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[1 Apr 2011 | 5 Comments | 42,920 views]
Chromatic for Diatonic Players: Review of 14-Hole Chromatics, Part 2

 By Winslow Yerxa 
In the last issue I gave plenty of data and pictures of three high-end chromatics in C that start on G below Middle C—the 14-hole Hohner Meisterklasse, the 14-hole Suzuki Sirius S-56S, and the 12-hole Seydel Saxony Orchestra. In this issue, I continue with my impressions from actually playing the instruments and with several recordings of each instrument.
Playing Impressions
After all the measuring and photographing, I was finally able to reassemble the instruments and actually play them. I resisted the temptation to adjust, alter, or otherwise change anything about …

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[1 Feb 2011 | One Comment | 6,942 views]
No More Excuses – Part III

By David Barrett 
In our first issue we explored the standard three chords used in the blues, the I7, IV7 and V7 chords. If you spent the time necessary memorizing those three chords on the C Harmonica and playing the examples to a twelve bar blues jam track in the key of G (2nd Position), then you were ready for what we did in our last issue, playing the ii7 and vi7 chords. I provided you with jam tracks that utilized the common I7—VI7—II7—V7 chord progression; I hope you enjoyed the …

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[1 Feb 2011 | 3 Comments | 52,685 views]
Chromatic for Diatonic Players: Review of 14-Hole Chromatics, Part 1

By Winslow Yerxa
Over the next few issues, I’m going to review several models of 14-hole chromatic harmonicas from Bends, Hering, Hohner, Seydel, and Suzuki. It turns out that several models are available in this unusual size, and their special capabilities are very deserving of your consideration next time you’re in the market for a new chromatic.
 
The Value of 14 Holes
You may wonder, “Why 14 holes?” The more familiar 12-hole size has a three-octave range and fits nicely in the hands. The four-octave size is rather large but has all the …

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[7 Dec 2010 | Comments Off | 5,914 views]
No More Excuses – Part II

By David Barrett 
Last issue we explored the standard three chords used in the blues, the I7, IV7 and V7 chords. If you spent the time necessary memorizing those three chords on the C Harmonica and playing the examples to a twelve bar blues jam track, then you’ve already experienced what amazing things it can do for your playing and you’re ready for this new study. If you haven’t, go back and do it. This article will do you no good if you haven’t mastered the basics. The focus of this …

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[7 Dec 2010 | Comments Off | 5,443 views]
Chromatic for Diatonic Players: Hand Cupping & The Slide – Part 2

By Winslow Yerxa 
Putting it to Work – Combined Slide and Cup Action
Now, let’s try playing a note sequence while using the hand cup to produce a very subtle vibrato (and let’s not quibble over whether this is tremolo or vibrato). Play a simple C major scale, as shown in Tab 1, using a subtle hand vibrato. Play each note long enough to get the vibrato effect, and see how little hand movement you can use and still get an audible vibrato.

Click here to listen

Now, do the same thing, but with …

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[11 Oct 2010 | Comments Off | 10,534 views]
No More Excuses

By David Barrett
I’m writing this article sitting in a plane on the way back from the SPAH convention (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica). At last night’s blues jam (hosted by Joe Filisko) the focus was on country blues and any blues progression other than twelve bar. It was tons of fun. Though I was able to hold my own, it was obviously time for me to get MUCH better at dealing with non-twelve bar blues progressions—I was really racking my brain to hear the chord changes …

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[11 Oct 2010 | Comments Off | 9,325 views]
Chromatic for Diatonic Players: Hand Cupping & The Slide – Part 1

By Winslow Yerxa
Cupping your hands around a harmonica has several benefits—you can use it to create a subtle vibrato (favored by classical players), to create a darker tone color, and to create the sort of vocal effects such as a “wah” sound.
On the chromatic, using the slide can complicate your attempt to incorporate cupping, and that’s what this article is about.
When you open and close a hand cup, one hand holds the harmonica steady, while the other hand may move to manipulate the cup or operate the slide. (I’m going …

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[25 Aug 2010 | Comments Off | 16,357 views]
Windsaver Valves – Part 2

by Winslow Yerxa
In the last issue we looked at windsaver valves—what they are, why they exist, and how to install and service them. In this issue, we’ll investigate how windsaver valves and note bending interact, and how you can customize both chromatics and diatonics with valves to change their bending capabilities.
Bending without Valves – the Dual Reed Bend
When you sound a reed normally, your breath moves the reed down into its slot and through the other side, before it springs back for one complete vibration. It’s like a door closing …

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[25 Aug 2010 | Comments Off | 10,375 views]
Blues Is Not Always Blue

by David Barrett
Not all Blues is dark and aggressive-sometimes we’re called upon to play with a lighter feel. This is especially the case when playing country blues, ballad blues and common grooves with a lighter feel, such as the Rhumba. This issue we’ll dig into a chapter from my soon-to-be-released book with Mel Bay on Rock Harmonica. Enjoy!
Major Pentatonic Scale
To solo with a light, more major feel, a five note scale called the Major Pentatonic scale is often used. This scale comes from the major scale, with the fourth …