My harps keep blowing out

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

Postby NEONMOONY » Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:47 pm

new Bushman draw plate $10.00/5 gigs= $2.00

new Hohner full reed set $15.00/5 gigs = $3.00

playing the loud , raw, way he likes = priceless
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Postby NEONMOONY » Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:58 pm

I withdraw my previous comments and will make every attempt to maintain a more serious composure.
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Postby Catweazle » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:15 pm

NEONMOONY wrote:Blow that harp Stumblin'! Rock it! Playin' easy is how accountants play guitars. 8)

NEONMOONYS_SIG wrote:"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-- George Bernard Shaw

A right old contradiction, if ever there was one. The reasonable man adapts to his harp. The unreasonable one wants his harp to adapt to him.
Playin' easy is how good players play - they may be loud, they may be raucous, but they don't batter a guitar to death in 3 gigs.
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Postby jeffl » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:15 pm

Walter: don't worry about sounding repititious, or saying the same things to guys who have heard it before; it's really a form of encouragement, and sometimes a person isn't ready to hear something at one point in his life, and then it makes more sense at a later time. Besides, we've always got new people joinin' who haven't benefitted from yer matra on this subject before. I hope you respect the fact that some guys are jus' way more comfortable sounding like somebody familiar, and I don't think there's anything really wrong with that...maybe their instrument isn't the purveyor of their individuality; maybe some other element of their life fills that role...perhaps their work,or the way they relate to people. Personally, your message strikes home to me more concerning my piano playin' than my harp playin',but nonetheless, it strikes a responsive chord. I don't think Stumblin' has to radically alter the way he plays, or the level of enthusiasm he puts into it, but I think he realizes there might be some adjustments he can make to get longer life outa his harps.
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Postby watertore » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:49 pm

Hi Bubba: Nice to hear from you. I try not judge anyone. If playing others licks is for someone, great. In fact, he will become famous alot easier, if he sounds like the players making it today. I occasionally listen to what is out there, and most sounds the same to me, yet the blues community likes to say how individual each player is. It is a comfort zone. This zone has been in place since God knows when. Technically, most of these guys are impecible. They just don't don't grab me. I just offer my own, pure, uncensored opinion. I wish there was more of that out there amoung the pros. I think that is part of what kept me isolated back when I was playing full time.

Andy: One benifet of blown out harps is, you have to learn to work with them. I learned some wierd bending techniques using flat harps.

Bosco: You are right on the price. I got them even cheaper at Manny's in NYC, when I put a hundred on the counter. Still, if I was starting today, I would do it the same way. Life has a wonderful way of providing what you need. It may lead you somewhere else, but the creative flow will continue. I am always open to new avenues. If the harp gets boring, I have faith another medium will present itself.

Neonmoony: I love that qoute!
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-- George Bernard Shaw

I can add this one. My wife gave it to me during one of many periods of struggling with this overly conservative world of ours.

"life is a daring adventure, or nothing at all." - Helen Keller

Walter
Last edited by watertore on Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Bournio » Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:14 pm

I'll throw in my reply... from a vocal viewpoint! I play harp, but haven't knackered one yet, I think it's cos I take it apart and clean it fairly regular...

With vocals, one of the songs I perform occasionally(ok quite a lot...) is "Nobody But The Devil" which i think is originally Skip James? I perform it more like John Martyn, with crazy echoey guitar stuff, and very forced vocals, this completely destroys my voice, I can hardly speak after it, but I enjoy doing it, so I carry on! (Luckily I can still get NHS help if i do major damage! Don't ya love the UK! Hehehe!)
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Postby stumblin » Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:41 pm

Bournio wrote:I'll throw in my reply... from a vocal viewpoint! I play harp, but haven't knackered one yet, I think it's cos I take it apart and clean it fairly regular...

With vocals, one of the songs I perform occasionally(ok quite a lot...) is "Nobody But The Devil" which i think is originally Skip James? I perform it more like John Martyn, with crazy echoey guitar stuff, and very forced vocals, this completely destroys my voice, I can hardly speak after it, but I enjoy doing it, so I carry on! (Luckily I can still get NHS help if i do major damage! Don't ya love the UK! Hehehe!)

That's National Harmonica Service ;)

Really though, this has all been helpful.
I took one of the old harps apart, cleaned it carefully, let it dry and reassembled it. It works like a charm.
So...
Posture, maintenance, rinsing mouth with water before playing.
These are all things I can work on pretty easily.
Now to learn some scales & licks.
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Postby jeffl » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:24 pm

Nuthin' worse than a bluesman gettin' his s--t together Andy! Happy harpin', bro'.
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Postby NEONMOONY » Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:53 pm

Oh man, there I go again. Even after my vain attempts at humor were withdrawn, I am chastised for flighty and lightheaded signature and postings, by a Catweazle no less. I wish someone would post at the beginnings of the threads when flippant comments are allowed and where the very sober and serious blues musicians only need reply.
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Postby stumblin » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:37 pm

NEONMOONY wrote:Oh man, there I go again. Even after my vain attempts at humor were withdrawn, I am chastised for flighty and lightheaded signature and postings, by a Catweazle no less. I wish someone would post at the beginnings of the threads when flippant comments are allowed and where the very sober and serious blues musicians only need reply.

I'll let you know when I'm serious and sober...
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Postby barbequebob » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:39 pm

Too often many players use a VERY excessive amount of breath force AKA playing them way too hard 24/7/365 and that not only does TONS of damage to your harps, it also robs you of all possible tone colors, tone control/variety, agility, as well as a COMPLETE command of your instrument. Players who were horn players first are used to using a ton of air pressure to get a sound out of their instruments often have a terrible time adjusting to the fact that harp reeds nedd 75% LESS air pressure than most horns.

Why did Little Walter mainly play amplified?? Main reason was so that he would not have to be playing his harps anywhere near as hard and it allowed him to play more like a saxophone, which was a very big influence in what he was doing!!!!!

Big Walter in the late 70's said it was all in the wind and this is what he was talking about and it was a lesson that I never forgot, and that one tip improved my playing by 500% and also my harps lasted much longer (along with knowledge of some repairs and maintenance to boot).

I may sound like some crotchedy old fart to keep saying this over and over again, but this is the cold, hard, brutal truth, and this single bad habit alone is the chief cause of 75-85% of most players problems. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of players, this advice too often goes in one ear and out the other and then they get gear crazy, when they REALLY should be take 100% MORE time overcoming single fundamental shortcoming, and FAR LESS time about gear.
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Postby MOJOE » Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:57 pm

I've found I get great mileage out of my Harps by doing two things: 1. I warm the Harp up by blowing in and out gently( chord like) all the way up and down for about 15 seconds before serious playing. If you just pick a Harp up cold and start serious bending right off it won't last. 2. Control saliva! If I get too sloppy, as fast as I can, I give it a whack on my hip. New Harps especially need to be broken in slow and easy. Also great advise from BB Bob above!!!!
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blowin harps

Postby bigcat72 » Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:14 pm

hay stumblin try keeping a toothpick handy and turn the harp so u can see in each hole and clean out right at the top of each hole and gently tap the harp hole down on yor leg this helps keep stuff out of yor reeds and you might think of jerry portnoys blues mastr class cd man what a great help great fundamentals and tips . happy harpin sin big cat. ps go to coast to coast.com 4 cd.
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Postby stumblin » Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:28 am

Thanks for that advice BigCat, I'll have a look for the Portnoy disc.
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