The MAJOR CROSS tuning, developed by Tony Eyers, allows a major scale to be played in second (or cross) position without any bending. While many players use second position, they often find traditional tunes challenging, due to the bending/overblowing needed for some notes. MAJOR CROSS eliminates this problem. Moreover, as bending/overblowing is generally not needed, Major Cross harmonicas are well suited to the fast speeds common with traditional fiddle tunes. The difference between MAJOR CROSS tuning and the usual Richter tunings is shown below. The “root” note for second or cross position is the two hole draw and this note is used for labeling the instruments as well. Three other positions are available for Major Cross harmonicas.
- 4 hole draw as the root note: this is for “modal” tunes, e.g. Red Haired Boy, an American bluegrass standard
- 3 hole blow as the root note: this is for minor tunes, such as “Drowsy Maggie”, a well known Irish tune
- 1 hole draw as the root note: another minor position, for tunes like “Jerusalem Ridge”, another bluegrass standard In addition to very intuitive melody playing, the MAJOR CROSS tuning opens new options for playing chordal accompaniment as well.