Hard Blow and Draw

Hi,
I am going through Mr. Allen’s blues tapes. I noticed the D and A harmonicas were a little harder to play then the C harmonic. I decided to take the A harmonica to the lab at work. I work a for a Aerospace company in Tucson. I rigged up a fitting inside the lab to measure how much air pressure it takes to have a sound output from the harmonica ( blow and draw, hole 2) compared to The C harmonica. I found It took a 22.5 % + increase of air pressure to have the same output ( measured in dB’s). That would explain my out of wind condition when I tried to play the A harmonica.

1 : Is this what they mean when they say the C harmonica is easier to learn on than other harmonica’s of different keys ?

2: Does harmonica’s have a break in period where they get easier to play after use?

3: I also had to adjust my air stream and tongue position somewhat for a suitable bend.
Is this normal ?

I am just wondering,
Thx
RJB

[quote=“RJB, post:1, topic:3731”]
I noticed the D and A harmonicas were a little harder to play then the C harmonic. I decided to take the A harmonica to the lab at work. I work a for a Aerospace company in Tucson. I rigged up a fitting inside the lab to measure how much air pressure it takes to have a sound output from the harmonica ( blow and draw, hole 2) compared to The C harmonica. I found It took a 22.5 % + increase of air pressure to have the same output ( measured in dB’s). That would explain my out of wind condition when I tried to play the A harmonica.
[/quote] Fascinating experiment.

Correct me if I’m wrong… I’m trying to remember back 35 years… but wasn’t the highest key of the traditional Hohner 10 holes an F and the lowest key a G? The G always took more lung power because of the longer reeds. So given the frequency of the reeds… what’s the ratio between the length of the second hole of the A harp compared to the C?

Just curious.

As for bending notes… I’ve always found the same tongue position has the same effect on any key harp.

RJB, are all the harmonicas of the same brand and model…same age?

thebugleboy

The C has had daily use, The A was only used for 20 min. I am thinking it that mouth position is changing due to me drawing and blowing harder. I don’t have enough experience to know if that is the case. I really think it’s the user and his lack of experience. That would be me.

Rob,
I think I posted wrong when replying, sorry about that.
Good point, that may be the case. I could have such little experience that any small changes could be noticed.

[quote=“robb, post:2, topic:3731”]
So given the frequency of the reeds… what’s the ratio between the length of the second hole of the A harp compared to the C?
[/quote]According to http://cs.nyu.edu/courses/fall03/V22.0201-003/notes.htm

middle C would have a frequency of 261.63Hz and the A from the octave below would be 220.00Hz, which if my reasoning is correct, and often it’s not, would make it about a 19% longer reed… close to your 22%… which I would assume would take more air. Of course you’re playing the second hole… but I suspect the ratios would hold.

Thanks everyone for entertaining my off the wall questions.

I think that the experienced harmonica players easily compensates for slight differences from one harmonica to another. Someone like me that is new to playing feels every bump in the road.

[quote=“RJB, post:7, topic:3731”]
Thanks everyone for entertaining my off the wall questions.

I think that the experienced harmonica players easily compensates for slight differences from one harmonica to another. Someone like me that is new to playing feels every bump in the road.
[/quote]It wasn’t off the wall… and there is a big difference between playing a G and a C.

It is said that the higher pitched harmonicas are more difficult
to bend or play well. My best playing, easdiest bending one
is an Ab. I can bend on any, but some just don’t like to respond
as well. This where experience will eventually help out. You will
play them all and bend them all, but certain ones will be your favorites
because they respond to you so well.

thebugleboy