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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Jim Antaki's TurboSlide Harmonica
Jim Antaki's TurboSlide Harmonica
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Brendan Power
202 posts
Apr 09, 2012
4:49 PM
I’ve always admired the adventurous thinking of Jim ‘Turbodog’ Antaki when it comes to enhancing the performance of the diatonic harmonica. He’s continually coming up with new ideas, and he follows through with patents, tooling/manufacturing, and usable products at a good price.

One of his most interesting inventions is the TurboSlide harmonica, a diatonic that uses magnets to lower the pitch of the blow notes in hole 1-6 of a Richter harp. This has some fascinating applications beyond the obvious, and I’ve made a video to show some of them off:

The new expressive possibilities are very interesting!

I have no commercial affiliation with Jim, just like to see a good man get the respect and credit he deserves. Go to his website www.turboharp.com to check out the range of his products. The development notes for the nearly-available ELX MIDI Harp are well worth checking out.


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Todd Parrott
923 posts
Apr 09, 2012
5:14 PM
I remember trying these at SPAH and thought they were pretty cool.
825 posts
Apr 09, 2012
5:27 PM
He's the Finn Magnus of our generation. For those who don't know who Finn was, that's a compliment.

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5514 posts
Apr 09, 2012
8:33 PM
I think GH posted the video they have for the Turbo Slide way back when it first came out. You play it much better than they do on their video. :)

I love this sort of thinking. When I first heard of steel reeds I wondered if it was possible. I don't have the patience to tinker with invention ideas, but I love the thinking them up part!

The problem with the video they have up on their site is they tell you what it costs and then in the next breath tell you they are working on an even fancier version.

(I've got some Magnus harps too. I wonder if you could impregnate plastic with magnets...)

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95 posts
Apr 10, 2012
5:04 AM
I think this is still a homespun operation. My friend works in the building listed on their website, and in that suite they are not producing any harmonicas.

CMU people are super-nerds and can make cars which drive themselves through sensor imagery. A friend of mine was at MIT before transferring there.

Probably just an address to register the company, and not producing many units. Maybe Brendon could hook them up with one of those Chinese producers.

I suck at harmonica!

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Last Edited by on Apr 10, 2012 5:05 AM
Brendan Power
203 posts
Apr 10, 2012
2:45 PM
Yes, Jim's is a small operation but he's doing some very high-end stuff. Check out the ELX notes: he's solving tough problems there, but making progress. If it has MIDI capabilty it will be pretty amazing...

I agree Jim needs more pro players to adopt his innovations if they are to gain traction. I'm certainly going to work with the TurboSlide more in my alternate tunings. Any tuning with all blows lower than the draw notes will be better than Richter, as it means the TurboSlide can be useful on all 10 blow notes, not just the lower 6.

There is already a good Italian player using the TurboSlide with the PowerBender to good effect, Fred Pellegrini. Check out his solo here (3.00-4.30). Some pretty wild and unusual bends going on :-)

2903 posts
Apr 10, 2012
4:17 PM
Don't know how you can switch between the PowerBender, your alternative tunings, the TurboSlide, the Chromatics. You are something special Brendan. As a mere mortal I have trouble mastering the standard diatonic :o)
193 posts
Apr 10, 2012
10:53 PM
Harmonicas are (almost all) tuned to chords--that gives you the structure.
Even the FourKey is tuned to (a pair of) pentatonic scales.
That's why it's called a harmonica--the notes agree with each other.
BTW, I have not mastered the diatonic harmonica--I'm a pretty good guitar player tho 8)
Oh yeah, and all my SP20s are in TurboLids, Jim's first success story.

Last Edited by on Apr 10, 2012 10:56 PM
31 posts
Apr 11, 2012
4:30 AM
Article about this:


Patrick Barker
450 posts
Jul 18, 2012
6:33 PM
Just discovered this on Turboharp's stuff... just wanted to bring this page back up; I'm curious whether anyone else has any updates - this invention has real potential in the modern harmonica world
2 posts
Jul 18, 2012
8:05 PM
Oh, I DO, I DO!

Here's my update:

The TurboSlide has transitioned from the Seydel Silver to Session Steel. Consequently it is now much better streamlined, AND less expensive!

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement!

Jim "Turbodog" Antaki
CMU Nerd

Last Edited by on Jul 18, 2012 8:05 PM
218 posts
Jul 19, 2012
6:14 AM
I'd love to give it a go. The only thing I am worried about at the moment is how it affects the overall durability of the harmonica and how good the 'slide' bends stay in tune over time.

Other than that, I'm quite convinced I will transition to it at some point. (i already play a sort of powerbender tuning)
130 posts
Jul 19, 2012
6:50 AM
I have one on it's way from Seydel to Antakamatics, so I'll post some audio in a few weeks when I get both the harp and the time.
Greg Heumann
1706 posts
Jul 19, 2012
9:57 AM
Brendan - when I try to look at your video it just says "this video is private"


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Last Edited by on Jul 19, 2012 9:57 AM
9 posts
Jul 19, 2012
8:48 PM
Wow what a cool video. I mean the second one, not the video of your privates.

Since I learned to overblow, I don't use my car horn so much any more.

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