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Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:58 pm
by Coloradosongwriter
I've been trying to learn Jerry Portnoy's harp solo on Hoochie Coochie Man from Clapton's recording. The song is in the key of A so I've been blowing my D harp. It sounds to me like the harp on the recording is an octave lower than my D harp. If I play in the lower octave I can't find all the notes I need. Is there such a thing as a lower octave D harp? I've been browsing some of the online music stores but I haven't seen a low D advertised.

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:08 pm
by kingley
The reason it sounds out is because Jerry Portnoy is playing an "A" harp in 1st position.

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:51 am
by tobiepsg
I've got Hohner's 560/20 - amazing sound! See http://www.amazon.com/Hohner-560-Specia ... B0002E59SC.

If you prefer playing 2nd position, it might be worthwhile rather buying a Lee Oskar Melody Maker (http://www.leeoskar.com/mmaker.html). It allows playing in two full octaves (the common + one lower).

On the other hand, if kingley is correct, it might not be necessary...

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:41 am
by jbone1
third position using a G harp is also a possibility. unless you're going totally note for note. third offers single notes between holes 3 and 10, a bigger range of possibility. tongue blocking offers all 10 holes!

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:27 am
by tobiepsg
jbone1 wrote:third position using a G harp is also a possibility

Ironically I'm doing just the opposite - specifically bought the Low D for playing in G! :)

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:29 pm
by dcblues
I have a low D and low F (both Marine Bands), and a high G. I rarely use the regular F now because I prefer the low F.

Like kingley said, Portnoy's playing in first position in that song. I never realized how good first position could be for blues until I tried to learn Big Walter's "Hard Hearted Woman" by playing along with the cd with a D harp. When I figured out he was using an A harp, I tried it and that really expanded my playing.

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:28 pm
by jeffl
dcb, I'm with you on that one. I love the low octave stuff, but sadly my jam group has too many acoustic strummers ( it's OK, but I gotta deal with it ) so I find it better to stay away from low register playin' around them...it seems to just add to the clutter. I love Sonny Boy's old low register stuff.

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:56 pm
by dcblues
Bubba, I prefer to use the regular F when I play acoustic. It really cuts through better. I carry both in my case.

I love using a low D to play E in third position.

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:11 pm
by jeffl
I don't know what the explanation is, but I've always loved the sound of the D harps, period. I love the feel of the reeds in D and I like the way it makes my ear feel. I think the D diatonics are just built in a great register.

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:01 am
by tobiepsg
jeffl wrote:I don't know what the explanation is, but I've always loved the sound of the D harps, period. I love the feel of the reeds in D and I like the way it makes my ear feel. I think the D diatonics are just built in a great register.

I must agree 100% :!:

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:41 am
by Bournio
psychoacoustics....

You've probably been brought up hearing some note that you reach/some harmnonic thats only heard on a D harp and so you assume it's amazing...

I love a G harp for a similar reason, somewhere around the 2nd G it just feels/sounds(both are actually quite similar!) quite close to my fav note!

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:59 am
by Coloradosongwriter
About playing Jerry Portnoy's harp solo on Clapton's Hoochie Coochie Man, I tried playing with the A harp in first position but still couldn't get all the notes I need. Then I discovered something really important. I had been playing with Lee Oskar harmonicas for some time now and I tried it with a Blues Harp........voila. The blues harp lets me bend enough to get the notes I need where the Lee Oskar wouldn't do that. So the problem was solved by using a blues harp and by seeking help on this forum. Thanks to all of you. Especially Kingley.

Coloradosongwriter

Re: Lower octave harmonicas

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:52 am
by kingley
Glad you got it sorted out.
I'm just glad I could be of some help.