Monthly Archives: December 2016

Diatonic Harmonica!

Diatonic harmonica is speaking about the different kinds of single-key harmonicas, that are available other than the chromatic harmonica. Like the Tremolo harmonica, Octave harmonica, and of course the most used diatonic harmonica the Blues harp!

Tremolo harmonica

The harmonica in the picture above is a harmonica with two reeds per note called  the Tremolo harmonica  this is referred to as the “Asia diatonic”

Octave harmonica

There’s the Octave harmonica with a curved look with two reeds per note just as the tremolo harmonica above and tuned with Weiner Octave tuning.

Blues harp

Then there’s the most popular diatonic harmonica the blues harp used in the United States and Europe. These harmonicas are Richter-tuned ten-hole harmonicas that are used in most music from Folk, Blues, Rock, Country, Jazz, and Beatbox.

Have you ever heard of a diatonic harmonica?

Have you ever seen a Tremolo harmonica?

Have you ever heard of the Tremolo harmonica called the “Asia diatonic”?

Have you ever seen, or heard of the Octave harmonica?

Have you ever heard of the term Blues harp?

I would love to get your feedback on this please leave any comments , or questions below, and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, please come back in the future as I’m always adding new, and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

 

 

 

 

Harmonica Notes!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

Harmonica Notes?

Many beginning players are confused about harmonica notes, particularly since some of them appear to be “missing”. This articles shows the notes on a harmonica and the “missing notes” found on a harmonica.

Harmonicas come in a variety of keys styles and colors. In the diagram below blow means the note when blowing into a hole, draw means the note when breathing in. This note layout is called the “Richter tuning.”

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Blow C E G C E G C E G C
Draw D G B D F A B D F A

Look at holes 4 to 7. The notes from these holes are C, D, E, F, G, A, C, B which make up a C major scale. Not surprising for a harmonica in the key of C.

However holes 1 to 4 are different starting from hole 1 the notes are C, D, E, G, G, B, C, D Very confusing. Unlike holes 4 to 7, these lower notes do not make up a major scale. However look at blow notes 1 to 4, which are C, E, G, and C. These notes make a C major “chord”you blow into the first 4 holes to get this chord.

Now look at holes 4 to 7 the blow notes are also C, E, G, and C another C chord. The blow notes for holes 7 to 10 are also C, E, G and C another C chord. So all the blow notes on a C harmonica come from the C chord.

The draw notes on holes 1 to 4 are D, G, B, and D. These notes all come from the G chord, which is a very important one when playing in the key of C. Blow and draw repeatedly on holes 1 to 4 and you can hear how the two chords seem to match each other?

The Missing Harmonica Notes?

As outlined above arranging the harmonica to provide chords means that some notes are “missing” particularly in the bottom holes. However a common harmonica technique called “bending” allows these missing notes to be found and played.

“Bending Notes”

Bending harmonica notes involves changing tongue position mouth shape and breath pressure and is often very challenging for harmonica players when first starting to bend notes. But with a lot of practice and proper instructions you’ll learn that bending a note lowers its pitch. Bending is done mostly on the draw holes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, and blow holes 8, 9 and 10. The diagram below shows the notes commonly obtained through bending on a C harmonica.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Blow C E G C E G C E G C
Blow bend Eb F# Bb
Draw D G B D F A B D F A
Draw Db F# Bb Db Ab
Draw F A
Draw Ab

The regular blow and draw notes for the C harmonica are shown in bold. Looking at the draw bends notice that a single extra note is available from holes 1, 4 and 6. Some players also bend draw hole 5 a little, but it doesn’t give you an extra note.

The 2 hole draw allows two extra bent notes while the 3 hole draw allows 3 extra bent notes. Controlling all of these notes takes much practice but is a skill known to most advanced players and is worth the effort to learn properly bending is used in a lot of harmonica music.

             Advanced Technique for Harmonica Players!

A single extra bent note is available from blow holes 8, 9 and 10. A very small group of players can get two distinct bent notes from the 10 blow. Even more notes are available using an advanced technique called overblowing.

Did you know anything about harmonica notes?

Did you know about bending notes on the harmonica?

Do you know how to bend notes on a harmonica?

Have you ever heard of the technique overblowing?

Have you ever used the technique overblowing?

