Vanilla Gershwin Grand ~ Turbolid Custom Covers

Vanilla Turbo Lid
Behold the Vanilla Gershwin Grand, my personal choice of Turbolid combination.
All my life I have taught people a blessed miracle of music, that whence the passion of creativity resides within one, an orchestra can be painted from a pallette of only three colours.

This is one reason I prefer the ten hole Blues Harp over the grander twelve hole Chromatic Harmonicas.

At least it certainly has become so ever since I discovered ‘Country Tuning’, a gentle change in pitch of the 5 draw to a sharp note, creating a Major 7th chord in 2nd position. Miraculously, this simple change in the pitch of a single reed actually harbours, unto the dedicated artist, a whole library of jazz chords and phrases.

Yet the reason I am writing today, is to spread the word about a fabulous company in the USA, Turbo Harp, who, amongst their many revolutionary innovations in harmonica evolution, created the Turbo Lid, a specially shaped ergonomic cover lid for your ten hole blues harmonica.

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Suzuki Overdrive ~ Start Your Spaceships

Simon Jepps' Suzuki Overdrive
The revolutionary Suzuki Overdrive is a quantum leap in the evolution of biological Blues Harp chromatics.
The Suzuki Overdrive is both ingenious and beautiful.

One merely has to take a glance at its facade to appreciate that this is no ordinary Harmonica. Yet the real beauty of this instrument may well come as a surprise to you… for it is, the final frontier of authentic Blues Harp chromatics.

I have blogged regularly about the next evolution of the Blues Harp, or to be more technical, the Diatonic Ten Hole Richter Tuned Harmonica.

Most specifically I have addressed the argumentative concept of chromaticising its tonal range. This is the idea that by altering its tuning, installing valves, magnetic switches, spring loaded slides, or even extra hidden reeds, one might accomplish the seemingly impossible task of making an instrument which was born to weep, dance as if it had never cried.

And yet doing this doesn’t make any sense.

For whence it comes to the aspect of sacreligious change, I have always believed it to be imperative that a Blues Harp retains its original philosophy of design in order to be considered authentic and praiseworthy. Its music is about making the most out of what little you have and finding the fruition of a miracle within one’s own determination.

So, I feel many new designs aimed at “chromaticising” the Blues Harp, whilst revolutionary and ingenious, only find themselves eventually stripping the instrument of its ancestral belonging and in turn its very own appeal to be played.

Instead all that is accomplished, is a precision engineered technological monstrosity which only feels like you are cheating at life when you attempt to play it.

And so here, a paradox looms.

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Keytoy ~ Rainbluew Styling By Jepps

Keytoy ~ Rainbluew Styling By Jepps
The Rainbluew Keytoy By Jepps
Ladies and gentlemen, this little beauty you see right here is my most recent and beloved creation.

Readers of my blog will know I have dabbled in custom styling of melodicas before. Yet even whence dancing with the radioactive moon in the grace of the night, I still felt my one true love to be amiss.

I have discovered gradually over many years that my “problem” with the melodica is nothing to do with its performance, or that it is a “one handed” instrument.

Nay, for even a trumpet is a one handed instrument and besides, the performance of a melodica is purely a question of decent reed quality and adjustment.

Indeed, the base model featured here is a Hohner Superforce 37. Give the reeds a personal tweak and she will be your spouse for life.

No, my “problem” in the end all crunched down to aesthetics. How does it look and feel to hold?

Thus after experimenting a few times, I decided it was high time I actually put in some serious effort to design my own “Jepps” style.

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Xiao ~ Ancient Chinese Flute

Simon Jepps' Xiao Flute
Simon Jepps’ Xiao Flute
A good piece of bamboo and eight good holes are all thou needs to transcend nirvana.

Aye, even the existence of God can be found within the endless caverns of the Chinese Xiao.

Time has called me herewith to write about this ancient Chinese instrument.

Of course, the reasons why I write about any instrument are only of the utmost profundity. The Chinese Xiao is of no exception. In fact, whilst there will be many more flutes and musical curiosities to come from this good blog, I can proclaim to you now, that, the Xiao, is beyond all of these, both in time and in space.

There are flutes. There are flutes that command the falling of rain and the roaring of thunder. There are more flutes to behold in Heaven than there are Stars to worship in the sky.

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Tenor Harp ~ Authentic Terminology For An Authentic Harmonica

Tenor Harp Hohner CX12 Jazz
Hohner CX12 Jazz Tenor Harp
Here is an interesting story of how about I came to play the Tenor Harp.

Those familiar with my blog will know that I am originally a lounge pianist, who has performed in many locations such as the Royal Palace, Turin.

Yet since returning to England shortly after the turn of the millennium, it began to become ever moreso apparent to me that the Piano was only a burden on my freedom.

