Author Topic: A hello before the Christmas wave...  (Read 656 times)

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Offline humblebumble

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A hello before the Christmas wave...
« on: December 23, 2021, 06:14:00 AM »
Hello everyone!

while waiting for the approval mail, I wrote up some aspects about me, to give a first impression...

I got a diatonic some decades ago, but never started really playing it. On the one hand the book I had seemed to require too much music theory. On the other hand the different layout for different octaves, and the need to switch the instrument for different songs was just irritating. Then, spring 2021, I read by chance about the chromatic harmonica - and was hooked. Bought an old Hohner Chromonika III (16 holes, wood comb, probably from the 1950's, playing fabulously) ... and started practising, and sticked to it almost daily since then - only resting for a flu or cold, when I actually experimented with practising without an instrument, e.g. just breathing to a score and a metronome.

I like to learn from books. Being quite organized, I keep a compact learning diary as I progress through different resources:
1. Max De Aloe: Method for Chromatic Harmonica
... currently finishing chapter 4 /starting 5.
...... the exercises are mostly fine, but the difficulty currently often seems to be a large interval occurring only once in a long exercise. So I started to devise my own interval training methods for focused deliberate practice sessions.

2. Gianluca Littera: 70 Exercises and Progressive Musical Studies for the Chromatic Harmonica: for beginner to intermediate/advanced levels
... up to exercise 8. Thereafter the recommend playing speed (eights at 120-140bpm per quarter; sixteenths at 90-100bpm) is still way way way out of reach. It seems the book is not really "for beginner..."

3. Some further books which are not harmonica specific. E.g. beginner trumpet progressive exercise and basic songs, some folk song books and fake books.

I just ordered several other (used) chromatic harmonica books, will see if these round up my path.

Equipment-wise, I also bought a used SCX-64. But there the valves in the low notes 'make noises' - when ending notes (on both, blow and draw for at least the 6 lowest holes), it is like a rattling aftermath. This is something I do not hear from my Chromonika III, maybe since the latter has these reinforced white plastic spoon-like valves on the low end.
This Suzuki Valve issue is currently bothering me. I call it "Suzuki valve issue", since I just got to play a brand new Suzuki Sirius S-64C, and also with this seemingly top instrument I get exactly the same noises, so it seems a playing style issue and not a material issue. It might be the way I start/stop/change my breath or a special resonance in my body setup.
Certainly I have read a lot about the valve issues others have, but so far the enlightenment has missed me - especially, heating had no effect.

To complement practice I listen to the "happy hour harmonica podcast" and to various harp players, currently I like the Album 'Aka med' by Primus Motor.

I know this is just for introduction. But pointers to threads which fit my interest are welcome, especially if one might not find these since the topics / search keywords are different.

I'm looking forward to be here, to learn and hopefully to progress and maybe to humbly contribute.

Stay well!


PS: The acceptance letter had not the announced header, but maybe that was just a twist an Eagle should spot...

Offline Keith

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2021, 08:29:30 AM »
Welcome aboard. :)

Offline Paulc

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2021, 12:18:21 PM »
Welcome to the forum and to the world of valves 😂 If your Hohner was used then you were lucky it worked as well as it did. Warm it up always. The others probably haven’t been looked after so well and probably need the valves replacing.

Keep up the good work and enjoy your playing.
One day I’ll be able to bend a note 😀

Offline Vale

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2021, 04:40:06 PM »
Welcome to the forum, humblebumble!
Have a chromatic day!
Vale

frankyb

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2021, 05:40:29 PM »
Welcome, to The Forum humblebumble!

Offline Scotty

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2021, 06:31:28 PM »
Welcome to the Forum! Can you tell us a wee bit more about yourself? What kind of music do you prefer to play?

Your Suzuki valves on the lower end just might be hitting the underside of the covers, perhaps?
I don't know about this issue - since I mostly play Hohners, but I have read some posts discussing it - since the valves
are longer on the bigger, lower reeds. There might be a way of trimming a tiny bit off the ends of those valves, but I
would never suggest something I haven't already done: there are others here who will give you much better advice.
Perhaps the previous owner dented in the cover by holding it very tightly? (that's fairly common).

I can't learn how to play from books - am an ear player, but what works for you, works for you. :) Many of us are self-
taught as well, so don't feel unusual.

scotty

Offline Joseph

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2021, 09:22:48 PM »
A pleasure to make your acquaintance.

Regarding Suzuki valves, I'm not certain if I have noticed the exact issue you're describing.  On the lower holes of my Sirius, if I play gently then I can occasionally get a kind of buzz (the valve isn't being pushed up high enough to avoid touching the reed as it vibrates), and if I quickly shift notes in the same hole (from blow to draw or vice versa) then I can hear a bit of a slap as the opposite valve is pulled down quickly.  Other than that, though, while I do hear the movement valves in the lower register during normal play, it is a very slight noise, and I never particularly felt it was in need of remedy. 

Offline SlideMeister

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2021, 11:35:46 PM »
Welcome humblebumble! ;D

Age - SlideMeister Admin

Offline Penguin

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2021, 12:34:14 PM »
Welcome Humblebumble! Sounds like you’re more than willing to put in the time it takes to enjoy this instrument. As with so much else, you’ll get out what you put in, and then some. You’ve come to the right place for Chrome information.

Penguin (Marc)

Offline BG59

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2021, 07:43:21 PM »
Welcome to the forum!
Bob G

Offline humblebumble

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Re: A hello before the Christmas wave...
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2021, 06:54:17 AM »
Thank you for the warm welcome!

[...] Can you tell us a wee bit more about yourself? What kind of music do you prefer to play? [...]

sure, questions are always welcome! Living in Germany, professionally lecturing at university in science. One of my general driving forces is the 'love of learning', to see/feel the progress induced by practice, to over come problems by trying seemingly endless variations - like Beckett's "fail, fail again, fail better." 

Musically, I am aiming (in the long term) towards jazz - at least that's what I think now. Currently I enjoy just to play songs which are familiar to my ear, e.g. from children song books.