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Any Harmonica players out there?

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Klainmeister

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So i've been playing harmonica for the last couple a months, figured out how to bend notes and stuff pretty easily and really enjoy the instrument. I am looking to upgrade though from my 5$ little guy to something more substantial and with more bending potential.

Thus far i am really considering two harps, the Hohner Special 20 and the Hohner Golden Melody...Anyone got any experience and want to chime in? My current harp is in a C and am considering an A or a D-- which one would have better deeper notes for bending and blues?

Thanks guys, hopefully someone out there whales on these things and can give some advice! :mug:
 

Joker

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I have played some but still learning also. The Lee Oskar harps were highly recommended to me so that is what I got and like it a lot. They can be bought for a decent price and have a great reputation.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/navigation?q=lee+oskar&src=3WWRWXGB&ZYXSEM

As for what key to get them in I would say is purely a personal decision. Most things I have read say to keep your first harps in C then branch out as your style gets defined and you realize what you want to play.
 

Brewpastor

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I have played a harp for years. Special 20s are nice, so are Lee Oscars, and I don't like Golden Melody. I also like Blues Harps and Marine Bands for general use and find the Honers to be easier to control my bends and over-blows. I have a couple sets of harps and regularly an having to replace them. Watch food, facial hair and I am sorry to say beer. The reeds can get gummed up and stuck pretty easily.

I personally would go with either the Special 20 or the Blues Harp.
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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I've heard good things about the Special 20, and that's what Les Stroud uses on his show and in his band. Man he is a good harp player. Any suggestions on my next key though? Which one do you like the most for more bluesy-bending stuff? A, D?
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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haha, so 100$? Well, maybe i'll start off with A next. Is that slightly lower than C? I'm terrible with music theory, although i've been playing drums for about 10 years....
 

arturo7

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Klainmeister said:
haha, so 100$? Well, maybe i'll start off with A next. Is that slightly lower than C? I'm terrible with music theory, although i've been playing drums for about 10 years....
A chance to bash harp players and drummers in the same thread? I can't resist!

Definition of a drummer: a guy who likes to hang out with musicians.
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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arturo7 said:
A chance to bash harp players and drummers in the same thread? I can't resist!

Definition of a drummer: a guy who likes to hang out with musicians.

I dont care what you have to say about that: I got more ladies than any other of the band members and was a highly regarded young musician amongst the music scene for years. Self-taught, designed songs for the band, and kept everyone's bodies moving at shows. No complaints here. :ban:
 

Barley-Davidson

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For blues I would get A first, then D. Blues is generally played cross harp, so you use A for a song in E; D for a song in A.
E and A are the most common keys for blues because of the way a guitar is tuned.
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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Man, i feel like a noob for not knowing that stuff. Thanks though, i found a great deal on some Harmonica's via the interwebs so hopefully i can pick up a few before my trip. I am going to go to the Hohner place in Germany when i am there in a 2 months, i wonder if i could pick up something there cheap.
 

arturo7

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Barley-Davidson said:
For blues I would get A first, then D. Blues is generally played cross harp, so you use A for a song in E; D for a song in A.
E and A are the most common keys for blues because of the way a guitar is tuned.
There's a whollata G, so don't forget the C harp.
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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Well i'm already rocking the C, just want a better bending harp seeing as though mine doesn't have a very smooth mouth area which makes air movement a little bit less effective.

I won't be playing with a band or anything, this is just solo stuff out in the woods and whenever i'm alone. I will be spending 6 months alone in Germany in about a month so i need something that'll help me there.
 

arturo7

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If you're just gonna be playing solo, I'm curious why you want several instruments. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, but there are some things to consider.

If your going to jam along with your iPod, by all means get yourself a rack. You'll need the ability to play in different keys. If your plan is to sign and play, ditto.

But, if it's just solo harmonica, unless you've got a serious ear, a rack of harps might be a waste of money. Spend your cash on one maybe two nice instruments. Another alternative would one standard harp and one chromatic. A chromatic has lever that allows sharps and flats when employed. A chromatic's tone is very cool.

Just food for thought.
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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I agree with that advice, what i was trying to pin down is what key to buy my next one in--mainly because my current C harp doesn't really sound like the deeper tones achieved in the styles i like. So i am trying to figure out the best match for that.
 

arturo7

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Since you're a drummer, I'm not certain what you mean by "deeper tone." (nyuk, nyuk, #3) But here's a guess...

Chromatic Harmonica: These things are larger than diatonics and feature a big, rich tone.

Technique: The same harp that sounds thin and shrill when played by Bob Dylan, can sound fat and warm in the hands of a blues master.

Amplification: Keep in mind the blues masters you hear on records are usually using a "bullet mic" and an old or highly modified tube amplifier. There is little chance of acheiving this tone without spending a small fourtune on gear.

On the odd chance that you want a lower note, the G has the lowest register of the standard diatonic harmonicii.

Who's tone would you like to emulate? I guess I'm just assuming that it's a blues player.
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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I think your wisdom is shining through. Maybe i just need to start working on my technique before i assume that a harp can make a big difference.
 

arturo7

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In this case, here's a recommendation for building technique:

Download a buttload of Little Walter on your iPod. You will be able to figure out pretty easily which songs are in the same key as your harp. Play along with these and just listen to his riffs on the others.

For advanced study, pick one of the songs in your key and try to break down his solos note by note. This can while away many hours whilst wondering in the Black Forest.

Oh yah, don't forget to practice your scales!

Of course if you just want to noodle, please disregard this message.

Disclaimer: I'm not a harp player but I did stay at a HIE last night...
 

arturo7

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One thing...

Just promise me you won't become one of those knuckeheads who stand next to the stage tooting your whistle, trying to get up on a mic.
 

arturo7

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Used harmonicii? Yuk!!

I was at festival a few years back that was sponsored by a BBQ restaurant. The owner of this restaurant walked out on stage with a big tray full of BBQ during a James Harmon set. Harmon scarfed down a couple ribs during a guitar solo. He wiped off his mouth and began blowing. After a few riffs he stopped playing and leaned over to his mic. "Damn thing's clogged up with BBQ!" He tossed the muck-filled whistle into the audience. Some guy caught it and then started playing it. You could hear everybody in the area groan.
 
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Klainmeister

Klainmeister

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Eh, i've heard that buying the harmonica a drink is a good idea...
 

Lonnie Mac

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Great thread!

So I have for some reason decided to take up harmonica too... Acoustic guitar, solo artist... I wanted something to add a bit of dynamics I guess! It is a tough go but I am picking it up better and better...

Been listening to a LOT of this guy... Still have to get his vid...


I have a 6 harp set of Lee's... I love them but I can attest that beer and blowing do not go well! Well... :cross:

Most of them need a DEEP cleaning now. I just can't seem to keep them clean... Brewpastor, what's the trick!

Anyway... If you have never heard my goofy Major Tom with my banjo and one week of learning to blow (it shows!) here is my go at it!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=173883168
 
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