Re: [Harp-L] Bass Harmonica and info wanted

Wow - bass harp with Braxton, one of my youthful musical heroes!

Nobody has built a slide bass harmonica that I know of. Many people have voiced 
the idea but the challlenges to making it playable are daunting. The main 
problems are leakage, and the sluggish resonse when you change breath direcction 
on such large reeds.

Hohner has set the gold standard for the double-reed bass harmonica. Suzuki 
makes an excellent one (or so Im told by pro players; I haven't tried it).

So-called bass harmonicas come in two basic types:

- double-reed models in two joined bodies, tuned in octaves, that start on the 
low E of a string bass

- single reed models in a single body that start on the low E of a cello (Swan 
Senior Bass, Tombo Contrabass)

The single reed models allow for more flexibility in melodic motion with their 
single bodies, but still present some challenges due to the mouthpiece interface 
disturbing the player's embouchure. The Tombo is not sold in the US< but you can 
find the Swan model for around $200.

You can find Shanghai-made double reed basses that are much cheaper than the 
Hohner or Suzuki models, but which don't have the same level of quality and need 
work to bring them into decent playing condition.

You can also find used HHohner basses on eBay. Of course it's impossible to 
ascertain condition without actually laying hands on the instruments..


 Winslow Yerxa
Author, Harmonica For Dummies ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
Harmonica instructor, The Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance
Resident expert,

From: Sam Friedman <sammyasher@xxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thu, December 2, 2010 8:09:50 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] Bass Harmonica and info wanted

I am recording a few albums with Anthony Braxton, a sax player, and have a
$1000 budget for a bass harmonica for the recording. I am looking at the
hohner 265 as it is right in my price range, but I was wondering what
other's experiences with various bass harmonicas are?
Also, are there any chromatic-slide type of bass harmonicas, as this would
enable more fluid melodies.
And finally, anyone have a Bass Harmonica they are looking to part with? I
reside in Westchester, NY and Middletown, CT  so if you are not too far from
these areas let me know!



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