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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Paddy Richter vs Melody Maker
Paddy Richter vs Melody Maker
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87 posts
Jan 14, 2012
12:56 AM
I was thinking about trying a Paddy Richter tuned harp, then because of too much thinking I tried to compare with Melody Maker tuning, and now can't decide which to choose. I really just want to mess around playing well known songs etc.

The Paddy Richter only has 3 blow altered so could be used in 'normal' style also? Melody Maker looks better for chords?

Any comments welcome!
294 posts
Jan 14, 2012
10:03 AM
Here's a way to try both: buy Lee Oskar C major diatonic and G Melody Maker harps and swap the lower reedplates between the harps. You wind up with one C double country-tuned and one C paddy-richter tuned harp. If you decide you prefer the Melody maker, just swap them back.

Last Edited by on Jan 14, 2012 10:04 AM
1952 posts
Jan 14, 2012
10:45 AM
ahh, clever, timeistight.

doctor of semiotics and reed replacement.

"making the world a better place, one harmonica at a time"
5107 posts
Jan 14, 2012
11:31 AM

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217 posts
Jan 14, 2012
1:18 PM
here's more info



Last Edited by on Jan 14, 2012 1:19 PM
21 posts
Jan 14, 2012
11:34 PM
I used to like Melody Maker but hardly play it since I tried Jim's True Chromatic tuning. I use it for light jazz and certain blues tunes, but it probably works great for other kinds of music, too.
1137 posts
Jan 15, 2012
2:38 AM

Glad you liked it!
What model is it based on?

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89 posts
Jan 15, 2012
8:37 AM
@Jim - just spent an hour looking at the note layout for the True Chromatic. This is really neat, and very very clever!

However, I was wondering if you had a link to point me to the note layout for the Diatonic. I would be interested in having 2 keys available (preferably G and D, or possibly F and C), so I could play folk tunes and adapt other 'popular' tunes to those keys (hence my thinking about MM tuning).

Thanks in advance!
ps - what part of Russia are you from? - my wife was originally from Omsk.

pps - @ timeistight. thats great thinking - I never would dream up such a scheme. Thanks for the input.
296 posts
Jan 15, 2012
9:03 AM
I stole the idea; I can't remember if it was from Richard Hunter, Winslow Yerxa or someone else.
1140 posts
Jan 15, 2012
9:38 AM

it's the same... That's the main feature, to have both instruments with the same layout.

C Eb G Bb D F A C E G
D F A C E G B D Gb A

You have one semitone draw bend in every hole. And 4 overbends/valve bends to complete the scale.

Those keys make sense: C, C#, Bb, B, A.
The rest of the keys are really repeating those five... Look closer and you'll see why:


I was born in Kazakhstan, and then lived in Novosibirsk. It's not very far from Omsk. A russian wife is a great choice. Really, I can't look at the local bulgarian girls after russia.


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1141 posts
Jan 15, 2012
10:09 AM
@Michael Rubin:

I think they didn't understand (and neither did I, LOL).

Because that movie has nothing to do with kazakhstan. Really, he doesn't even look like a Kazakh.

It's the same as if I'd be making a film about a small indian tribe based on my own imaginary idea about it :-D


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5 posts
Jul 26, 2020
5:03 PM
So, melody maker only has one more altered reed changed than paddy richter?
2854 posts
Jul 26, 2020
5:30 PM
No, it has both 5 and 9 draw tuned up a half step.
Country tuning is only 5, both is called Double Country.
I like Major Cross, it is like Melody Maker but additionally tunes up the bottom, so there are no missing major scale steps.
Put this way, the draw chord on a Melody Maker is (for example) D G B D F#.
On a Major Cross, it's E G B D F#, and the blow chord is no longer a C on the bottom--it's D F# A C E G C E G B across the blow plane.
2855 posts
Jul 26, 2020
5:37 PM
I am further modifying the tuning by changing the top octave to Power Chromatic (Bren's baby) [also patented by Salwitz/Beauregard, Bren says it's his tuning and hands off].
So now it's D F# A C E G A C E G blow and E G B D F# A B D F# A draw. This gives me draw bends on top.
6 posts
Jul 26, 2020
6:53 PM
I have gotten pretty comfortable with Melody Maker and solo. There is more bending available on Melody maker though. I just haven't gotten used to the high end. Why don't they make that top end more logical?
2856 posts
Jul 26, 2020
7:55 PM
I am not real fond of solo tuning on a diatonic harmonica.
As for the top end of Melody Maker, they left It alone so that folks who know Richter are more comfortable.
I believe there are lots of ways to tune a harmonica.
It’s common knowledge . . .
2857 posts
Jul 26, 2020
8:06 PM

Last Edited by Gnarly on Jul 27, 2020 9:59 PM
124 posts
Jul 28, 2020
7:34 AM
Hi there,

Paddy Richter is probably more common - I can only think of one person using melody maker for Irish music, for example although it is a fine tuning (there may be more of course!) - why not get or even make one by retuning? I'd recommend it to try.

