Re: [Harp-L] My Omni-bender

The idea is not new to me, but I would be seriously
interested in Rick Epping's opinion about it for
example :-)


--- Paul Bowering <paul_bowering@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hey folks. I'm an occasional poster but a new job
> without 'net access has prevented any contribution
> for
> awhile. In the interim I've had time to think about
> harp mechanics. I was trying to create an instrument
> that has dual reed bends on both Blow and Draw on
> all
> holes. I know; it already exists in the XB-40. I was
> after a regular size harp with traditional tonality.
> What I came up with takes from both the XB and
> Discrete Comb concepts.
> It occurred to me that if an auxilliary reed could
> be
> added on the vertical plane then the increase in
> size
> wouldn't be cumulative as with the XB-40 which adds
> reeds on the horizontal plane.
> The second discovery (perhaps old news for many of
> you) is that Blow plates can function fine as Draw
> plates and vice-versa. What I mean to say is that
> affixed plates with reeds to the outside of the comb
> chambers will function as draw plates regardless of
> whether the reeds are riveted closer to the
> front(mouth) side of the plate or the rear side.
> Similarly a plate with reeds to the inside of the
> chambers will function as a Blow plate. I don't wish
> to say that orientation of the rivets has no effect
> but it is certainly minimal in comparison to being
> 'inside or outside' the comb chambers. This second
> tidbit was important because it removed the need to
> fashion plates with some reeds riveted at the front
> and others riveted toward the back.
> To make the harp all that was needed was an extra
> comb
> and one extra reedplate. It's neccessay to use a
> Blow
> plate from a second harp to fashion the auxilliary
> plate. This is because the rivets in the Draw plate
> will prevent it from sitting flush against the comb
> that doesn't have the divots carved from the wood.
> (This consideration concerns the rivets' placement
> in
> the vertical plane and doesn't contradict my earlier
> point about the rivets' orientation not being of
> consequence). Simply tune the auxilliary reeds a
> semitone lower than the note you wish to bend down
> to
> for each individual hole. I like to start with a
> Blow
> plate that's a minor third down from the key harp
> you're making. Also, be sure to set the auxilliary
> reeds' with gapping that is flush with the plate.
>  The finished product looks like a club sandwich or
> a
> Big Mac. From top to bottom: original Blow plate;
> comb; auxilliary plate; comb; original Draw plate.
> The
> length and width are the same as a standard
> diatonic.
> The height can be reduced by sanding down the combs.
> The good? It works! The middle plate can be
> considered
> to be floating. With normal play you have air
> hitting
> the bottom and top of the reed simultaneously. This
> prevents it from vibrating and thus removes it from
> the equation. You can do regular bends. By isolating
> either the top or bottom row the auxilliary reed
> come
> into play. Perhaps redundant but available are the
> crisp overbends. It basically functions like the
> Discrete Comb but Blow bends 1-6 and draw bends 7-10
> are smooth dual reed, blues bends rather than the
> single reed, 'valved' style bends.
> Of course, some adjustment of technique is required
> to
> get the missing notes but this can be incorporated
> slowly and as needed. For regular play your mouth
> can
> cover both upper and lower rows.
> The bad? The height, for a couple reasons. First, it
> was a surprise how hard it was to sand down the
> combs'
> heights and maintain a level, flat surface area. I
> sand all my Marine Band combs to remove
> imperfections
> but taking this much material off and and alighing
> screw holes was a real challenge. At least for me.
> Secondly, making the chambers too small reduces
> volume
> and response. The same is true of the Discrete Comb.
> I
> think my concept can be a bit shorter than the
> Discrete Comb because the auxilliary reeds, even at
> zero offset, don't entirely seal off the upper row
> from the lower. I had hoped this would allow the two
> individual chambers to function like one regular
> sized
> chamber. This may be somewhat true but still there's
> a
> limit to how much you can reduce the combs' height.
> You can't simply make combs that are 50% shorter
> than
> normal without sacrificing volume and response.
> Also, you can only really make these from Marine
> Band
> style construction harps. For those who like
> recessed
> plated and smooth platic combs I don't see how it
> could be done with existing parts.
> Like everything else this idea won't be for
> everyone.
> Probably not even myself; getting the combs in good
> shape was too frustrating and I've gone back to
> half-valved diatonics. I don't even know if this has
> been done by others and I'm just retreading old
> ground. It was a fun experiment and I just put it
> out
> there in the hopes that someone might refine the
> process and maybe build on the concept.
> I hope my writing was understandable and of some
> small
> interest. Thanks to Tim Moyer for supplying me with
> spare combs to mess with.
> Paul B.
> We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love 
> (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures
> list.
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