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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:11 am
by blomax
I get pissed with the ones asking,,"you can't play guitar"? UH,,no, we have a great guitar player though. I play harmonica....oh, thats nice, are you from Germany? No I play blues harp. Oh,thats nice. So waht about doing Train Train ?
I front currently so I am quite busy singing,,and blowing rhythm and comps when Danny is playing leads on guitar. The wrong key ,,oh mercy,,aint we all had at least a couple embarrassing moments on that deal.
Why didnt you blow on that tune man??? Well dude, iI have 10 harps in my belt,,and not one was in whatever key ya'll playin in. Or I just could not find it,,they called E,,,but nothing,,not one harp sounded right at that moment. I have been playing straight harp more lately since getting with this band.
Having a guitar player thats top notch really has its perks and my guy covers my ass on singing goofs as well as harping goofs. We have really hit a good groove. Band name is Danny Cowan ,,we decided to use that as band name being Danny is known at least a little around San Antonio and moved to NC a few months ago.
And what about the "NO Harp playing idiots that think they can play,,getting up next to the stage and blowing wrong or just jumping in when you are trying to play or sing. Those guys suck, makes me want to take the harp out of his hands and throw far away.
Good topic,, Blomax,,the other Jeff

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:50 pm
by boogiechillun85
jeffl wrote:Really though...I mean, really; does anybody keep playin' in the wrong key? I can't believe that happens, does it...?

Yes. Yes, it does.

I heard a recording a while ago, a guitar/harp duet... the guitar was in G, and the harp was in... something else. It sounded god awful. But he just kept going. Through the whole song. ::sigh::

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:19 pm
by jeffl
It's a shame. The harp is located probably 2" to 3" from the brain, yet it's so far away.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:29 pm
by bosco
Really though...I mean, really; does anybody keep playin' in the wrong key?

Sadly, I can attest to that as well.

About 10 years ago my band was playing at a Pig Roast. Late in the day, an obviously inebriated individual came up and pulled a harp out of his pocket. Just one, a C, I think.. He wanted to get up and play. I tried explaining to him that the songs the band were playing were in keys that wouldn't accomodate his harp. His response was "Dude, I'm good enough that I can play to anything." Uninvited, he scaled the stage anyway, commandeered one of the vocal mics, and proceeded to wail away horrendously off key.

He did have a few chops, but was totally oblivious to key relationships or the off key racket he was making. Rather than muscle him off stage, I just motioned to the sound man to cut the signal to that mic and minimize the damage. He remained onstage for the remainder of the song, wailing along off key, albeit acoustically, and I'm sure he thought that he sounded great. I won't blame that on the alcohol... I'm 100% certain that if per chance you could have found this "dude" on a sober day, the same thing would have happened.

Again, until we as harp players don't do anything to change this perception, sadly, it'll never go away!!!!!

Well this guy was in your select group, BBQ, and there wasn't any amount of professional harpers that were gonna change his or anybody elses' perception of the situation. I've seen the same thing happen with guitar players and drummers though. They just have a limited amount of riffs or grooves, try to pidgeon hole them into any song, and wind up getting in way over their heads.

I think the comments that spurned this thread are of a slightly different nature than pure stereotypes though. It's non harp playing folks that want to show that they have some knowledge of the instrument and tip their hand. They are totally uneducated about the blues masters and actually think that Neil Young or John Popper are the pinnacle of the instrument, or other musos that want to show that they have some knowledge of the instrument and naturally assume that all blues is played in crossharp. That part of it isn't about getting respect, it's about educating the interested about the capabilities and history of our humble instrument.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:55 pm
by 1armbandit
Well most people assume that I can't play anything else. I get a lot of people asking" Do you use on of those neck deals then?".
One of these days I'll whip out a guitar and the Mojo Hand and I'll show them, they will see oh yes they will see!

I have gotten the Blues Traveler more than the Neal Young, maybe it's the age group.

The key thing is my biggest pet peave. I explained to the group that I had been jamming with the whole crossharp thing then they began to tell me what harp key to use rather than the key they were playing in. Then we had to have a discussion about the possibility that the song might not be right for 2nd, maybe it's 1st or 3rd. I never could break them of telling me what key I needed. I just started ignoring them. With that bunch the chances are that I was in key with someone.

With the group I play with at church if I can't figure it out from the music I'm begining to get the guitar players positions down. Maybe 1 out of 10 I'll ask what key he is playing in. I just have to watch during service he will sometimes capo when we practiced without it. It's never been a biggie though. I can just sing if I don't have the right harp in my belt, or switch if I do.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:17 pm
by jeffl
Hey Bosco...did you give that guy a souvenir plastic harp,lol? I still have some of the plastic ones I bought a coupla years back. I got so pissed at one point about drunks comin' up and wantin' to play harp that I bought a handful of those pastel colored plastic harps that actually were playable. I think they were a coupla bucks apiece. I gave out most of 'em to drunks and women ( no association there ), but I still got one or two left.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:00 pm
by dcblues
Those guys who play in the audience are the worst and they give us the worst reputation. Back when I patricipated in harp-l, the name given to those guys was "Gus." I think the name came from a harp-ler who knew a guy named Gus who used to do that.

If you search the harp-l archives, you can probably find some amusing "Gus" stories.

