Re: Fwd: For tremolo players

>From: Winslow Yerxa <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>
>Reply-To: Winslow Yerxa <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>
>To: Mark Crowley <Mark.Crowley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: Re: Fwd:  For tremolo players
>Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 08:55:24 -0800 (PST)
>The Swan tremolos use the standard Wiener pseudo-solo layout. You can
>see this at
>It is not true that you can't bend notes on tremolo harps. Tremolo
>harps can actually do more kinds of bends than a standard 10-hole.
>However, you have to isolate either the top row or the bottom row of
>holes, which means you eliminate the tremolo effect, which is produced
>by the bottom row being slightly out of tunes with the top row. If you
>get a blow reed and a draw reed side by side in your mouth, then the
>higher-pitched of the two notes will bend down. Isolate a draw reed and
>you can make it overblow (play a semitone higher than its usual pitch
>as a blow bend). Isolate a blow reed and you can make it overdraw (play
>a semitone higher than its regular pitch as a draw bend).
>You can play a tremolo harp in multiple keys, not just in first
>position. It helps if the scale of the tune matches the default scale -
>the one you can get without bending - of the harmonica position.
>I'm not sure that a rock ballad would be an obvious choice if only
>because the tremolo sounds a lot like an accordion. If you can imagine
>ways to fit an accordion sound into a rock ballad, then go for it.
>As far as tuning goes - yeah, they'll need it if you play loud, even if
>you don't bend. I've put some of my fairly expensive tremolos out of
>tune trying to be heard over 20 fiddle; one reason I bought the Swan
>set was so that I'd have a beater set. These harps tend to be held
>toether with screws on plastic combs, so it at least makes them easier
>to take apart.
>--- Mark Crowley <Mark.Crowley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > does anybody know a site showing note layout of these harmonicas?
> >
> > I have heard that people play lots of gospel and country on these and
> > that they don't bend so you use what you have.
> >
> > Are they used only for 1st position or is it possible to play some
> > rock ballads on them as well(?)
> >
> > how about minor stuff, is that possible - or would you have to pull
> > them apart and retune the reeds (urgh)?
> >
> > the concept of the double reeds sounds a nice idea for non-amp
> > busking and accompaniment.
> >
> > any replies offlist from regular players welcome.
> >
> > crowley

For what it's worth, I use tremolos for about 25% of the time in the trad 
Irish music that I play.  I use them mainly to add a bit of variety to my 
"sound" which comes mainly from my Paddy Richtered diatonics.  I use the 
tremolos in exactly the same ways, in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 12th positions. 
  I employ bending in a very limited way for decoration only (not to get 
missing notes).  I retune them to equal temperament by tuning the 
lower-pitched reeds first to the tuner then tuning the higher reeds to get 
the desired tremolo effect.  I Paddy Richter them too.  They do need 
retuning slightly every now and again.  I should have said, I use Hohner 
Echos.  I love 'em!

Steve Shaw.

Want more than the blues?  Try Irish!


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