RE: XB-40 Retunings?
Richard Smith and not a few others are concerned that shelling out for an XB will be a waste of money. Believe me
Richard, all the bluesey bends are there still. You just have to play it a little more lightly.
Instead of seeing the XB as a huge hurdle, which challenges you to play Charlie Parker solos in twelve keys, I prefer
to see it as a simple diatonic Richter harp. The immediately attractive thing about it is that I can now get, in the top
octave, the same draw bends that we all customarily use in the middle octave; and the blow bends that we are all used to
on holes 8,9, & 10 can ba got all the way from holes 1-10 ( I can bend blow 1 down to Bb on a 'c'!)
Of course there is much, much more. But don't let it sweat you. Just play the thing. Admittedly there are some things I
don't want to use my one and only ('C') XB on (sadly the top blow bends are not working all that well, so there are a
few bugs to iron out yet) but generally anything I can do in 2nd and 3rd position I grab it and blow. I play all my
usual licks, and now and then, when I realise I'm on a reed that normally won't bend (and how I always wished it would)
well, I just tweak it a little and listen for the amazing effect.
I find the valves give a slightly anaesthetised feeilng (a bit like a certain form of contraception - but let's not go
there) but I'm geting used to it.
I love the XB, and intend to buy a good selection of keys as domestic finances permit. Having said that, I would add at
least at this point, that there will always be the usual selecton of Special 20s, Marine Bands etc. in my case, as they
have a sound all their own, and I wouldn't want to be without that.
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