The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #30247   Message #389181
Posted By: reggie miles
03-Feb-01 - 12:19 PM
Thread Name: Help: Jew's Harp question!
Subject: RE: Help: Jew's Harp question!
Yes I've seen the keyed ones for sale in music stores in the area. I first stumbled across my grandfather's years ago and carried it around so much that the end of the twanger, (the piece you pluck), broke off. It was the made in England type with a large body and a reed which was filed. I looked for years for another like it but could not find one. What I did find in my searching was that there have been many makers of these curious things over the years. The best or should I say the most responsive of these metal reed instruments that I have run across were those made in Austria. The best of these Austrian made examples were those with smaller bodies and therefore smaller reeds. The Austrian type had slightly lighter bodies than those produced in England and a similar filed reed. The smaller the reed the more easily it could vibrate and the easier it was to manipulate to produce variety in tone and character.

I'm no ace on these guys but I did have the good fortune to play with one of the best. Years ago, while performing at one of them low bars and dives that musicians like myself often end up in over the course of our sordid careers, I was introduced to someone named Bob, just Bob. Bob was wanting to perform with our little ragtag washboard/street/string band at our lowly show that evening. Upon meeting me, he, quite confidently I might add, announced that he was the best player of these curious little reed instruments west of the Mississippi. Well, that was a big boast as far as I was concerned and naturally felt that no man had the right to speak of his talent in that way without expecting someone to challenge him to back up his inflated self view. So I took the bait and asked him what do you mean? Well, he began, do you know which tune fiddlers use to test each other's ability? Before I could answer he volunteered Orange Blossom Special and played a rousing rendition. I stood mouth agape completely stunned by his masterful manipulation of this little oddity. I could only make boingy noises with mine. Needless to say he was hired on the spot and for a brief time we had the honor of performing with the best jews harp player west of the Mississippi, Bob.

Another truth is stranger than fiction adventure story. reg