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Instruments: what type of harmonica for blues

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olddude 19 Dec 08 - 10:18 PM
Mark Ross 19 Dec 08 - 11:07 PM
meself 19 Dec 08 - 11:39 PM
meself 19 Dec 08 - 11:43 PM
Barry Finn 20 Dec 08 - 12:57 AM
olddude 20 Dec 08 - 01:17 AM
olddude 20 Dec 08 - 01:17 AM
meself 20 Dec 08 - 01:31 AM
Ernest 20 Dec 08 - 04:15 AM
Hamish 20 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM
Acorn4 20 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 20 Dec 08 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Jim 20 Dec 08 - 12:35 PM
Stringsinger 20 Dec 08 - 01:51 PM
olddude 20 Dec 08 - 02:48 PM
meself 21 Dec 08 - 02:10 AM
Farley Buckwheat 21 Dec 08 - 11:35 AM
Farley Buckwheat 21 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM
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Subject: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: olddude
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 10:18 PM

I always wanted to learn to play harmonica
any suggestion for a newbee. What should I look for
I like blues

is there any kind that is better for a beginner?

Thanks much
Dan


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Mark Ross
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 11:07 PM

A Hohner Marine Band is where most of use to start. You're going to want to play crossharp for blues. That means the the harp you use is marked in a different key than the key in which you will be playing. You will be playing what we call 2nd position; the key of the harp will be the fourth of the key the song is in; for example, to play a blues in E, you would use an A harp, key of D, G, key of C, F, A, a D harp. Get on of the better quality harps, Marine Band or Oscar Schmidt.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: meself
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 11:39 PM

I would recommend a Hohner Special 20. Same price range, easily available, and, in my opinion, slightly easier to play than the Marine Band.

There are a number of other good models and brands out there now that other players approve of, but I haven't tried many of them, and they aren't as likely to be stocked in your corner music store.

Having said that - a lot of people swear by the Lee Oskars, but they are more expensive.   Many people find they last longer, though. But I don't.

To start off, I would get a D. Being a higher key, it is a little easier to get going on for blues harp than, say, an A. You will want to get an A before long though, as many guitarists play a lot of blues in E (see above post re: cross-harp - also known as 'second position').


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: meself
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 11:43 PM

This is a good group for beginners (and others):
harptalk.

Tell'm I sent ya, and they'll give you a good seat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:57 AM

Get one you can suck & blow

Ok, I'll stop.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: olddude
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:17 AM

Thanks folks

Barry
ahhhhh do they have ones with strings instead??


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: olddude
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:17 AM

Most of my blues stuff is in E so I will check out the D like you suggested


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: meself
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:31 AM

Just to make sure you got what I was saying: get a D (or E or F) harp to get started with bluesharp technique - but get an A harp to play in the key of E.

A D harp is suitable for playing blues in the key of A. (There are other ways of doing it, but you'll get to those later).


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Ernest
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:15 AM

Hi Dan,

Hohner Marine Band harps (esp. the deluxe model) are among my favourites in the (upper)midprice range. Their special 20s are ok too, but I would prefer the Blues Harp MS (Modular System = you can change the reedplates). The Big River Harp seems to need more air than the aforementioned models - I would avoid them.

Among the really cheap ones I find the Victory (chinese marine band copy with plastic comb, usually only sold in C) playable.

No need to buy an instruction book - lots of stuff on the net. Just googling for harmonica or harp lessons/tab will get you a lot of sites.

Happy harpin`
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Hamish
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM

Marine Band are good. I used to love Blues Harps, but don't like the revamped MS model. So I'd go for Marine Band.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM

I prefer the Lee Oskars for tone. Their only shortcoming is that the cases don't tend to be very rugged.

The thing you'll have to learn for blues is bending the notes.

It's actually very hard to explain how to do this, but it's done by kind of narrowing the mouth and squeezing to get a bent note - you really need to be able to bend the note down to the next one underneath it to play blues effectively.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:09 AM

Don't buy cheap - you'll be disappointed and frustrated! Hohner Special 20 would be my suggestion. Also, there are some marvelous tuition videos available for free on Youtube. Just type in "blues harmonica lessons".


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:35 PM

While I started out on Marine Bands, I now prefer the plastic comb and would agree with GUEST,Tunesmith in recommending the Special 20s.
I have a few Lee Oscars and like them fine, but they are pricier.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:51 PM

A lot depends on the style. Howard Levy recommends the Special 20 and I don't think
anyone would argue that he's not one of the leading ten hole harmonica players in the world.

The Marine Band is the staple but I think you need to study the style of the harp players
you admire and find out what they use.

The difficult part of playing this style is "overblowing" for chromatic notes. Howard Levy
discusses this. He files his reeds with a small file to loosen them. I have never been
able to master overblowing. Joe Fillisco of Chicago (from the Old Town School) knows how to do this and has had harps for sale that have been adjusted in this way.

Many of the Chicago blues stylists don't employ overblowing techniques. Chromatic overblown notes are not needed for many of the blues pieces but bending the notes
which is more of a basic approach is necessary to get the flatted 3rds, 7ths, 5th's and 6ths of the blues scale.

I agree that the Special 20 would be good although Marine Bands can do the job too.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Tech: what type of harmonica for blues
From: olddude
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 02:48 PM

You guys have given me a lot of good ideas
I am going to get one and start messing around with it. I am sure I will sound terrible but it should be a lot of fun.

thanks so much


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Subject: RE: Instruments: what type of harmonica for blues
From: meself
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:10 AM

Overblowing is an exceedingly advanced technique, as far as I am concerned (which, admittedly, is from about here to the door). You don't need to worry about it for a long time, if ever.

Bending, on the other hand, is essential to blues playing.


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Subject: RE: Instruments: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Farley Buckwheat
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 11:35 AM

.

The Hohner pocket pal is a very good choice for a beginner.

It is cheap: less that 20US. Very sturdy, so you neednt worry about breaking or losing it. It has a plastic comb, which makes a tight seal. This in turn ensures no leaks and so is good for bending. The reeds are good quality and stay in tune well.

The disadvantage is that it only comes in C. This is great for any beginning player. When you get good enough to play with others you will need to look at other models to complete your set.


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Subject: RE: Instruments: what type of harmonica for blues
From: Farley Buckwheat
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM

.

Whoops! Make that "less than 10US." The C harp is good for blues in G, a very useful key.

.


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