Re: XB40 in flat key

Jeff G wrote:
> Jazman asks about an XB40 in a flat key.
> I'm not sure why this might be necessary

For the same reason that someone might find chromatics useful in keys
other than C - being able to play notes lower than middle C (or in the
case of the XB-40 in C, lower than Bb), being able to play particular
chords or double stops, etc.. 

If all you ever need to play are single notes lines in that particular
pitch range, then I guess you could get by with just the C XB-40, but
even so, different keys on a C harp are going to have a different
sound to those same keys played on, say, an Ab harp. Besides, one of
the coolest things about the harmonica for me is that you have the
ability to play more than one note at a time - very few wind
instruments offer that possibility. If all I wanted to play were
single note lines all the time, I would probably have stuck with the

Anyway, I'm not convinced that the biggest strength of the XB-40 is
its chromaticity. I'm not at all sure it is really any easier to play
a C XB-40 in the key of F# than it is to play a well adjusted standard
C harp in F#. 

Having said that, if anyone wants to prove me wrong, I'd truly love to
hear it. Anyone fancy taking Winslow's Ode Challenge one step further
and play "Ode to Joy" in all twelve keys on the same XB-40?

Failing that, anyone want to do Winslow's original Ode Challenge on
the XB-40 to see how well they can make that three draw bend blend in
with the other notes?

I see the big advantage of the XB-40 as being enhanced expressiveness
rather than easier chromaticity - I think that aspect alone more than
justifies their price.

 -- Pat.

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