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Harmonica

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
As those of you who know me, know that i am a tenor man, i have dabbled with a sop, not for me, i have an alto but hardly touch it. Anyway this is to do with travelling. I can't take my tenor with me, too big, i love the flute but worry about it changing my embouchure too much, japanese flutes i love as well but don't know where to start. ( i have never played either by the way, apart from my pan pipes and ocarina. )
Have been seriously thinking of a harmonica. Where do i start ? What types are there, where do i buy one, how can i learn to play it?
Anyone here play one? Any thoughts and advice as always gladly received.
Thanks guys and girls.
Phil:welldone
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Phil, they're magic. Fall into a number of camps, but the main ones that may interest you are the ordinary blues harp, and the chromatic variety. Difference is the notes they play and the hole arrangement.

Unless you have a good reason avoid the chromatic ones, as most blues/rock works better on a blues harp. Orchestral stuff (e.g. Larry Adler type of playing) requires a chromatic instrument. And here the range may become an issue, so get one with a wide range if you go chromatic. I got a chromatic one, found it a pain for blues. But not impossible.

Each blues harp is in a specific key, so only one set of music in C and change the instrument for a different pitch. There was one player who had all his in what lookedd like a machine gun ammo belt slung over his shoulder.

Very very different blow to a sax. And you need to suck as well lol. Agile tongue helps a lot. Low and high notes are really hard. And bending notes is great, but requires a lot of control.

They're very messy instruments don't play someone else's.

Hohner's a good make,
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,628
I'm another harp player- Personally i favour Lee Oskar harps over Hohner (they just seem to feel nicer to play for me). I'd highly recommend a YouTube channel by a guy called Adam Gussow who's posted over 100 lessons up there- very handy indeed. Aside from that- they're about the best bit of kit I've found for practicing in traffic jams!
As with other kit- watch out for cheapo ones- they tend to get very stiff on high notes. Also- give www.modernbluesharmonica.com a look-see- lots of handy tuitional material out there.....
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
I always thought Max Geldray played chromatic and there was a great jazzman. Still enjoy his solos during the Go on shows on Radio 7.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
Phil

How you doing, missed you on Saturday mate. I have a Tony Dannecker blues harp http://www.antonydannecker.com/ and it is beautiful. I shelved learning to play it cos it's so different to anything related to the sax. Great fun though and I hope to learn one day.
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
I play blues harp on a couple of tracks in our band. All together I have seven harps and all are Lee Oscar as I prefer the plastic comb (the bit with the holes in in the middle). Once you get the hang of note-bending they are really fun to play; you sound like a real blues player. One Lee Oscar is between £20 and £30 depends who you buy from, here is an example: http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com/en/major-diatonic/68123, although there are cheaper makes if you just want to try one out. Most people start with a C although I think I had a G. I like the E the most.

Buy one and try it. It's not going to break the bank if you don't like it (like my ill-fated foray into soprano sax territory nearly did).

Have fun with it.

Cheers

Martin
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
Hi Ian, yeah bloody ME has knocked me for six these last few weeks, getting better though, till next relapse... Hope you're lesson went well.
Thanks for info on the blues harp, so i presume then i need to get one in a specific key ? Is that correct ?

Thanks guys i'll check out the web sites.

Phil :welldone:welldone

Phil

How you doing, missed you on Saturday mate. I have a Tony Dannecker blues harp http://www.antonydannecker.com/ and it is beautiful. I shelved learning to play it cos it's so different to anything related to the sax. Great fun though and I hope to learn one day.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
Hi Ian, yeah bloody ME has knocked me for six these last few weeks, getting better though, till next relapse... Hope you're lesson went well.
Thanks for info on the blues harp, so i presume then i need to get one in a specific key ? Is that correct ?

Thanks guys i'll check out the web sites.

Phil :welldone:welldone
I'm booked again after you on 4th September so we should be able to say Hi.

Was in a rush yesterday and on iPhone so it was short and sweet. To expand, I also approached the 'harp' from the same perspective as you but quickly found it would require a whole new set of skills and therefore the time and dedication to learn a new instrument. The music is also different so you can't just decide, I'm going to play Autumn Leaves for example and then play it on harp just like that.

