New to Harmonica. Any tips?

RoscoeElegante

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Beware and, if possible, play the room, is the only advice I can add to the wise stuff here.

Some rooms like harmonicas, some sort of, some NOT.

We usually gig in an old smallish church. Plaster walls, pine floors, high arching ceiling (about 20 ft. at its peak), lots of windows. We've hung quilts along the three truss rods that span the whole room, holding the building together, and that much helps minimize the skwonks and skwooks of the trebles that the room tortures around. But we still gotta be careful about all that. Especially when it comes to something as potentially sinus-drilling as a harmonica.

But if I play, bend the notes, and, especially play the higher pitches along with how the room bends things, it can actually accentuate some things very well. I can chase my own echoes, in effect. A nicely haunted effect.

It can also tempt me into thinking that I can fill more spaces than the room permits, but that's not so. Less is usually very much more. And just enough is the absolute line, is what it's all taught me. If I go a bit too far, everything I'm trying to do gets lost in a vultures-are-mating scrum.

Which indeed applies to just about everything else we play there, making our few moments of all-out blasting and chord-churning all the more effective, I think. Or dramatic, at least. Or over-reaching, perhaps....

Welcome to the wheezy world, Midgetje94, and have fun!
 

VintageSG

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1) Don't let others use your harmonicas
2 ) Don't buy second-hand
3) Pear wood eventually soaks with your gobslobber. A quick plunge into some Milton fluid ( don't let it soak ), shake it out, then let it dry -out of direct sunlight and not on a radiator- keeps the bugs away and stops the core warping
4) Never put it away wet. Wrap it in a towel short term, then let it air

5) If the singer is making singing noises, it isn't your cue to wail
6) Accent, not dominate
7) Everyone within earshot will hate you while you learn. Drive to the middle of nowhere and practice in your car. Don't practice while driving
8) Listen to as much music with harmonica content as you can. Learn by osmosis
9) Ignore me
 

Midgetje94

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ok! I’m at the point I can walk over pick it up and play single notes cleanly 80% if the times.

I’m a smoker, so trying to work on lung exercises.

I’m trying to memorize what’s where note wise. I have a book that breaks down som songs by hole/draw or exhale. Hard to learn when you can’t see the numbers lol. So trying to focus on memory of what’s where. Almost have to solder little bumps on like fret inlays 🤣 hit the 1,3,5,7, and 9.

One thing I’m struggling with is staying moist. (Poor wording?) lol. But mouth seems to dry out super fast and lips start sticking to the harp. @Fiesta Red any pointers on this?

*Jonathan's new tip for beginners. Get intimate with it. Lol. I was trying to mouth it like I was blowing out a candle. Nope.. no no no. To isolate single notes. You gonna have to get up in there haha.
 

P Thought

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I have a few blues harps in a few keys. I also have a Hohner Chromonica 260. Its chromatic. I keep the Chromonica in the car. Waiting at a red light. Waiting for a train. Wife needs to run into a store for a sec. I’m happy waiting in the car. Wailing on a harp. I grab it. Its fun. I find diatonic blues harps easier to play than a Chromonica. I enjoy them all.
My dad did that. It was the only instrument he played, and in the car was the only place he played it. He'd play one handed, driving with one eye on the road and the other looking for deer as the countryside passed. He's prob'ly doing the same in Heaven now.
 

P Thought

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Since you already play guitar an easy way to remember which key harp to use for blues/cross harp is this. For simple rock/blues you want your harp to be in the key of the second chord in a I IV V or blues progression.
In other words if the song is in E you want an A harp. Song in G wants a C harp. In A you want a D harp. Key of B wants an E harp andI so on. Good luck!
The harp crosses to the fifth, the key crosses to the fourth. I post this to remind myself. I don't play very often, and I'm always getting this backward in my mind. Great thread, @Midgetje94
 

Midgetje94

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The harp crosses to the fifth, the key crosses to the fourth. I post this to remind myself. I don't play very often, and I'm always getting this backward in my mind. Great thread, @Midgetje94
Yea! I knew we had a few harp players here. Didn’t know how many. But a lot of good points and ideas.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Chromatic. Yike. That dude that does the runaround song has one.

My new ones are the rockets. They have the best of both worlds. Marine and blues and last twice as long.
Runaround thing?

If you mean Bonnie Raitt's version of "Runaway," that's not a chromatic harp. It's Norton Buffalo playing a handful diatonics in different keys for different chords.

And if you don't, now you know, anyway!
 




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