Just saying hello

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

RE: Just saying hello

Postby harp54 » Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:53 pm

I guess you must have a doppleganger harp player in Worcester or maybe a case of one too many JD's on my part, hic!

Re Email: Maybe it was a bad night on the Thai/UK wire.
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RE: Just saying hello

Postby t bone bruce » Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:51 pm

Kingley, believe me, I'm doing all that.... I get out to jams almost every week these days, and I know my playing has improved no end, compared to the time I saw West a couple of years back. I started playing in 1989, but when I got married in '97 my soon to be ex-wife didn't like the harmonica or blues much, so I barely played for 7 years. When things started to go down the pan I started playing again. That was 3 years ago. About 6 months ago I started to use tongue blocking and learning more and more new techniques. In some ways I consider these past 3 years to be the time I REALLY started to play. I met up with a guy I hadn't seen for about 4 months the other day, and he said how much much playing has improved. I'm still trying to master tongue blocked bends though. I can bend while tongue blocking, but not to the degree of accuracy I can lip blocked yet. Then again I hear Jerry Portnoy uses lip block for the first 4 bends....
When people ask me how long I've been playing I'm not sure what to tell them: 17 years or only 3!
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RE: Just saying hello

Postby kingley » Fri Apr 21, 2006 8:33 pm

I was lucky because I learnt to tongue block from day one. I can't lip to save my life!
I think you will find that once that accuracy in your bends comes, that your playing will come on in leaps and bounds. For me the big change came when I learnt to play octaves.
Just hang on in there.

I reckon there are two things most people can do to improve their playing quite easily:
1) learn to play softly, most people blow way to hard.
2) Let your jaw drop down when you play (if you look at pictures of all the great players, they do this).

If I can help with any questions you have about the playing, mics, amps, etc, I would be more than happy to help.

Hope this helps
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RE: Just saying hello

Postby t bone bruce » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:16 pm

When I first read about tongue blocking I dismissed it as it felt "un-natural" trying to play that way. Now I wish I'd done it from the start. The key thing for me recently has been learning to drop the jaw. Sometimes it aches when I've been playing for a while. I've never had a problem with playing more softly though. Also a a few years back in my non-playing days I had laser surgery to help stop me snoring, which has limited some of the things I can do as my soft palette has been scarred and stiffened by it.
With regard to mics and amps, I built my own mic with a 1977 US made Shure CM element, and my own amp, a 5 watt Fender tweed era Champ/Princeton hybrid in a huge (for a 5 watt amp)pine cabinet. It was designed for harp, and has 0.1uf coupling caps and a 12AU7 preamp and 6V6 power tube. It can take a 6L6 if need be for more power. A year ago I didn't even own a soldering iron!
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RE: Just saying hello

Postby kingley » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:42 pm

That gear you made sounds excellent T-Bone Bruce.
The operation you had will as you say limit some things you can do.
But it sounds like your making good progress so far.
Just keep doing what your doing and in 12 months time you will be amazed at how much better you have become. I would record yourself playing some tunes and then in 12 months record yourself again playing the same tunes. I'm sure you will hear a big difference.

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