Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Diatonic Harmonica Tunings
Diatonic Harmonica Tunings
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barbequebob
1338 posts
Oct 14, 2010
12:42 PM
Below is a link to the Delta Frost forum where I have a complete list of diatonic harmonica tunings. When doing any tuning, it is very important to remember these things:

a) It's EXTREMELY important to use the physically LIGHTEST breath force you can manage or the tuning will be FAR from accurate;

b.) If you're doing Just Intonation, you not only have to check the individual notes and the octaves, but also how the other notes sound together with the other notes in the chord and in JI, when the chord stops wavering/beating, then the instrument will be fully in tune with itself;

c.) NEVER totally rely on the tuner because your ears are the final and the most important guide of all.

http://www.deltafrost.com/diatonic-harmonica-tunings-an-update_topic6473.html?KW=Diatonic+Harmonica+Tunings

Also, here's a link to Pat Missin's website which has audio files using a key of C diatonic so you can hear the differences between Just Intonation and Equal Temperament.

http://www.patmissin.com/tunings/audio.html
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte

Last Edited by on Oct 14, 2010 12:57 PM
nacoran
2994 posts
Oct 14, 2010
1:44 PM
Overblow.com also has Pat Missin's tuning info on their site, in a snazzy interactive format. You can just browse it or actually use it for ordering Seydels in special tunings.

edit: Scratch that, there is just for picking notes, not the cents for each notes and such.

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Nate
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Last Edited by on Oct 14, 2010 4:49 PM
barbequebob
1340 posts
Oct 14, 2010
3:56 PM
The listing you`re talking about is a list of alternate tunings and the link I`m referring to is not that at all.
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
nacoran
2997 posts
Oct 14, 2010
4:50 PM
Oops, sorry, your right.

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Nate
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mlefree
11 posts
Oct 14, 2010
6:27 PM
Barbeque Bob, I think the proper term is "temperaments," but whaddo I know? 8^)
Whatever it is called it is a great resource you've posted there. Thanks!
Michelle

Last Edited by on Oct 14, 2010 6:29 PM
barbequebob
1341 posts
Oct 15, 2010
10:12 AM
@Mlefree --- That is correct technically, but for most harp players, who can barely get the tiniest gist of theory or anything else, calling it as it is presently the way most players know it at this time is going to be less confusing.

If one looks carefully at the diatonic charts, one thing one may find interesting is to check the listing for 19 Limit Just Intonation and the comprimise tuning that Seydel uses. The only difference between the two is how 5 & 9 draw is tuned. In 19LJI, 5 & 9 draw is tuned 1.5 cents sharp wheras the Seydel comprimise is tuned 2 cents flat for those two notes.

@Nacoran --- No problem. That other chart tho covers so many different types of tunings and not just diatonics, but also with chromatics including a more common alternate chromatic tuning known as diminished tuning. That particular chart can be a mind boggler.
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte

Last Edited by on Oct 15, 2010 10:13 AM
oldwailer
1385 posts
Oct 15, 2010
11:49 AM
@BBQbob--thank you for posting this--it was just exactly what I needed to see right at this time.

BTW--Thanks for just being here helping us all the time--you are one of the best of the many great people who donate time and energy to this site--you make it worth coming back every day to see what else I can learn. . .


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chromaticblues
210 posts
Oct 15, 2010
11:51 AM
I just logged an exhaustive explaination of how to tune a diatonic with a version just intonation that works very well when playing with other instruments.
Check the prewar Marine Band thread
barbequebob
1345 posts
Oct 15, 2010
12:51 PM
@chromaticblues --- I am going to repeat my reply here from that thread (tho maybe not exactly word for word AKA copy and paste) to what you posted on the prewar Marine Band thread so people won't have to gack and forth here.

The tuning you've devised is essentially what the Seydel comprimise tuning is, which is essentially 19 Limit Just Intonation. Now, as I said previously, the only difference between the Seydel comprimise tuning and 19LJI is where 5 & 9 draw is being tuned. In 19LJI, those two notes are tuned 1.5 cents sharp, wheras Seydel tunes those two 2 cents flat. Now where yours differs is that 3 & 7 draw is tuned 14 cents flat, wheras both 7LJI and 19LJI has those two notes tuned 12 cents flat, and the other difference is where 19LJI has 5 & 9 draw tuned 1.5 cents sharp, Seydel's comprimise tuning has those two notes tuned 2 cents flat wheras you've got those two notes tuned 5 cents flat.

If you're playing past 3rd position, either of those tunings works very well (unless you're around the 1% of the world's population that's born with pitch perfect hearing, and most pros don't have that and like most people, what they have is something known as relative pitch).

