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Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?

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Mbo 05 Sep 00 - 06:25 PM
bigchuck 05 Sep 00 - 09:19 PM
Mbo 05 Sep 00 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona 05 Sep 00 - 10:12 PM
Little Hawk 05 Sep 00 - 10:19 PM
Little Hawk 05 Sep 00 - 10:22 PM
Mbo 05 Sep 00 - 10:25 PM
Art Thieme 05 Sep 00 - 10:53 PM
Mbo 05 Sep 00 - 10:57 PM
Bob Bolton 05 Sep 00 - 11:03 PM
Little Hawk 05 Sep 00 - 11:15 PM
John in Brisbane 06 Sep 00 - 08:03 PM
John in Brisbane 06 Sep 00 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona 06 Sep 00 - 09:23 PM
Art Thieme 06 Sep 00 - 10:02 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 06 Sep 00 - 10:13 PM
John in Brisbane 07 Sep 00 - 02:04 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 07 Sep 00 - 03:02 AM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 07 Sep 00 - 06:56 AM
John in Brisbane 07 Sep 00 - 08:56 AM
Raptor 07 Sep 00 - 09:14 AM
Mbo 07 Sep 00 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona 07 Sep 00 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona 07 Sep 00 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona 07 Sep 00 - 10:17 AM
Mbo 07 Sep 00 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU 07 Sep 00 - 12:08 PM
Mbo 07 Sep 00 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 07 Sep 00 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona 07 Sep 00 - 09:24 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 07 Sep 00 - 09:47 PM
John in Brisbane 08 Sep 00 - 01:32 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 08 Sep 00 - 10:45 PM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 09 Sep 00 - 06:49 AM
IanC 14 Sep 01 - 10:45 AM
Peter T. 14 Sep 01 - 11:04 AM
Steve in Idaho 14 Sep 01 - 02:56 PM
Les from Hull 15 Sep 01 - 08:45 AM
simon-pierre 02 Feb 03 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 02 Feb 03 - 10:33 PM
Fifer 03 Feb 03 - 01:24 PM
Bob Bolton 03 Feb 03 - 10:10 PM
fogie 04 Feb 03 - 05:21 AM
Bob Bolton 04 Feb 03 - 05:33 AM
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Subject: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 06:25 PM

Hey folks, I been thinking of taking up the harmonica. Do you good folks have any suggestions of good quality, but not expensive, harmonicas for a beginner who's never played one before? Thanks!

--Matt


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: bigchuck
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 09:19 PM

Meebs, get a Huang form a music store. They play like a blues harp, but cost about half as much. Hohner does make a beginner's harp called a Bluesband for about $3.95, but its only available in the key of C. I thing you would probably want a G or D harp (probably both plus several others if you stick with it)


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 09:24 PM

Thanks! Yes, G & D would be perfect, and probably an A if they make one. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:12 PM

The Huang is a very good suggestion, but I'd like to recomend the Hohner Old Stanby. Costs about 5 bucks, and comes in the keys of C, G, A, and D.

Marine Bands and Blues Harps list for about $18-20. Incredible. My first Marine Band (bought in '65) cost $1.75 and lasted for years.

The best value for money harmonica today in my opinon, is the Hohner Big River. About 10 bucks, comes in all keys, and is still made with brass reeds.

Happy Harpin'


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:19 PM

Hohner Big River harps are the best all round deal, considering what you get. I use 'em all the time, and I love 'em. For an easy first song, learn to play the harmonica part to "Mister Tambourine Man", an ideal harmonica song. Start out by playing 3 note chords and then learn to narrow your lips down and pick out singe note melody and harmony lines. That's straight harp style. Then there's blues harp which is a bit different. Get a blues-style harp player to show you some simple riffs for that. Have fun!


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:22 PM

Mbo - Don't overblow the harp! Use just enough air to get a clear strong note, and no more. It will last a lot longer that way. I've seen people (mostly so-called "blues" players in bar jams) who could ruin a harmonica in half an hour or less by overworking it. It helps to have a microphone of course.


