Author Topic: Professional Players who use altered tuning  (Read 3151 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Professional Players who use altered tuning
« on: November 13, 2018, 11:24:44 AM »
I had the same old discussion yesterday about bebop tuning, and this subject came up.
Bill Barrett uses bebop exclusively, who else can you think of that uses more altered tunings than standard ones?
OK, here’s another, Brendan Power.
My criteria for this is, they have to be making most of their living playing, and use more altered than not.
So Will Galison would not qualify since he plays mostly standard tuned chromatics.

Offline SlimHeilpern

  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • Chrome-Meister
  • ****
  • Posts: 2,000
    • Slide Man Slim
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2018, 12:20:18 PM »
...
My criteria for this is, they have to be making most of their living playing, and use more altered than not.
....

So, that restricts the possible contenders to what, a dozen living people? (at best?)  :)

- Slim
http://www.slidemanslim.com
slim@slidemanslim.com

Offline smojoe

  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,359
  • virgo
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2018, 01:27:49 PM »
Maybe things are different up on Metalona. MY question would be: "Upon listening to the three names mentioned, does anyone have a preference?" And more importantly: "Why". lol. Is it their style, presentation, choice of grace notes, etc. Or is it the harp? And is there a (compelling) reason to play altered harp? I can think of a reason not to play one. If I were on my way to a convention and had to replace a blown out harp, could I stop at a music store and replace my harp? Or not?

Side note. I am sure that in the case of Brendan 'tower of Power', he could sit at a cafe table in an airport between connections and build a completely new harp. But how many CAN?
smo-joe

Offline John Broecker

  • (Time-traveller)
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 5,673
  • Vintage 2K? Swan 1456 & JB
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2018, 02:47:15 PM »
Sonny Terry, Jerry Adler, Cham-Ber Huang,
all used "backwards" (reversed) reed placements.

Does that count as an altered "tuning"?

JB
"Elton John is right up there with David Bowie."--Rick Harrison, "Pawn Stars" TV show, USA. Rick is discussing collectibles.

Offline smojoe

  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,359
  • virgo
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2018, 03:13:36 PM »
No, it doesn't. In two cases they were still stock harps. In Cham-Ber's case, not only was his harp custom made..but he may not have been able to simply pick up any other standard harp and play it because he had the notes reversed..AND the slide was STILL right handed (incongruous to the standard note layout). So he would qualify as being the one person whom I am aware of that plays what I call 'double entendre'. IOW..altered. lolol

smo-joe

Offline Jason Rogers

  • AKA chespernevins
  • Chrome-Minator
  • ***
  • Posts: 622
    • jasonharmonica.com
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2018, 10:09:18 PM »
A random thought. Do altered tunings account for the chops and talent of players like Barrett and Power? Of course not!  Do their pitch layouts contribute to their style and how unique and awesome they sound?  .......... in my opinion, yes.  Layout differences and advantages are real and offer new possibilities.   The four enharmonics of power chromatic layout are probably quite helpful (if I remember the layout correctly).  And Barrett can be heard using the uniqueness of bebop quite explicitly.

It’s a fine question to ask what pro players use such and such a tuning.  However, I’m not sure it’s the best test of the value of various tunings until many years in the future.

It would be a real luxury and pleasure to have these altered layouts available off the shelf.  I was sorry when Seydel took diminished layout off the standard options for a Chrom and moved it to custom only.  But hey, I get it.

Offline Grizzly

  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,359
  • aka Tom
    • Transcriptions
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2018, 12:25:27 AM »
"In Cham-Ber's case, not only was his harp custom made..but he may not have been able to simply pick up any other standard harp and play it because he had the notes reversed..AND the slide was STILL right handed (incongruous to the standard note layout)."

I've heard the same story. A standard chromatic with the slide at the front would take very little modification. But I was trying to imagine how that would work on his CBH 2016, with the slide and its channel at the back.

At first glance, it looks doable. But I'm not sure the slide and channel would clear the low reeds. In any case, it would have to have been a custom job. Brother Frank, perhaps?

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2018, 03:24:44 AM »
My criteria for this is, they have to be making most of their living playing, and use more altered than not.
So, that restricts the possible contenders to what, a dozen living people? (at best?)  :)
- Slim

Slim wins the prize  :)

This is, however, the question that I get asked by players who I am trying to sell on the virtues of bebop tuning.
I personally think diminished tuning is just as worthwhile, I just didn't settle on that. Same with Power Chromatic.
I spent many years trying to come up with a better tuning, but bebop is the one that I settled on.
I do not, however, make my living by playing harmonica. Frankly, I gig less now that I did for most of my professional career. And guitar is still the thing that folks pay me for.

