Greetings

Hi all, I just signed up tonight. I am not sure if this forum is where I need to be long term or not. It seems quite friendly and ernest here and I really appreciate that. It also seems to have lots of beginners, which I support whole heartedly. I am always glad to be an encouragement to others. And, I am looking for peer connections since I am finally stepping out and playing with bands.

About me. I picked up the harp habit as a boy listening to an uncle who played harmonica very occasionally when he thought no one was around. In the 70s I picked up a C marine band and this guy from Texas encouraged me to learn Orange BLossom Special like Charlie McCoy did it. I got the album and I worked on it a while. But a near death experience soon after that changed the trajectory of my life for oh, 30 years of so. Never let go of my harps though, thank goodness. I did get a whole set of Golden Melodies back in the 70s before I had let it go. Picked it up here and there but mostly, not.

I lived in Austin Texas for the 80s. Music was in the water there, you couldn’t help but find it, or have it find you. I got into harmonica again at the Kerrville folk festival great TExas Harmonica blow offs once or twice. I didn’t win but it was a respectable showing for a guy who has been so stage shy.

Now I am stepping out into the spotlight again doing something I have always wanted to do, play harp in a bluegrass Gospel band. I moved out to Winchester Va last October and this is serious Bluegrass country. I started taking my GMs around to different bluegrass jams/gatherings and sure enough, I was a lot better than I remembered I was. Funny thing of it was that the better musician I played with, the better my harping got, instantly. Then I tracked down a bluegrass gospel band that plays once a month at a local church. And I joined a revival band at the same church. So now I am learning what I never had learned before, how to play in a band and that means well … learning everything; mic use, volume, playing rhythm here, counter melody there, and straight or blues when I can.

I am having a blast and I care not whether i play bluegrass or blues. My heart is on fire (you know) and like the old Duke Ellington adage goes, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. I love the harp because of it’s sound but also because I can play rhythm, harmony and lead all in the same song.

And I think that does it for the introduction. Oh, I also have a good sure mic (M57 I think) and an RMS amp which is OK as I just played with it at a recent gig at a community firehall gathering with the revival band. But I have not yet learned what my sound is or what amp I want for real.

I have learned that there are some really good harp players out there. And there are some folks who can play a lot of notes really fast but that have no clue how to feel into the music (so it seems to me). I know that I am good enough now to be appreciated when I play and, I know I can and I will get better.

Amen, esp on that last paragraph! But again, it does come with time. First you have to become one with the harmonica…after that music comes natural!

–BT

Welcome to the group! It’s good to have another brain to pick here!

Thanks for the welcome both of you.

On becoming one with the harp … similar thought to what I posted to dry lips on this same forum. It’s like learning to kiss. At first you have to think about it too much and, natural as it seems there are better techniques to use (kissing). Still, all in all it all changes when you realize you are no longer thinking about what you are doing, you are just doing it and enjoying the effect you are having on others.