Hello from London, UK

Hi, My name is Craig. I am 37.

I have had an interest in the harmonica since I was a kid, but every time I picked up a harmonica or got a book with a tape (remember those?) I would be fine on the double notes, but never could get the single-notes, due to the pucker-method or the tongue-ubend method (which I could never do, DNA or something like that!).

But, I did practice, much to the pained-pretend-approval from my parents and others. In fact, the only one that seemed to like my playing was my cat at the time. Every time I played a note, Smudge would run from whatever room he was in, and jump on my lap. Wow, I was the pied-piper of cats!! :o :wink: Thing is, no cat has ever done that since, so either Smudge loved my very strained music, or he thought jumping on my lap would change my focus! ???

So, a few years past, but my love of the harmonica sound was still there; Bob Dylan, Neil Young etc, although my favourite harmonica track is Hangman Jury by Aerosmith. I had picked up bass guitar by then, and was jamming with a band, but I still wanted to learn Harmonica, so I tried again. This time I bought a Lee Oskar harmonica, and another few books, and started to look on the internet. But, again the methods I was being shown didn’t help me with single notes, blowing, or actually learning how to express the harmonica.

I came across JP’s site a few days ago, and was amazed at some of the beginners videos, particularly when JP got a member of the public to just pick up a harmonica and play. So, I watched a few more videos, and my hand reached for my harmonica, which had been sitting quietly beckoning on my desk for a couple of years, and played along and loved this completely fresh approach, especially the deep relaxed mouth position. So, a couple of days ago, I bought the online-course (should have DVDs and cd’s soon), and have been playing along with it pretty much non-stop, especially with the 5 phrases. Although not constantly, I can now do single-notes (still struggle on 2 and 3), and have bent on 1 and 4 (2 and 3 still sound like a kettle boiling, so will keep on practicing!) But, it is great to see step-by-step improvements, and actually understand where I was going wrong beforehand, and having these moments where something that I have never understood suddenly clicks in place. I have no idea how JP can do that harmonica drum-stick so fast. Even without the harmonica, it is like the mother of tongue-twisters - heh! But I guess speed will come eventually, just practice, practice then practice some more!

Anyhow, been looking through the forum over the last few days, so basically just saying hi from across the pond!

Loving it so far! :slight_smile:

Craig

Great success story Morg, mine was much the same way.

Wait till you get your DVD’s anD CD’s in you’ll be “blowin the roof”
off the house in no time.

Keep us posted on your progress. And take the lessons slow and steady
and good things will Happen!

Harp On!!

Welcome to the forum Craig. My story is a little like your’s in that I had a Hohner Golden Melody harmonica since the mid ‘70’s but every time I’d pick it up I could never get a single not out of it so I’d just stick it back into the drawer until next time I’d try to play.
After selling my acoustic guitar to buy parts for my truck I started jonesing for something to play music on and remembered my little GM in the drawer. I pulled it out and low and behold I could actually blow a single note. Don’t know where it came from but I’ve been hooked on harps ever since.
I’ve actually probably spend enough on harps over the last year to buy a decent lower end guitar but for some reason I just love having a musical instrument that I can stick into my pocket and take with me every where I go.
I’ve recently discovered Harmonic and Natural minor tuned diatonic harps, I totally love em’, the tone, the sound, it’s just so cool. I’m also playing around with Chromatic a bit.
Main thing I’ve learned over the last year, buy a decent(doesn’t have to be expensive, just good quality) harp like a Lee Oskar, Special 20 or Suzuki HarpMaster. Don’t worry about getting every key in the world, pick two or three keys that you like and stick with em’.
Don’t be afraid to just “noodle” around on your harp, you don’t actually have to learn a song or play something, you can just mess around and have a lot of fun learning the sounds you’ll get on your instrument and it’ll go a long way in your playing when you do want to play a song.
Don’t be afraid to take a break if you just don’t feel like playing. I played everyday for about 3 months then didn’t play for almost 9 months and picked it right back up and it’s even more fun the second time around.
Anyway, I’ll see ya’ on the forum.

Hi Craig and welcome to the forum,

You are going to love JP’s bundle when it arrives. I would suggest you get all the jobs done around the house now because when the DVD’s etc arrive you will have your head down for weeks.

This is a great site so keep in touch and let us know how you are progressing. There are some very experienced players here so if you get stuck …just ask. Anyway all the best from downunder.

Regards

Welcome to the forum! Lots of good, friendly guys and a few gals play the harp and will bend over backwards to help you advance.
Don’t be bashful about asking questions or posting progress and asking for advice. I have not yet met anyone that wasn’t encouraging.
Get your chores done cause your gonna be addicted to the harp like the rest of us.

