Well, Hey!

I’m from Pennsylvania, I just received the physical version of the 2012 lessons (JP, of course) a week or so ago, and I’m an absolute beginner.

I try and practice daily at work (during lunch). I tried to practice at home, but I live in a small apartment - And the neighbors politely asked if I would play songs my dog doesn’t know…I can’t seem to find any! :wink:

Anyway, I view the Harmonica the same way I view golf. I 'm terrible at it, I’m having a good time anyway, and I can’t HELP but improve, at this point!



Howdy Hal, and welcome!
What harmonica are you starting with, the BluesBand?
Try to practice before you eat at lunch…bad for the harp
and will eventually cause growing things inside it (yuck).
You’re going to get GAS soon if you keep up the practice.
That’s Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Whatever you start
with will multiply like rabbits and the quality of your arsenal
will steadily improve. The dogs will probably always sing with
you (they know what they like), but your neighbors will begin
to become your fans as they hear you improve.
Just keep working it and having FUN!


Well, actually, I don’t practice after lunch. I practice instead of lunch! Maybe I’ll invent the “Harmonica Diet Plan”!

A little more about me: …I have toyed with the harmonica, on and off, since around 1982. My sister gave me a gift - a copy of John Gindick’s book (“Country and Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless”), and a Hohner Pocket Pal. I still have the Pocket Pal. No idea what ever happened to the book or the tape. I learned ONE 4 note riff, and played it endlessly. It seemed as though, if I kept to the background, didn’t overdo things, and wailed on it a little - no one realized I had a “one riff repertoire”. Or at least, no one seemed to mind. And I stayed there, for almost 31 years. In a very limited way, the concept of “Cross Harp” blues and country backup kind of stayed with me. And just recently re-surfaced.

My harmonica collection (such as it is) is as follows:

Hohner Special 20 , (key of C) - My “Primary” harp - Acquired a few weeks ago

Hohner Marine Band 1896 (key of G) (This was a gift from my Grandmother, a long time ago. She passed away in 1973, so it’s older than that. Probably from the 60’s. Sadly, I never really played it…I still have the original cardboard box, and the little tissue paper “instruction folder” that came with it. It is still in nice shape, at least cosmetically)

Hohner Blues Band (key of C) - Came with the JP Lesson set. Virtually unused, since I bought the Special 20 about the same time.

Hohner Pocket Pal (key of C) - Came with the “Gindick” book. Circa 1982 - While I played it only occasionally (until a few months ago) I dragged it around everywhere (almost as if that might eventually cause me to develop talent. I’ll save everybody the time - It does not…). I never had a case for it…It’s plenty scratched up, but the fact that it works at all, at this point, stands as a tribute to its durability. It remains my “drag it everywhere harp”, until I get a decent belt case for the Special 20.

I’m told the next logical choice would be a “Special 20” (key of A)… But I’m open to suggestions. Mostly, I “back up” a couple of friends, (Guitar / banjo / other hap, etc) while we sit around and drink beer. We pretty much play for ourselves (and whoever else is sitting around drinking our beer) I guess Country / Blues is about right. At least, that’s where “my” interest is, at the moment.

And, truth be told, the neighbors think the dog’s howling is cute (he rarely ever makes any other noise)…But I suspect the novelty will wear off quickly! :slight_smile:


Oops! I forgot!

I also have a Hohner “Chrometta 8” (I think key of C) It was a gift from a very close friend, who saw my Pocket Pal and wanted to get me a better harp. While it was a very nice gift, I really don’t play it very well at all, even if I ignore the slide. Maybe someday, if I get better… I do understand that it’s a whole 'nother animal…


It is a whole 'nother, but I wouldn’t call it an animal.
If you want to get into chromatics later on (or now), I play them,
and a few others here do too (if they’re still around).
The choice of keys is going to depend on the keys you and your
buddies usually jam. Do you understand how to go about figuring
which key harp to use to get in with the band in second position?
I promise you will want to start using second and then third position,
and then who knows?
Let us know what keys most of your tunes are, and we’ll help pick out
some harp keys you might want to grab. No need to move too quickly.
Learn some technique. Look into JP’s free lessons on mouth position
(embouchure) and bending, etc. A whole new world is about to bloom for you.


Well, when I said “Whole 'nother animal”, what I actually meant was “similar, yet very different at the same time”. In any case… I think I’ll try and develop a degree of functionality with the diatonic harp first. I am working through the videos on site by JP, (the free ones, as well as the “dvd set”), and still practicing daily. And (most importantly, I think…Still having fun!) :slight_smile:

As far as the next key I should look for is concerned, at the moment I’m doing fine. We mostly play in “G”, so my “C” harps are perfect (so far, I play second position). We dabble in “A” a bit, so I guess a “D” harp would be a decent choice. Although a friend (with whom I play) suggested an “A” harp. In either case, I need to let my younger sister know, or I’m sure to end up with yet another “C” harp soon! :slight_smile: Not the worst thing in the world, but it would be nice to have options past “C” and “G”. At least eventually.

I will say, for what it’s worth, after years of messing around with the Pocket Pal, the Special 20 is amazing. I didn’t really think, that at my skill level, I’d notice the difference. As with anything else, you get what you pay for, I guess.


Yeah, I know what you meant. I was just messin widju.
Many seven pc sets come in A, Bb, C, D, E, F, and G, and
those are good for starters if you want to buy a set of SP 20’s.
I use an Ab and Eb a lot also, and there are others used less
frequently; then there are my minor key harmonicas. Of course
I have (maybe just a few) chromatics.
If you don’t want the expense of a 7 pc, the G and A are a good
choice for you. You appear to have a lot more of this under control
than you lead us to believe. I think you are hiding some talent and
knowledge. LOL
Please post some sounds from your bands sessions. I’d love to hear.
If you want a case for your harps, buying a Piedmont Blues 7 pc set is a
good way to end up with a nice case.


Believe me - I have very little of this under control! :slight_smile:

I took guitar lessons when I was VERY young, and just never got anywhere with it. I retained the most rudimentary understanding of “how to read music”. Mostly, I can sort of read the notes. But not in any manner that would make me able to play from sheet music.

The rest I picked up from my friends, and by lurking here!

Thanks for the tip on the Piedmont Blues set. I think I’ll try that. The case looks mice, and the extra harps wouldn’t hurt, until I build a better collection of Special 20’s (or whatever).