Date: Sat, 04 Nov 1995 01:04:27 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: C-spot

Winslow writes
>; If you move to the point that will produce the bent pitch *before*
>; engaging the bend, you can simply turn the bend on and off by
>; opening and closing the constriction point (by the way, I call this
>; the C-Spot. C for constriction, C for Control. . . .)

>; . . . I can't say whether it's more or less effective than opening
>; the nose (which simply opens up the resonant chamber with the C-spot
>; engaged).

Now that's a nice little didacticism I'll have to remember next time
a student has bending problems! Those of you who've been following
the Nose-breathing thread know that I suggested that opening and
closing airway through the nose can get you cleanly into and out of
a bend. I happened across it because I wasn't getting the results
I wanted doing it the way Winslow describes here. For me, the
binary, all-or-nothing result of short-circuiting the air pressure
(or for draw reeds, vacuum) by causing an air leak through the nose
was a speedier transition than I could accomplish by adjusting the
constriction at the mouth chamber, the C-spot.

But what I find interesting here is that, actually, I do both. The
air leak through the nose is VERY brief, both when terminating a
bent note with an unbent one or when initiating a bend from the
straight note. The little micro-caesura this affords me still
leaves the notes sounding legato, but gives me time to move the
muscles controlling the C-spot, and removes any vestige of a
pitch-slide or swoop between the notes.

Winslow also related the C-spot to saying the sound of the letter
K. If indeed a K is being said between the straight note and the
bent, then this is another way besides an air leak through the nose
(or between the lips and the mouthpiece) to create the little
caesura that helps articulate the two notes. It is fast and
clean, no doubt, and I like it because I can use it when I
tongue-block. But a long night of playing too much that way can
leave me with a slightly sore throat, the sound of that K can
be a little too hard under some amplification conditions, and
the overall line seems less legato to me than with the nose-
leak. The lip leak is also a bit less legato than letting
a brief puff of air through the nose, at least for me, I think
because in my case, the reed still sounds when my nose is open.

Anyway, I don't want to make too big a thing of this nose-
breathing thing. When I play the chromatic scale up or down
through the available draw notes on diatonic holes two and
three in a legato fashion, most of the semitone changes are
done using none of these three tricks. No "K", no epiglottal
release to the nose, and certainly no embouchure release.
Rather, the change is made only with a rapid adjustment of the
depth of the bend, adjustment of the size of that constriction
between the throat and mouth that I think is the same as
Winslow's "C-spot" (but without the "K"). I said 'most' of
the semitone changes. I will sneak in little leak through
the nose between the straight note and the first semitone
below it, especially when ascending, and sometimes briefly
between draw and blow notes. I guess I trust the rhythm
and timing I can get with that move.

--John Thaden

[Previous Message[Next Message]
[Next in Thread]
[Start of Thread][End of Thread]


Buy the Book!

I cleaned up my tab for Sonny Boy's Help Me and made it into a short book. There's a Kindle version for 99 cents, and if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle free.

Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

I also write Science Fiction, so you can sample some of my best stories. Also available in Kindle format.

Error Message Eyes: A Programmer's Guide to the Digital Soul

Vintage RARE 1930's Astatic Model 30 Crystal harp microphone old biscuit w stand

End Date: Sunday May-19-2019 10:12:09 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $148.00
Buy It Now |
Astatic 827 Podium Microphone

End Date: Sunday May-19-2019 10:18:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
Buy It Now |
Switchcraft Screw-On Microphone Cable Connector For Vintage Astatic JT30 Bullet

End Date: Sunday May-19-2019 11:24:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
Buy It Now |
Astatic 4 Pin Golden Eagle Microphone. Untested but looks to be in good shape.

End Date: Sunday May-19-2019 11:29:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $185.74
Buy It Now |
Vintage Astatic Corp. Model No. D-104 Stand Microphone Lollipop - Untested

End Date: Sunday May-19-2019 11:46:28 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $90.00
Buy It Now |


The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

Picking Up Blues Harp

A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

Usenet Articles

Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.

Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


Harp Frequently Asked Questions