Tunings 7 LIMIT compromise

Hi, I work on my guitars and my harps—I have every tool imaginable–I can replace ind reeds, tune, customize my harps. I play with rack and or w/out. If Jimi Lee is a hundred Im a close 90-95, put it where u want it, siisy strut, work song whatever

Heres whats up: Iv’e tried Manjies,suzuki 550’s, olives–seydells—east tops–Lee oscars–sp 20 Gm–Crossovers-

For the rack, for Neil young dylan etc I use untouched Lee oscars A Bb C D E F G All color coded –

But my harps for the Blues band Are Crossovers-Gm --Sp 20 --Now rocket as well—I stick with u "hohner " as my main harps–because ind reeds are interchangeable-----Sp 20, Gm, crossover etc—so I can borrow if need be----also u sell ind reeds— I guess my favorite Is “crossover”

All my B Bb Db Eb Gb basically all my Flat and less used are GM powder coated grey --The different tuning didn’t use to bother me—now it does—I want my Gm to be closer to 7 Limit with possibly a compromise on 5 n 9draw??—Since that harp case, I use for playng in the band, are used 90% blues—I want to re tune so chords sound better-

What I need or would like are tuning charts fo present day sp20 --crossover–rocket ----- not so much for Gm I know there deal.

so IE; Present day 2p20 are tuned at 443 with draw 1 +1 draw 2+4 etc—I need a guideline. The charts I have don’t say whether based on 440 442 or 443 etc

heres an example chart; purely random

AT 442
hole1 hole 2 hole 3 ETC
blow 0 -14 +2
draw +4 +2 -12

I have Andrew Zajac charts and charts from all over the internet—BUT sometimes they are not clear on 440 or 441 or 442 or 443 etc.

Basically I think Im going to do 7 limit at 442 on all holes---- with a halfway compromise on draw 5 n 9

Any info helpful—I tried my Peterson tuner today with light breath to figure rocket tuning—too time consuming ----need a base starting point

thank u very much


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The base tuning point (zero) is up to you. If you play with guitar and that is tuned A440, that is where I would start from. If however you play with an orchestra, they can be tuned to A441,442 or 443. I have asked conductors and top orchestral players - different continents tune to different zero points.

Some chromatic players like to be slighter higher than the other instruments they play with. If you listen to Stevie Wonder, he always sounds really bright, like his instrument is tuned to A445 or something. I don’t know what it is. But I’m sure part of his sound on the Super 64 is how he likes it tuned.

But when you fine tune your harps, you will sound really sweet when you tune for the instruments you are playing with. The problem is (to me), so many musicians who do not understand tuning, play out of tune. Using cheap digital tuners do not tune a guitar correctly. You are on the right track with Peterson tuners. And you are not far off. If in doubt, tune to A440, 7 limit, 19 limit etc

Great question.
Cheers, Tony

Hi Bob,

harmonica tuning is a complicated business, some would say, a can of worms. It’s not an exact science, the slightest change in air pressure will give you a different result. Personally I use A=442HZ with light air pressure as my starting point, I try to measure at the highest possible pitch of the reed, as this is the only fixed point of reference.

The models you list don’t all share the same fine tuning. Hohner uses 3 basic set-ups:

Golden Melody = equal temperament 12TET
Rocket, Marine Band 1896, MB Deluxe, Sp.20 = Hohner Classic tuning
MB Crossover, MS Series = compromise between 12TET & Hohner Classic

7 limit JI is how harmonicas used to be tuned in the (fairly distant) past. Here all major thirds are -14ct and the 7th in the draw chord (5- & 9-draw) is tuned -30ct. That’s extremely flat to my ear and means this tuning is only really suitable for old timey solo performance. The chords sound great though.

I set the tuning specs for the Crossover myself, I’ve tuned my harps that way for a long time now because it still gives you decent sounding chords, but the individual notes are close enough to equal temperament that they sound OK together with other instruments or when using positions to play in different keys. Here are tuning charts for all 4 options ( Blasplatte = blow plate, Ziehplatte = draw plate), hope that helps.

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