Re: XB-40 Retunings?

George Brooks wrote:
> >The XB-40 was designed to provide
> >more flexibility in the bends, and not
> >as a sort of augmented standard diatonic,
> >but it requires some additional discipline to
> >fully exploit the possibilities.

> I would argue that the XB-40, while opening up great new avenues of
> expression, requires additional discipline not only to fully 
> exploit the possibilities, but merely to play in tune.
> Chromaticity on the thing?  I look forward to seeing what, and who, 
> emerges.  I agree with Pat Missin that it's probably as difficult 
> to play in F# on a XB-40 in C as it is on a standard C diatonic set 
> up for overblows and overdraws.  But I don't know; my opinion, 
> unlike Pat's, is based on only short amounts of playing time on the 
> XB-40 on a couple of occasions, and I would love for someone to 
> contradict me with a post along the lines of "It's actually quite 
> easy once you realize that...."

Rick's point, I believe, was that this effort is just as necessary to 
play a standard diatonic in tune, which requires just as much careful 
control to bend "in pitch".  

I do own an XB-40, and I don't consider $75 an excessive amount for 
an instrument of this type.  I am a little disappointed in the high 
end response of my C XB-40, but that seems like a quality control 
issue, though it may be exacerbating a design issue (that of having 
one sized comb for all keys).  I find it pretty simple to transition 
from overblows to the XB-40 to gain the extra chromatic notes 
because: 1) the note available from an overblow on a standard 
diatonic is available as a blow bend up one hole on the XB-40; 2) the 
embouchure for an overblow and a blow bend are quite similar; and 3) 
for those who like to bend their overblows up, the same pitch 
variation is available from the blow bend by allowing it to rise back 
toward its natural pitch.  I'm not switching from overbends to an XB-
40 anytime soon, but it doesn't seem like an unreasonable approach.  

That said, I don't really attempt true "chromaticity" on any 
diatonically tuned harp; I'm not trying to play in all keys on one 
harp.  I use the chromatic notes in the context of more typical 
position/mode playing on a diatonic harp.  

- -tim

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