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:25 PM

I'm not really interested in playing blues harp, actually. I play acoustic guitar, and feel a bit silly whistling all the solos when I could be harmonica-ing like Bob Dylan!


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:53 PM

Matt,

The prez might've said, once upon a time, that he'd suggest a harMonica Lewinsky.

But alas, now he has seen the light and, in that bright beam, seen clearer than ever what is P.C. and what isn't.

Here's a polemic offshoot (thread creep) over to Kendall's LOSS thread: (This has got to be the worst case of thread creep ever perpetrated here at Mudcat. Yes, I'm sort of proud !)

If the impeachment of Bill had no political reason (as the Republicans insist) and was, after all, only because the man lied and that was against the law-----well, if and when Geo. Bush jr. is maybe elected, we ought to immediately call for a Special Prosecutor and IMPEACH the man since he called for a higher tone and morality but apparently LIED. He showed his true and base nature when he sought to denigrate a member of the press corps earlier today by saying a bad word into an open mike---not in itself an impeachable offense but proof positive of him being a liar. Yes, he did lie, right?
Do ya think we have any chance of hiring Rush Limbaugh to go on a liberal radio network and cruelly do a hatchet job on Bush for a few years? ---It's like aging and tenderizing prepares a good steak to endure the nearly eight years it can take to prepare it for the torture it must endure all while twisting on the spit of public degredation!? If we pay him enough, I'm sure Rush would gladly switch "camps"/radio stations like most people switch jobs in these days of little loyalty from neither the boss or the worker.

Yes, as they say, If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can usually depend on the support of Paul."

Yeah, in these manic days of a mesmerizing economy, more money is the answer. If you pay 'em enough, they can take the LOSS of anything. They'll even learn to like (pretty much)the Brave New World. We can get used to anything when there's no other choice. ;-)

Matt, I'd suggest a Hohner "Marine Band" or a "Blues Harp". Last I looked, they cost $2.50---but that was 35 years ago. These days they probably cost so much that you need to keep 'em in a safety deposit box. When I was young, I took the first dollar I ver earned and put it in a ten cent frame. Now the dime is worth a dollar and the dollar is worth a dime. But I'm writing to you on a computer----so it ain't all bad, right?

Have fun blowin'. Bill does---goin' and comin' !

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:57 PM

Art, yer a scream!


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 11:03 PM

G'day Mbo,

Don't get nostalgic about wood body models. Plastic body combs were the greatest thing to ever happen to small harmonicas. In the '70s I played mainly harmonica in a big ramblimg bush band, here in Sydney and, by the end of a 4-hour gig, I had 4 bleeding patches on my lip area. This was because the wooden comb would swell up with moisture and the projecting corners wore away my face!

All this problem vanished when Hohner introduced 'Special 20's with plastic combs (~1978?) ... except that I had just discovered Taiwanese "Lark" harmonicas with plastic bodies ... and a 'sharper' tone (not pitch) that let me cut through all those accordions and concertinas that otherwise got credit for anything good that I did.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 11:15 PM

Yes! Long live telflon (plastic) body combs! Wood combs are a hideous archaic throwback that oughta be consigned to the grave. Well...maybe I'm getting carried away here...okay make 'em for the few that still want 'em.

Blues Harp and Marine Band are fine, but Big River are even better and they cost less...and no wooden comb to cut your lips up.

Mbo - I know just how you want to play that harmonica with the guitar. In that style, you will play a lot of straight harp, but also some blues harp, depending on the song. When you're playing blues style, you use the harmonica that is tuned to the 4rth of the key you are playing in on the guitar. So if you're playing in D, you would use a G harmonica for the blues, a D harmonica for the straight harp. Dylan does a lot of both techniques, but a bit more of straight harp on the whole.


