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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Hohner Pentaharp (alternate tuning)
Hohner Pentaharp (alternate tuning)
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84 posts
Oct 08, 2021
2:41 AM
15 posts
Oct 08, 2021
7:02 AM
Thanks for the link.
David Barrett has a Hohner PentaHarp Lesson here (paid membership required).
714 posts
Oct 08, 2021
8:49 AM
Just ordered one to try
Im very open minded.

Been playin with a rack for 40 years +. I use Nat minor on Thrill is gone-I shot the the Sheriff-Summertime- Mr Magic--- many more.

When the I chord and IV chord are minor, playing with a rack it sounds much smoother playing a "nat Minor harp" not as many avoid notes.

Looking forward to trying it.

Last Edited by snowman on Oct 08, 2021 8:52 AM
55 posts
Oct 08, 2021
9:48 AM
To me the pentaharp seems to be a copy of the ED harmonica tuning concept. I know Brendan Power said the ED tuning was based off a tuning he had. I really like the ED tuning, ED as easy diatonic. They should have came up with a better name. Nobody seemed too enthused about the ED tuning but the pentaharp seems to be causing a stir.
85 posts
Oct 08, 2021
11:19 AM
According to Andrew Zajac:
"In Pat Missin's Altered States list of altered tunings, this tuning is 11.15, "Blues Scale Tuning" which has been known since the 90s."

I have tried EDHarmonica and did not care for it personally. Plus I feel that its marketing as a harp for (among others) beginners was completely wrong.

I do think that this penta (actually hexa) tuning has enormous potential for newbies and pros alike.

For the record, I have no affiliation with Hohner or any harp sellers.
56 posts
Oct 08, 2021
12:03 PM
I dont doubt you laNerd.my comparison to the ED tuning is based on the breath pattern and that you get octave splits on every hole. I could not get anywhere with regular richter tuning. I found ED harp marketing to be right on,I think it is great for beginners. Their problem is with the easttop harp they were selling on amazon. The harp was cheap in price and plays real well, but a lot of people buying harps on amazon dont realize they were buying a non standard tuning. They werre buying songbooks ect that would not work with that harp.
3001 posts
Oct 08, 2021
5:31 PM
I made one, was unimpressed.
Just tried changing holes 2 and 5 (I didn’t do the top octave) so now the tuning is | A c | D f | E g |, minor third bends on every hole and the chords are A sus and C sus.
Still not a believer.
Should be a winner when I need to build a Spanish tuned harp tho.
After you guys decide this tuning is not for you, let me know, I’m up for trades.
89 posts
Oct 11, 2021
6:48 PM
Having not played this tuning I cannot attest to its playability. When I originally saw the Pentaharp there was doubt about it's efficacy.

But have you heard Ronnie Shellist's most recent trials in 10th position? It sounds really pure and emotive. It has a place for sure.
86 posts
Oct 12, 2021
6:15 AM
Shellist on PentaHarp in 10th position:


ted burke
927 posts
Oct 12, 2021
10:28 AM
mine should get here today. looking forward to giving it a go.
87 posts
Oct 12, 2021
11:38 AM
I think (not sure) that by playing a minor pentatonic harp in 10th position (as discussed above), Shellist is using the same notes but now as a *major* pentatonic scale. The second note of the minor pentatonic scale becomes the first note of the major pentatonic scale.

But this is actually a hexatonic harp. The flat fifth "blue note" of the minor pentatonic scale becomes the flat third "blue note" of the major pentatonic scale. In other words, it's the same tone but in a different relative position.

Last Edited by IaNerd on Oct 12, 2021 12:15 PM
956 posts
Oct 13, 2021
2:59 PM
Are there chords?
88 posts
Oct 13, 2021
3:19 PM
In the blow layer there are dyads of the I chord and the IV chord. Actually, both of these dyads are power chords, and can therefore also imply i and iv chords -- because they lack their thirds. These note pairs could be played simultaneously or as warbles.

There might be more but that's all I see.

Last Edited by IaNerd on Oct 13, 2021 9:50 PM
14 posts
Oct 15, 2021
5:02 PM
Cool addition to the progressive line.
The main thing for me is a bendable flat third in all octaves (right? or did I hear wrong)

One disadvantage to OBing is that you can't really play them really soft (Maybe in a super custom harp, but then the notes choke with expressive tongue slaps a la SBW) so this harp seems to be pretty cool.

I don't see myself buying a set of these, but probably an A of this Pentaharp kept in the car for traffic light exploration- should be cool and musically educational.

I'm interested to see what you guys think this harp is LACKING vs 19 limit richter.

Last Edited by DS200 on Oct 15, 2021 5:04 PM
89 posts
Oct 15, 2021
5:08 PM
Re: "LACKING" --

Proper I and IV chords. A bendable tonic. The warbles/trills involving 3-4 and 4-5.

Let's keep in mind, though, that this is not an either/or situation. A person can use Richter *and* an alternate tuning -- even in the same tune.

Last Edited by IaNerd on Oct 16, 2021 7:05 AM

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