Whilst passionately in love with the instrument since only a child, it would become both the heartbreak and the revelation of my musical destiny.

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Keytoy ~ Radioactive Styling By Jepps

Keytoy ~ Custom Styling By Jepps
Theatre grade glow in the dark tape applied to sharps and flats, whilst black electrician tape softened surrounding case appearance.
I simply adore my Hohner Superforce 37. In fact I adore it so much I decided it was time to give it a manicure and custom artistic makeover.

The result? A finely tuned and responsive, totally radioactive Keytoy.

It had been begging me to do it. In fact the day it arrived the first thing it said was, “Please don’t call me a Superforce 37…”

Damn right. Whilst my favourite Keytoy, or Melodica, or whatever you want to call it, the name SUPERFORCE 37 has never settled with me on any particularly personal level, at all.

Hence, in addition to the reed adjustments I spent a good couple of hours undertaking, the abominable logo has now gone from its now most graciously decorated face.

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Masters Of Pocket Sax

After somewhat of a round the world trip, I have finally began to gather a collection of Pocket Sax Masters. I will no doubt be updating this playlist as time goes by.

Click this on screen icon for video list.

Herewith, a ‘pocket saxophonist’ is the term given to a most talented Xaphoonist who’s sound is almost en par with that of a larger Sax.

Whence reading my blog you will know, I have spoken many times about how true virtuoso Xaphoonists are very hard to find.

They are more precious than star dust.

Therefore, it was only inevitable that I would eventually begin searching the endless vaults of recordings, in the hope to start compiling a playlist of Pocket Sax Masters, those of whom have truly began to take hold of the heavens and channel this truly special instrument’s secret divine heart.

There are of course, many talented Xaphoonists out there, yet my excuse for not including them is purely a consequence of musical arrangement or presentation, rather than any absence of talent.

Also, whilst a Xaphoonist of good calibre may impress in one aspect, for example fluidity of scales, he or she may be weaker in another aspect, for example maturity of voice.

Of course, the Xaphoon as I have written often, harbours a rich diversity of voices, such as like Trumpet, Clarinet, Oboe, Sax and even Armenian Duduk. Yet the instrument itself requires a translator of its soul. Its disposition is of a linguistic unorthodoxy, as opposed to any social illegitimacy.

Thus, when addressing one as a Pocket Sax Master, I am saying the performer has acquired a substantial understanding of how the Xaphoon itself wishes to be interpreted and translated to the listener.

It cries, “My body may be finite, but my soul is eternal.”

Indeed thence, as time goes by and existing novices become more adept at their craft, I expect not only to find more and more quality performances, but much, much more well practised individuals who have truly taken The Art Of Pocket Sax unto another musical dimension.

Please enjoy.

Stranded In Sweethaven

This is a song I wrote for Blues Harp, composed to the tune of Popeye. It is completely Ad Libitum, as most blues harmonica songs are.

Chorus

Well I’m stranded and I’ve got the blues,
Well I’m stranded and I’ve got the blues,
Can somebody ship me over to Sidney,
‘Cos I’m stranded and I’ve got the blues.

~ 4 bar harp solo ~

Vrs 1

Well I’ve met Dwongo d’Orangutan,
Well I’ve met Dwongo d’Orangutan,
He don’t need pyjamas ‘cos he eats bananas,
Yeah I’ve met Dwongo d’Orangutan,

~ 2 bar harp solo ~

Well I’ve met Isac The Third the Parrot,
Well I’ve met Isac The Third the Parrot,
He keeps all his feathers whatevers the weathers,
Yeah I’ve met Isac The Third the Parrot.

~ 2 bar harp solo ~

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Psax Advice: Low C & High DEF Resonance

Xaphoon Fingering Chart
Xaphoon Fingering Chart
When learning to play any reed instrument, inevitably one will stumble into obstacles like squeaks, silences and unwelcome vibrations.

Most of these things are regular novice issues which can be researched and remedied easily enough.

When it comes to the Pocket Sax however, there are a handful of hurdles remaining on the horizon even whence one has acquired a good grasp of the instrument.

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Xaphoon by Zariah

Xaphoon by Zariah ArtHere is a wonderful painting created by a female artist in Maui, Hawaii, who goes by the name Zariah.

As far as I am aware, this piece is actually called “Riddle”, but what draws one’s attention is the unique instrument tucked under the boy’s arm.

Without doubt, a Xaphoon, since the artist herself is from the exact same region where Brian Wittman invented it back in 1972.

This picture is actually a cropping of a much larger work of art, featuring this loveable but mischievous boy, having a laugh amongst the gardens with his friends.

Strikingly, he reminds me of Peter Pan, yet more to the point, if the Pocket Sax had actually been invented during J.M. Barrie’s lifetime, would the Xaphoon have then been the actual flute of Peter Pan?

Looks fairly conclusive to me.

Zariah Art