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Harmonica players? Help please....

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  • Harmonica players? Help please....

    Man, I've been trying to pick up just some basic harp stuff, but it's becoming frustrating.

    I'd be happy to start out with some real generic blues licks or something. I have played a tiny bit over the years and can do a fairly decent Dylan/Neil Young kinda thing with a neck rack while I'm playing guitar, but I don't really know what I'm doing.

    I've been watching instructional stuff on YouTube and ordered up a few book/DVD sets from my local library to check out, but I'm wondering if anyone might have suggestions for a real good, basic instruction book. I'm looking mainly at diatonic cross harp playing.

    I am curious if anyone here plays chromatic though. That's something I've never even ventured towards.

    Anyways, if anyone has any pointers or a good suggestion for a book, I'd sure appreciate it.
    I don't want to sell my music. I'd like to give it away because where I got it, you didn't have to pay for it.
    -Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)

  • #2
    Dont be insulted by the title, Im not implying your're hopeless.
    But this is a really good little book.
    http://www.amazon.com/Country-Blues-Harmonica-Musically-Hopeless/dp/0932592082

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    • #3
      Do I have to have the cassette that came with it?

      The book looks cool but it's over 25 years old and while I've found used copies of it online, I don't know if the book has much worth without the tape..
      I don't want to sell my music. I'd like to give it away because where I got it, you didn't have to pay for it.
      -Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)

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      • #4
        You could check out Jon Gindick's website if you want to buy instrucitional materials. Also, you can check out HarmonicaJam.com, if you want to place to jam and get comments. (Disclaimer: HarmonicaJam.com is my website.)
        www.HarmonicaBoogie.com

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        • #5
          Don't play chromatic, but on the diatonic all I really did was learn tongue blocking and learned the rest by ear
          Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded-Yogi Berra

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          • #6
            http://www.celticguitarmusic.com/harppage.htm
            http://www.mwt.net/~koerner/tonyglover.html

            There's also a good book by Paul Butterfield.

            Portnoy's Masterclass:
            http://www.harpmaster.com/

            More books:
            http://www.harmonicamasterclass.com/HMLS.htm

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            • #7
              This book worked well for me when I was starting out: http://www.amazon.com/Blues-Harp-Instruction-Method-Playing/dp/B00242VRXG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1270488060&sr=8-2

              Are you using a harmonica tuned a fourth above the key you are playing in? (i.e a harp in A for the key of E) Without doing that, playing blues convincingly is virtually impossible. Save the chromatic harp for when you are skilled at the diatonics, it is much harder.

              Listen to lots of good players like Little Walter, George Harmonica Smith , Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller), etc. a lot.

              With harmonica you don't necessarily need to know what you are doing, it doesn't take long to become fairly instinctive.

              Getting all the nuances of great blues harp while playing guitar is impossible. The hands around the harp give you a lot more expressiveness. With a rack while playing guitar the best you can hope for is sounding like Jimmy Reed.
              "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

              My music: http://www.oranjproductions.com

              The first website dedicated to the the baritone guitar: http://www.thebaritoneguitar.com

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              • #8
                Dont be insulted by the title, Im not implying your're hopeless.
                But this is a really good little book.
                http://www.amazon.com/Country-Blues-Harmonica-Musically-Hopeless/dp/0932592082


                LOL, I used this book to learn as well. It's a really good basic guide to get you started with technique, and the rest I did by ear. IIRC, you don't really need the cassette, but it might be helpful.

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                • #9
                  LOL, I used this book to learn as well. It's a really good basic guide to get you started with technique, and the rest I did by ear. IIRC, you don't really need the cassette, but it might be helpful.



                  Agreed. You probably already have an idea what its supposed to sound like.

                  Butterfield's book is good but really in depth. A real mouthfull, or lungfull.

                  And chromatic, thats a real bugger!
                  Much harder.
                  Bought many yrs ago when they only cost around 45-50 bucks.
                  Never could do a dang thing with it.

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                  • #10
                    Are you using a harmonica tuned a fourth above the key you are playing in? (i.e a harp in A for the key of E) Without doing that, playing blues convincingly is virtually impossible.


                    Yeah, that much I had a grasp of.

                    Save the chromatic harp for when you are skilled at the diatonics, it is much harder.


                    Sound advice. I couldn't afford a chromatic now anyways. And it would take more time than I have to mess with at the moment.

                    Listen to lots of good players like Little Walter, George Harmonica Smith , Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller), etc. a lot.


                    Right on. I have been into Sonny Boy I and II for a long time.

                    Getting all the nuances of great blues harp while playing guitar is impossible. The hands around the harp give you a lot more expressiveness. With a rack while playing guitar the best you can hope for is sounding like Jimmy Reed.


                    Yeah, I wanna get away from the neck rack thing. I can make some not-too-painful sounds with a neck rack mounted harp, but only on a very rudimentary level.

                    Thanks for all the tips, folks.
                    I don't want to sell my music. I'd like to give it away because where I got it, you didn't have to pay for it.
                    -Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Whatever key blues you are playing, use a harmonica in the key that corresponds to the IV chord. Suck mostly on holes 2,3,4, and 5 and use the others for passing notes. There should be a pentatonic scale or two in there.

                      That's it...it's all about attack and attitude.
                      "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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