slobberchops

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

slobberchops

Postby rookie » Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:17 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-22-06 AT 08:19 AM (EST)]OK guys, couple more questions here for ya. I'm STILL working my way through the archives, but so far I haven't seen these dealt with in any great detail... Your help, as always, is greatly appreciated

So, as I said the other day, I'm back to playing 12-bar tunes rather than the scales/exercises in the Portnoy course, and an old foe has reared its ugly head. In a nutshell, once I've whizzed through a couple of renditions, some of the holes seem to fill up with slaver and don't play properly until I tap them out on my hand. Anyone successfully conquered this problem?

I did suddenly wonder if it had anything to with the way I habitually practice sitting down, so last night I played standing up for 90 mins. Really enjoyed being able to groove along, so I'll make it my default position from now on - but sadly it didn't help at all on that front.

I'll post the other question separately so it doesn't get too long and confusing on here...
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RE: slobberchops

Postby barbequebob » Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:36 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-22-06 AT 02:45 PM (EST)]IN a nutshell, people who wind up slobbering all over their harps are 99% of the time guilty of the biggest cardinal sin of beginning and intermediate harp players and that's playing with excessive breath force 24/7 AKA playing them way way way way way too damned hard all the time!!!! Learning to use much less breath force will do more not only to alleviate this problem, but will improve the tone and your playing dexterity ten fold and will allow your harps to last considerably longer too. This is actually answering both questions here with one single posting because they are both closely interrelated to each other in terms of the chief causes of your problems.
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RE: slobberchops

Postby rookie » Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:59 pm

Hey Bob, long time, no hear...
That's a surprising answer actually, because lately I've started to wonder if I'm not putting enough breath effort in (even though I am frequently out of breath at the end of every 12 bars and have to miss out the first bar of the next round to catch up).
I haven't been consciously blowin' harder though, so I reckon it's probably about time I went back to concentrating on nailing the diaphragm-breathing technique. How many basics do you have to learn, for Pete's sake?
Thanks for the advice ...
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RE: slobberchops

Postby barbequebob » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:02 pm

The best thing to do that I HIGHLY recommend ALL harp players do is to hook up with a reputable vocal coach because proper breath support is very important for vocals, and it helped me tremendously and they will teach you the real deal in true diaphragmatic breathing. When you take a draw breath, NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER suck your gut in, military style!!!!!! It may look cooly macho, but for BOTH vocals and harp, it's the dumbest thing on the face of the earth because it totally restricts true air flow.
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RE: slobberchops

Postby ricochet » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:13 pm

The way you "suck in that gut" is by pushing your diaphragm upward. Can't get a good breath without letting the gut hang out.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: slobberchops

Postby rookie » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:04 pm

I don't need the excuse of taking a deep breath to let the old gut hang out these days, Rico... Anyway, I've found a few bits and bobs in the Archives on breathing that I've copied out into my desktop harpin' tips document and I'll tackle that this weekend. In fact, I'm hardly gonna be near a computer for the next two weeks, so don't think I'm ignoring anyone if you post something for me! Cheers, fellas!
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RE: slobberchops

Postby harp54 » Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:44 pm

I recognise the symptoms, had them my self. Then I realised that while I was practising I was focusing on my tape player on the table ie: head down, which got worse when I stood up. If you remain concious of your head position and try and keep it level or even slightly up it helps stem the flow of 'Slaver' into the harp. Incidently, this is also a handy thing on stage as you are able to see whats going on around you.
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RE: slobberchops

Postby bosco » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:33 pm

If you remain concious of your head position and try and keep it level... Incidently, this is also a handy thing on stage as you are able to see whats going on around you.

Buah-Ha-Ha-ha !!!! LOL :D

You'd be surprised how many guys haven't figured that out! Our bass player likes to play with his eyes closed when he gets into a solid groove. This may help him "hear" the music better, but unfortunately he stands between the lead guitar player and myself and forgets to step back. We get tired of doing the bob and weave to communicate on solos and I often have to poke him in the ribs. Old pros that sit in usually have their chins up and their heads on a swivel, looking for a cue from anyone.

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RE: slobberchops

Postby harp54 » Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:14 pm

I have the problem all the time with guitarists. Over here in Thailand blues men are far and few so I often have to use Rock musicians who cannot play without looking at their fingers and naturally the heads are down.

This is a serious problem when it is solo time or we go into a bridge or break. The way I deal with it is to back off the mic and throw a big yo!! or Hey !! to get there attention. Luckily the blues allows this with out it being to obvious to the audience (I hope).

A light tap just behing the ear with a Baseball bat helps as well.
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