Re: What about Paul DeLay?

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Posted by Jeremy Steinberg on December 11, 2002 at 11:14:10:

In Reply to: What about Paul DeLay? posted by Armando on December 10, 2002 at 14:04:32:

: I just discovered this guy's music and he plays a mean harp! Anyone else dig him?

PAUL DELAY is probably one of the world's best blues CHROMATIC harmonica players. He ONLY plays chromatic. He started playing/recording strictly blues, but has branched out into funk/blues, jazz/blues, etc., while still retaining his blues 'roots'. He is based on the West Coast, in Washington State, I believe. He tours extensively, is highly regarded, and has put out at least 5-6 CDs (I have at least 4 of them). He also is able to bend chromatic reeds better than the majority of chromatic players, except the best-known virtuosos.

There is ALOT to be said for playing chromatic harp, which most blues players don't. The 12 note chromatic scale includes all sharps and flats (4 additional notes per scale included that are not readily available in a diatonic, unless you are very good), but the slide intimates alot of players who would like to learn, as does the cost. A good Hohner-made chromatic starts at about $100, and the Super 64x runs upwards of $200, though you can find it mail-order for less. The Super 64x has a lucite comb, I believe, rather than wood or plastic. There are other mfgs of them as well, including Hering, Suzuki, etc. I have a Hering Opus, but I prefer the S. 64x above all other 'mass-produced' chromatics. Of course, the best ones are 'custom' built, but also run $500 to as much as $3,000 or more.

Diatonic players can expand their thinking by practicing on the chromatic scale. Chromatic harp players can expand their thinking by working on bends, which of course the diatonic is better known for.

There are plastic-bodied chromatics you can buy for less than $100 from mail-order houses, that have a decent reputation, too.

If you take the plunge, you will want to figure out the chromatic scale, and practice it, up and down, to get fluent.

Regards, Jeremy

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