Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Half valved chromatic
Half valved chromatic
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170 posts
Sep 09, 2013
5:32 AM
I've read about half valving chromes on this forum several times. Can someone point me to some videos or recordings using half valved chromatics?
Music speaks where words fail.
1 post
Sep 09, 2013
8:01 AM
Check out " Back to Back", by Brendan Power and, P.T. Gazell; Brendan plays half- valved chromatic. Very cool cd.-Greg
688 posts
Sep 09, 2013
9:24 AM

This is Grant Osborne using a G-48 tuned to diminished which is half valved--I think it sounds just like a diatonic.
I personally don't care for half valving, but Brendan sure does!

Last Edited by Gnarly on Sep 09, 2013 9:25 AM
Brendan Power
376 posts
Sep 09, 2013
12:09 PM
@ Jay: Good to see some interest in the half-valved chromatic on this forum. The half-valved chrom is an awesomely powerful and versatile harmonica, especially when combined with special tunings.

I invented half-valving back in 1980, initially in order to get more soulful bends out of the chromatic (I later transferred it to my diatonics too). My favourite tuning for it is PowerChromatic, which I've recorded with for over 30 years.

As Root says, you can hear that combination on 'Back to Back'. Here are a bunch of solos from the album:

171 posts
Sep 09, 2013
4:45 PM
Thanks, Brendan. How does the power tuning differ?
I appreciate your experience and expertise AND willingness to share.
Music speaks where words fail.
315 posts
Sep 09, 2013
5:07 PM
why don't you like half valving?
207 posts
Sep 09, 2013
6:58 PM
i tried it. its good to try on a C 270 if you never played chrome before. its like a stepping stone to chrome. then get a 280 64 and dont half valve. yeah half valving makes it like a diatonic wail. but it defeats the chrome horn/organ sound.
Brendan Power
382 posts
Sep 15, 2013
3:28 AM
@9000: Sorry for the delayed reply. You can see PowerChromatic and some of my other tunings here (copy and paste the link):

2726 posts
Nov 30, 2019
9:43 PM
Here's an old thread!
I have done half valving for customers, and some of the time it turned out nicely, so I decided to try it on an Easttop 12 hole chromatic I had to spare. It turned out quite nicely, so I plan on putting some time in on it.

Brendan invented the Power Chromatic tuning, I like to call it IV6/V6, those are the chords (in this case, C6/D6). I am familiar with the tuning, since I use it in the diatonic format (no button).

It's a lot like solo tuning, you raise the F note to F# and the F# to G on hole 2, then you lower the C note to A and the C# to Bb on hole 4. Take off all the valves, and you can draw bend every note (two notes per hole).

The more airtight the chrom, the better it will be after you remove the valves. I did one for Al Price half a dozen years ago on a CX-12 that turned out well (I made a YouTube video) and since then for some other folks too.

Last Edited by Gnarly on Nov 30, 2019 9:47 PM
6347 posts
Nov 30, 2019
10:21 PM
thats not fair! you're making me have to think!
raise the F note in hole 2; which one? the button-in or button out?
raise the F# to G. OK, i "think" (ouch!) you mean that both draw notes of hole 2 need to be raised a semitone

now, lower the C note to A and the C# to Bb on hole 4, so we must be talking lowering both the blow notes on hole 4

ok, that makes sense to me, we now have 2 semitones between the blow and draw notes in each channel

take off all the valves; hang on! all the valves? i'm trying to draw bend a double reed bend so i want to let some air get to the blow reed. but its half valving so dont take of all the valves. that would be no-valving. i think just take off the valves on the outside.

hmm, so the blow plate on top is C E G A and the draw plate is D F# A B
2727 posts
Dec 01, 2019
5:46 AM
You are correct on all counts!
A guy named Ed Coogan uses this slide tuning exclusively, but starts on A--don't think he is half valving.
The tuning David Pearce is using owes much to this tuning.
And this is the arrangement of tones on a Melody Maker starting with blow 3, one octave's worth.

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