[Harp-L] re: Stevie Wonder Drops by at NAMM, & Other News

This is rather late in response, but, well so be it.

I just wanted to thank Brendan for the excellent NAMM report he wrote. That sounds like it was a really fun time, and having Stevie Wonder stop by and play like that would be my idea of heaven. He has had impacts at NAMM before--Stevie basically put the company E-Mu and their Emulator sampler on the map at a show in the early 80's when he gave one a big hug after playing it.

Now to some specifics (all quotes are Brendan):

"Federico Gonzalez Pena, who played the Melodion and an interesting new mouth-blown Suzuki keyboard instrument called the Andes (sounds like a cross between recorder, kalimba (thumb-piano) and pan flute)."

I Googled this, but sadly don't read Japanese and so was only able to figure out some things. I have a ton of questions, most probably not germane to this list, but the basic is this: what is the sound production? Is this basically like a mouth-blown organ with a single flue pipe for each note? If so, I will be buying one--soon.

On a slightly more harmonica related note, now that you're with Suzuki, might you possibly be able to convince them to see about producing a version of the calliomonica/pipe harmonica which Sam Hinton plays so well on his two CD set? I can't remember the name of the inventor (and thus the patents), but I so want a set of those (flue pipes which play on both blow and draw and are lain out like a harmonica--thus the "pipe harmonica" name). I know, it probably wouldn't be the best business decision, but, dammit, I haven't been able to figure out how it works well enough to make one for myself and maybe Suzuki could (or maybe Hinton would be willing to loan the prototypes he has out to you to help get your designers over the humps as it were).

Oh, as always--if anyone reading this hasn't bought Sam Hinton's CD set, do so. That's some of the most amazing playing you will ever hear.

"Hering had their new overblow diatonics on display, the Silver Blow and Golden Blow. These are hand-customised by a person working for the factory. When no-one was looking Madcat let me try them. "

:) That said, it's sad to see that the era of horribly named harmonicas continues unabated.

" Hohner also had their new CX-12 Jazz chromatic on display, brought out in response to all those who like the CX-12 but find it too bulky in the mouth. They have narrowed the front profile by milling away the plastic of the original models and then coating in smooth purple finish. It lookks good; they wouldn't let me try it though!"

There is a photo on the Hohner website of it [ http://www.hohner.eu/ index.php?1369 ] if people want to see. As one of those people who love the CX-12 but don't take kindly to the lockjaw it causes in me, I'll have to see about checking this out. I also just want to say that I think it's great that Brendan is willing to report on his competitors new stuff as well--a truly high class move by any definition.

"Suzuki prototype chromatics he'd heard about. These have silver- coated brass combs, silver-plated covers, long-slot reeds, and come in 12 and 16 hole sizes with precision slider movements in both straight and cross-style configurations."

That's a neat idea--so that people can choose which they want and not be stuck, especially in a high end model, with the slider type they don't like just because they like all the other features. That said, the idea of silver-coated brass combs makes me think that you could give up your gym membership and just practice your scales for an hour a day and have it covered...

"He loved the new chromatics, and was presented with a 16 hole and 12 hole of his choice. Then Gregoire and Francesco turned up, and had a jam on the Andes and Suzuki chromatic harps. Gregoire was in heaven, as Stevie is his idol and he shares a birthday with him. He played brilliantly and Stevie really appreciated this new master of the soul/ jazz chromatic. Stevie then tried the Andes and had it wailing in 10 seconds!"

Just awesome. I really wish something like this would show up on Youtube someday.

"Needless to say the Suzuki staff were finding it hard to stifle their pride at Stevie's appreciation of the new chromatics, and were soon on the phone to Hamamatsu giving the good news to their young designers Toku and Masaru."


"For those of you interested in the new luxury Suzuki chromatics, they are to be officially released around April, along with a new silver-coated brass-combed diatonic produced in a limited edition."

Interesting. What platform will this diatonic be? The Pure Harp, Firebreath (IIRC--too lazy to google it right now) reed-plates and covers?

Thanks so much for the great report, and I hope you're recovering from the convention--it always takes a while to come back to reality, IMO

 ()()    JR "Bulldogge" Ross
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