"Country" Harmonica Tuning

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Martin R, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    What is it? What's the term for "standard" tuning? And is the Hohner Special 20 only available in country tuning?

    Thanks in advance,
     
  2. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    ....

    Due to criticism by jhundt, Chiogtr4x and stevemc I am removing my helpful post and we will all rely on the helpful information that they posted on this subject.

    Maybe I should stop trying to be helpful and just criticize others that are actually trying to be helpful.
    That seems to be the popular thing to do now on TDPRI. Let's all hate on someone that tries to help while adding no useful content at all.
    TDPRI used to be a much, much nicer place. Thanks for making it more hateful.

    Maybe I should no longer try to help anyone on TDPRI since apparently that is no longer appreciated like it once was.

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  3. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    oh puh-leeze! can we stop with the endless "Google is your friend" statements?

    That is THE MOST ANNOYING thing anyone can ever say - again and again and again. If you are annoyed that the questioner isn't as clever as you are - just say so. Or, you have two other valid options:

    1) don't help, because you are annoyed because you are so much more clever than he is. And keep quiet.
    2) share with him that which you have found. You might mention that you found it using an online search, but please! No more "Google is your friend".

    Google is NOT your friend. It is a useful search engine which captures as much information about you as it can, and sells that information along to third parties in order to make astronomical profits.
     
  4. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep, the Google link explained it better than anyone is going to here.
     
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  5. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Thank you for your unbelievably helpful insight on the subject posted by the OP. You are sooo smart about harmonica tunings and what a helpful post you took your precious time to write. I know the whole forum is really impressed as I am sure you are with yourself for criticizing me for trying to actually help another forum member. You should try it... really.


    Maybe you should also read the forum rules since you are violating them in this post.
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/posting-rules-that-all-must-follow-please-read.616711/

    NO PERSONAL ATTACKS:
    When someone says something you don't agree with don't turn on them and attack them personally. Don't call people names. Don't resort to school yard bullying tactics.

    TROLLING:
    Deliberately posting something controversial that one could reasonably assume would cause disruption is never permitted. Posting an opposite opinion, in a determined stubborn way, simply to start a disruption is not permitted. Opposite opinions are NOT against the rules and are encouraged, but trolling for disagreement and arguments is against the rules of the page.

    .
     
  6. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for the video Mike. I have been playing harmonica for over fifty years and the country tune Special 20 is new to me. I am going to buy one in C ASAP.
     
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  7. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have just looked up the Lee Oskar near alternative the Melody Maker and I am going to give that a shot
     
  8. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Been playing a long time also.
    Been liking the rocket recently. Has best of special, marine, blues
    and last long.
     
  9. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Tele-Holic

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    I'm relatively new to the harmonica and really enjoying the journey so far. I'm staying in position 2 "cross harp" for now, but this question and the resulting (pertinent) answers are helpful. I wasn't familiar with Country Tuned harmonicas, so thanks for posting. Always good to learn something new.

    Some comments were made about different harps. I bought the following to see what I liked:

    Hohner Special 20 in ACG - very good
    Hohner Rocket Amp in C - very good, prob my favorite
    Vox Continental 1 (green) in D - very good, too, but difficult to get in the US
    Suzuki Manji in E - good but not great for me

    I'm about to buy an F and Bb harmonica, either Rocket Amps or Special 20s, not sure yet.


    RANT: I ordered the Vox Continental from Main Stage Music via Reverb. The Vox case it arrived in was crushed. When I called (they never replied to email), the guy on the store laughed that I was calling about harmonica case, since the harp itself didn't seem to be damaged. He said he'd get back to me - never heard from him. For $60 I expect the case not to be destroyed. I like the Vox a lot but will never order from Main Street Music again.
     
  10. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree
    When it comes to a poster ( on any kind of Forum) needing information on a topic, one can probably 'Google it' for anything you need to know, and NEVER deal with another human.
    But we go to Forums, to converse, share opinions, learn, just BS..
     
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  11. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    Posting an opposite opinion, in a determined stubborn way, simply to start a disruption is not permitted.

    I am so bummed. Now what do I do?
     
  12. stevemc

    stevemc Tele-Holic

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    thumbs down on the 'google is your friend' snottiness.thanks.
     
  13. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It was a joke...
    But unlike you, I was helpful.
    TDPRI used to be a much, much nicer place. Thanks for making it more hateful.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  14. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It was a joke...
    But unlike you, I was helpful.

