Today I've started offering backing tracks with saxophone licks that can be played/practiced on a bluesharp.
The so-called 3rd position is nice for these licks. There are only 2 or 3 overblows needed to be able to play all the licks.
I used saxophone licks because most harp players get stuck in the phrasing as used by other harp players. When you feel you want to learn new things, explore different ways to express yourself it is a good thing to listen to other instruments.
The saxophone has for me the same "feel" as a harmonica but sax players have a different approach on how to attack a note, how to play a groove etc. You will notice that their timing is very different from what harp players tend to use.
On a saxophone you can use different techniques because of the way how it is constructed.
But after some practice many things can be "imitated" on a harmonica.
For now I offer 2 backing-tracks with licks that are played twice , followed by a space where you can play it once on the harmonica.
The tracks are 126/128 bpm which is quite fast. But that's something you can work on by first slowing down the speed of the songs. I use program called Transcribe for that. When you feel you can play a lick at , let's say 50 percent of the original speed, bring it up to 60 percent etc etc.
In the coming days/weeks I will offer more backing tracks , not only with saxophone licks , but also with some interesting harmonica licks.
Please keep an eye on this blog page….
Project P. = polishing reeds
I started polishing steel reeds 6 years ago because I liked the looks of these shiny reeds. Right away I noticed that it felt like the harp was playing "easier" and that's why I did dome more tests.
I polished the reeds with several tools and found some very useful ways to get the best results.
One of the side-effects was that the tuning of a reed went down a semi-tone or more , depending on how much material I removed during the polishing process. In the beginning I tuned the reed back to it's original pitch.
I tried out excessive polishing and had reeds going down 7 to 8 semi-tones and still they worked fine.
In that time I also noticed that I could get some nice results when I changed the original profile of the reeds.
I finally felt that I could have a big influence on the bending capabilities of the reeds.
So, it was testing time again and again. I now have come to a point where I polish the reeds and the reeds go down a semi-tone which gives me the best overall result. It can best be described as : the harp plays easier, lighter, bending is easier to do and the sound is ( to my ears ) a touch brighter/more overtones.
The players , who tested harps with polished reeds, all said: it just feels better when you play the harp. Of course I did double blind tests and every time they knew which harp had the polished reeds. I made sure that the harps were set-up equally!! The players level was from beginner to semi-pro.
The results also showed that the reeds last longer. Removing all milling marks seems to be the key to a longer life for a reeds. In 6 years time I broke 1 polished reed on my C harp that I used very often during teaching and gigging. This was a Db harp, retuned to C. The polished reeds stay in tune for a very long time which is another positive effect.
During the ordering process you can click on the option : Project P. That's how you can order a harp with the polished reeds.
The only key that I can't do is F. Seydel doesn't offer a F# so I can't tune down. I can polish the reeds from a F harp but it doesn't give the optimal result.
In my new webshop you may notice that , when you order a 1847 or a session steel, you can go for the Project P. option. This means that you get a harp that is tuned down a semi-tone to get the right key. So, when you a order a 1847 in the key of A with the Project P. mod you get a Bb harp, tuned down a semi-tone by polishing all reeds. This improves the life of the reeds, you get improved reed profiles and the harp is very, very responsive. More details are coming in the coming days.