Good topic! I mean, not a topic which has been discussed much, at least not for quite a long time. I am reasonably certain that Winslow Yerxa has spent enough time with that model to speak knowledgeably about it and has no doubt made some recordings. Perhaps not readily available but Winslow is quite approachable and helpful. There are others but it will take me some time to come up with names I expect. The harps were unfortunately discontinued and I think now coveted by their fans, I’m a bit jealous myself. I did not develop an interest in the model until well after they had ceased production. I remember someone talking about their collection and how they had pursued elusive keys. I think it was on this forum (main page), but not sure and so many members have stopped posting that it’s quite likely they’re not currently active. So I’m not promising anything but I’ll have a look and a think.
“The XB-40 is a unique instrument and you can't judge it by standard diatonics. If you do you will be unhappy.
If you take it on its own terms and explore its unique sound and capabilities, the XB has a lot to offer.
I'm sorry to hear it's being discontinued. I heard rumors to that effect last year, but had no confirmation until now.
The XB is great for celtic music and fiddle tunes, as it's very loud and flexible and can be played hard at high speeds.
The high pitched keys are rather bright sounding. The G seems like the optimal key.”
about the tune I linked to above, Winslow said “I'd like to point out one thing in Windermere that is totally idiomatic for tongue-blocked blues and totally impossible on a standard harp.
At about 1:31 I start playing Draw 4 over the I chord, alternating an unbent chord or split with a bend single note, moving my tongue on and off the harp. OK, nothing unusual about that.
But when the band goes to the IV chord, so do I, going from Draw 4 to Blow 6. On a regular harp, I wouldn't be able to bend Blow 6 down to emulate what I just did over the draw chord, but on the XB I can. I do the same Tongue-off/Tongue-on-and-bend alternation that I just did on the draw chord.
That may not sound like much, but I like the ability to sculpt what the harp does to more closely follow the harmony when I choose to do that.”
It may be significant that he was talking about the same song (Windermere) but not the same recording, so the time reference may not line up.
Here’s another mbh thread with Joel. Evidently he’s customised the harp and used the so called “easy 3rd” tuning in the first video here