Perhaps a better thread is, how many professional chromatic harmonica players are there?
 ;D

Offline Jimmy Halfnote

  • MonsterMeister
  • ******
  • Posts: 5,253
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2018, 09:08:15 AM »
 Then Gary the question might be who could provide a home and support a family on just the income from solely PLAYING  Chromatic harmonica ? If we are going to use the word PROFESSIONAL, then compare to other professions, and the comparison throws up a near beggarly existence , not fit for providing. There may be an odd example or two that do make a reasonable living, but odd is the description i think, any youngster would be well advised to get a real job, play the harmonica in spare time and if money can be made from it , then it is a wee bonus, but never get carried away and dump the real job.
                        Sorry if this is a bit long, but here and in the U.K. there are so many young folks with stars in there eyes ( i have first hand experience), they lose their youth and prospects , dignity and sense , all because of what ? Ask them what and they garble a load of rubbish , tell them you could load all their musical heroes on to a massive spaceship and send them up and away to explore other galaxies forever , and the world would keep on spinning , life would carry on as per normal......... but they just don't get the importance of real jobs or work, that is for someone else, not them , they are special in their minds , it never occurs they are handicapped , disabled by their own attitude, outlook and narrow ambition, which isn't ambition at all , only pie in the sky hope .
                 Oops what was the question again ? Oh the number of PROFESSIONAL Chromatic players, well how many for any instrument world wide and for a life time, then dial it down instrument by instrument, piano , strings , wind , percussion etc., then we come to miscellaneous here we find among other instruments the harmonica, yep that's the one we are going to provide with , now why would that be sensible ?

                                                                              jh.

                                                                     
               

Offline SlimHeilpern

  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • Chrome-Meister
  • ****
  • Posts: 2,000
    • Slide Man Slim
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2018, 09:54:22 AM »
I think that in today's music business, the definition of 'professional' needs an update since there's hardly any money to be made out there anymore unless you're famous or have landed a really sweet touring or studio gig (and they are very few), and even then it can be so rough that it's not worthwhile.

I used to make my living playing music (but not exclusively harmonica). It used to be possible to do that if you were reasonably talented and put in the effort. And while I haven't called myself 'professional' since getting off the road many years ago, I'm a much better musician than I was when I was getting paid reasonably well for it.

Is there a better definition not related to how much money you make off it?

I don't know...

- Slim.



http://www.slidemanslim.com
slim@slidemanslim.com

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2018, 11:02:59 AM »
I don't think Ross Garren has a day job--or Jackson Kincheloe.
My criteria don't include, "rich", just dedicated.
And yes, Slim, you might have qualified for consideration, had you not found honest work. I don't need for the player to be restricted to harmonica in their work, only to employ the button harp and rely on music for their bread and butter.
This is probably a silly thread, thanks for participating.

Offline Jimmy Halfnote

  • MonsterMeister
  • ******
  • Posts: 5,253
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2018, 11:12:08 AM »
 I agree Slim , there is a difference between the noun and the adjective , to be a professional can be a lot different to being professional, as in a player can sound professional without being a professional, in some or even many instances the non-professional can sound better or more artistic etc., than the professional who gets paid , except for the classical genre which requires a real discipline and years of training and study, unless of course a player decided to concentrate maybe on one composer,or one piece of classical music, even then...........?
                     Then there is a difference between an artist and a professional, an artist can be paid way , way more , and be less professional than a guitar player who is backing, but at the same time it is the artist who is providing the job, and maybe the next for a professional Sax' player . There are stars , artists, professionals , semi-professionals,amateurs who are amazing........... money seems a dirty way of dividing, but it is a head scratcher coming up with another word or criteria.

                                                                   jh.
                   

Offline lflisboa

  • Chrome-Tributor
  • **
  • Posts: 230
  • Member
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2018, 11:15:28 AM »
I can't confirm, but somebody told me that Rick Estrin plays be-bop tuned chromatic harmonica.
I've heard that William Galison take off some windsaver to get some bend notes, it wouldn't qualify it as altered tuning

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2018, 12:49:04 PM »
Valving is pertinent to altered tuning, but not salient. You can use one or the other or both.
Here's a name: Mitch Weiss. I just did a diatonic for him that was totally weird, I couldn't imagine playing it on stage.
But he is fond of his altered tuned CX-10 harps, they are half valved.
Here he is playing the MiniChrom prototype.

I think he is one of the people who qualify for my initial query.

Offline SlimHeilpern

  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • Chrome-Meister
  • ****
  • Posts: 2,000
    • Slide Man Slim
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2018, 12:58:48 PM »
I don't think Ross Garren has a day job--or Jackson Kincheloe.
My criteria don't include, "rich", just dedicated.
And yes, Slim, you might have qualified for consideration, had you not found honest work. I don't need for the player to be restricted to harmonica in their work, only to employ the button harp and rely on music for their bread and butter.
This is probably a silly thread, thanks for participating.

Ha ha, I'd say my music career was way more honest than my software career (as I've mostly worked for large corporations whom are almost never honest, whereas I worked for myself as a musician).

I think the question regarding altered tunings is anything but silly (I'm all for them, just not for me personally). But trying to parse out who's a professional and who isn't, I give that at least 5 stars on the silly scale ;-). Here's another example: if you're born rich, and what little money you earn from music (certainly not enough to survive on) is your only income beyond your inheritance, are you a professional?

