about making your own slide harp. Remember, this
harp is patented by Hank Bahnson, the same Dr. Henry T. Bahnson
Robert Johnston mentioned in his reply to your message. He's put
in a lot of work and engineering to get it right. Chances are,
you'd put in a lot more than $75 worth of work to get it right on
The reason his harps are so expensive right now is that he has
to buy them from Hohner, then have an engineering firm build each
one by hand. Once Hohner is convinced that there's actually a
market for them - that is, if they're SOLD by Farrell, and not
ripped off by patent infringers siphoning off legitimate demand -
they will put them into mass production and will sell them at a
retail price of about $45.
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