Re: [Harp-L] Breaking In / Adjusting to a new harp

I have always used the phrase: 'Actually, the harp is breaking YOU in'.......BEAUtiful post btw. 
:)   jo-zeppi

On Sep 21, 2014, at 9:27 AM, Richard Sleigh wrote:

> The way I experience new harmonicas is a combination of discovering what
> this new harp can do. tweaking it, and then getting used to the feel of the
> new harp.
> Every harp is different and has some sort of "personality". I think what
> happens is that I know what I want to play, and end up making all sorts of
> tiny adjustments in how I play to get the sound and response out of a harp.
> These adjustments in my playing happen subconsciously. I'm just focusing on
> the sound I want, and my body does God knows what to move toward getting
> that sound out of the harp.
> It's like walking - I am making all sorts of really complicated adjustments
> that I am not aware of cause I am focused on where I am going.
> I think a lot of what we call "breaking in a harp" is really this
> subconscious adjustments to the unique combination of reed responses in the
> new harp. Your mind / body go into some kind of discovery mode for the harp
> and come up with all sorts of subtle adjustments "push a little harder on
> draw 3 as it goes from whole step bend to step and  half just to get it
> past that minor sticking point" , play draw 4 a bit lighter to even out
> volume",  - this sort of thing, happening at warp speed for thousands of
> variables per second.
> It would be exhausting to try to write down everything that the brain is
> processing in even a couple of seconds of playing a harp.
> But that is my guess about what is actually happening as a big part of the
> "breaking in" process - the brain training itself to get used to the
> pattern of reed response in a new harp. Once it gets the formula for this
> new harp dialed in, the harp seems to be playing better.
> Of course, if you tweak your own harps, there is that level of "breaking
> in" as well - adjusting a harp evens out the response and removes a lot of
> the stress on your brain / body to compensate for the uneven response.
> I believe that we tend to play all the reeds in a harp at the general level
> that gets the most stubborn reeds to respond. That is why people tend to
> play hard. It takes real finesse to play most of a harp softly and then hit
> the one or two stubborn reeds just hard enough to make them sound like the
> other reeds.
> It is easier to just hit them all hard...
> If you can do basic reed adjustment, then the process of breaking in a harp
> includes physically adjusting the reeds and testing till you get the reeds
> to respond in a more balanced and consistent way. Then you give your
> subconscious mind a lot less to deal with as it comes up with its way to
> work with this particular combination of reeds....
> So you are "breaking in" your own mind as well as the harp...
> Richard Sleigh

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