Here's a better question, I think:

Which harmonica players that you listen to use altered tunings (regardless of how they make their living)?

- Slim.
http://www.slidemanslim.com
slim@slidemanslim.com

Offline Grizzly

  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,359
  • aka Tom
    • Transcriptions
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2018, 01:14:49 PM »
Best refined to that last question, Slim. More sensible.

As for professional musicians, very few make a living solely playing or singing. Many of them teach, privately or through a music school. Not all in the classical world, either. Doc Watson was a farmer!

Virtuoso doesn't work, either.

So professional, adjective or noun, isn't a great determiner (Thanks, Jimmy.)

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2018, 02:38:13 PM »
Right, who was the famous jazz guitarist who made his living as a sign  painter?

Offline Jimmy Halfnote

  • MonsterMeister
  • ******
  • Posts: 5,253
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2018, 07:32:36 PM »
 Don't know Gary, i give in . A thought struck me though about bebop and other tunings , Jason ( Rogers) touched on it lightly, nearly all the famous Chromatic players endorse a brand , even model , so would it help sell an off the shelf product if bebop or other customised tuning was promoted ? ' They who pay the piper ' and all that related stuff.
                        And by the way our ' Bluesy' was always advocating or singing the praises of bebop...... and he had professional opinions. ;)
 
                                                                           jh.

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2018, 01:19:35 AM »
Right, who was the famous jazz guitarist who made his living as a sign  painter?
Tal Farlow.

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2018, 01:21:26 AM »
And by the way our ' Bluesy' was always advocating or singing the praises of bebop...... and he had professional opinions. ;)
 
                                                                           jh.
Right, I sold him on it--and did his first one, he subsequently went to Sissi.
Gone but not forgotten, RIP Tom Cherubini.
https://vanderplaatfuneralhome.com/tribute/details/3237/Thomas-Cherubini/obituary.html

Stevie B

  • Guest
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2018, 07:33:16 PM »
     Retracted my comment  .     proceed ,)                                             
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 09:20:24 PM by Stevie B »

Offline smojoe

  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,359
  • virgo
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2018, 09:10:42 PM »
Poor Talmadge. I loved his soft style. And so did many others. Unfortunately while he could get more gigs than he could handle in the Nuevo Jork and Nuevo Yersey area he couldn't get the studio work as he couldn't read music.

smo-j

SaxonyFan

  • Guest
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2018, 12:51:05 AM »
I am not a pro but use Seydel’s whole tone tuning. Love it. I don’t think I could play the way I do without it.

SaxonyFan

  • Guest
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2018, 12:52:53 AM »
Right, who was the famous jazz guitarist who made his living as a sign  painter?
Tal Farlow.

I am so happy that you guys know of Tal! One of my musical heroes.

Offline smojoe

  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,359
  • virgo
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2018, 01:55:58 AM »
Stevie B. mentioned tuning  stainless steel reeds in order to get a bee-bop tuning. I (personally) haven't had much luck with ss. My option would be to switch reeds via the post and nut method. Other techs whom are known for their fine work may have a different avenue to pursue.
1.. Regular files don't abrade the ss
2.. Sanding wands just slip off the surface
3.. Possibly a small drum on a Dremel rotary tool would work
4.. Adding weight might work..blue tac?
5.. Solder doesn't like ss

Offline streetlegal

  • MasterMeister
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,163
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2018, 10:49:10 AM »
I haven't tried it on stainless steel reeds - but sealing wax might work ok -  with a tiny piece of copper or brass inset into the blob of wax for added weight to lower the reed pitch.

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2018, 12:57:34 PM »
With regard to retuning stainless steel reeds--I have done this by removing material either near the tip to raise pitch or near the rivet to lower.
I use Dremel bits recommended by Listmember Fathead (Mike Easton), these are called Shofu Brownies and I like them a lot.
But let's see what Wally Peterman has to say on this question.

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2018, 03:40:53 PM »

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • HELPER
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 15,275
  • Chroma means color
Re: Professional Players who use altered tuning
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2018, 04:00:08 PM »
Tal Farlow.
Quote
Talmage Holt Farlow <snip>

He caught the public's attention in 1949 when he was in a trio with Red Norvo and Charles Mingus. In 1953, he was a member of the Gramercy Five led by Artie Shaw, and two years later he led his own trio with Vinnie Burke and Eddie Costa in New York City. After getting married in 1958, he partially retired[4] and settled in Sea Bright, New Jersey, returning to a career as a sign painter. He continued to play occasional dates in local clubs. In 1962 the Gibson Guitar Corporation, with Farlow's participation, produced the "Tal Farlow" model. He made one album as a leader from 1960–1975.

In 1976, Farlow started recording again. A documentary about him was released in 1981.[4]

Later in his career Tal performed as a member of Great Guitars with a DVD released in 2005 after his death. [1]