Tight Lips???

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

Tight Lips???

Postby 601blues » Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:37 am

:? Well I have been takin my harp much more serious the last year, findin tone sound and tech, At one time I just used it as a filler in solo shows ie. Bob Dylan, and did not really work on style just blowed out basic notes, But I have discovered the potential for expression in this little instrument, So I have refined my way of playin it and instead of usein a sloppy french Kiss approch Ive been given it little pecks really tryin to get just 1 note at a time and I really like that sound, any suggestions??
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Postby dcblues » Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:25 pm

This should help:

http://www.bigroadblues.com/harp/playingit.shtml

Make your mouth into an O shape, like you're whistling and put the harp in. It can be kind of difficult to get a single note at first, but once you get it it should be really easy.

I also recommend learning how to tongue block, which is also covered in the lesson.
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Postby JakeyVimto » Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:30 pm

You'll get there 601. Like DC says, check the free lessons.

Once you can get a single clear note consistently - fun time.

One caveat, watch out for face cramp, keep your face muscles relaxed.

Hurts like a small female dog otherwise.... :D


j
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Postby jeffl » Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:32 pm

You play with a rack doncha 601...? One of the reasons I quit playin' racked many years ago-- when I play piano-- is 'cuz I never found a way to get the same sounds out of the harp hands free that I could get out of it usin' my hands. I heartily recommend listening to Walter Tore's racked harp stuff on his Spontobeat page, to get an idea of what can be accomplished playin' racked. Whether or not you can relate to Walter's style, he plays with more power and emphasis using a rack than most guys can accomplish using both hands. My main concern for you brother is that you don't take technique shortcuts to facilitate the rack; those technique shortcuts can create bad habits that impede your growth on the instrument in the longer run. Having said that, as you know, it's possible to get good results without using textbook techniques. One of my biggest problems playing racked is that I use more wind than I should (primarily to achieve emphasis), and it results in creating too much saliva; it's primarily a byproduct of not practicing enough racked and resorting to rookie technique flaws. I predict the same thing will happen to you unless you commit alot of time to it.
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Postby 601blues » Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:42 pm

:shock: Well yes and No! I don't use what would call a rack,neck gizmo,I used to back in da 60's But like you said You have a hard time giitin sound s wif out yer hands, I have come up with a harp mic the harp fits in and with the use of a bandana I get some nice sounds, But Iam wantin ta take it further,than just cord notes, and Once I decide to do it believe me I do put in da time working it, But as you pointed out I have developed some really bad habits over the years , Over Blowin, lottsa spit, no phrasing etc, I did go to the harp site there is lotsa good tid bits there, THANKS! Iam gonna work it!!
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Postby bosco » Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:43 pm

Just some random ideas here-

Now that you've figured out how to play single notes with a pucker, the next logical step is to string several together for a lick.

Sonny Boy II is the undisputed Champ as far as accompanying his own singing with the harp, ie; call and response. Listen to some of his old Trumpet sides (avail on CD) from the early 50s-

I'm goin your direction, I want to walk along with you

3b, 3d, 4b, 4d, 4d, 4b, 3d, 3b, 2b, 1d

I'm goin' in your direction I want to walk along with you

4d, 4d, 4b, 4d, 4b, 4d

This is a standard 1-4-5 arrangement albeit an uptempo number. You'll notice that there are a different number of notes in each lick but they have to fit the same time signature to get them in. In the first lick they would all be 8 th notes except the first 4d, but in the second lick you would hang on the fourth note (4d) for a couple extra counts as an accent to fill the time.

If you equate this to playing fills after a vocal line on your guitar, it's not much different. You'll figure out which notes to accent to give it a bluesy feel and create some phrasing. Assuming you're playing 2nd position crossharp, this will often be the 4d as it is the easiest note to bend or get a squall out of by increasing playing force. I'll also assume you are playing racked harp while playing guitar.

Try this exercise in the key of G on guitar with a C harp.

keep on harpin'...

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