The size of the top four chambers are significantly smaller in a Short Slot Dark comb™ than a Long Slot (standard) comb. This helps you match your embouchure to the resonance required to control the first semitone blow bend on the ten hole.
If you are struggling to hit that note cleanly in a higher key diatonic harmonica, don't be hard on yourself. It may not be your technique. It may just be physics.
The smaller overall space of the slot decreases the amount of compressible air in the system.
More importantly, the depth of the slot can affect what frequency is reinforced by the channel. The reed dimensions and weight distribution determines the frequency obtained when air flows through the slot and past the reed. But the slot itself can want to behave like a pan flute and the column of air can compress and expand at it's favourite frequency.
On the top end of the harp, it's difficult to compensate for that using your own embouchure alone.
The back wall of Short Slot combs' holes 7, 8, 9 and 10 are closer to the opening than those of a long slot comb. This changes the frequency that is reinforced to one that does not compete with that first semitone blow bend.
You can't change the laws of physics but you can change the slot sizes so that physics works in your favour!
I had been facing a challenge when it comes to the tips of my tines. I use products that are environmentally sound, safe to put in your mouth, comfortable, durable and beautiful. Recently, I have had to change my recipe and method due to factors outside my control. This was really bad timing for me.
You may notice that combs you have bought in the past few months have had slight variations in the appearance of the tips of the tines as I was forced to try new products on-the-fly.
I now have found a wonderful new recipe and method to finish the tips of the tines of my Dark Combs.
As with all my products that are hand made, I make them to order. I have high standards when it comes to my combs' flatness. I triple check the flatness before they leave my workshop.
They are all durable, comfortable and beautiful. As a handmade product, they are subject to slight cosmetic variations. These are not products that are mass produced by a machine.
The cosmetic variations are due to the effects of being made by human hands. I am not a robot.
To me, that's part of the charm of an artisan product.
Hohner has released a new altered tuning diatonic harp called PentaHarp.
In Pat Missin's Altered States list of altered tunings, this tuning is 11.15, "Blues Scale Tuning" which has been known since the 90s.
PentaHarp offers you draw bends from bottom to top. The same breath pattern is repeated and there are no blow bends.
You can order pre-tuned PentaHarps but it's possible to convert a Standard Richter harmonica. The conversion to PentaHarp is a pretty big job. The blow and draw reeds in four holes need to be swapped to avoid having to sharpen notes. It's much more effective to lower the pitch or reeds instead of raising them. The job is much easier and the reed playability will stay protected.
PentaHarp adds three semitones to the total range of the instrument compared to Standard Richter. We will add these extra semitones on the bottom end of the instrument, not the top.
So we will start with a harp that is three semitones sharper than the key we are aiming for and tune it down.
Here is a visual aid to the modification:
1- Swap blow/draw reeds 7, 8, 9 and 10. This will really make things easier.
2- Perform coarse tuning adjustment. Lower pitch using BluTak or Solder.
3- Perform other customizing and improvements
4- Perform fine tuning. No major chords are present but there are lots of opportunities for harmony in splits and octaves. Tune all minor thirds to zero. Tune Fourths and Fifths to be in harmony with the tonic (Fourths are about -2 cents and Fifths are about+2 cents)
The Reed Plate Holder will help you hold the reed plate steady as you straighten it with the Reed Plate Claws. Once you get comfortable with the claws, you may no longer need the Reed Plate Holder.
It has two slots to accommodate many different sizes of reed plates. Use the smallest
slot that fits.
The Reed Plate Holder ships with a sticker on the under side. The adhesive will help hold the plate in place. Once it loses its stickiness, you can peel it off and replace it with any kind of tape you have on hand. If you no longer need the additional help from the adhesive, don't bother replacing it.