New Game Changer harmonica

A new harp has just hit the market called the Game Changer made by Bushman. It is a standard diatonic but with a button like a chromatic harp! No wind savors. All notes bend! Incredibly air tight and overblows with very little adjustment. Has anyone tried it yet? Rockin Ron has em! Bushman Game Changer. Includes Free USA Shipping – RockinRonsMusic

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Wow @davidkachalon - this looks very fascinating!!! I remember about 20 years ago I was hoping and dreaming something like this would exist, lol. :rofl:

I think Winslow is playing the same thing, here, ya? (Not sure where “Trochilus” is coming from, but it looks like the same harp? Have you gotten one yet?)

That is the original name of the harmonica as it is originally made by a harmonica company in China named JDR, who is mostly known for their Assassin model. The Trochilous name is what it is marketed as by the manufactuer everywhere except for the Bushman site.

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Yep Winslow is amazing on it! So many possibilities.

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Is it possible that something like this will replace classic diatonoc harmonica?

Replace never, but…Definitely a new player on the field. I know players who are buying and customizing full sets. I have heard some incredibly skilled and intricate playing come out of this new harp and it’s just been released. Excited how other manufacturers will respond to it too.

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I can see this could be incredible for a harp player who can already bend on a standard diatonic but dangerous for new players. The analogy that springs to mind is this: In the UK you can take a standard test to get your driving license and this will be in a car with manual transmission. Once you have that you can drive anything, manual transmission or automatic. Or you can elect to take a test in a (far easier) car with automatic transmission but you will never be allowed to drive a manual car. I’ve only been learning harmonica for a few weeks and havent even got to the bending module yet. I can bend the 1 draw down a half step but the 2, 3, & 4 draw are completely beyond me. As tempting as it is to get one of these harmonicas I feel I need to learn the skills first or I will never be able to play properly on a normal harp.

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It plays exactly like the normal diatonic. Just has a button that changes the pitch of each note. You don’t have to use the button at all and it will behave like a standard diatonic.

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@davidkachalon OK I just ordered one from Rockin’ Rons in the key of C. I’ll keep you guys posted what I think of it! Thanks for bringing it to our attention David!

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My pleasure!

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Ah, if you can bend notes nornally as well that makes a lot more sense. I’ll look forward to Lukes review and then hopefully find domeone in the UK thaf srlls them :grinning:

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Hey, Luke @Luke and everyone else too,

“Something like this” did exist and I still have mine! It was (I say “was” because it is no longer produced) made by Hohner and is known as the Slide Harp, with 10 holes, key of C, tuning just like a “standard” Richter tuned diatonic blues harp. It also has a slide that raises each “normal” tone that you blow or draw so that, when pressed, you have a diatonic blues harp in C# (or Db, if you prefer that designation). It is only slightly larger than the Trochilus / Game Changer and it is half-valved.

I just recently re-adjusted the reed gaps and it plays better than ever. Bends are all there, etc. and I might start playing it more often now. I also see that Brendan Power even sells a new, improved “PowerComb” for it and I might just have to “upgrade” the old Slide Harp and replace its wood comb with one of his “PowerCombs”.

Regards,

– Slim :sunglasses:

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Oooh! Very intrigued! Thanks for bringing this to our attention, also with information on where to get it.

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I just received my Game Changer from Rockin’ Rons and holy SH#$!!! This thing is APTLY named.

I was not expecting this thing to be this good. EVERY time I’ve been excited about some new harmonica to get the missing notes, I’ve always been let down by some aspect to it (Brendan Power Slip Slider, Hohner XB-40, et al.) So I was expecting something about this harmonica would be a let down as well…

To be honest, I’m a bit speechless and perplexed right now.

First of all, it’s responsive and TOTALLY bendable. It does take a bit more effort to achieve bends. But if you get all the draw bends on an A harmonica, then you can get all the draw bends on the Game Changer, and the blow bends aren’t significantly different from a regular C harmonica.

One of the huge surprises about the bends is that I was able STILL to bend with the BUTTON pressed IN. :flushed: I’d imagined I could bend the regular notes, but hadn’t anticipated still being able to bend in and out of notes with button pressed in (or bending a note and pressing and releasing button while note is in bent position.)

