Re: XB bending vs Overblowing


    Very well stated, you make some excellent points and heck, if I could do
what you do on a regular albeit customized diatonic, I'd never pick up
another axe! ( I still think you switched harps on the bridge to ipanema at

        I don't forsee the XB-40 as the "Panacea" for Richter Diatonic
limitations, but more as another viable alternative. Another great
insttrument to add to the diatonic family alongside of customized OB harps
and Altered Tuned harps. Each axe can offer very specific features that the
other cannot with lots of overlapping inbetween. Richard Hunter's work
playing altered tunings is brilliant to say the least! Howard and his
disciples have really turned the diatonic world around with some beautiful

    Although there are always many exceptions, I'm seeing it this way (in
general), The so called "dedicated" Overblowers will be least attracted  (to
the XB-40) as they have already developed a chromatic technique that serves
them VERY well.

       Then we have the "not so dedicated overblower", who has put in lots
time, can get the OB's but feels the whole process is a bit "time consuming"
and inconsistent. They also don't have the need in their style to  "play
heavy jazz" and don't have an interest in playing the chromatic other than
maybe some 3rd pos blues. But they DO wan't to keep the "soulfulness" they
have develped so well on diatonic and then embellish, ornament, and play
melodies that incoporate the previously experienced "missing notes". They've
had good luck with altered tunings,  but really would like to get the extra
notes without sacrificing the 'richter layout'. The XB  would now make alot
of sense to MANY players in this category!

    Next, we have our NEW players, starting out on a XB-40, they haven't
been dealing with OB issues or the roadblocks of the regular diatonic. So it
will produce a whole new style of player with yet to be seen results!

    Then, we have an odder category that I fit into, a "not so Dedicated
OB'er" that plays regular diatonic and chromatic. How do I fit in, well
speaking for myself, I'm just gonna add this new XB-40 to my arsenal and see
what happens!

    Why? there are certain aspects of OB playing that make so much sense,
direction of bends being a biggie and just notes that "sit better" in this
style. A for intstance? Ok, OB'ers, when you get your X-40, try playing the
bridge to "Donna Lee". Oyeeeeeeeeeeeee vay!! it's a tuffy, the notes are
there, but controlling THOSE particular bends in THAT particular sequence
will drive youa bit bezerko,-)!!! Best to keep this on an OB harp!

    On the other hand a melody like "There will Never be another You" IMO is
perfect for the XB-40, and very beautifully layed out! Then, there are songs
when played on the XB where the "juicy" slide-in's and ornaments can make a
simple reg diatonic melody really "sing"! This would apply for example to
players of traditional folk melodies and Irish tunes as just one example.

    So basically, what I'm saying is that this isn't as "open & shut" as to
"(x)BE or not to XB!"....sorry, for the terrible pun, but y'all get my

    Size??? the XB is somewhere bigger than a blues harp and smaller than a
270, I didn't find the size to be a problem alhough you will have to
readjust your "spread" a bit and get comfy with the wider mouthpiece. Yes,
it's a bigger bulge in our pockets but, we'll deal with it!!!!,-)

    Then, finally, we have our "Tone and Pitch" police out there, that
probaly won't wanna deal with a planet (PLANET XB) that has so much
"unpioneered" territory as well as it's sister planet  PLANET OVERBLOW! They
shall stay in their world of control and forever police us!!!,-))) Hey, even
harps need law and order sometimes!!!,-)

    I again thank Mr.Epping for so brilliantly helping to expand the

Rob "forever growing harp-kit" Paparozzi

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "George Brooks" <gbrooks1@xxxxxxxxx>
To: "Harp-l" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 2:09 AM
Subject: XB bending vs Overblowing

> Jazmaan wrote:
> >I'm curious how some of you dedicated
> >overblowers who may now own an XB-40 feel
> >about it? Will you stick with overblowing or
> >become converts?
> I haven't acquired an XB-40 yet, but I tried a couple out at SPAH.  The
> instrument opens up all kinds of possibilities, not only because the
> "missing" notes are now playable with ordinary bending techniques, but
> because of the availability of so many enharmonic equivalents (same
> gotten in more than one way).  And the opportunities for slides and other
> ornaments are greatly increased over what is available on a twenty-reed
> diatonic.  As mentioned in my SPAH report, the early indications are
> extremely promising.  Rick Epping, the Progenitor, played killer Celtic
> music on his XB-40s (including some that were in alternate tunings), and
> Richard Sleigh played convincing, compelling blues lines that would not
> been playable on any other harmonica.  I am really looking forward to
> hearing what players come up with on the XB-40.
> Players other than me.  I have invested a great deal of time learning to
> play and integrate the overblows/overdraws, and I have invested
> other resources in building up a collection of wonderful harmonicas by Joe
> Filisko, Richard Sleigh, and Jimmy Gordon.  And the instrument and this
> approach to playing it have a very strong hold on me.  I am dying to know
> how much farther I can take it.
> So I am pretty well decided that I am going to continue to work on
> customized Marine Bands as my primary instrument.  And when I have put in
> diatonic practice time on any given day, working on getting better control
> over my blow and draw bends and my OB/ODs, the last thing in the world I
> want to do is pick up another instrument where I have to work so hard on
> issues of pitch.  So, although the XB-40 seems like a natural, I am
> starting to work a little bit on chromatic (the kind with a button).
> That's just me, of course.  I suspect that if the XB-40 had been available
> back when I first started to pursue overblows and all that, or even when I
> was just a couple of years down that path, my choice might well have been
> different.
> George
> --
> Harp-l is sponsored by SPAH,
> Hosted by,

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.