    Maybe I should stop trying to be helpful and just criticize others that are actually trying to be helpful.
    That seems to be the popular thing to do now on TDPRI. Let's all hate on someone that tries to help while adding no useful content at all.
    TDPRI used to be a much, much nicer place. Thanks for making it more hateful.

    .
     
    chezdeluxe and jhundt like this.
  15. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I am sorry Mike Simpson, truly. Please accept my apology. I didn't mean to sound hateful or create an atmosphere of hate. I saw your phrase and did not recognize it as a joke, probably because I am stupid. That phrase has been wielded seriously so often before - mostly by old members against enthusiastic new guys - that I just responded the way I did without thinking it through.

    I know you to be a real fine contributor to TDPRI, and you did not deserve this kind of treatment. I hope that you will not now, or ever, stop trying to be helpful. This forum would become a lesser place without your input.

    I agree when you say TDPRI used to be a much nicer place, and I am ashamed to have done something that makes it less so.
     
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  16. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    So are you saying that's in country tuning? I looked at Special 20's but geez, $50?

    and.. is the Special 20 always country tuning? or is it made both ways? Confusing as heck trying to figure this out on line.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  17. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm going to try to ignore all the cross-talk (pun not intended) above and answer the question--from the perspective of somebody who's been playing harp professionally off and on for plus or minus 36 years.

    In the 2d position (or standard cross position), a standard diatonic harmonica in the key of A is actually being played in the key of E. This makes it perfect for bending the lower notes on the harmonica for blues or for certain country licks. The problem with the is that no place on the harmonica do you have a major 7th, or, in the key of E, a D#. The 5th hole, drawn, gives you the flat 7th, or a D natural.

    This is great for blues and some country tunes. But not good if you really want the 3rd note of the 5 chord, or B chord in the key of E, which is the leading tone up to the 1. Sometimes the flat 7th just sounds wrong

    So somebody (I think Charlie McCoy) came up with the "country tuning." It only changes one note, raising a draw on the 5th hole to a major 7th. This completely changes the possibilities for what you can play, even though it's only one note. And you can still bend that down the the flat 7th if you want it.

    I only discovered country tuning after the best local mom and pop store closed and I had to go to guitar center. After a few years guitar center stopped carrying a good selection of harps. As somebody who carried 13 harps, plus backups, I was in trouble.

    So I went online and started ordering from Kevin's Harps (now out of business). I think Bobby Joe Holman told me about them. That's where I saw country tuned harps. I bought one to see what it was.

    I knew people like Charlie McCoy and Will Jennings played notes (maybe it was only 1) that didn't seem to be on my harps. Country tuning was the answer. I use it on folkie stuff (instead of playing straight harp), some country, and often in church.

    This does bring the number of harps I carry to plus or minus 21.

    I don't doubt that the Phil Duncan video explains it better than I did here. But this was a perhaps different perspective.

    I use Hohner Special 20s most of the time anyway, although I also like Marine Bands when I'm playing acoustic instead of electric. So I use the country tuned Special 20s. I've tried others, but keep coming back to these. And the Special 20s seem to last a long time. So I think they're worth the money for both sound and longevity. YMMV.

    Good luck.

    Edited for correction pointed out by chezdeluxe. It's the 5th hole that is altered on a country tuned harp.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  18. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    The special 20 was a redesign of the Marine Band style harmonica with a plastic comb instead of wood and screw in recessed reed plates. The Country Tune version makes one change where the draw note on the 5th hole is raised a semitone as described so well in the video that @Mike Simpson generously posted.

    The Lee Oskar Melody Maker goes further than “country tuning” with the objective of allowing “second position” players access to a full major scale when playing. It is fully explained on the Lee Oskar website along with the features of the two minor tuning variations available from that company.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  19. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    It is the draw note on the 5th hole not the 6th hole which is problematic and is raised a semitone.

     
  20. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, what's confusing is the ads say the "Special 20 is good for country, blues and etc etc." Some say it's a "Progressive" harmonica, and a few mention Country. So figuring out which is which when you order is what's the issue..... :>)
    "...Its distinctive sound is perfect for everything from Folk and Country to Rock and Pop. The Special 20 offers everything a professional harpist needs,..." "Tuning: Richter/Country" HUH?
    I'll have to look at my Oskars' and see what I actually have!
     
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