Cham-Ber Huang's Book

Chris Pierce inquires about Cham_ber Huang's Blue and all that
Jazz book-harp-cassette combo.

I have this; Cham-ber gave me a copy at a music trade show back
in January. This title is a little misleading, in that the harp
he gives you - and his approach - have nothing to do with the
Richter-tuned (G draw chord in the bottom octave) diatonic harps
that are used for 99.999% of diatonic blues playing.

What he gives you is a solo-tuned diatonic, like a chromatic
without a slide:

      1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9     10
DR |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   |  D   |   F  |   A  |  B   |  D   |  F   |  A   |  B   |  D   |  F   |&c
   |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
BL |  C   |  E   |  G   |  C   |  C   |  E   |  G   |  C   |  C   |  E   |&c

(There isn't room to diagram all twelve holes, but the pattern keeps

First off, no G draw chord, but you do get a complete major
scale, and the tuning pattern is consistent thoughout the harp.
Note the repeated blow C's that help keep the tuning on track.

You can bend notes on this harp in full bluesy fashion, although
the only really good bending notes are D and A. No blow bends.
Overblows are a little chancy due to the reed dimensions - they
tend to squeak. However, you can use it to play all the regular
blues chromatic licks, and still have diatonic-style bending. Not

What Cham-Ber is really doing here is attempting to sneak you
into learning the basics of chromatic playing under the guise of
the more popular blues. In fact, the later chapters require the
use of a chromatic.

I wouldn't buy this package to learn blues. For that matter,
Cham-ber doesn't understand diatonic bending and gives some very
poor advice on that subject.

What this book is really good for is learning how to negotiate
solo tuning, as a preparation for learning the chromatic.

I'll be doing a more comprehensive review of this in HIP No. 5.
(along with an interview with Cham-Ber Huang)

Winslow Yerxa
Publisher, HIP

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