Has this article helped you out in any way?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments or questions below and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, please come back in the future as I’m always adding new and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonnicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

 

Best Harmonica Players!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

Best Harmonica Players!

Where do I start, that’s a pretty broad subject, I guess best harmonica players  would depend on the harmonica player, and the kind of music being played. Some of the best harmonica players are Blues players, Country players, Jazz players, and more, styles to come in another post. I’m going to be giving you some familiar names, and faces in all these styles, some you probably new, and some you probably haven’t.

“Blues Players”

“Little Walter” would be at the top of the list, harmonica players for centuries, have been trying to duplicate his sound, very few have been successful.  Little Walter was born 1930′ died 1968′ he was 37yrs old.  I wrote a post earlier on Little Walter, and the kind of harmonica he used, a (Hohner Marine Band) most of the earlier harmonica players used the same harmonica, because that’s what was available back then. I have a video of Little Walter that you can see here>Little Walter

“Sonny Boy Williamson 11” was also at the top of the list for blues players, he also as I stated above played a (Hohner Marine Band), several other Hohner harmonicas like the Big 364, and 365 Marine Band 12 and 14 hole harmonicas to get that big full sound! Sonny Boy Williamson 11 was born 1912′ died 1965 he was 52yrs old.

“Country Players”

“Charlie McCoy” would be at the top of the list, when it comes to country harmonica players. Charlie McCoy has been known as the Godfather of modern bluegrass, and country he has played on dozens of hit records, and has played with the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and many more. Charlie McCoy was born 1941′ and is still alive at age 74yrs old, and still performing today.

“Mickey Raphael” also known for his country style harmonica, he has been playing in the same band for over 30 yrs, in the Willie Nelson’s Band, Mickey likes to play Marine Bands,  Hohner Special 20’s, and a Big River harmonicas are some of his favorites. Mickey Raphael was born 1951′ and is alive currently, and still performing with the Willie Nelson Band.

“Jazz Players”

“Toots Thielemans” is one of the first choices, when it comes to Jazz harmonica players, Toots Thielemans was a belgian American jazz musician who was known for playing a Chromatic Harmonica , and performed with the Benny Goodman band in 1949′ touring Europe was known for playing  where he got his start playing harmonica. Toots Thielemans was born 1922′ died 2016′ he was 94 yrs. old

“Howard Levy” would be the next choice, of Jazz harmonica players at the top of the list. His style of playing, is Jazz fusion, Latin, Funk, Folk, Blues, Country, Classical Rock, and World Music. Howard Levy is an all around harmonica player, and can play multiple genres as you can see by the long list above. Howard Levy was born 1951′ and is still alive today, and performing, he plays a diatonic harmonica, and can play every note in the chromatic scale on it. Most harmonica players need a chromatic harmonica to play the chromatic scale.

Have you ever heard of Little Walter?

Have you ever heard of Sonny Boy Williamson 11?

Have you ever heard of Charlie McCoy?

Have you ever heard of Mickey Raphael?

Have you ever heard of Toots Thielemans?

Have you ever heard of Howard Levy?

Have you ever heard of any of these styles, on the harmonica?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments, or questions below, and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, and please come back in the future as I’m always adding new, and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

 

 

Harmonica Blues Legends!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

One of the first, and one of the top harmonica blues legends is??

You guessed it (Little Walter) Jacobs, Birth name Marion Walter Jacobs, was born 1930′ in Marksville, Louisiana, and was one of the best blues harmonica players in his time, and still is considered one of the greats today,  He died in 1968′ at age (37) he played a Hohner Original Marine Band harmonica back then.

Here’s a video of “Little Walter” Playing one of his most famous songs “Juke” Man was he Amazing!

 

Sonny Boy Williamson (1) Birth name John Lee Curtis Williamson, born in 1914′ in Madison County, Tennessee, was one of the first blues harmonica legends of all times. he was often referred to as the pioneer of the blues harp.  He was the most recorded blues harmonica player, and musicians of the 1930’s, and 1940’s he died in 1948′ at age (34)

Here’s a video of “Sonny Boy Williamson 1 playing one of his most famous songs, “Good Morning, Little SchoolGirl”

 

Sonny Boy Williamson (11) Birth name Aleck Ford born in 1912′ in Glendora, Mississippi was another one of the most famous harmonica blues legends of all times. he died in 1965′ at age (52), but was around the blues scene long enough to be able to perform with other Greats like Eric Clapton, Robbie Robertson, Jimmy Page, and Robert Johnson.