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 08:03 PM

Mbo, there used to be a great little shareware package known as HARPING which allows you to take any MIDI file and display where you need to blow and draw for each note. You can select a diatonic harmonica in a different key and it will show you the different playing pattern (and how feasible it is to play in that key). It has loads of other great features and the shareware version was full featured.

It used to be on ZDNet and other shareware sites, but I couldn't locate it in a quick search this morning. Maybe someone else can find it, otherwise send me a PM and I'll see if I cand find my original download.

Regards, John

One of the Demo songs is Love Me Do - right up your alley.


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 08:27 PM

Found it at the author's site at http://harping.freeyellow.com/index.html. The new Win 95 software looks even better - but I haven't tried it yet. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 09:23 PM

I love Art Thieme's post that mentions harMonica Lewinsky.

I'd write a song about it if only I could think of a male body part that rhymed with Hohner........

:)


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 10:02 PM

Blazoona,

Is "cigar" a close enough rhyme?

(Make me a co-author.)

Art


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 10:13 PM

Embolism: What has been said above about plastic vs wood, i.e., Big River vs Blues and Marine Band harps is very true. Plastic is far superior as a comb material, most importantly because it doesn't swell up when you wash the harmonica which you need to do regularly to keep the tones pure and loud. That being said, going a step farther, Lee Oskar harps are the best ones made. Unlike the Hohners they require no breaking in, which means that it is easy to bend notes on a brand new Oskar, but the Hohners require a lot of playing before the reeds are flexible enough to bend easily.

The Lee Oskar Major Diatonics have the same scale as equivalent Hohners, cost about the same as the Blues Harps, last forever (and then you can buy new reed plates for about 70 percent of the cost of a new harp and you're good for another eternity). In addition to the Major Diatonics, Lee Oskars are available in Melody Makers, made for playing complete melodies in cross harp style (i.e., the G MM is a C harmonica but with an A in place of the draw G (4 draw) and F# in place of all the F's. They also offer natural minor harps, one minor key in straight (blow) style, and another in cross (draw) style, i.e., Dmin in blow, Amin in draw.

Musicians Friend (musiciansfriend.com) currently is selling the Major Diatonics for $18.50. The others they sell for about $22.50. I have a couple of the diatonics (C and G) and have ordered three more (D, A, and F) to replace Hohner Blues Harps, I have five of the Melody Makers (C, D, E, G, and A) and three of the harmonic minors. I use the diatonics for fiddle tunes and blues mostly and the Melody Makers for traditional and folk melodies that aren't excessively fast. The minors don't get too much use except in Irish sessions, and even then, any diatonic major harp can be played in a couple of minor keys, as well (C in A and D minor, for example).

--seed


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 02:04 AM

Back in the days when I used to have stomach muscles and played a lot of harmonica I used to have some problems playing in Minor keys. I could play the notes just fine but after 5 minutes of continually drawing notes I'd begin to hyper ventilate. Do the LO Minor harmonicas solve thatproblem?

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 03:02 AM

John, each harp has a straight minor key and a draw minor key. The straight key, of course, emphasizes the draw notes, which should take care of your problem. When I bought my three, they were the only ones available, Gmin straight and Dmin crossharp, Dmin straight and Amin crossharp, and Amin straight and Emin crossharp. But now they are available in all keys (listed in crossharp key).

They can, of course, also be played in the relative majors of the minor keys (the minor third key: the Dmin/Amin harp can also be played in F and C). And the Melody Makers can be played as straight minors--the G MM in Amin.

I know what you mean about hyperventilating: it happens whenever we play The Wreck of the Old Ninety-seven or Columbus Stockade Blues (we play them in G; I use my C Major Diatonic)--we play both of them fast and hard, and both are about 80% draw notes.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 06:56 AM

Seed, do the Lee Oskar reeds last less long as a result of being already limber?

This is an interesting thread. A friend of mine bought a chromatic harmonica from a thrift shop a while ago and he was asking me how to use it.

