Re: airtight diatonic cup

> > Scorcher rants:
> > When we're talking acoustic, the more "closed", the more MUTED
one's sound
> > is. This can make your playing hard for your audience to hear.

> Michelle
> Yup.  Ya need the right mic/amp or PA setup to get away with it on

> > > Michelle:
> > > Like you mentioned with your taped chrom', Scorch, I
> > > can feel the pressure change inside my cup from blow to draw.
> > > dramatically improved cup allows me a far greater range of tone
> > > than I ever before possessed.
> >
> > Scorcher:
> > YES. That's why I'm trying so hard to get it with a chromatic -
for a
> > greater RANGE of tone. The muted/compressed effect is only ONE end
of the
> > spectrum. BTW, I mostly play Golden Melodies when I play
diatonics - the
> > cover design make them INFINITELY easier to get a tight cup on.
And yes, I
> > DO use these techniques when playing "acoustically" (mic'ed to the

> Michelle
> Musta misunnerstood your meaning, Scorch.

No worries! Seems most all the chromatic blues players have, too. To
an individual, I think they've all "settled", rather that strive for a
solid seal. (With the possible exception, as Jp PAgan has noted, of
Paul Oscher.)

> > > Michelle:
> > > Scorcher, you and the other harp-ler's might be surprised at the
kind of
> > > tonal fruit you can harvest by only slightly altering your harp
> > > grip to make it airtight, guided by Phil Wiggins' wisdom.
> >

> > Scorcher:
> > of the points I've been
> > trying to make on the list for the last several months is that the
shape &
> > configuration of the covers of one's harmonica DO have some effect
> one's tone, or, to put it another way, "overall sound".

> Michelle
> I would especially agree wichya about 1896 Marine Bands with the
holes in
> the sides of the covers [versus] Turbo Lids...

> > Scorcher:
> > I learned about a tight
> > cup while trying to deal with a mic & "tame the beast". And then I
> > that it also works acoustically.

> Michelle:
> Yes!  That was the point I thought you had missed.
> It seems like a model with covers that don't have any holes in the
sides of
> the covers would sound more different to the player than a model
that does.
> Seems like those holes would "leak" more of the sound back to the
> than, say a Turbo Lid, which directs ~all~ of the sound away from
> player.

Yup. This is why you see so many players mistakenly say that T-lids
aound "muted".
Actually, it's quite the opposite (to the LISTENER).

> Michelle:
> Phil uses 1896 Marine Bands, untweaked.  My take on his grip is that
> completely envelopes the entire instrument so that ~no~ sound
escapes, holes
> in the sides of the cover or not.

That's what I gathered from your (nicely detailed) description.

> Michelle:
> I've gotten used to holding my thumb there and can move it out of
the way to
> access the upper holes as needed.  It's just that in most of my
play, I
> don't need 'em a good fraction of the time.

Please reconsider. I use my cheek only when going for max compression
on the low end. I'm worried that your willingness to cover up the high
end with your thumb may have the effect of "fending you off" that
area of the harp. There's lots of good notes up there. First position
can be useful for Blues, too!


> > Scorcher:
> > Then, Phill Wiggins takes it a step further...he SHAPES the
insides of his
> > hands to resonate with each note. Douglas Tate does this, too, I
> > understand.

> Michelle:
> My understanding of Douglas' cupping technique has to do with
resonance and
> loudness as well as tonal shaping.  He experiments with th esize of
his cup
> for ~each~ note.  He tunes the size of his grip to each note to
> resonance so that he can "play loudly, softly" to use his words.
When he
> achieves the proper sized grip for a specific note, he can execute a
> by moving just one finger, and then only slightly.
> Please tell me more about this shaping of the insides of player's

Scorcher: just about covered it! Actually, I don't use the technique
like Mr. Tate does (but I'm working on it!) - I just try to color (and
"focus") my overall sound/tone/output.

Here's a "secret": there's aroom in my house that's very reflective -
all hard surfaces. I work on my tone in THAT room (guess which room!)
because I can hear my playing the way a LISTENER would. (I work on my
tone acoustically) It's like using a mic & recorder to check your
progress, but it's less useful for listening for things like rhythm
(because it's harder to listen detachedly). It's nice for working on
TONE becuse you can hear _in_the_moment_ what effect your changes
have. BTW, it's a good-sized room - I don't think the "phone booth"
kind would work as well. Take the rug up off the floor so the tile can
work with you.

I even put my amp in here sometimes to work on "taming the beast".

> Michelle:
> Yup.  We are on the same page, Scorch.  Except that if you drink
from your
> cup without blocking the holes not covered by your mouth, you'll get
all wet
> when the water spills back through them.  ;^)

Actually, I'm a very "wet" player much of the time, so it ends up
running back out of the holes and down my cheek - I look like I've
been droolin' in my sleep!
(kiddin')       ;-)
- -Scorcher

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