[Harp-L] Overblows, Overdraws and the SUB-30

Sébastien Frémal sebastien.fremal@xxxxx
Fri Nov 16 05:35:53 EST 2018

I would like to speak about these sentences :
" Hats off to those who can play in all 12 keys on one harp, but unless one
is really really good at it, in my opinion, some of the musicality is
lost. There are only so many Howard Levys and Sandy Weltmans in the
world. "

Once you can play overnotes, it's like learning to play in second
positions, you have to get use to play in all 12 major and minor keys (I
work I'm currently executing). Most musicians learn these stuff with their
instruments. Traditionally, harmonica was built to be played diatonically.
Bluesmen added some notes to play the blues with the instrument. And since
the generation of Levy and Ricci, we learned that overnotes are reachable
once the harmonica is properly set up. For me, having the 4 distinct notes
on the 3rd hole at the right pitch is much more challenging than having any
overblow (on a C harmonica ;) ). But :
1) Musicians really follows the traditions. Many musicians learn their
instrument by copying what other musicians play. They learn the instrument
with a teacher who teaches what he learned. If there are few harmonicists
playing overnotes, few new players will learn overnotes.
2) The public like to hear what they know. I know a player who can play
overnotes and who was working on jazz projects but he stopped cause it's
much more easy to get gig if you play the blues with the harmonica. And he
had to eat. So he made the math. People are generally not interested in new

Also, there are many people playing overnotes. Maybe more in Europe and in
Brazil than in America ? But it's just like I said, people just don't care.
When you talk about the harmonica, you want bluesy stuff. When you play
overnotes, it's mostly to play jazz (Charlier, Peyrelevade, Massolo...) or
bossa (Rego)... That's the kind of music harmonicists will not necessarily
listen to. So you have :
1) Harmonicists who could be interested by the technic, but are not really
interested by the music genre.
2) People interested by the music genre who think that the harmonica is
diatonic and can only play blues and who won't think that you can really
play other things with the instrument.
So harmonicists playing overnotes are generally not world-wide famous. If
you get nation-wide famous, that's already a huge achievement.
I play overnotes and I thought at start that there were not many people
playing overnotes, but I keep discovering many players, all around the
world, most of them having 20-30 years, who grew up with role models like
Ricci, Levys, Charlier, Massolo and who learned overnotes and who can play
some crazy jazz stuff. The new generation will be much more jazzy than the
current one. Everything evolves slowly, but it evolves :)


*S. Frémal*


*www.sebastienfremal.com <http://www.sebastienfremal.com>0495/14.85.07*

sans virus. www.avast.com

Le jeu. 15 nov. 2018 à 22:24, Tom Halchak <info at xxxxx> a
écrit :

> I am hardly an expert on harmonica theory but it seems to me that most who
> use overblows and overdraws extensively still prefer to play in 1st, 2nd or
> 3rd positions and use the OB/ODs to duplicate licks in the upper register.
> Hats off to those who can play in all 12 keys on one harp, but unless one
> is really really good at it, in my opinion, some of the musicality is
> lost.  There are only so many Howard Levys and Sandy Weltmans in the world.
> Regarding the SUB-30, for those of you who still have an interest, I am one
> of only a couple of guys who still work on them.  Burke Treishmann is
> another.  Brendan could if he wanted to, but he has moved on to bigger and
> better things – times 100.  I partnered with Brendan to make a custom comb
> when the SUB-30 was first introduced in 2012 and I later developed what I
> dubbed the External Valve Plate (EVP) which was an improvement on Brendan’s
> Over-Valve Plate.  In the past two years I have upgraded both the custom
> comb and the EVP.  I guess you can call them Version 2.0.  The improvements
> evolved as more customized SUB-30s were put into the hands of players and I
> received feedback.  Burke and I have been working pretty closely on the
> continued progress.  He has been using my combs and valve plates and at
> this point, with the precision components and expert reed work, the SUB-30
> is a viable instrument.  As many have said, it was a great idea poorly
> executed by Suzuki, but the development of aftermarket components and
> custom reed work have kept it alive.  If you are interested, you can check
> it out on my website.
> https://bluemoonharmonicas.com/collections/suzuki-sub-30-harmonicas-and-components
> *Tom Halchak*
> *Blue Moon Harmonicas LLC*
> *P.O. Box 14401 Clearwater, FL 33766*
> *www.BlueMoonHarmonicas.com <http://www.BlueMoonHarmonicas.com>**(727)
> 366-2608*

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