The Reviews Are In...Well Sort Of!

Well okay – Out in the harmonica universe, as in most other universes, there are plenty of products from harmonica courses – either tapes, cds and dvds; not to mention all kinds of harps from big manufactures to custom made. And the lists go on and on.

Interestingly enough though – at least from all the zillion of links and surfing one can do, very few if any reviews on such things actually exist.

Sure, Canadian writer Ian Chadwick did a great job reviewing various harmonicas once upon a time. And one can go to YouTube and see a Jason Ricci or someone just as great play on a new harp and show you what they can do with it.

And yet, even in various forums, even today, others rarely talk about what they really think of a product to possibly help out their fellow harpsters and harpsterettes.

So here, we hope to change some of that!

Meaning, if you can, if you will, please let us know what you think on anything harmonica.

One thing we suggest is that you offer more than those couple-word reviews. You’ve seen them: “It sucks!” or “Loved it!”

Please expand and share what you liked or disliked about the item. And it’s especially nice if you actually own the particular item you’re reviewing, not just reiterating what you heard or read from somebody who knows somebody who may or may not know something.

And no – Don’t worry, this forum and site is not into censorship. Meaning, whether you’re aware of it or not, some websites actually control what reviews are posted on their forums, etc.


Because the reviews are usually about their products; and if they receive a bad or poor review, more than likely they will not post it! {Yes, sadly, rather than take and use constructive criticisms for their benefit and others, their own fragile egos get bruised…and easily it seems. “Hey, if you don’t really want to know what anyone honestly thinks of your (fill in the blank), why’d you ask for my opinion?!” Go figure…Anyways…}

Oh and while it’s good and quite helpful to put in jump links to this or that anywhere in the harmonica universe – Still however, if you’re a hawker hawking or a spammer spamming some product of yours or friends, etc. – Well, don’t take it personally if you’re asked to dial it back or something else.

Let’s just keep the review conversations going to get real input - good, bad or indifferent!

Keep on smiling!

Keep on harpin!’

Thanks for reading!

Hey Joe,

I’ll chime in and say if someone is wanting to learn advanced blues… I personally love the David Barret’s lessons.

For Sonny Terry chugging style harmonica I love Peter Madcat Ruth’s DVD entitled "The Ins and Outs of Rhythm Harp: Percussive Techniques for Blues Players. I also love Peter’s teaching style and personality. (Of course I’m a huge fan of my own instruction on this type of thing too…i.e. my video lesson entitled, “Blowing The Roof Off The House”

I also, love Tom Balls, Book and CD that teaches Sonny Terry.

All the above stuff is challenging so it’s best if beginners learn the core essential techniques before tackling the above materials.



Howdy There Harpster Maestro!

Happy for the chime in anytime!

Been working on setting up some review posts about the very things you mentioned!

But oh so briefly here to keep the conversation flowing and going!

Just as I was waiting on receiving the JP Allen dvd course (the best home harmonica course ever! – in my view and hopefully others too!) – well, I surfed the net and joined up with a few of the online training camps.

In my pick and only personal preference along with my budget at the time – I selected David Gage’s ‘Harmonica Lessons’ over Dave Barret’s ‘Master Class’ site. Although I did sign up for Dave Barret’s free email newsletters too. Additionally, I also signed on to Tony Eyer’s ‘Harmonica Academy’ site.

Finally, if all that wasn’t enough – I became a member of Howard Levy’s ‘Harmonica School’ as well.

Not to mention the fact that Adam Gussow along with Jason Ricci and others (Including Yourself – JP Allen) have plenty of YouTube vids to watch and learn from – well the sky’s the limit where anyone and everyone can go to learn harpin’ in the big ole harmonica universe of ours.

Yes, I have Peter ‘Madcat’ Ruth’s dvd too. Purchased from Amazon along with the late, great Norton Buffalo’s “Bag of Tricks – Volumes 1 & 2” and Howard Levy’s original “New Directions for Harmonica” – well, you’d certainly be hard-pressed to beat any of them for learning some great harping techniques!

Now as far as Tom Ball goes –

Well, it’s certainly on my wish list to track down a copy of his first “Blues Harmonica – Crash Course Overview” book and tape.

However, that being said – his sourcebooks on Sonny Terry, Little Walter/Big Walter licks et al, I’d say to anyone to really hold off on getting them if A) you’re just a beginner; and/or B) you’re not a big collector of harmonica memorabilia etc.

You may enjoy his playing all the riffs and licks in the books expertly. But on the other hand, you may find disappointment if you can’t bend, play fast, or even know which songs the riffs and licks belong to or can’t actually find the music itself to which some of it refers to. Know what I mean?

But that’s just my feelings on it. Yet though, we’re not at a complete loss because in the harmonica universe, there is a great place I found to get some Little Walter and even Sonny Boy Williamson material. (More on that later!)

And then there’s – Oh, man, so much to list and talk about!

Hope everyone comes on in, kicks off their shoes, pulls out there harmonicas, and stays awhile!

So keep on smiling!

Keep on harpin’!

Thanks for reading!