Hi guys,

Thanks for the encouraging words! Been practicing pretty much nonstop with single notes from 1 -7. At a slow speed, I can mostly hit 1,2,4,5,6,7 draw and suck on a single first time. With 3 for some reason, I hit a double before I hit a single and end up having to make small movements to get the 3. Once I have it, it is okay, but I will keep on practicing with 1-7 to I can get it pretty much consistent moving up and down the harmonica.

I do have one question on speed; is it more important to get the single notes first, then work on speed or is it okay to work on speed with double notes, then try and transpose the method (like taka-toodle) to single notes once you are building up consistent speed?

I guess for me at the moment, getting a clear sound at a solid, steady and consistent pace is better than speed, so that I am working from a decent foundation, but I am thinking ahead a bit (got to have goals! :slight_smile: ).

Cheers,

C.

Well Craigster…

Glad to hear your progressin’! Hehehe!

Yeppers, you joined the club – Meaning that 3 hole gives everybody trouble at first, so it’s no biggie if you don’t sweat it too much!

Interestingly enough too – Seems neophytes always start hitting them lower registers more than the higher ones. Probably because they’re easier to manage. I know I was guilty of that as well. However, many tab songs you’ll find in C (which can be played on most other diatonic key harps) do make use of the higher 7-10 holes quite frequently.

Even though you’re from across the pond, still, learning such classic songs as Happy Birthday, Dixie, Yellow Rose of Texas and the like will give you the necessary workouts for the higher sides of the harp.

Insofar as Speed itself goes –

Well, for me, it’s all relative. Meaning, yes, it comes and develops with/over TIME. No ways around that.

However, I’m more of the philosophy that believes RHYTHM is more important than how fast one goes at first. Know what I mean?!

We all listen to music; most all of us have tapped out the beat and such to the music that moves us more times than we’re even aware of…

The idea here then is to consciously develop a beat, develop a rhythm, develop timing internally so that you can express it externally at will.

On a side note: I know, as most might also, that JP in his lessons goes slow. Sometimes extremely slow. I smoke; so in my trying to follow him at his slow rhythms and breathing patterns, I’d be popping my lungs or coughing one up more times than I cared to! Hehehehe!

However, I must say as well – That by comparison, other teachers actually go fast; most times too fast. And I find myself getting lost sooner and more frustrated.

So I’ll take JP’s lessons over those others most any day. Why?

Because once you get a handle on JP’s lesson - whatever it is you’re doing at the time - you can stop the tape, and then work on your own beat, your own timing to get it down.

So work on developing these first, then speed will be the further result of them as it will come at it’s own pace.

Hope this helps!

Good luck!

Keep On Harpin’!

Hi fella,

Couldn’t agree more on the rhythm/timing side of things, especially moving back to Harmonica from bass. But, I guess it is the excitement of finally learning what bad habits I was doing with the harmonica that stopped me playing it (although I kept picking it up again), and how quick those bad habits start going when you see how it should be held and played. That section on how the tongue controls the air-flow when trying to bend a note, and how you move it back and forth dependent on what note you are playing was a total eye-opener. Once I got that and started to actually concentrate on the tongue etc, it was amazing how quick the bending started, and hopefully over time that will become a more unconscious process. I guess putting single notes and bending into actually playing something or following along with the online videos (and dvd’s when they arrive) will help me get the confidence and breathing strength to eventually get faster and more consistent as I progress, so that the rhythm just comes into its own.

Anyhow, thanks all for the warm welcome to the forum. :slight_smile:

Craig

Yo Craigster!

That section on how the tongue controls the air-flow when trying to bend a note, and how you move it back and forth dependent on what note you are playing [u][i]was a total eye-opener. [/i][/u]Once I got that and started to actually concentrate on the tongue etc, it was amazing how quick the bending started, and hopefully over time that will become a more unconscious process.

Those “eye-openers” are the really exciting, fun parts of learning this little instrument known as the harmonica. I also call them my ‘A-ha Eureka I Found It’ moments! And you will find yours, as well as they will come fast and furious at times when you least expect them.

Yes, we all share commonalities when first starting out, yet no two people are alike; and save for circumstances where one’s from a musical family and such, still, no two people will approach and/or grow at the same level and pace as the other.

But we can all get somewhere as long as we continue to want to get somewhere.

Continue researching; continue studying; continue practicing; continue playing – And you’ll know you’ve achieved when you can say and know that you found ‘your own unique voice’ ‘your own individual expression’ amongst the many others in the wide & vast Harmonica Universe!

And that’s a good thing!

Smiles!

Keep On Harpin’!

I am glad you joined our group!

And I wish you the best of luck on your harpin’ journey!

–BT