Naturally, I told him to throw it away and get a diatonic harp. I suggested a Huang Silvertone based on experience of bygone days. However, now that I think of it, there were some face brackets for the harmonica the the Silvertone didn't fit because of its different shape.

Blazoona. why don't you replace "Hohner" with "Huang"--then you don't need a rhyme.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 08:56 AM

I play chromatics much more than I do diatonic, but then again I'm not really into blues that much. But for vocal accompaniment or jazz it's hard to beat the rich sound of a chromatic. I'm no Larry Adler though because I used to buy them in C, D, G and A. They've become so expensive though that I can't afford to replace them and I have given up trying to find an Australian source for replacement reed plates (maybe they've become uneconomical to replace). One of the other reasons I started buying chromatics in keys other than C was that it's hard to get super accurate intonation when you're playing cross harp with lots of draw notes. I see that the site I referred above has some info on playing chromatic and the software now covers it as well. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Raptor
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 09:14 AM

I've been playing the Hohner Pro harps for ten years replacing them every time I blew a reed till the guy at my music store pointed out that the $40 Pro harp and the $18 big river have the same reeds. If you blow a reed beyond repair buy a big river they fit everything but the Miesterclass and Crossharp buy Hohner


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 09:44 AM

What does the "straight" and "draw" terms mean? I'm new at this, remember! Gonna write down these names and gonna go get me one today!


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 10:16 AM

Art and Murray, you two were going to get equal songwriting and publshing credit, but then I realized that the composition "sucked".


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 10:17 AM

Art and Murray, you two were going to get equal songwriting and publshing credit, but then I realized that the composition "sucked".


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 10:17 AM

Art and Murray, you two were going to get equal songwriting and publshing credit, but then I realized that the composition "sucked".


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 10:25 AM

Don't borrow no mouth organ
Not even from your best friend
Don't borrow no mouth organ
Not even from your best friend!
'Cause if you survive the blowing
The suckin's gonna get you in the end!!!

"Poppa's Blues"


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 12:08 PM

I wanna play like this!

--Matt


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 04:02 PM

Sorry, if you want to hear that, open RealPlayer and paste the link under "Open Location". So I got myself a harmonica today! It's a Hohner HoMetal, got it for $7 dollars. They didn't have a D one, so I opted for a G. Hey, after 20 minutes, I'm already doing solos along with "Whatever" (one of the best songs ever for showing off the beauty of the harmonica)! It's so much fun! BTW I saw all the brands you mentioned. The Marine Band ones go for about $27, Big Rivers and Lee Oskars for about $21, and Hohner Blues Harps for about $17. This is awesome fun! Thanks for all the tips guys!


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 08:58 PM

Mbo: There are several ways to play a harmonica. "Straight" means you play it in the key it was designed for. When you do that you blow the tonic note. You can also play it a fifth above the key for which it was designed. So a C harp can be played in G. When you do that you wind up drawing (sucking in) on the tonic note. Other names besides "draw" for this style of playing are "cross-harp" and "second position". It turns out to be easier to "bend" to missing notes in cross-harp and so the blues players tend to prefer to play that way.

By the way, one general comment. If you are going to use "canned" lessons such as tapes or videos, you should probably get a C harp. Most lessons are based on that.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,The Invisible Blazoona
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 09:24 PM

Now that you're finally armed with a harmonica, the best online source of free instruction and hundreds of songs, is Jack's Harmoica Heaven at

http://www.volcano.net/~jackmearl/

Happy Harpin' from the Invisible Blazoona


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 09:47 PM

Right you are, Murray: Gindick's Country and Blues Harp for the Musically Hopeless, David Harp's courses, etc., usually have a couple of straight tunes to be played in C, things like "Oh, Suzannah" or "Home on the Range," then they take you into blues and country playing which mostly emphasize the draw notes:

