[Harp-L] Steve Baker Special tuning harps

I've owned a full set of Steve Baker Special tuned harps since I purchased them in Detroit from F & R Farrell back in the day. I always thought the idea of a double Richter tuning (first six holes tuned like 1 2 3 on 10 hole harps, twice, with the first three holes being in the low octave on most SBS models. I played them once or twice but never saw much use for them -- other than a curiosity.

At the time I purchased them I'm pretty sure I was not into tongue blocking, so I was not interested in them for vamping purposes. I also was not much into Sunny Boy II (Rice Miller or whatever his real name was). But I always buy interesting harps. However, it was not until recently I saw the merits of that tuning.

My discovery (it was new to me) that the double Richter on a 12 hole Seydel harp allowed a real tongue blocking of chords for what would have been the standard holes 1 2 3 on the 10 hole harp. (You can't can't tongue block/vamp on hole No. 1 on a 10-hole harp unless you like the sound of wood.) The SBS solves this problem. The main difference is the Hohner SBS is built on a large Marine Band while the Seydel is built on a harp closer in height and depth to the standard 10-hole.

I never seen much discussion about the Steve Baker Special tuning: its use and purpose.

SBS has been around for quite a while, maybe 20 years or so? But what was its original intent?


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