So for me I shelved the idea but I am keen to come back to it as I love the idea of being able to make music on such a small pocket sized instrument. I just don't have the time right now to learn a new instrument from scratch.
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
Thanks Jules, checked out the web page really great stuff. As i play the tenor should i buy a Bb harp as i have music in that? Or am i barking up the wrong tree.
I was going to ask about diatonic harps as that is what came up on the web site. So thanks Kev that question has been answered.
I will have to start travelling for business again soon so this is what spurred me on to look at this. Oh and thanks Moz for the link, i looked at that. Not too expensive are they.
Ian i will see you on the 4th. Look forward to it.
Thanks again guys
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,628
Thanks Jules, checked out the web page really great stuff. As i play the tenor should i buy a Bb harp as i have music in that? Or am i barking up the wrong tree.
Partially. a Bb diatonic harp plays in major concert Bb & is also suited 12 bar major-ish blues in F and 'dorian' minor melodies in C...
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
Phil

Mine's a Blue Harp in C with intonated tuning. I called Tony Dannecker and had a chat with him and that's what he recommended. Of course, he's not a cheap option but it is a truly beautiful piece of kit that I'm really pleased with. Then again, there seem to be some expert harpist on here who can advise you far better than I could ever do :)
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
QUOTE: "Even Bach comes down to the basic suck, blow, suck, suck, blow" ~ Larry Adler

:)))
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,628
QUOTE: "Even Bach comes down to the basic suck, blow, suck, suck, blow" ~ Larry Adler

:)))
Actually- this is dangerous! I'm going to great length at the mo to get away from the habit of suck-blow-suck-blow etc. Alternating sucks & blows limits your melody playing and rhythm quite a bit- for example- the turnaround of WaterMelon man is pretty much.... suck- suck-suck-suck etc.... If starting out I'd advise not getting into the habit that every blow must be followed by a suck and vica versa...
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
My Lee Oskar Eb harp arrived today. I got it from www.harmonicas-direct.com contact Peter Blythe. Fantastic service. Only ordered yesterday and it arrived today. It looks great as well.
Only one problem i need to learn how to play it now. How do you only blow down one hole when they are so close together?
We have a long weekend now so loads of time to get the tenor out and also get some lessons on the world wide about how to play my harp.
Thanks for help guys.
Phil
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,628
Only one problem i need to learn how to play it now. How do you only blow down one hole when they are so close together?
We have a long weekend now so loads of time to get the tenor out and also get some lessons on the world wide about how to play my harp.
By 'Tongue Blocking' or 'Lip Pursing' are the official schools of harp tootling- both have advantages and disadvantages (a mix of both is adviseable- I find tongue blocking faster & more accurate while lip purse gives a bigger mouth cavity & fuller tone). Again- try YouTube- loads of handy information out there in the public domain....
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
Only one problem i need to learn how to play it now. How do you only blow down one hole when they are so close together?
We have a long weekend now so loads of time to get the tenor out and also get some lessons on the world wide about how to play my harp.
Thanks for help guys.
Phil
By 'Tongue Blocking' or 'Lip Pursing' are the official schools of harp tootling- both have advantages and disadvantages (a mix of both is adviseable- I find tongue blocking faster & more accurate while lip purse gives a bigger mouth cavity & fuller tone). Again- try YouTube- loads of handy information out there in the public domain....
Like I said....... I though the harp was a great idea but it really is another instrument to learn in its own right. A local band asked me if I could learn to play trumpet as they need someone but not any sax players. I passed on that as well :w00t:

Good luck..........
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Actually- this is dangerous! I'm going to great length at the mo to get away from the habit of suck-blow-suck-blow etc. Alternating sucks & blows limits your melody playing and rhythm quite a bit- for example- the turnaround of WaterMelon man is pretty much.... suck- suck-suck-suck etc.... If starting out I'd advise not getting into the habit that every blow must be followed by a suck and vica versa...
Very good advice Jules. Used to play the harp but changed to melodeon, basically a harp with bellows, as after sucking or blowing for too long, I collapsed.
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
Like I said....... I though the harp was a great idea but it really is another instrument to learn in its own right. A local band asked me if I could learn to play trumpet as they need someone but not any sax players. I passed on that as well :w00t:

Good luck..........
Not a real band then...no sax players! Hm!

Martin
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
Not a real band then...no sax players! Hm!

Martin
Quite the opposite! They have loads of sax players and don't need any more. I'm very marginally better off with tenor than alto - marginally. So the only option s trumpet which ain't gonna happen anytime some.
 
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