Re: [Harp-L] 4th position, a blues overview

Mick Zaklan wrote:
<   Regarding the 6th hole; on paper it looks bad.  Your tonic note, a note
<you need to use often in 4th, is only available cleanly (without bending) on
<the 6th and 10th holes of the instrument.  If you are primarily a cross or
<2nd position player, you want that note lower on the harp.  Unfortunately,
<now you have to sharpshoot a full-step bend on the 3rd hole to get it.  And
<that bend could wind up being sharp or flat if you're not careful.

Thanks very much for this thoughtful discussion of the ins and outs of 4th position.  I agree that the full step bend on draw 3 is a problem, especially since the note is so important. Hard to live without the tonic note for any key...

We're talking about 4th position on a standard harp, so this is slightly off-topic, but I think it must be said: if you use a Paddy Richter-tuned harp, with the blow 3 reed tuned up a full step, the problem with the bend on draw 3 just goes away.  And as recordings by many harp players--Brendan Power comes immediately to mind--have showed, there are a lot of other cool things you can do with a Paddy Richter-tuned harp.  Third position is a whole 'nother game on a Paddy Richter harp--in third position that note is the 5th, which is as hard to live without as the tonic.  Although then you miss out on that big twisting bend that Charlie Musslewhite likes to put on the draw 3 reed in 3rd position.  You give something up for everything you get, in harps as in life.  Fortunately, it's not against the law to own two harps in the same key with different tunings...

Regards, Richard Hunter

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