Reply To: Update from Lowboy on the Blues Journey


Hi Jazzman 1945. I do not have problems with tuning and reed damage for several reasons.

First, the Hohner Piano 26 is a soprano-range instrument. Hence, while the small reeds make it harder to bend notes and get modulations, the small reeds are far less susceptible to permanent damage than the large reeds found on lower-range instruments.

Second, the techniques I use to get some bending and modulations (or to accentuate the bending from regular “hard blowing”) do not hurt the reeds as much compared to just blowing really hard to get a bend or modulation. Blowing hard alone to get bends can damage reeds pretty quickly, particularly on low notes.

And then there is this point. I don’t care that much about the tuning of the instrument anymore, at least for playing the blues. I have come full circle on this. I used to think a beat up instrument with poor tuning sounded best in the blues. Then I started playing in non-blues setting and thought that precise tuning was important for any music making, even the blues. But after a year of that thinking–and now being focused on the blues–I am back to thinking that slightly rough tuning sounds best for the blues. Horrible tuning no. But slight tuning variations sound good in this music.

I also have a couple of non-soprano instruments where the low E and low G and a few other notes have damaged reeds. These damaged reeds bend very easily. At first I thought I would need to tune these instruments or throw them out. Now I realize I can use these instruments to my advantage for songs in specific keys to get significant bends.

Over the next day or so I will reveal some of my tricks and techniques for getting expressiveness out of these Hohner instruments. I think people will be surprised at one or two of these techniques.



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