Trying to decide if the harmonica is right for me ?

Hello everyone, This is the 2nd michigan winter (maybe even the 3rd) that I am cooped up in the house trying to decide if the harmonica is right for me. I really need some advice, let me give you more background info so you can help me with my decision. I am now 50+ years old, when I was 13 years old I failed miserable in band, now part of that is it was forced upon us & being a sports type I thought music / band was for those who couldn’t make the football team (yes I was young & dumb & times were different 38 years ago) with that said I was clueless on how to apply musical notes to the recorder type instrument we were learning on. (I affectionately called it a gazoo which didn’t help my status in the class) ::slight_smile:

Now fast forward 38 years I think the harmonica is pretty cool, I have rounded off a lot in the years & like aerosmith honking on bobo, I have become more involved in the church & activities. My hobbies are mostly summer based & are outdoor things like gardening, hiking, biking & it gets pretty boring being a single guy in the house. I mention that as I have tons of free time in the winter, come home from work & sit in front of the tv. I have no distractions, nor would I be distracting others.

Ultimately I think it would be awesome to be able to play harmonica around my many summer bonfire get togethers. Sometimes it would be cool to play a few outdoorsy country type songs (heck even home on the range ! ) sometimes at the church youth gatherings it would be cool to play a little gospel stuff, & my roots are with good ole rock & roll, Aerosmith music could summarize what I like quite well my tastes there.

The harmonica would be easy to slip in my pocket on my camping trips, Im not going onstage, would only be playing for 6 to 12 people around the campfire.

Some of the things that scare me the most is I do not have a musical ear, I just don’t see how I could listen to something & replay it back (I might be wrong, but I doubt it) I get the concept of a harmonica & the fact that it don’t use musical notes & uses numbers makes me think I can handle it but I am not sure. $250 for JP’s lessons is a lot of money for me, that is not pocket change. But if I could play afterwards I would be very happy with the investment.

With all that said I’m just looking for advice to weigh out the plusses & minuses of diving in.

Thanks,
Dan

Howdy Dan, and welcome to the show.
Nobody can tell you what YOU desire to do with yourself,
but (that said) just pop $30-$40 for a decent harmonica
and take a look at the MANY free lessons available on youtube
and other sites. Folks here can guide you toward some good
lessons.
As for JP’s lessons, IMHO as an instumentalist and music educator,
his lessons are great for any level of talent. They will take you as
far as you want to go…or give you a good foundation to build on.
It just depends on your intended destination with the harmonica.
I played in the band in school (and became a high school band
director after I was through performing for good!). I was recruited
for football, but I told the "stars, “When you are getting your head
bashed in on the field, who has your girlfriends up in the stands?”
The girls went crazier over the singer than the quarterback. I found
this out quickly.

thebugleboy

Thanks for the warm welcome :slight_smile:

I realize no-one can help me know my true desires, I was trying not to word the question that way but I realize that comes into play. My desires are there, I have had a couple of Honer MS blues harmonicas for 2 years now sitting in my dresser drawer along with leather cases & accessories. I just found that out as I saw harmonica sheet music I printed out & it is dated 12/1/11 so I have had the desire for a couple of years now. This desire usually comes on strong in the winter months as I am bored silly indoors, I could easily dedicate an hour or two a night & more yet on the weekends. In the summer I could see me easily playing a couple of times a week. My nephew plays guitar occasionally around our summer campfires & I could see us playing more if I had a clue what I was doing. I could see myself really enjoying this.

I was a little slow to learn the girls went crazier over the musician verses the quarterback. I have observed this with my 20 year old nephew who has the gift for music & is not a sports person at all. He has a harem of girls following him around ! You would think the kid is a rock star !

I’m leaning heavy to JP’s lessons as I’m the type if I’m gonna do this I want to do it right & not learn bad habits that might haunt me later. I’m not broke by any means, but I guess I just don’t want to blow $250 if it’s not the way to go. I reviewed his free previews & they seem pretty cool.

I think before the end of the day tomorrow I will have JP’s lessons ordered, unless I hear something here saying you need to be a naturally gifted person for music as I am not. That’s my biggest fear. I have the want, time & desire, just zero for any musical gifts or talent.

Dan

Well, maybe you should just jump in the deep end of the pool.
JP’s lessons will get you going. If you find you have a talent for
harmonica (no reading of music necessary…playing by ear is fine),
the lessons will give you a strong start. If you find you aren’t
necessarily going to become a virtuoso (most harmonica players
fall into this next category) the lessons will teach you all you need
for your own and your friends enjoyment of your playing. Worst
case scenario…you will have an instrument to play and enjoy as a
great hobby/past time. Who knows? You probably will be much
better than you are expecting.
JP’s lessons will give you, after the basics, some great ways to
easily jam with your friends.
I am not affiliated with JP in any way other than as a member
of the forum, but I have used the older version of the lessons,
and I feel comfortable endorsing them for all beginners. There
are other lessons out there. I just don’t have experience with
them.
I didn’t mean to seem mean spirited in that last post. I just was
slow to encourage you to spend a good deal of money if you
aren’t serious about at least having regular fun with the lessons.
That’s the secret. Just have fun with it.
BTW, I sort of was a rock star and athletic at the same time.
I didn’t hear the girls SCREAM when the quarterback slid down in
the mud, but I did hear their screams when the band started up
my intro, and I slid out onto the stage.
I didn’t play harmonica then. I wish I had.

thebugleboy

Bugleboy, I did not sense any mean spirit in your post, I realize desire is a very important part of the equation. I think I have that…

One thing you did say in your last post is “playing by ear is fine” & that’s what terrifies me more than anything :-[ I don’t think I have a musical ear ! I think I could figure out the number thing, but I don’t have a clue if I have a musical ear hidden away inside my mellon ???

I think my desire is telling me to dive in, I won’t know if I don’t try (unless someone tells me I must have a musical ear & I fail the musical ear test, let me know where to find that test ? :wink: ) obviously I have been wondering if I have it in me & it sounds like after 2 years I need to find out.

I haven’t pushed the buy it now button yet so please feel free to post more advice.

Thanks,
Dan

If you can whistle or hum a tune, you have ear enough.
You will never know until you try.
Lee Greenwood was approached by Felix Cavalieri to start
a new group back in the sixties. Lee declined. Soon, the
Young Rascals had their first big hit.
You never know what might happen until you try.

thebugleboy

Thanks Bugleboy ! I can whistle & hum tunes just fine, I don’t have a clue if I’m listening to something what chord it is ??? I have no clue about this B,C,D stuff ?

I have read a little about it, but to listen to something I wouldn’t have a clue !

Guess it’s time to learn ;D (hopefully I’m trainable :wink: )

Thanks !

Well just start slowly.
Work all your lessons with a harmonica in the key of C.
Soon, you will want to play SOMETHING along with a recording
or even some friends. You can ask your friends what key they
are in, but you may have a little trial and error with recordings.
If you have a set of harps, one each of the more popular keys,
you will be able to figure it out pretty easily. As you progress,
things will become much more simple for you.
For a while though, you will be having so much fun with just
your C harp that you will be delighted you started.
Now get with it and start having fun.

thebugleboy

Let the fun begin ! I just ordered JP’s lessons ;D

Thanks for the encouragement bugleboy ! I have been thinking about this for years, I just needed a little nudge to move forward.

Dan