Yeah, okay – So you’ve gone ahead and invested in one of the best if not the best in the world – home harmonica study courses dvd boxed sets by JP Allen.
You’re all excited as you open it up and find not one, but two C harmonicas inside.
You take one out and start blowing and drawing on it, all the while thinking to yourself you’re going to be the next Little Walter, Sonny Boy Terry or Williamson I or II, take your pick – and/or even JP Allen himself!
You pop in that first dvd to your player or computer, and within the very first lesson what do you see and hear: JP talking about different harmonicas. From Lee Oskars to Hohners - and his preferred harps of choice are the Hohner Special 20s.
You look and see that you have a Hohner “Blues Band International.” Well your heart sinks a little bit, but no biggie really. You start off your first few lessons learning how to blow and draw – And what happens sure as heck!? – The harmonica locks up on you and fails. Well, again, your heart sinks again, but also no biggie – You got two harmonicas, right?
Take it out; make sure you’re not doing anything ‘wrong’ as you understand wrong blowing and drawing to be – But what happens?! Sure as heck this one fails too. Reeds, on either blow or draw or both, in and out get stuck and lock up!!
What’s a person to do?
Oh, yes – If I order before midnight tonight I can get me a Hohner Special 20, and even have it shipped express so it’ll be here in the morning!
Well, yes and no. Yes, you can order harps online or over the phone, but if you want to have them expressed, it’s going to cost you. Great, if you want to do that.
Of course, you can do the other thing, which is cursing out JP Allen in your bedroom or wherever you’re watching his dvds for selling you crappy harmonicas or God forbid trying to pull an old bait-and-switch routine on you.
Folks, let me tell you, it’s not like that at all. Seriously, I bought a lot of harmonica book and tape sets throughout the years. One of their selling points – yes, even gimmicks if you want to be brutally honest about it – is including a free harmonica in the package.
And anybody who’s ever bought these things knows, absolutely knows these little Hohners, and yes, they’re all Hohners, are the cheapest tin toys out there. Whether you call it a Blues Band International, or Harmonica Pal, or even a Boy Scout Harmonica – if it says “product of China” or “made in China” anywhere on it – And/or you can buy it for about the price of a Mickey D’s Happy Meal (or even less) – If you value your own sanity, please stay the hell clear of it and them at any cost!
But you might argue: “I just invested some good hard-earned money into JP Allen’s boxed dvd set.”
Yes, I know.
“And he talks about getting a Spec 20 to follow along and play with him.”
Yes, I know.
“Well, don’t you think that I should’ve gotten the same kind of harmonica he’s playing on, then?”
Yes, well, but with a caveat.
“So what gives, and meaning…?!”
Believe me, I’m not making excuses or answering for anybody here – I get no endorsements or anything – I’m just a fan! But the fact is every harmonica package deal that you got yesterday, will get today or even tomorrow – All those “free harmonicas included” will be always be cheapo made in China products. It is what it is – It’s just business as it is.
It’s not Marco’s fault; it’s not Glenn Weiser’s fault; it’s not even Mel Bay’s fault – [“Who are those people?” Well I bought a lot of programs with free harmonicas included… so…anyway…] – It’s certainly not JP Allen’s fault either.
“Well, what’s a person to do who wants to learn harmonica then and has cheapo harps to start with?”
Great question! One thing is, you can open them up and try to fix them. But yes, I’ll tell you now before you ask – Why bother?
Because eventually, you’re going to have to teach yourself something about harmonica maintenance, which we’ll all get into together here.
But you can open up these cheapo harmonicas – and as a learning tool not feel bad if the very first time you pluck a reed it breaks off and goes flying across the room! Yeah, it’s happened to me!
But here’s the caveat, the good part I want to tell you about. Harmonica, whether you’re just interested in learning to play for yourself , family, friends, whatever – The harmonica is an instrument. And like any musical instrument you want to play, takes something of an investment on your part.
On this note then, even if you just want to chug along on a harmonica while kicking a can down the street – and I have and I do! – Invest yourself in some good harmonicas.
Does that mean you have to buy direct from JP Allen?
Heck no! Might be nice for his or his manager’s bank account if you did. But here in the real world, you have to comparison shop. And I’ve done just that as well.
Here for me, and a whole host of others are the best online places to buy harmonicas:
Check them out yourself. Sure, they’ll overnight your stuff if you’re itching and/or jonesing for it right now. But hey, that’s all up to you. Oh, and if you find better deals somewhere else, please post them here too.
But one more thing I have to mention for this post:
Regardless of the harmonicas I received in the JP Allen boxed set – When I compared “the value” of all the lessons to other websites and harmonica programs – And, yes, I’ve invested heavily into them already – Nothing, but nothing comes close to what JP Allen offers for a one-time only, one-time life investment purchase price!
Yes, I’ve signed up for online websites at a quarterly and/or yearly membership rate. And I’ll be honest and say I don’t even visit them or every so often in a blue moon will do so. When my subscriptions run out – well, so be it. I’ll probably most likely not renew any, save one or two.
A couple of reasons. A) I need a computer to access them. So I’m hoping it doesn’t crash. I have Carbonite, but that’s another thing entirely different.
But B) and more importantly: With JP Allen’s home harmonica study course, all I really need is a dvd player for the lessons and/or cd player for the jam along tracks! And I’m good to go!
Yeppers! This was one of the best things I’ve ever invested in. And here’s hoping you feel the same way as well. So kindly share your thoughts on this or any harmonica-related matters.
And as always - Keep on harpin’!
Thanks for reading!!