Hi, I’m a real new guy. That’s both to the harmonica and this forum. Due to a stroke I can no longer play my banjos or my native American flutes. That also makes me a one-handed harmonica player. So, no bending or other fancy stuff. However, I do love the harmonica.
I already have a few harps in a few keys. One of these harps is the Hohner marine band in G that you see in the pictures. I can’t find anything like it online. Can anyone tell me how old it is and maybe give it an identifier of some kind. It sounds great and is very easy to blow and draw.
Hi welcome. Don’t know anything about your old harp but somebody will.
If its any consolation I definitely only use one hand when bending and can mimic wahwah with my tongue. My hands are too small to close off the harmonica properly. Astrid will probably have more tips on this.
I am sure someof the more experienced people on the forum will help with details of your harp. Toog
first of all, welcome to our forum.
The harp you show is a beautiful old treasure! It came onto the market around 1940 and was very popular. It was through this harp that many later well-known harp players came into music.
Otherwise, playing the harp with physical hand limitations is like @toogdog writes.
I do the wahwah either with tongue vibrato or I let the harp tremble with my holding hand.
You don’t need a second hand for the bending, as it is done in the mouth by moving the tongue and larynx accordingly.
Another option for you might be a harp holder. Then you would have your working hand free for wahwah. I don’t know if you’ll be happy with it because I don’t use these halternecks.
Regards from Astrid
Hi there, new forum member here. Just signed up to reply.
First of all, be sure to look into 3d printing to help you get the most out of your harmonica. I found this online: Wheelchair Harmonica Holder by ThunderCatFPV - Thingiverse
As for your question. It’s a Marine Band Full Concert harmonica. I only just ordered my first one recently and am waiting for it to arrive, these are interesting harmonicas as they have twice the amount of reeds of a “regular” diatonic harmonica. I do notice that part of the comb is broken, although that shouldn’t bother you in playing.
You can also Google the auto-valve harmonica Hohner made. It’s also an octave harmonica.
All the best from Belgium!
Oh and in terms of finding blues songs that use these kind of harmonicas, I can recommend this one by Little Walter. I read somewhere he is playing an auto-valve in D (tuned in D and low D) and it does sound like it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYfa5CPInmA
Astrid, Toogdog and Jago, thanks for the responses. I now know how to address my Marine Band. More so though, thanks for the information and encouragement playing with one hand. There’s always new challenges. Darn it, I was getting kinda good on that banjo.
@Nick, I can completely understand you, especially since it is a fairly new situation and a big change for you.
But you know, when one door closes, another opens. I am very familiar with this as I have been constantly dependent on a wheelchair for over forty years. Of course, this leads to secondary illnesses. But it’s no use being angry or upset about it; it only reinforces the negative. Be happy about the beautiful decades and moments you were able to experience. Did you previously think that you would eventually play the harp? Even with physical limitations, the harp brings many health benefits, physically (muscular and breathing), emotionally and mentally! It is an often underestimated instrument. Thanks to your banjo, you already have a good musical foundation for learning to play the harp.
Just because “everyone” plays the harp with both hands doesn’t mean that it can be done any other way. If a road is closed, you also take the detour to get to your destination.
Take good care of yourself and your harps!
Regards from Astrid
Astrid, what a lovely reply, you must be a very nice person.
Nick, you can definitely play the harmonica well with one hand and as Astrid suggested, you already have music in your head and your heart so I reckon it will come easily to you.
You are absolutely right. I am a retired Navy SEAL, a certified personal trainer and an archery instructor. I also have a bachelor’s degree in psychology. When I returned from the hospital, post stroke, I used archery and all these backgrounds for my physical and phycological rehabilitation. I’m much better off for it. We all know music is a real psychological well-being tool. Post banjo, being able learn the harmonica is another challenge and a real benefit. The advice from Astrid and Toogdog has been very encouraging.
What do you all think of the idea of advancing the harp as a musical tool for the disabled and PTSD victims? I intend to use archery as a tool for them. The harp could put smiles on faces where smiles a currently missing. Whadya think about starting a conversation on the possibilities? Maybe someone knows a harp playing psychologist who could get involved.
and PapaCurly, you are right about Astrid. She is clearly a wonderful person. And she plays the harmonica. What a great combination!
Thank you so much @PapaCurly and @Nick!
I have been a member of this forum for a little over 2 years. I can assure you that Astrid is indeed, a LOVELY, Warm, and Wonderful person. I wish I were more like her!
God Bless you both!