All of this lends itself to a degree of expression that hasn’t yet been explored on the harmonica, from what I’ve listened to.

Another surprise: the SIZE of the Game Changer WORKS. Adjusting from a diatonic harmonica to a chromatic harmonica (or even a diatonic to the old Hohner XB-40) requires a big adjustment. But the size of this harmonica didn’t force me to make a huge adjustment.

Of course the comb is a bit wider than a diatonic because of the slide apparatus, but when I measured from the edge hole 1 to the edge hole 10 on it compared to a Lee Oskar, for example, it’s only 3/4" (1.9cm) longer.

I adjusted to it without problem.

Also, the height of it from bottom to top cover plate is note significantly different. The Seydel 1847 Low Tuned harmonicas have a greater height by way of comparison:

When I bought the Seydel 1847 Low harmonica (on left above) I noticed that I had to change my embouchure to play it. Not so with the Game Changer.

For a beginner or intermediate player who wants to get the missing notes, I think this is a GREAT solution for so many reasons.

It’s only $87.50!!!

Compare that to the cheapest chromatic that’s worth buying (the Hohner CX-12) at $270+

Compare that to a custom harmonica set up for overblows and overdraws like a Joe Spiers for $250-$350

And then there’s the problem that each of those harps present:

Chromatic: big, awkward, different tuning, can’t bend

Custom: long & difficult journey learning to do overblows and overdraws

With the Game Changer you don’t have any of those obstacles, and you’re getting it at a fraction of the cost.

That’s why I say it’s aptly named.

Now, to play the blues scale in the top octave, you just put the button in, and here’s a few options for the tabs (I’m using * to indicate pressing in the button:)

6 -6* 7 7* -8 -9 9 10" 10 10*

OR you can play the -7* instead of the 7 (they’re the same note.) The benefit of this way is speed, and there’s a nice symmetry with button released on 9 -9 -8 and button in on 7* -7* -6*.

(On the other hand, it’s also fun to trill between 7 and 7* using the button.)

Also, if you can’t do blow bends, you can play the -9* instead of the 10"

And all of the notes that have the slider pushed in you can bend into.

Don’t get me wrong, there is STILL A LEARNING CURVE to USING THE BUTTON. But I just think it’s a much easier learning curve to climb than overblows and overdraws.

Oh, and speaking of overblows I was also able to get the 6ob on the Game Changer out of the box, (and also raise it semitone.) The advantage of the 6ob to the -6* is that while you can bend into the -6*, you can bend into the 6ob but also you can bend above it a bit as well. The fact that I could get the 6ob out of the box was another tick in the “ok you’ve impressed me Bushman” box.

Right now on Rockin’ Rons the available keys for the harmonica are Low F, G, A, Bb, C, and D. Not sure if they’re planning on carrying more keys or note. Will keep you posted.

I’m thinking about getting a G to see if there’s any significant difference in size.

At some point I’ll do a video review of the C harmonica. LMK if there’s any songs you’d like me to cover with explanation and tabs in the video. I’ll post a link to it in this thread whenever I do it.

That’s my update for now! Mind blown. Thanks for the heads up @davidkachalon.

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Oooo this is fantastic to hear! So sick.

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Is it possible that bending skills won’t be needed in the future with this harp?

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Some tuff bends are available by just pushing the button yes, but you loose emotion and bluesy-ness. It’s meant yo utilize both to create a new pallet of available sounds. If you don’t want to bend just play fully chromatically on a 64. Chromatic harmonicas are so cool.

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@Adam1 as @davidkachalon said, bending adds so much expressiveness to harmonica. The cool thing about the Game Changer is you can do both, whereas Chromatic you can’t get those really soulful deep bluesy bends.

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Unless you use the Seydel NonSlider chromatic which does not have any reed valves (“wind stoppers”), and thus permits bends and overblows. It is expensive but well-built, sounds great and has stainless steel reeds.

Or you can opt for one of the cheaper chromatics that have no valves (but also are not so air-tight) such as the Forerunner 2.0 from EastTop. Actually probably the best cheap, no-valve chromatic you can find. :point_left:

Regards,

– Slim :sunglasses:

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Argh @Slim why do you always have to keep bringing more harmonicas to my attention for me to check out!?!?! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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