RE: [Harp-L] Songs for country tuned harmonica

smo-joe - 
Thanks for the great insight.  Yes, I guess fast playing to (and from)
the flatted-7th F (on a C harp) would be difficult to accomplish when
trying to bend to perfect pitch (or at least a close as you can get).  I
suppose it also depends on the most genre you play.  For blues, me that
is, it's mostly 12-bar, which I believe you can do with a "sharped 5th".
It makes the 2nd scale blues scale more challenging in that you use
2d(3b), 3d',4b, 4d', 4d,5d(now ' bent), 6b (1,3f,4,f5,5,f7,1).  I
suppose experience and practice in bend/no bend 5d hole will help.


-----Original Message-----
From: Joseph Leone [mailto:3n037@xxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 1:57 PM
To: Degregorio, Jeffery
Cc: harp-l
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Songs for country tuned harmonica

On Oct 10, 2011, at 1:32 PM, Degregorio, Jeffery wrote:

> How many of you have thought about retuning draw 5 a half step up F to
> F# and is this common practice?

Can't speak for anyone else but I started on chromatic first. In Italy.
When I came back from France for my senior year, my friends back home on
Staten Is. had started a doo-wop group. Guitar, bass guitar, drums,
vocals, and I was asked to join in because they needed a bass voice. I
was baritone, but that was close enough. So the FIRST thing I noticed
about the diatonic when I started was that the 5 draw was WRONG. I
didn't know any better and wondered why. So I changed that reed. I was
now able to add flourishes to the tunes. 

>  I understand that now to do the ion
> scale (C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C) in first position will require a bend on the
> note. 
> In theory (and tell me if I'm mistaken anywhere) in 2nd position, you
> could do it without the flatted 7th note and still get this scale (3b.
> 3d',3d,4b,4d,5b,5d(country tuned),6b). (but in the key of G instead).

Right, what I do is count up 4 and then deduct an octave. In other
words, I have a C harp. I count up to G, but then remember that I will
be LOWER than the C scale was. You could also work backwards but I can't
do that as easily. The only thing I like to come in backwards for is my
pay check. Beats wearing a mask. 

> 3rd position would get this too, but with the flatted 7th on the 7

Not sure, I am not real up on scales. In fact, I had tried other
positions with my tuning and some work and some not so well. 

> You can still do minor third with 5d'.  Do Blues harmonica players do
> this, or do they keep with the flatted 7th on the 5 draw?

As I stated below, most western musics are using the F#. I see it all
the time on charts. (assuming key of C, that is). Funny, even gospel and
spirituals usually use the F#. But, blues is rooted in ethnically poor
peoples whose work songs tended towards bending the vocal notes in a
sorrowful way that tended to push the F# down to an F. I used to hear
this a bit with, shall we say..southern background..trumpet players when
I played trumpet. They use the 'pinky slide' a lot and 'squeeze' the
notes. It adds a melancholia. Ergo....blues. 

>  I suppose
> thinking like the 3 draw (flatted 3rd) for the flatted 7th - with a
> step bend on the 5th draw may take time to learn.

When you tune the F to an F#, the note is easily bent back to an F..if
and when you need it. No problem. At least not for me. But I should
caution, that if you're playing something really fast, that bend will
THEN be tough to get. It's not the bend (per se) but the ability to get
the note ALREADY bent down to the F..and on the on..from the the bat..(add your own expletive). lolol

>  I wonder why blues
> players haven't thought of this before, but it's probably because they
> rarely (if at all) use the 7th note.

That's right. If you listen to country or blue grass, you NEED that F#.
This is because it is Celtic based music. It is usually played what I
like to call ..'bright'.
Blues are more of a drone, a cry, a weeping, tearful..(add your own
word). We hear it today in singers. They bend the he double hockey
sticks out of notes. Sometimes too much. I don't like excessive
warbling. And while I'm sure he wasn't the first, the first time I
noticed this vocal bending was from Steveland Morris Judkins (Wonder).
Fortunately, I can take it when Stevie does it.   
> How would this affect chords?  Draw 3 4 5?  Draw 4 5 6?  Draw 5 6 7?
> others?

The chords work because they ARE chords. Or triads. Instead of the
dis-chord train sound, you get naturals. I sometimes lead into a tune
with a vamp on the groups. 3-4-5  5-6-7  and 4-5-6. I even use the
7-8-9. (But watch out. I also re-tune the 9. Most don't and to be
honest, unless you are going to run around up there, you don't need it.
If you do, you do. Way bak in my teens (1950s), I used to want to go to
a higher pitch but wasn't able to use the upper end because of the 9
dis-chord. So, in order to go up high...AND keep the same note layout
(and bending ability), I would use a Piccolo or Vest Pocket Harp model.
Now, I don't need to do that any more.  
> Any particular reason why a blues player would not do this, with what
> reasoning?  Just want to know what thoughts about this are.

Like I keep the music sorrow based, angst based, (add your own
word). lol


> Thanks list,

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