[Harp-L] Overbending vs. Half-Valving

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Fri Mar 3 15:04:35 EST 2017

The discussions so far of these different techniques for achieving
chromaticity on the diatonic harp haven't directly mentioned what I think
is the most important thing: you get different sounds with these
techniques.  As Vern has mentioned on one or two occasions, process is
product. Valved reeds sound different from non-valved.

I suggest that anyone who wants to explore chromatic playing on the
diatonic should make a point of comparing the sound of a valved harp to
their more-traditional diatonics to see which they prefer.

The only other thing I can add is that the learning curve on overbends can
be steep--at least it was for me.  I use the technique now on most of the
material I play, but it took a long time to get there.  Maybe that's
because I grew up as a harmonica player before overblowing entered the
mainstream, so I had a lot of previous learning to overcome.  I see people
in their late teens/early 20s now who've mastered the techniques in a
fraction of the time it took me, thanks to Youtube (and thanks also to a
new generation of instruments that are designed to be easier to overblow
out of the box).

Anyway, a different sound is a different sound, so make your choice and
take your chances.

regards< Richard Hunter

"The Lucky One" 21st century rock harmonica project at
Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
Latest mp3s and harmonica blog at http://hunterharp.com
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