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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > First OTB Diatonic Harp in Diminished Tuning
First OTB Diatonic Harp in Diminished Tuning
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170 posts
Oct 02, 2020
9:13 AM
I’ve always admired the elegance, logic and power of Diminished Tuning! On a diatonic harmonica, it fits the 12 notes of the chromatic scale perfectly into 4 holes per octave with a recurring pattern of 3 notes per hole, rising chromatically: blow, drawbend, draw – blow, drawbend, draw – and so on. Starting with a C blow note, that gives you this pattern in 4 holes: C/C#/D – Eb/E/F – F#/G/G# - A/Bb/B.

But the beauty of it is that you can play any scale or phrase in any key with just 3 breath patterns, making transposing scales or licks to all 12 keys so much easier than on any other harmonica tuning. The semitone bends in each hole are easy for any player to achieve on a stock harmonica, so it dramatically lowers the barrier to playing fully chromatically on a diatonic.

Diminished Tuning has so much going for it, but availability was limited to custom retunes or ordering via Seydel’s Configurator. With the increasing desire to play fully chromatically whilst retaining the tone and soul of the diatonic harp, I think Diminished Tuning’s time has come!

To help make it easier for a wide range of players to check it out easily, I’ve created the first out-of-the-box harp in Diminished Tuning, using the platform of my Lucky 13 model. Its extra length is especially suitable to Diminished, because it gives players a full 3 octave range. In addition, my unique Look-Dots on the front of the comb assist with keeping oriented on this most fluid and flexible of all harmonicas.

Here’s a video demo:

More Info, Phrase Maps & Ordering:
789 posts
Oct 02, 2020
11:09 AM
Embedding link as courtesy https://www.brendan-power.com/lucky13.php#lucky13Dim
Ridge's YouTube
141 posts
Oct 02, 2020
5:52 PM
I've been working with diminished tuning for the last month, I have a Seydel dim tuned harp in F# that I purchased about 20 years ago and just started to explore this tuning. The way to understand this tuning is to memorize where the different degrees of your scale are from the tonic, making a diagram helps a lot and the relationship of the notes are very symmetrical. As Brendan points out there are only 3 positions to learn : Tonic at blow, tonic at draw and tonic a draw bend. It's a very expressive tuning because of the draw bends . It really isn't much of a chordal harp yet it does have some partial two note chords.This tuning can open up new soloing possibilities from blues to jazz to mid-eastern music. I'm looking forward to purchasing one when they become available.
171 posts
Oct 03, 2020
2:39 PM
@Piro39: Good to hear of players dedicating time to Diminished Tuning. Though I play other tunings, I decided to make it available because it is the easiest and most logical way to play in all 12 keys on a diatonic, which more and more harp players want to do these days.

Even with a small amount of time messing with it I've found it so easy to get some great stuff happening that is either impossible or very difficult on any key-based harp tuning like Richter, PowerBender etc Chromatic scales and runs are a cinch, as is shifting licks around into all keys.

Looking forward to hearing what you come up with on Diminished Piro, if you care to share it. In the meantime, here's a tasty example of what's capable on Diminished from Alfred Hirsch:

Last Edited by BeePee on Oct 03, 2020 2:40 PM

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