[Harp-L] Tony Eyers Major Cross harmonica

Tony Eyers tony@xxxxx
Wed Feb 8 08:35:47 EST 2017

Hey Trip. Thanks for the nice words. I can assure you that I learnt more 
from you than the other way around during those weeks in '99 where we 
shared bluegrass harmonica in NYC. I've not yet been back, but I will 

To my mind, love of a particular music style drives harmonica choice. 
For myself, Trip, David Naiditch, Seth Shumate and others, our style is 
defined by bluegrass and old timey tunes. For those not familiar with 
this music, I can't over emphasise how strong the desire is to play 
these tunes, once they get under your skin.

Trip, Seth, Mark Graham, David Rice and others use standard harmonicas 
to play the tunes, their styles feature tongue blocked backings which I 
can't do. The sound is rich and just wonderful. James Conway and Joel 
Andersson have a similar approach for Irish tunes, again with great results.

David Naiditch plays chromatic, so clearly has a different sound. He 
plays the tunes using a single note style, with great fluidity, speed 
and accuracy.

I developed Major Cross for my style, which is single note based like 
David's, but lacks the extra backing that tongue block players get on 
standard harmonicas. We've all chosen various means to the same end, 
playing tunes we love.

Trip has nailed the essence of Major Cross: each note has a similar tone 
and can be played with the same ease. Hence Major Cross allows a speed 
and accuracy which is hard to match with standard harmonicas. With 
standard tuning, the bent notes needed for many tunes stick out and are 
generally harder to play. This can be a virtue of course, many players, 
Trip included, get wonderful expression from these bent notes.

So. Now that Major Cross instruments are available off the shelf, I 
expect to soon be put in my place by other players who finally have the 
same tools that I do.

Tony Eyers
...everyone plays

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