Yes, lots of ways to retune harmonicas. I hope this doesn't distract too much, but if you were thinking some time of perhaps using a chromatic instead, I developed a tuning I call Irish Fiddle tuning, that is exactly for playing fiddle music in G and D and related modes with Irish style decorations:


Just to get a flavour of how it works, here is a video of using it to play melody on the first tune and chords on both tunes (secondary dominants etc :-)) - melody is on standard diatonic "Richter" tuning

Anyway, not the only way by any means...

Last Edited by blingty on Jul 28, 2020 7:39 AM
2860 posts
Jul 28, 2020
1:20 PM
Major cross is the intellectual property of Tony Eyers, who plays a lot of Irish music using that tuning.
2861 posts
Jul 28, 2020
1:21 PM
"Banish", nice!
718 posts
Jul 28, 2020
11:39 PM
I use a Melody Maker for 5th position - no avoid notes and gives a stable 4th in the scale (3 blow).
I just wish they would make MMs in Eb, Bb etc
125 posts
Jul 29, 2020
3:30 AM
Thanks Gary.

I guess you could get Seydels... do you mean MM in Lee Oscars are not available in Bb, Eb? Pity.

For the OP, melody maker is a great tuning, great for chords and also melodies where you can bend notes. You have to be more careful with the chords than on a Richter tuned harmonica, but so do you with the Paddy Richter. They are very closely related, PR is good for 4th position playing in minor and has the notes for major playing in 1st position, so it tends to be good for Irish music for example. MM is good at major melody in 2nd position, possibly better for bluegrass as a result. And 4th position will give you dorian minor, 5th position is Aeolian. Best thing is to get one of each and try them out, I think.
719 posts
Jul 29, 2020
4:37 AM
Thanks blingty - didn't realise!

I'm not a fan of Lee Oskars so Seydel sounds the way to go

re positions generally, a useful idea is that a MM (or PR, Country-tuned) harp makes each position more reminiscent of the position "below" e.g. 2nd is more like 1st.

In my case 5th is more like 4th, the natural minor. This is a good scale across many minor tunes, while giving the extra expressiveness of 5th position that I don't find with 4th
351 posts
Jul 30, 2020
12:52 PM
I wanted to mention with the melody makers if I grab the Lee Oskar C which is marked in cross harp the 2 draw
will not be the same C as if you grab an F harp and play the 2 draw to get C
It is an octave lower
it is the same C if you use the Low F and draw on the 2.

That used to catch me off guard at 1st. Hopefully I explained it correctly.

okay while I'm thinking... I use a couple of C harps tuned to Paddy I notice that I can not get the Ab bend, seems I lose that.
I can get that on a Gazell C paddy on the 3 blow bend though.
I suppose other folks might have different results.

Last Edited by Spderyak on Jul 30, 2020 1:03 PM
2862 posts
Jul 30, 2020
4:13 PM
Right, when blow is A and draw is B, only a half step bend is possible.
352 posts
Aug 02, 2020
8:04 AM
I like that now because I realized I could land on that without worrying about bending it to far.
I didn't really realize that till I started checking myself against the harp nina app which I use to check myself for accuracy.

I have a melody maker by lee Oskar and a melodic maker by seydel. Both in A. Each I read is labeled for 2nd position.
The oskar gives me the A on the 2 draw
the Seydel gives me the E on the 2 draw

I am thinking the Seydel is miss marked
they do not label their harps in 2nd position.

I use the harps regularly for different songs but that does confuse me a bit.

Last Edited by Spderyak on Aug 02, 2020 8:06 AM
2863 posts
Aug 02, 2020
10:11 AM
Some manufacturers label by first position, others for second.
Suzuki seems to label all of theirs in first.

Tuning notation chart for all models

Last Edited by Gnarly on Aug 02, 2020 10:12 AM
7 posts
Aug 03, 2020
5:49 PM
I got a major cross today. Very very easy and it's like a melody maker only no confusing parts.

It seems almost like solo but reversed. Very intuitive.
4 posts
Aug 04, 2020
8:36 AM
I had two Lee Oskar Melody Makers (C and D) because Harproli plays them well and I thought it would be a good idea to try them out. But I must admit I don't like them at all, maybe I just didn't get the sense of these... however, when I play them it doesn't sound really better than on a "normal" harp, and since I got the PowerDraw and PowerBender I simply don't use them.
2873 posts
Aug 04, 2020
2:19 PM
@pbaughman good for you!
No missing major scale notes on the Major Cross, and the pattern changes at 7 just like most of the harps you own.
9 posts
Aug 04, 2020
4:20 PM
It seems like solo arrangement in the upper octave. Is that right?
2874 posts
Aug 04, 2020
9:06 PM
D F# A C E G C E G B
E G B D F# A B D F# A

Solo tuning is like 4-7 on a standard harp


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