Mark Wenner calls them something like "lonely harp players" and he told me that Jimmy Thackery used to have those guys thrown out of the club if he saw them playing.

For the record, I like John Popper's playing. He's not a blues player (although I have heard him play blues and he knows what he's doing), and the fast high end stuff gets repetitive (same complaint I have with Sugar Blues' style). But he has done something different with the instrument, and I can't think of anyone since maybe Stevie Wonder who has become successful in popular music featuring the harmonica. I sometimes play some fast, Popperish licks live, but I do that sparingly and the audience (and my band) always likes it.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:21 pm
by jeffl
I have an acquaintance who is an occasional road manager for a regional blues band ( Jimmie "Prime Time" Smith, Chicago to Minneapolis & north) who is a "Gus". He usually finds the pool tables and sits back there and plays pool and jams his harp. The bands that know him will usually get him up for one easy tune and that will make his night. The good news is that if you're with him, he's never around...he's either by the pool tables or movin' from table to table like a bee, gettin' into meaninful conversations with total strangers. He never has more than two drinks either...that's it. BTW, I have to confess that when I was about 20 yrs. old, I got kicked out of a bar for jumpin' up on a table during a band break and doin' some solo harp boogeyin'. I bet there's more of us that've had that happen than you'll get anyone to admit.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:11 pm
by dcblues
Another one I get some times at jams is, "Can you play in this key?" Like we only play stuff in E, G and A. I don't carry all 12 regular keys with me, not even at gigs, but a lot of people who don't play harp don't realize that we have keys like F#, Eb and Bb. And some don't think we can play in minor keys (I know, a lot of inexperienced players do that poorly, so it's their fault, but still!)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:48 pm
by jeffl
Or, they ask you why you have so many! BTW, I guess I carry all the keys all the time,dcb. It's probably not even smart, and it sure ain't necessary, but I got 'em all in my case anyway. I prob'ly oughta rethink what I carry, but I like to have options. The lowest harp I carry is a "Low F", which I've used at times with my jam bunch, and I don't even know if they make a low D, but I like the brightness, vibrance, and resonance of the regular D so much (It's always been one of my favs) that I don't know if I'd use a low one. I haul a high A too, but I've never fallen in love with that harp; it acts like it's got a sore throat. I carry 4 LO natural minors.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:42 pm
by 1armbandit
jeffl wrote:Or, they ask you why you have so many! BTW, I guess I carry all the keys all the time,dcb. It's probably not even smart, and it sure ain't necessary, but I got 'em all in my case anyway. I prob'ly oughta rethink what I carry, but I like to have options.

I like to have my harps orginized. Strange because the the rest of my stuff is a total mess.
I keep all of my harps, most keys in LO's, most in SP20's and a couple of tremolos, 2 mics, cords, a Pignose and a tool bag in my case. A Harbor Freight alluminum tool case with foam dividers added. When I go to rehersal or a jam I know I have it with me, or I don't have it at all.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:12 pm
by angerboy
The ignorant questions or comments made by people don't bother me very much. I'm aware of my inadequacies as a musician, a harp player and a human being. I've had several instances where people have helped me out, so I tend not to mind if they see me as ignorant. I am teachable.

The morons playing in the audience bug me. Usually, I walk up to them and them say, "We don't do that." They stop. If they don't, I tell them again and that it's annoying people around them.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:04 pm
by jeffl
I guess when you work around alcohol, you gotta expect that some weird stuff is gonna happen. One of my real pet peeves is the guy who's blasted drunk and gets up to dance all by himself during the very first tune of the night, and he's stumbling around on the dancefloor, and wobbling toward any girls seated near the floor, scaring the crap out of everybody and threatening to fall into the monitors, etc. Sometimes people won't go out on the dance floor until he leaves, and it seems like the bouncers are always hesitant to ask the guy to sit down, 'cuz he's usually one of their best customers.

Me Ol' Harmonica

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 3:00 pm
by bluesfyre
You've heard of the hockey dad who didn't make it as a player and lives his dreams through his son? I had a young drummer a couple of years ago, who's dad fancied himself a blues harp player. He would sit as close to his son as he could get, and blow that C harp along with the band. He was a fairly good player, but between the two of us on solos, it could sound like a cat fight. :-) In the end, the only option I had was to fire the drummer. I felt strangely bad about that incident. I always like it when, after a set, that a guy comes up to me and asks me to show him "How I do That", in 5 minutes, something that took me 5 or more years to learn how to play. Usually I tell them its like sorta gargling mouthwash. They usually smile, having surely figured it out, and walk away. ;-)

Re: "Do you ONLY play the harmonica?" and other stupid

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:23 pm
by Foghorn Fish
regarding curious drunks sticking their noses in; they're just interested in harp playing that's all - so try to be nice. Having said that i'll bet some of them are die hard clapton hannabe's who wear t-shirts with guitars on them, use standard tuning, only use stratocasters and marshall amps.... and seem to play lots of widdly licks using the pentonic minor scale and still think they're mint. And never even touched another musical instrument in they're life.

yes, we know the types. and if you're one of them - no offence, but shame on you (good job this is a harp forum or else i'd be lynched).

p.s i'm a guitar player myself so no offence to guitarists in general. But if you fit all the above criterea perfectly then you should be strung up and horsewipped.