Greetings from the UK!

Hi all,

Greetings from the UK. Been looking at this site for a week or so now, so decided to join. Total noob, never played a harp, always wanted to.

OK - I’m a (not very good) bass player but my left hand last 3 fingers are getting really painful - either arthritis/carpel tunnell - something like that. I work in IT - or did till Christmas when I was made redundant - so that may have exaserbated the issue - but sadly it’s getting to the point where after nearly 30 years I can’t play any more. So I’m looking for something else I can still have fun with and jam with - so at 48 years old, I’m going to start learning the harmonica. I’m insanely jealous of those pros who make it look so easy and sound so amazing, and I’ve wanted to do this for years. Well, now I have the time to learn.

I love blues and jazz, but really open to lots of styles. But it’ll always come back to blues sooner or later.

So - Special 20 or Big River? Having heard a few sound clips of both, the BR seems to have a mellower sound and the 20 seems a bit brighter - it that right? Personally, I think I prefer the BR sound - but always happy to learn and be corrected. Having said that though, the Blues Bender has good reviews as well and is a little more affordable.

It’s a player’s choice there, fj!

Get one of each - and whatever one or all trips your triggers, you’ll be on your way to learning this instrument in the vast and might Harmonica Universe. :smiley:

Welcome! :slight_smile:

Keep on Harpin’! :wink:

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

How you doing Fj1200,

Welcome aboard and good luck to you with your harmonica playing.

I’m 53 and picked it up about 2 years ago so your ahead of me.

It’s a very addicting and challenging instrument. But I love playing, and
never go anywhere without it in my pocket.

If you haven’t already check out JP’s free Youtube harmonica video’s that should
get you going.
About JP Allen’s Harmonica Lessons

By the time you are done your probably going to own several different styles of

So get ready and most of all have fun.

Harp On!!

Hello and welcome to the forum!
In my opinion you should start with the Special 20 as it is easier tolearn to bend on and the plates don’t protrude and dig into your lips as beginners tend to press, bite, and use too much pressure on their tender lips and harp in the beginning until they figure out embrosure, cupping, high end notes etc. The others are fine harps and have their pros and cons but for a first harp to learn on you can’t go wrong with the SP 20.

Special 20s seem to make everyones list. There’s this and this and Special 20s.
Even those who’s favorite is another harmonica, Special 20s make the list.
Nuf said.

Thanks for the suggestions and recommendations guys - and your welcome.

So - I’ll have a look at Special 20’s, then. :wink:


Well, Matt, you missed JP’s big holiday sale on Spec20s –

But you can still find good deals on them anyway…

Good luck!

“Have Harp, Will Travel!” 8)

DUDE! Thats the story of MY life-sales over-last night was ladies free beer night, the place was hoppin’–tomorrow is buy a beer-get one free, and you just missed happy hour.

Yeppers McMan! I hears ya! ::slight_smile:

That’s why I have my own brewski supplies on the back porch (winter time here, y’know!) – No missing my own happy hours!! :-*

Mwuahahaha!!! ;D

Rock on, yo! :wink:

I have my own supplies too - 2.5 gallons of Woodfordes Great Eastern left in the barrel, 30 bottles of apple wine from my in-laws tree - should be ready in June or July, 14 bottles made from our friends grapes and 5 gallons of a Grande Maison Shiraz kit on the go. Happy days! Most of it will probably get given away or used at summer parties.

Special 20 ordered last night and according to the shop it should arrive tomorrow. Really looking forward to it. Getting a bit frustrated that my bass days are numbered and so I may sell it and my 140w amp, but I have a Line 6 BassPOD and my 2nd amp is a little 10" Trace Elliot Boxer so I’ll probably hang on to them and use them with the harp - see how that works out. The Pod has some nice chorus fx and other useful stuff.

Well FJ the Big River is one harp I’ve never tried but I hear good things about it,
Wouldn’t mind adding one to my ever increasing harmonica collection.

But these are still my favorites:

Harp On!!

Hey Joe,

Thoman in Germany have some sound samles:

Big River (G):

Special 20 ©:

Useful for comparison. I think the BR sounds a bit warmer and mellower - albeit in a different key, but having heard them back I like the S20 better. Mine should be here in a few hours, postman permitting!

Good luck with that fj I know that one comes very highly recommended.

Thanks for the sound bites.

Harp On!!

Weeellllll - Finally it’s arrived!

Dunno - bit smaller than I expected - but then I dunno what I expected!

But after a few tentative blows - hey, this could be a LOT of fun!

OK, So - here we go… ;D


Thanks again for the soundbites I downloaded them and slowed the blues lick down some and
now I’m learning it. It’s a pretty cool sounding lick with lots of bends.

Good luck and have fun!! with your knew Harps

Harp On!!

Hey FJ,

welcome to the Forum, I’m really stoked to hear your enthusiasm to learn. You’ve already got a head start with your musical skill and rhythm. This little instrument will be no problem for you to catch on to.

Regarding you question about harmonicas, here is a link to an article I wrote about the best and worst harmonica’s:

Keep posting,
Your harmonica buddy,