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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > And again, valves vs no valves
And again, valves vs no valves
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9 posts
Mar 29, 2024
1:24 AM
To get back on the topic, but probably to be a bit more on point.
Every time I play half-valved harp I really like how full my blow notes sound, and how much I can add to them.
I also feel that sound is louder (a bit) and feels closer to draw notes.

But I'm not really crazy about tone of valved bends, even when much better player play? it I hear it as 'strained'. To me, overblows sound much more 'natural', as if it's just a second 'natural' pitch of the reed.
And of course I cannot play overblows on (half) valved harp.

A bit minor point, but it also feels like there's less interaction between reeds when I play chords.

So my question is - how close I can get to (half) valved sound of the blow notes if I work on the blow reeds - gapping, embossing and such. Is it possible to get fuller, louder and more expressive notes by reducing air loss?

Also, I play ????-valved promasters, and I know that promaster' reeds are shorter than hohner' (at least for lower keys) and shorter than manji / olive' reeds.

So another question is - how does the reed length affect the tone? Could it be that longer reeds would allow a bit more expressiveness?
430 posts
Mar 29, 2024
6:26 AM
I play a fair amount with half valved harps and now just starting with setting up an occasional harp for an overblow or two.

For the half valved I play Seydel, PT Gazell harps.
My first over blow was accidental when trying to get a blow bend on fifty year old Hohner Veriens Orchester harp that I have had forever.

I don't know a lot of the answers to your questions but I did want to mention.
You can always just valve a single reed or set a single reed for an overblow.
Since the note layout is different I reach for a harp where the notes layout is most user friendly for whichever song I am playing at the time.

I don't have much input on which method or techniques sound better than another, but I do concentrate on sounding the most fluid when I play. Sticking notes
or reeds are always the most dreaded, so I spend much time making sure whether it is me or the harp that is causing it. Sometimes it is a little of both.

Last Edited by Spderyak on Mar 29, 2024 6:42 AM

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