RE: XB-40 Retunings

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The XB-40 Retuning thread has peaked my interest.

I have played valved diatonics for years.  For about 5 years valving was =
my major approach.  Although currently I am mostly playing standard =
diatonics ( slight modifications and gapping to my preference),  I still =
like to use the valved instruments for a few songs and several exist in =
my kit.  I also have one factory XB-40 and one instrument I made as an =
experiment similar to the XB-40 that I call my XB-30 because I use 30 =
reeds not 40. =20

I think of and play my XB-40 exactly the same as I think of and play any =
valved diatonic.  I believe the transition from a valved diatonic to a =
XB-40 is much simpler then transitioning from using an overblow =
technique (which I also use to some degree) because the tonal layout is =
the same on valved diatonic as it is on the XB-40; at least for the =
missing chromatic tones. The only difference (excluding the additional =
enharmoic notes on the factory tuned XB-40) is you use dual reed bend =
instead of single reed bends for the "missing chromatic tones".=20

I have retuned my XB-40 so that it is exactly like a standard diatonic =

one blow bends 1 half step
two blow bends 1 half step
three blow bends 1 half step
 four blow bends 1 half step
 five blow bends 1 half step
 six blow bends 1 half step
 seven draw bends1 half step
 eight draw bends 1 half step
 the nine draw bends 1 half step

I like this setup because on my retuned XB-40 the opposing reed stops =
the bend at or near the "missing" chromatic tone.  It is true that it is =
very difficult to play the diatonic harmonica with good intonation even =
in the very popular cross harp approach.  I find that returning the =
XB-40 as I have outlined makes most notes either completely bent or =
completely not bent; however those same pesky half bends of course still =
exist in holes two and three draw and ten blow.  It is still a great =
challenge to play in all keys but fun to try at least as an exercise.  =
The  instrument can be used effectively to outline chords that could not =
be played on a standard diatonic.  For me the retuned XB-40 is at least =
equal in effectiveness to the overblow approach or the valved approach =
to obtain chromaticisity, and IMHO better.

I understand that the standard XB-40 has many more enharmonic notes and =
slides available then my retuned model, but I prefer to trade that =
advantage in, and instead have the opposing reed act as a stop on the =
bends at or near my target note.

Jr. Bliggins

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