Embo, if you draw on the first four holes of your G harp you will be playing a D chord, holes 4 and 5 give you an incomplete A7 chord, and blowing on any three holes gives you a D chord. You can start playing simple blues that way: draw on holes 3 and 4 for the first four measures, blow on 3, 4, and 5 for two measures, back to the 3-4 draw for two measures, draw holes 4 aand 5 for one measure, blow 3 and 4 for a measure, draw 3 and 4 for a measure and slide up to 4 and 5 still drawing for a measure: That's a 12 bar blues complete with turnaround. You can start jazzing it up by learning to bend notes--possible on draw notes up to 6th hole, blow notes 7 to 10, pick up some blues runs from Gindick or Harp or Sebastian or someone else's course (Charlie McCoy made a great blues harp book complete with CD--only problem, there are no track breaks, so you can't repeat anything without starting the CD at the beginning all over again. I eMailed him about it, he responded that I should tape it, I told him I bought it because it was on CD so I could repeat things, he gave me his publisher's eMail, I sent them a note--and never heard a word about it and it's been about two years. Very lame, I thought and think.

Ultimately the way to learn cross harp is just to play it. I started playing along with accompaniments I played on a cheap keyboard, but it wasn't until I started playing regularly with other people (Will Work for Food--see "Do you play with a traditional band?" thread) that it really became second nature to me.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 01:32 AM

Today is one of my non PC days so here's a ditty that rhymes with Hohner.

A blues loving lass from Verona,
Spent her night drinking rum and Corona, Her man contemplated being roundly fellated,
But alas she just sucked on his Hohner.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 10:45 PM

Well, at least she could play cross harp, John. She probably hyperventilated and collapsed (crossharpers should always keep brown paper bags handy). Well blown, my friend.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 06:49 AM

I have those same lesson's, Seed, without the tracks. I did, in fact tape them for the time being and I notified the publisher with the same results. It's a shame, because they are good lessons.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: IanC
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 10:45 AM

Next question

Can anybody recommend a good tutor or advanced book for harmonica? I'm looking to put an INSTRUMENTS/Harmonica section in the Basic Folk Library.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 11:04 AM

David Barrett's Harmonica Masterclass from Mel Bay is a new/recent series, and it is the best I have run across for Blues, Chicago Blues, etc. This series is only starting, but the first two (Classic Chicago Blues Harp #1, etc.) were really helpful. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 02:56 PM

Hohner, tuter, sounds like a "Married With Children" rerun!! Hooters and shooters - LOL - I loved the song John!!! Peace - Steve


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 08:45 AM

There's some good advice here, Mbo. I thought I might add my tuppence worth.

Huang harmonicas are excellent value. If you are playing to accompany voice and guitar you may need a few different keys, so keeping the cost down makes much sense.

Do you do anything in the key of F? Then a 'low F' is much better than the normal F, which is an octave above and a bit squeaky. I use Lee Oskars by Tombo and they do one. Huang probably don't.

You mentioned playing like Bob Dylan. You'd be better off playing properly! Learn to play single notes rather than the gobful at a time style, although a mixture of styles is probably best. You get more control on single notes, more bend, more vibrato.

Bending notes is not just for blues players. You can get a lot of expression into your playing this way. It's easiest to bend a draw note. Suck on hole 5. Make sure that you've only got hole 5, and none of nole 4 or 6. Now imagine that your harmonica has turned into a lemon! (purse lips, draw in cheeks) Once you've found out what you're doing to make the note bend, you'll have something to work on. Have fun playing the gobiron! I have (for the last forty years, too)

Les


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: simon-pierre
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 06:54 PM

This thread is a good overview, but I was surprise to find it was (almost) the only one in the forum. I was looking for tips to improve my playing, and I found this incredible site:


Harmonica Lessons

It should solve any further questions :-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:33 PM

Horner Marine Band key of C. My first lasted a decade. When it becomes old and feble bend it to blues.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Fifer
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 01:24 PM

I am sorry to hear that nobody has a good word for a decent chromatic harmonica. If you can control your lip position (which you ought to with ANY harmonica) Then the tone and intonation they allow, never mind the little runs and slides you can reach with practice, open up a much wider range of playing styles than most diatonics. And of course you can bend the notes!
I play blues, some more jazzy stuff as well as more traditional Scots Irish and bluegrass styles on a chromatic.
In many respects it is easier, because the progression of the notes simply goes straight up through the octaves.
Downside? They are more expensive by quite a margin.
Stick at it , there is one out there which will suit you just fine. Mine kept me in beer all through my college days, and has earned a few pints since.


