[Harp-L] Suzuki SUB-30 & "Double Reed" bends

Mike Fugazzi harpninjamike@xxxxx
Wed Aug 23 10:54:00 EDT 2023

The SUB 30 should have been great.  I remember trying a demo version at
SPAH that was fantastic, I think.  Wasn't there one set up they were trying
to get Howard Levy to try?  That might have been a custom Manji, though.
Regardless, at that time, if felt like Suzuki would sort of bait and switch.

  I hurriedly bought the first three keys of the SUB 30 available and found
them to be unplayable.  They required A LOT of customizing to make them
viable to the point where I didn't think it was sustainable for me.  I
wanted to play the Marine Band X Reed version, but decided to wait to see
if they were sustainable and going to be around for a while.  To me, I want
to make sure what I am learning to do is sustainable, and worth my time.

IMHO, Suzuki took too many short cuts on the mass produced version and
there was a point of diminishing returns where overbending, alternate
tunings, or playing a different position were all more sustainable and
practical for me.  Rockin' Ron is selling them for $200 in the key of D.
They are not worth $200, IMO.  Of all the "new" designs for harmonica, this
one made the most sense to me as it didn't require theoretically require
relearning a whole instrument (some of the more exotic alternate tunings
are like this).

On Wed, Aug 23, 2023 at 7:55 AM Rick Dempster <rickdempster33 at xxxxx>

> "Double reed bend" is my term (as far as I know). Conventional bends
> are double reed bends. You start by lowering the pitch of the higher
> reed.
> As it descends, the opposing reed vibrates as well. When the higher
> pitched reed reaches a semitone higher than the opposing reed's
> natural pitch,
> it will take over, and play at its 'reverse' pitch. Both reeds
> continue to vibrate, producing not only the sought for note, but a lot
> of harmonics, which is why it sounds
> so much richer than an 'overbend'. An OB is a single reed bend, played
> in reverse; that is to say, the air is flowing from tip to rivet (or
> anchor point)
> Because the opposing reed is not in sympathy, you do not have the
> 'start up' from that reed.
> I do a lot of stuff on the Sub30 that you cannot do with OBs. I can
> play one of the 'new' notes, and bend the neighbouring reed as well.
> I intend to do a video comparing the OB with the Sub30 bends.
> The diatonic needs to be more flexible to allow its use in a broader
> sphere of popular music.
> Most people who play harp are usually singers. Nobody hires a
> harmonica player, unless they are starting a Chicago style blues band.
> Also, most people who buy harmonicas are not interested in virtuosity.
> Very unlikely they will learn to overbend.
> If a properly valved thirty reed harp was produced and made available
> at a reasonable price (and at least in Ab, Eb, Bb, F,
> C, G, D, A, E (B and F# could be safely ignored at least to begin with.
> If Power & Suzuki hadn't messed it up between themselves, we might
> have seen a better result. Three keys? How useless is that? let alone
> no valves.
> At least poor old Hohner had the guts to make the XB40 in all keys.
> That was a beautifully designed harp, but the tone, for some reason,
> was
> too mid-range, and the bends were a bit like wading into a muddy swamp.
> I have a stock of Sub30s, and at 70 years old, there should be enough
> to take me out.
> I play a lot of old twenties pop tunes in an all acoustic band (I
> hesitate to call it 'jazz').
> I don't hear anyone doing that kind of thing on harp, so that may be
> part of the reason nobody shares my point of view.
> All due respect to all those great overbenders out there; but I can
> spot an OB a mile off.
> Sounds like a reed being tortured in solitary confinement to me!
> Cheers,
> RD
> On Wed, 23 Aug 2023 at 03:18, Laurent Vigouroux
> <laurent.vigouroux at xxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > Hello Tom
> >
> > Thanks for the clarification regarding “Double Reed” bends.
> > If I’m correct, some regular bends, like the 3”’ are actually only
> produced by one reed (3”’ = 3°!!), but I see what you mean.
> >
> > Going back to comparing overblows and “double reed bends” sounds, I
> don’t really share Rick’s and Michael’s opinions.
> > For me, overblows actually are as easy to make sound well and blend with
> regular notes as bends. And even easier than the 3”, which is so difficult
> to make sound well.
> >
> > Regarding the Sub-30, I’m disappointed it didn’t find its place in the
> market. I was enthusiastic when I tried Brendan’s prototype back in the
> 00’s. But it seems that producing a factory harmonica with this design was
> a big challenge.
> >
> > Cheers
> >
> > Laurent
> >
> >
> > De : Harp-L <harp-l-bounces at xxxxx> de la part de Tom Halchak <
> info at xxxxx>
> > Date : mardi, 22 août 2023 à 18:58
> > À : Michael Rubin <michaelrubinharmonica at xxxxx>, harp-l at xxxxx <
> harp-l at xxxxx>
> > Objet : [Harp-L] Suzuki SUB-30 & "Double Reed" bends
> > So far, nobody has got it quite right when describing how a SUB-30 works.
> >
> > SUB-30s 30 reeds (hence the name SUB 30) on two reed plates.  The top
> reed
> > plate has 20 reeds and the bottom reed plate has 10 reeds. The additional
> > reeds on the top plate are referred to as Sympathetic reeds or Extra
> Reeds,
> > which is where Brendan Power got the name for his custom SUB-30s.  The
> > lower six chambers have 2 blow reeds and 1 draw reed.  The upper four
> > chambers have 1 blow reed and 2 draw reeds.  X-Reed Harmonicas.  Part of
> > the genius of the SUB-30 is that it is set up just like any other Richter
> > Tuned harmonica.  Same blow draw breath pattern.  Same draw bends.  Same
> > blow bends.  The difference between a SUB-30 and a standard Richter Tuned
> > harmonica is that you can blow bend on the lower six chambers and draw
> bend
> > on the top four chambers.  You cannot overblow or overdraw on a SUB-30.
> A
> > standard SUB-30 has 10 valves installed on the bottom reed plate, which
> > enable you to control the airflow to the proper reed.  I make a component
> > that I call an External Valve Plate that adds 10 more valves to the
> SUB-30,
> > which dramatically improves the response.
> >
> > Regarding double reed bends.  Double reed bends are hardly exclusive to
> the
> > SUB-30.  Any time we bend the pitch on an unvalved harmonica, we engage
> the
> > reed on the opposite plate, hence all bends are actually doube reed
> bends.
> >
> > Hope this helps.
> >
> > *Tom Halchak*
> > *Blue Moon Harmonicas LLC*
> > *P.O. Box 14401 Clearwater, FL 33766*
> >
> > *www.BlueMoonHarmonicas.com <http://www.BlueMoonHarmonicas.com>**Blue
> Moon
> > on Facebook* <http://www.facebook.com/BlueMoonHarmonicas>
> > *(727) 366-2608*

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