starting blues harp

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

starting blues harp

Postby red » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:33 pm

i'm a blues slide guitar player[mostly open g tuning/somtimes open d tuning.
i'm thinking of trying out the blues harp . [i've never even picked one up before] so i need some advice .
from surfing the net , i gather that i should get a "c"harp to play with a guitar in the key of g. It also seems that jerry portnoys masterclass cd's are a good way to start.
would appreciate any advice on which harp to get/which instructional cd's etc..
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Postby bosco » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:00 am

Red- here's where you want to start:

The Harp tutorial is available at the BigRoad Blues Mainpage. It is 6 pages long and the best 20 minutes you will ever invest. It is concise, accurate and fun to read.

After you have a fundamental grasp, we can answer all of your questions.

Welcome to the harp forum!

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Postby mike932 » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:42 am

I agree with Bosco, the how to from this forum is great. A couple of years ago I bought a how to play the harmonica book, is was good (by Gindick). But after reading the six pages from here and reading the posts in this forum, I actually got pretty good. I have only been playing the harp for two years ( I'm a Bassist) but I can hold my own at almost any gig on the harp now.
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Postby angerboy » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:18 pm

I would suggest learning the way we did back in the day. Pick up a copy of Tony Glover's book. Get some Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson (both of them) and Little Walter records and start hunting sounds.

Have a good time and expect to be frustrated a lot.

The tutorial here is pretty good, too.

If you've gotta buy a instructional DVD, I would buy the DVD or video tape by Billy Branch. He's taught thousands of kids how to play the harp with his Blues In The Schools program. He'll teach you basics in a few hours. I doubt Jerry Portnoy's CD set is suitable for a beginner.
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Postby jeffl » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:08 pm

The Tony Glover book was the first book I bought , and it helped me alot, but I especially like it for the hip "beatnik" humor. I lost my copy of the book,but I had such a fond spot in my heart for it that I found another one at an online used book seller for about $3.00.
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Postby thebluesbox » Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:02 am

Thats funny Im just the opposite of you. I have been playing harp for about 5 years and I have am a little bored with it so Im trying to pick up a little on slide blues guitar, making a 3 string cigar box guitar got me wanting to play a 6 string so I bought a cheap one and Im trying to learn a few things.

The best thing you will learn with blues harp is to listen to a lotta harp players and try to mimick what they do, and pick a favorite and pattern your playing after that, it will give you somthing to shoot for. Other than that read a lot online and ask questions it will all come together. A special 20 harp should do perfectly for you.
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Postby srvlives » Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:28 am

angerboy wrote:I doubt Jerry Portnoy's CD set is suitable for a beginner.

Bot at all, I have it and though I practice very (very!) infrequently, it gets you going at a good clip... but most of all, practice, practice, practice.......
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Postby bigcat72 » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:01 pm

learn cord rhythm and throat vibrato go ka ka ka like your caughing out from the back of your throat this help me out alot .one thing in jerry portnoys book he has great tips have fun . 8) listin to sonny terry for cord rhythm .
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Postby resoharp » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:30 pm

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Postby MakaInOz » Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:10 am

If you get the opportunity to practice at the computer, there is a bunch of clever harp players with lessons on youtube. Just search for 'harmonica lessons' and you'll be overwhelmed. Some really top class players have courses (20+ lessons!) on there now.


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