The Manji comprimise tuning works well past 3rd postiton by having holes 2-5-8 blow as well as 3-7 draw tuned 5 cents flat, but unlike 19LJI or the Seydel comprimise or the tuning you've devised, the chords still tend to beat quite a bit, tho nothing remotely close to the way an ET tuned chord does.
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte

Last Edited by on Oct 15, 2010 1:03 PM
chromaticblues
212 posts
Oct 16, 2010
4:40 AM
Bob I have discussed this at great lenth with Pat Missin before the internet was so available to everyone. I use to strugle with all of that. This is what I've come to realize. Every single tuning (temperment) has its short comings. You hit the nail on the head when you said it matters what position your playing in. The only thing you didn't say is and how or want to play. If you want to play in positions above third and and become good at overblows. Then ET tuning is the best way to go. Then what happens as time goes by and you get better your ear starts to take over and subconsously stay away from the things that don't sound good in that tuning. Like chords, TB vamping, double stops,
When I finnaly settled with this tuning. I did exactly what you said. I use to 1 thru 5 positions fluently, but now I practice (as frank calls them TB tricks, just kidding frank) NO but what has happened is for the last couple years my style has changed alot because of that tuner! I play octaves, double stops and chords more than ever! I think the best thing anyone can do is just find what harp you like and stick with it. Do some research on tunings and temperments. Get a tuner and experiment with a little bit.

Last Edited by on Oct 16, 2010 5:49 AM
barbequebob
1350 posts
Oct 16, 2010
5:56 AM
The fact that every temperament has both advantages as well as disadvantages is something I`ve talked about many times and I`ve gone thru a similar struggle and over time, my feeling is that one size does NOT fit all even tho the average player tends to want something like that. The majority of the OB players I`ve met over the years have much preferred ET tuning by a fairly wide margin with smaller numbers for those preferring comprimise or JI in that order and those that preferred the latter two incorporated chords and double stops in their playing FAR more than those who preferred ET tuning
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte.
Tuckster
749 posts
Oct 16, 2010
7:56 AM
Slightly O.T., but what does it mean when they refer to solo tuned? Are different chromatics tuned differently?
barbequebob
1352 posts
Oct 16, 2010
9:31 AM
Solo tuned means that instead of the standard richter tuning you see in most diatonics, it is tuned the way most chromatics are. The note layout on a chromatic is basically every octave repeating the layout of holes 4-7 that's on the diatonic and it was done that way so it would be easier for most people to remember or what you'd wind up seeing is the way the 12-14 holed 364/365 Marine Band is laid out and once you get past hole 7, things can get very confusing for most people. The solo tuning is how most chromatics are tuned, and this has absolutely NOTHING to do with intonations or temperaments at all.

Here is on a key of C diatonic the way the notes are laid out from holes 4-7:

BLOW C E G C
HOLE# 4 6 3 7
DRAW D F A B

Now on a chromatic, in the next octave, the pattern starts as if you started with the pattern from 4 blow, only it starts at the very next hole after the octave, so that means you do have a duplicate of the same note in the very next hole.
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Tuckster
750 posts
Oct 16, 2010
10:35 AM
Thanks BBQB. That sounds like it's layed out like the white keys on a piano. Does that mean all chroms are tuned E.T.? And does that mean "slide in" are the black keys?
chromaticblues
213 posts
Oct 16, 2010
1:56 PM
Yes tuckster to all three qeustions! Of course that is playing in 1st position. Most blues on the chromatic is played in third position. Its called Dorian Mode. It just means the third and seventh note are half a note flat. I personally like third position best byself, but the way Paul Delay and Norton Baffalo play 2nd position on the Chrom was absolutly amazing. I have studied both of them and they were great harps players. When Norton Buffalo played "Wild Mountain Honey" live with Steve Miller. Man it was some of the best harmonica playing I have ever heard in my life! I never saw Paul Delay in person, but he was probably the best at playing blues chromatic to ever live! At least his recordings are so good it seems to me he is. I mean his playing was of the chart. NOTHING to compares to it really.
Sorry! I just had flash back to a concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center when my wife and I say Steve Miller. If any of you ever heard Snortin Norton play that song with Stevie Miller. Than you'll understand. My wife and I went four more times after that. They were all good.
barbequebob
1353 posts
Oct 16, 2010
3:01 PM
George Harmonica Smith also played blues on chromatic in both 3rd and 1st position as well.
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Tuckster
751 posts
Oct 16, 2010
3:02 PM
Thanks,Chrom! I don't know much of Norton's music,but I'm a totally gonzo DeLay fan. So his chrom work is mostly 2nd position? No wonder I could never get a handle on it. LOL I find 3rd position pretty easy to fall into and make it sound decent. Like the LW chrom stuff-he never touched the button. If I mess with the button,I can get some of Paul's notes,but I need another lifetime to get anywhere close to what he's doing.
barbequebob
1354 posts
Oct 16, 2010
3:20 PM
2nd position on a chromatic is a lot easier than you think. If you`re playing 1st position blues on a chromatic, essentially what needs to be done is use the button more so that you phrase more like 3rd, but that means you do have to know where you are on it 24/7
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte.


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