Re: [Harp-L] Harmonica Manufaturers in former East Germany

Hey Rick.. oh yes, I can fill in that gap... that was a cool tuning. It started on hole 2 of standard Richter note placement as you mention. That hole 10 fills a missing note on what is hole 10 of a regular Richter. It's a really cool idea. Then the 10 draw is a continuation of the the V minor draw chord, only it turns into V major on the last three holes. On a G harmonica, the 10 blow is B, the draw is F#. Seydel used this tuning for a long time. You can still get Seydels tuned this way if you want. My main G, a prewar Seydel Bandmaster from around 1915 is like that. It's really cool in second position - you have your choice of hitting the F# either by bending the 9 or hitting the 10 draw.  It's not something I play 100 percent of the time, because I do like the one draw (on a regular Richter). 
One of my all-time favorite tunings is this tuning with the two blow tuned a step up in a sort of alternate-universe paddy richter. It's really great for that, and great for playing fourth position that way. I would like to have a whole set of those sometime (I never get around to building this stuff I want,lol). 

It was crazy how much variation there was in the Seydel diatonics back before World War II. I've seen the flagship prewar Bandmasters with narrow reedslot configurations, the wider one Seydel uses now, then with that alternate tuning you mentioned, then with regular tuning. I have seen so many tuned that way, versus standard Richter, I would say they made as many if not more that way. But this was something that they'd been doing for a long time. It was a superior tuning for first position, but it had some cool cross-harp possibilities. If Seydel hadn't disappeared behind the Iron Curtain, there would be probably be a lot more people playing this tuning.

Thanks Aongus, I love to hear those stories about doing business in the East Bloc. 9/10 of what I knew about the East Bloc and Soviet UNion as a kid was from watching "Red Dawn" and episodes of "Airwolf..." Airwolf went to the U.S.S.R. all the time and Ernest Borgnine would be all cool about it, like it was nothing to infilitrate Soviet air defenses, while I was a little kid scared to death, cause nobody came supposedly could come back from the Soviet Union alive. When I was a little older, but still a kid, I listened to Radio Moscow and Havanna when I could (still do, actually) on shortwave radio. It was the Evil Empire and it fascinated me - kind of like how Cobra's stuff was always cooler than G.I. Joe's. I still have that fascination with it. I was in Hungary once, when I was studying in Europe, not too long after the wall fell. Got mugged, train caught on fire, guy sitting next to me on train I'd been talking to got pulled off it by dudes with
 machine guns. It was awesome.
So that's the kid I came from. I find this stuff fascinating and I would love hearing about your trip to Bulgaria back in the day, if you want to send me a msg offlist.   

David Payne 

 From: Rick Dempster <rick.dempster@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Aongus MacCana <amaccana@xxxxxxxxxx>; dave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Cc: Harp-L List <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 8:24 PM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Harmonica Manufaturers in former East Germany

I had a Seydel back in about 71-2. It was a ten hole diatonic, but hole one was the same as hole two on a standard Richter system. Can't remember what was at hole ten, and it's long gone to harmonica heaven.
Anyone else remember these, or can fill in the gap, or 'hole', as it were?

>>> "Aongus MacCana" <amaccana@xxxxxxxxxx> 16/04/2012 20:57 >>>
Hi Dave,

This is a fascinating potted history. Communism is a bit like  Christianity
- a wonderful idea, but it is a pity nobody (or very few) actually tried it.
The movie "Other Peoples' Lives gives a good insight into  what life was
like under the communist regime in East Germany.

As far as harmonicas were concerned the apparatchiks apparently wanted the
factories to produce and export the instruments by the kilo and the heck
with quality. When I tried to purchase a Seydel in Hamburg a few years ago,
the earnest music store proprietor did not stock Seydel and told me "the
quality is not very good you know" I am pleased to see that the Music Store
in question has since become a Seydel vendor.

I visited Bulgaria on business about twenty years ago and was told at the
time that their shoe manufacturers were having similar problems with the
regime. They had  some very creative ways of circumventing the authorities.


Aongus Mac Cana

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.