Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Cajun harmonica
Cajun harmonica
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Malarz
1 post
Nov 29, 2019
2:30 PM
Not exactlky a blues harp question but what type of harmonica is recommended for Cajun tunes? What was isom Fontenot playing? What does Jerry Devillier play?

Thanks for any help.,
Sarge
751 posts
Nov 29, 2019
4:08 PM
An octave harmonica is a good one for Cajun music.
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dougharps
2036 posts
Nov 29, 2019
8:25 PM
Jerry Devillier plays a regular Richter diatonic. In two videos it appears to be a Special 20.


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Doug S.
indigo
576 posts
Nov 29, 2019
8:39 PM
I've always had a soft spot for Cajun Music.
Would he be playing in first position?Sorta sounds like the music that the harmonica was originally designed for.
Malarz
2 posts
Nov 30, 2019
4:59 AM
Thanks. Probably he plays in what I refer to as “2nd position” meaning in the key of G on a C harmonica, the same as when I play in the key of G on a C diatonic accordion.

Is this where I also can I ask for recommendations on where to buy a Richter Special 20?
Sarge
752 posts
Nov 30, 2019
6:31 AM
https://rockinronsmusicsd.com/harmonicas.html
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Wisdom does not always come with old age. Sometimes old age arrives alone.
dougharps
2037 posts
Nov 30, 2019
6:32 AM
I have heard Jerry play 1st and 2nd position, just like a Cajun single row accordion player plays C and G on a C accordion.

Jerry has taught his approach at SPAH in Joe Filisko's afternoon workshop mob. Jerry said he grew up using harmonica to imitate his father playing accordion. The theory of it is easy, but you have to be good at tongue block rhythm and learn the chords and splits. I did not have those skills at a level to sound right in my attempts.

Richter is just a name for the tuning scheme used in Marine Band and Special 20 Hohner harmonicas as well as many other diatonic harmonicas in other brands.
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Doug S.
nacoran
10197 posts
Nov 30, 2019
1:49 PM
I've got a set of Huang Musette tremolos that get a pretty similar sound when you tongue block the octaves.

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Nate
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Martin
1620 posts
Dec 01, 2019
6:58 AM
In the video above he plays in 1 pos., A on an A harp.
dougharps
2038 posts
Dec 01, 2019
8:52 AM
Here is another with 1st and 2nd:


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Doug S.
Malarz
3 posts
Dec 01, 2019
5:16 PM
Thank you!
SuperBee
6351 posts
Dec 02, 2019
12:00 AM
“Richter” is a term which gets used in association with the standard German tuning scheme which is so commonly used on Richter diatonics, but it isn’t the name of the tuning scheme. A ‘country tuned’ special 20, and a Lee Oskar ‘melody maker’ are both Richter harmonicas.
‘Richter’ is the name given to the construction method of these harps, whereby there is a vertically divided comb with a reed plate both above and below, with blow reeds on one plate and draw reeds on the other.
Contrast this with the Knittlinger system used on many tremolo harps and chromatics, where the blow and draw reeds sit alongside one another in pairs and the body of the harp has a horizontal division as well as vertical.
dougharps
2039 posts
Dec 02, 2019
8:18 AM
@SuperBee

There are multiple conflicting opinions on "Richter tuning" available on the internet.

In common usage "Richter tuned" has often been used to describe the standard German tuned diatonic note layout, which is what I did above. However, as you point out, Richter is more accurately a description of the system of reeds with one reed on the top and one on the bottom in a sandwich style layout. Pat Missin goes on about Richter here:

https://www.patmissin.com/ffaq/q37.html


I wish there were an authority that could give a definitive name for the tuning we find on Special 20s and Marine Bands in the standard "blues harp" layout.

I called it "Richter tuned", it could be called "German tuned" or "blues harp tuned".

With a great degree of ambiguity remaining (see the end of Pat Missin's information" I called it Richter.

What appellation would you favor for this note layout on a 10 hole harmonica? What should be the standard name for this 10 hole harmonica note layout? Standard German tuning?

EDIT: Maybe this should move to a thread with a name fitting this new discussion topic???
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Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Dec 02, 2019 8:19 AM
kudzurunner
6596 posts
Dec 02, 2019
11:11 AM
One of my favorite clips in this vein is by Dave Harris. I believes that he uses stock harps.




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WinslowYerxa
1659 posts
Dec 02, 2019
10:05 PM
Isom Fontenot, from a Canadian NFB/ONF film:


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WinslowYerxa
1660 posts
Dec 02, 2019
10:18 PM
Arteleus Mstric, circa 1930 (Belle of Point (not "Pont" (i.e., bridge)) Claire, and afaik, this is not Mardi Gras music):


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Check out my blog and other goodies at winslowyerxa.com
Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition with tons of new stuff
SPAH 2020 convention in Saint Louis, August 11-15

Last Edited by WinslowYerxa on Dec 02, 2019 10:19 PM


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