Introduce Yourself!

I’ve gotta go back and listen to Wish You Were Here. Haven’t listened to it since I was a teenager…

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What’s up @ljandar welcome to the forum. Tell us a little bit about your experience with the harmonica, and from what part of the world you herald?

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Oof, I see this point is 4 days old, so probably too late to fish them out of the trash! Bummers! I’m guessing @Dave_Dunn might like your login?

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Steve in Kansas here(but not for long) I appreciate all you do (and how you do it), very inspiring. I’ve been playing around with harmonicas for many years but got serious about ten months ago. I plan to sign up for your class soon ‘cause I feel a little stuck. I play with a few guitarists, and we play a lot of blues and folky stuff. I’m blowin’ on Special '20s and Lee Oskar Majors, and I’m thinking I want a few LO Natural Minors. Would you recommend a certain three for the type of music I play? I’m sure I’ll end up with a full set eventually. Thanks!

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Hello @tradcrack,

Great to have you here. I’m a new harmonicist and just finished my first month of the Beginner to Boss course and I have really enjoyed my journey. There are really good folks here on our forum. I’m sure you will get some good advice.

Regards,

James

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Steve,

I find I use my Am and Em LO Natural Minors the most. After those two, the others get very intermittent use. Sometimes it sounds better using a Major harp in 3rd position for a minor key tune. It’s good to be flexible and have all the tools in the toolbox!

Cheers
Maka

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Hi all!

My name is Lili. I’ve been playing about a year. The whole time I’ve been U blocking. Is this really so problematic? Thank you.

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Hi Lili @Ublocker

If it works for you then it is not a problem. If you find that you start having great difficulties doing certain things that you really want to do or to use (bending, octave splits, slaps, etc) then you might try another technique. Otherwise: “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

And BTW: welcome to the forum! There is already a mountain of information here – the trick is finding it! :point_left: :wink:

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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I can’t say U-blocking helps with bends since I can’t really do that. I don’t know what splits and octaves are (well, I know what an octave is musically) so I don’t know if u-blocking will make them harder.

U blocking came natural to me. It’s helped me isolate single notes. I’m trying deep relaxed position, now and it’s not as easy.

Thanks for the encouragement :grinning:

Lili

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@Slim I think I already introduced myself… so I apologize if this is redundant. My name is Lili. I live in Los Angeles. I’m a grandmother and I’ve been playing harmonica for about a year.

Much earlier in life, I was a singer-songwriter and played clubs around town. I pretty much HATED performing so I gave it up.

I love music though and really enjoy playing harmonica. I find it so relaxing, it sometimes almost puts me to sleep. I can’t say it does the same for my neighbors…:wink:

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Welcome here with us @Ublocker.
Oh yes, the neighbors! So as long as they don’t boo, it’s fine. Maybe you’ll get applause too :clap:.
I always say my four budgies don’t howl like a dog but chirp merrily so it can’t be that bad. :smiley:
Astrid wishes you a lot of fun and patience for the new techniques :woman_in_lotus_position:

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Hey @Ublocker - welcome to the forum. I’m from LA too! I think you’ll be glad you learned other approaches than ublocking since they will open up more sounds for you - articulations and bending will be easier and you’ll probably want to do both of those at some point. But, hey, as long as you’re happy with the sounds you’re getting - more power to you.

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Hey Steve in Kansas (not for long!) To where are you moving? And when you move, will you say, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more, Toto…” :wink:

I’m glad you’re digging the videos man, and how cool that you’re getting to play with others and taking your harmonica to the next level! I’m excited that you may do Beginner to Boss and look forward to seeing you in the course as well as here in the forum.

I agree wholeheartedly with @Maka that Em and Am seem to be the most common keys that I use as well. I also agree that for some songs 3rd position is better than Natural Minor - for example, I like to play 3rd position on “Messin’ with the Kid” and “Oye Como Va” and any funky jams like “Play that Funky Music” or most of the stuff in the P-funk catalog.

Really it depends on the IV chord. If the IV chord is a dominant 7 (like Am7-D7 in Oye Como Va for example) 3rd position works better, but if iv chord is minor 7 (like Am7 - Dm7 in “The Thrill is Gone” for example) then the natural minor works better.

Besides those 2 keys, you know what songs and keys you’re playing with your guitar playing cohorts, so it’s really just a matter of picking up those specific keys. If any doubts or questions, give a holler!

Rock on,
Luke

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Hey Lili - I recognize you from the website, and so happy that you found your way over here to the forum! You don’t look old enough to be a grandma!!

I used to be against U-blocking because I had a student who wanted to play blues, but the U-blocking seemed to prevent him from being able to bend well, and so I became frustrated with the technique.

But then I learned that Norton Buffalo was a U-blocker! So I agree with @Slim, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but also with @KeithH that the more techniques you learn, the more colors you have in your palette to choose from.

Octaves, also known as “splits” on the harmonica are accomplished by blocking 2 holes (or more, but start with 2 to accomplish what’s called a Split-4) with your tongue, and playing one hole on either side.

So you could play holes 1 and 4 at the same time, and block holes 2 and 3. I learned this technique pretty early on, and it creates a HUGE POWERFUL sound that can be a lot of fun.

A couple years before creating the Beginner to Boss course, I started learning tongue-blocking from my friend and mentor Joe Filisko. IT WAS SO FRICKEN DIFFICULT AND AKWARD. I felt like I went from working on a PhD back to having to sit in a circle in a kindergarten class. Ugh! It required a lot of patience and humility.

This past Friday night I played a harmonica gig, and I bet I was tongue blocking easily 30% of the time or more. There’s just certain things you can only do with that technique.

All this to say:
LEARNING NEW TECHNIQUES IS FRUSTRATING and puts a huge demand on our patience, humility, and perseverance.
HOWEVER, TECHNIQUE is the only thing that stops you from being able to play with as much expressiveness as you desire.

That’s a very long-winded answer to your question, Lili. Hope some part of it is helpful!

Rock on,
Luke

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I’ve a bunch of different harmonicas and need to get started with an organized course in stead of looking here and the with riff or little ditty. I need to practice scales….especially the blues scale, understanding of positions. So any direction, advice would be helpful.
Mark

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Start the course and stick to the lessons in order until you get to really feel confident before moving on to the next level. You need structure at least in the beginning. Getting a small pice or scale to the point where you play it well will give you confidence.

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You are in the right place, @Luke is da man!

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Hey Mark - it sounds like you might be a perfect candidate for Beginner to Boss. Have you checked it out yet?

Aloha,
Luke

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