[Harp-L] Harmonicaster Demo Video with Carl Caballero

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Fri Jul 14 10:03:34 EDT 2017

Venky wrote:
<I think it would be a good idea to have a few seasoned harp players of
<different styles record a 1.0 minute solo for the rest of us to get a sense
<of what the instrument can do. In the guitar world, unless you are Stevie
<Ray or a Bonamassa, the strats are a very finicky breed of instruments.
<I am putting down Richard Hunter's name as I personally like his expertise
<and work in electroharmonix.

On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 8:20 PM, Ronnie Schreiber <autothreads at xxxxx
> wrote:

> https://youtu.be/i5TZS-ffRqo

First, let me say that I'm impressed by what I heard on that video.  Those
are some pretty cool sounds.  I've corresponded with Ronnie a few times
about his invention, but this is the first time I've heard it.

I think there are some very interesting potentials where the Harmonicaster
is concerned.  Ronnie's spent a lot of time and effort on making it loud,
and loud is important in modern music.  (When you're playing in an arena,
chamber music just doesn't cut it.)  The clip, short as it is, displays
some pretty wide variations in tone too.

Ronnie's device is presumably compatible with the stuff I produce for
multiFX devices, which of course interests me too. But the essential point
about Ronnie's device is this: playing it is essentially playing the
harmonica.  The DM-48 MIDI controller that's been widely discussed on this
list is not a harmonica--it's a MIDI controller that uses some of the
techniques that harmonica players know.  As such, it requires harmonica
players to learn new expressive techniques, and to abandon some of the
expressive techniques that work on harmonica.  In other words, the
difference between the DM-48 and a harmonica is similar to the difference
between a modern synthesizer keyboard and a piano.  Nobody ever had to use
a pitch bend wheel or a mod wheel on a piano, and getting the most out of a
synthesizer requires a different point of view and technique than one uses
on a piano. In this example, the Harmonicaster is more like a piano fitted
with some cool electronics--the same techniques apply, but you can do more
with a given gesture than you could before.

The Harmonicaster allows the player to use the expressive techniques
harmonica players have developed over decades to create more explicitly
electronic timbres. As such, it's a complementary device to the DM-48, not
a competitor.

Great to have all these options emerging now for harmonica players to go
deep and wide in the 21st century. I'm looking forward to hearing more from
the Harmonicaster.

Regards, Richard Hunter

Check out our 21st Century rock harmonica record "The Lucky One" at

Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
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