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 10:10 PM

G'day Fifer,

I think this thread has started out in hardcore vamper territory! The chromatic is a great melody instrument, but most of the thread looks as if it wants the instrument to be a harmonica ... and instrument that delivers the built-in chords of the Richter tuning scheme ... and a few that have been prised out of it by Blues and other innovators, &c.

At some time or other, I have played almost all the descriptions of smaller mouth organs - stopping somewhere round about the dedicated bass and chord instruments of the old bands. The Chromatic is, as you say, great for the expression and control possible in melody playing - and I love for just this.

The area where I really get into arguments with chromatic players ... is when I point out that the one thing a chromatic, in intent and performance, is not ... is a harmonica! While it does retain a fair part of the basic Richter chords ... that's not what you play in chromatic playing - and, as soon as you really play chromatically, in keys other than the base key, the chords are all discordant ... while the vamper, happily puffing away in its base key(s) is revelling in harmony.

It's all semantics - but I usually mention this in response to chromatic players who disparage vampers with remarks like: "Yes, but they aren't real harmonicas ... &c". It's all music - and there are some wonderful and diverse traditions on the vamper - and some beautifuul music played on the chromatic.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: fogie
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 05:21 AM

A nice thread- could I indulge myself                              
I was travelling with my father as a boy- he was a schoolteacher, and taking a school trip to Swizerland. He bought me a Sonny boy, and I found I could play pop tunes like Wooden heart etc- I was about 12. Years later, having not touched a mouth organ for years I bought a second-hand hohner polkerwork one row melodeon, because I'd seen some morris dancers and found I could "instantly" play it. I have always kept the in-out breathing that goes with harmonica playing, and of course melodeons are simply big harmonicas. What I found over the years of buying and playing these instruments is that when you start using a different size box there is a transition time when I almost collapse from getting my breathing in a twist, especially playing music like the B minor parts of French tunes that are back to front. Have you harmonica players a similar problem ?


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 05:33 AM

G'day fogie,

Have you harmonica players a similar problem ?

Yes! And it becomes even worse if you try to sing with the accordion ... that's taken me decades to get round with familiar songs, i.e. - those I've happily played on the harmonica ... I can sight read music and words simultaneously ... just as long as I don't already know the song!

Amyway, your way of taking up button accordion is very much the traditional way of the past ... every kid got some grounding on harmonica - then found that the button accordion - or Anglo concertina was just an extension of what was already learned on the harmonica.

(BTW: In most European languages, (~) harmonica means "button accordion" ... in German mouth organ is munt harmonika.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:41 PM

The Harping Shareware S/W (currently version 2.30) is now at
http://www.harpingmidi.com/

BTW Bob Bolton, as per above - perhaps the Chromatic 'Harmonica' is closer to a 'Concertina' - English style - of course (or perhaps a McCann) ? :-0

Robin


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 10 - 05:59 PM

Big River USED to be my go-to harp for combination of economics/durability. Prices on even this "budget" harp have gone thru the roof.
Hohner is now marketing the "Blues Bender" (but only in the oft-used keys of A and C) as a "beginners" harmonica. However, I find its a VERY good out-of-the-box player, less "stiff" than the Big River, Bends easily, seems durable, nice air-tightness. A better buy at under 20 bucks.


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Subject: RE: Help: Good Harmonica for Beginner?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 05 Jun 10 - 09:11 PM

I used Big River harps. I went to replace the reed for one, but a
replacement costs more than the harp itself. That's why the guy at
Musicstop (before Long and McQuade bought them out) didn't carry Big River harps.


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