Configured harmonicas and detailed descriptions of some useful special tunings

 

Description of the note table 

Upper plate: blow notes on Blues models, blow and draw notes on the Chromatic De Luxe with the slide open

Lower plate: draw notes on Blues models, blow and draw notes on the Chromatic De Luxe with the slide pressed

 

Description of the initial standard tunings for 10-hole models

There are only view standard tunings, like Richter, Paddy, Country, Melodic Maker, Natural minor or Harmonic Minor tuning, that are produced regularly - all alternate tunings different from these can be composed and ordered in the Harp-Configurator!

The initial standard tunings are provided as an aid for your own configurations or you use them as they are. For the 12-hole models (Solist Pro 12 and Chromatic) we provide a special 12-hole-collection of initial tunings!

 

Richter

The mother of tunings for 10 hole diatonic harmonicas, Richter tuning is by far the most common. It is suited for playing melodies with chords in the 1st position though most Blues/Rock players use the Cross Position (or 2nd position). Bends and overblows can be applied to reach the entire chromatic scale across the whole range of the instrument. This tuning is available as a standard product in the eShop!

 

Solo/Major scale

Solo tuning is mostly used for chromatic harmonicas though it can also be found in some traditional Folk models. The ‘middle octave’ of the Richter tuning (four holes for one major diatonic scale) is repeated across the entire range of the harmonica, resulting also in the characteristic repetition of the tonic note at the end of one octave and the beginning of the next. In modern playing styles this tuning can be used for pieces in minor keys played in the 3rd position. This tuning is available as a standard product (e.g. Chromatic DeLuxe, Solist Pro 12) in the eShop!


Bebop

Bebop tuning adds an extra note to the standard solo tuning: for example, on a C major harmonica, the tuning provides the additional Bb which, in doing so, removes the doubled tonics of a standard solo tuning. Bebop tuning is mostly used for chromatic harmonicas and some jazz players like it very much (e. g. Bill Barrett). This tuning is not available as a standard tuning in the eShop!

 

Melodic Maker

This tuning is the combination of Country and Paddy Richter tunings; the notes are raised in pitch in channels 5 and 9. In addition, the blow note in channel three is one whole tone higher. Many melodies normally only playable using bends or overblows become easily playable with the Melodic Maker tuning. This tuning is available as a standard product in the eShop!
Paddy Richter This harp is altered from the Richter tuning by raising hole 3 blow by a whole tone. This is very useful for Irish and Celtic music. This tuning is available as a standard product in the eShop!

 

Diminished

The tuning is very useful for improvising over several chord structures and, if you are familiar with bending, you are also able to play chromatically so that one is not restricted to the Blues scale. Learning only four different scale patterns, it is possible to cover all keys with one harmonica. The notes are arranged as diminished chords. This tuning is not available as a standard tuning in the eShop!

 

Dorian

The Dorian Scale belongs to the Minor scales. It is full of tension because of the large step to the 6th note of the scale and is very often used in Fusion and Rock music. The advantage of this tuning is that one can play as if in the 2nd position on a Richter diatonic but with sounds and chords available that sound more similar to the 3rd. This tuning is not available as a standard tuning in the eShop!

 

Circular/Melody King

The major scale can be played simply by alternating draws and blows (no note bending is required). On a Circular tuned harmonica up to 12 different chords can be played depending upon which channels are played at a time. Therefore it's not so easy to label this tuning correctly. The first note in channel one blow is the key displayed on the harp, though the major scale is playable 5 semitones (a fourth) higher than the key the harp is labelled in. The major scale thus starts in hole 2 draw. This tuning is available as a standard product in the eShop!

 

Augmented

This tuning comes from France through Eric Chafer, a very skilled Folk harmonica player. With this tuning one is able to play full chromatic scales using only draw bends to reach the missing notes. The chords sound a little bit oriental or Spanish. This tuning is not available as a standard tuning in the eShop!

 

Whole Tone

The Whole Tone Tuning is similar to Augmented except that it starts with Ab rather than E (the name referring to the intervals between the blow notes in the Augmented tuning). However, the draw notes are all one semitone lower than the Augmented, so that you have to use an overblow in every channel to be able to play fully chromatically. One requires to learn only 4 patterns to play in every key using a single harmonica. If one blows and draws alternately, one gets the ‘whole tone’ scale. This tuning is not available as a standard tuning in the eShop!

 

Country


Hole 5 draw is raised by a semitone from the standard Richter tuning. This means that you hear a major 7th draw chord but you can bend the note (raised 7th) down back into the common Richter layout (flat 7th). Thus one has an additional note without too much effort. The major scale is available in the 2nd position which this is often used in Country music styles. This tuning is available as a standard product in the eShop!

 

Easy 3rd / Do it! (by Dale King)

This tuning is the ideal alternative to play pieces in minor keys, because you can easily play pieces in the third position without the need of intonating the double bends which are needed to play the dorina scale on a standard Richter harmonica! The draw chord becomes the minor chord (D F A D, on a harmonica in C) of the 3rd position instead of major chord (D G H D, on a harmonica in C) of the second position. Believe it or not - this is the most intuitive way to simply play in minor keys. This is not only interesting in a Rock/Blues context but also useful for many Irish Folk pieces which can now be played with a full chord accompaniment! Because of the available chords (d-minor and C-major) the Easy 3rd-variant also could be named "The Reaggae harp";-). Originaly this tuning is based on an idea of Dale King, an American harmonica player, living in Germany.

 

Harmonic Minor

The harmonic minor scale is derived from the natural minor scale. However, in contrast to the natural minor scale, the seventh note of the harmonic minor scale is raised by one semitone which, put technically, builds an artificial guiding note which leads to the next semitone. All melodies you play intuitively on this harmonica sound like Tango or Klezmar music and thus the tuning offers many new ideas to the player. This tuning is available as a standard product in the eShop!

 

Natural Minor

The natural minor scale uses the same notes as the corresponding major scale, e.g. the A natural minor scale (ABCDEFGA) uses the same notes as the C major scale (CDEFGABC). This scale sounds somewhat "sad" and all melodies played on this harmonica will sound with a minor flavour. Both the blow and draw chords are minor chords. The tuning allows you to play minor tunes intuitively with this tuning. In the configurator it is labeled in the 1st position (1 blow = key of the harp), though we normally label it in the 2nd position! This tuning is available as a standard product in the eShop!

 

Powerbender

The POWERBENDER is a new universal tuning updating the 10 hole diatonic for modern music styles, which emphasize note bending and fluent improvisation in different keys. It builds on all the best parts of the traditional Richter tuning, while altering the scale to make the real juicy, important notes much easier to obtain, with fantastic expressive ability throughout the whole three octave range. Its beauty and strength is that it relies overwhelmingly upon draw bending for chromaticism and expression, an easy technique all players master quickly. Every draw note bends a semitone or more. Overblows are still available but significantly reduced in importance, as they are not required for most playing. Brendan Power wrote a detailed introduction for his tuning and made many videos with his POWERBENDER - all available on his >webpage.

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