[Harp-L] Fwd: Why are "harp players" seemingly always "decent guitar players", when they do decide to pick a little 6 string? But the majority of "guitar players" are usually "skill-less harp players", when they decide to blow a little 10 holed harp?

Vern jevern@xxxxx
Sat Jun 6 17:15:54 EDT 2020

Since I was a teenager, I have experimented with cable, hydraulic, pneumatic, and solenoid actuators for pushing the button from a foot pedal. 

The hydraulic was messy and the pneumatic required a noisy compressor.  The solenoids required complicated electronic control to avoid chipping your teeth and some got very hot. Generating a pound of force over a 1/4 inch stroke takes a surprisingly large coil.  Then you need a DC power supply.

The cable that Volkamer uses is obviously practical. He is not only a stunning musician but also a talented DIY mechanic. His foot pedal moves about the same distance or even less than the button. This allows for a quick motion of the button…a refinement that took me a long time to understand. A long motion of the foot slows you down. For this reason, I doubt that the foot pedal is a drum accessory. AFAIK, he doesn’t offer his device for sale.

I recently had a go at making an improved cable actuator.  It works OK but I don’t use it.  For a DIY mechanic, it would save you a lot of trouble to get to a working device that you could then perhaps improve.  I have CAD drawings of the parts.  It fits on an Ergonomic Neck Rack (ENR)  (See URL below). I would swap it for a nice chromatic harmonica or baby guitar.

I used a cable for years. Its main advantage is that it does not require a modification of the harmonica.  I had to take pains to keep mine from kinking, it was awkward to transport, and it anchors you to one place on the stage.  The cable length that is right for sitting is wrong for standing.  It involves a lot of mechanical claptrap.  

I invented, commercialized, and now use the Hands-Free-Chromatic (HFC).  It is light, convenient, and contained within the envelope of a 12-hole chromatic.  It works well and is used by several accomplished performers.  Its only drawbacks are that it requires a  modification of the harmonica and isn’t available for a 16-hole chromatic.  For more information see https://customchromatics.com <https://customchromatics.com/>


> On Jun 6, 2020, at 4:08 AM, Rick Dempster <rickdempster33 at xxxxx> wrote:
> Thanks Kieron.Looks like a cable operated device. I have thought of making
> the very same
> thing, but wondered if a hydraulic device might not be the go.
> That's really nice. It seems he has a chrom tuned to E, which is a little
> unusual.
> RD
> On Sat, 6 Jun 2020 at 20:31, kieron via Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx> wrote:

More information about the Harp-L mailing list