Here’s a video of one of his most famous songs, “Keep it to Yourself”

This is a good start to a couple of the most well Known Harmonica Blues Legends! More to come in the future there’s a long list! These are just a couple of the earliest Harmonica Blues Legends!

Have you ever heard of any of these, Harmonica Blues Legends?

Have you ever heard any of these video’s that I posted?

Did you know who Little Walter was before my post?

Did you know who Sonny Boy Williamson 1 was before my post?

Did you know who Sonny Boy Williamson 11 was before my post?

Did you know the difference between Sonny Boy 1, and Sonny Boy 11 before my post?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments , or questions below, and I will answer as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, please come back in the future as I’m always adding new, and exciting content.

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

Harmonica Tunes!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

 

This post is going to be on harmonica tunes for beginners, first of all you need a C harmonica, as most songs are in that key to start off with, when playing Straight Harp for simply melodies like “Mary had a little Lamb” and “Row, Row, Row your Boat.” Some of the easiest song to learn are these below. I have an example of a couple of the songs below, “Row, Row, Row your Boat” and “Mary had a Little Lamb”

 

  • Amazing Grace
  • Home On The Range
  • Oh Susanna
  • Heart Of Gold
  • Hey Jude
  • Piano Man
  • Somewhere Over The Rainbow
  • Happy Birthday

“Row, Row, Row your Boat”  key of C Harmonica (B-Blow)  (D-Draw)

4B 4B 4B 4D 5B                                                                                                                                                       5B 4D 5B 5D 6B                                                                                                                                                       7B 7B 7B 6B 6B 6B                                                                                                                                                   5B 5B 5B 4B 4B 4B                                                                                                                                                   6B 5D 5B 4D 4B

As you can see from the example above, this is what they call First Position Playing, which is also referred to as Straight Harp Playing, which is mostly blow notes when played on the harmonica. Here’s another example of a beginners song “Mary had a Little Lamb” (B-Blow) (D-Draw)

5B 4D 4B 4B 5B 5B 5B                                                                                                                                           4D 4D 4D 5B 6B 6B                                                                                                                                                 5B 4D 4B 4D 5B 5B 5B                                                                                                                                           4D 4D 5B 4D 4B

 

As you can see, there are a lot of similarity of the song above this one “Row,Row,Row your Boat” has basically the same pattern of Blow,and Draw for First position Playing. This is also a lot of Melody Songs, to learn the basics on the harmonica, everyone starts  here when they start, learning to play the harmonica.  I did when I first started to learn the harmonica, you have to start from somewhere. I would suggest to purchase a quality harmonica to start off with, the Hohner Special 20 key of C is a really good harmonica from beginners to professionals.   It’s better to spend a little more money, to get a quality harmonica,  which will make it a lot easier, and more pleasurable to learn on, than a cheaper harmonica that is not airtight. You can purchase a quality harmonica from my website Here>Quality Harmonica!

I hope this post helps someone out, that may be thinking about learning to play the harmonica!

Have you ever wanted to learn the harmonica?

Have you ever tried to play the harmonica?

Have you heard other people play the harmonica?

Would you purchase a harmonica from my website?

Do you need help finding the right harmonica?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments, or questions below, and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, and please come back in the future as I’m always adding new ,and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

Harmonica Lessons!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

This post is going to be on harmonica lessons. I wrote a post earlier on harmonica lessons, which I talked about the difference between, when I first started to play the harmonica there was no internet, or free online courses like they offer now. The way that I learned how to play the harmonica, was from a book, with lot’s of practice, patience, and time with my own motivation.

Now because of technology, and the internet it’s a lot easier to learn faster with less bad habits, and professional instructors teaching online for Free! Yes I said Free! There is a lot of free professional instructor courses online, that also offer the ability to purchase online courses with CD Packs so you can practice over, and over at you own pace.

One of my earlier post talks about what’s Hot, and what’s Not! You can check that out right here>harmonica lessons     

The harmonica book that I learned from is called “How to play the Harmonica Instantly” which I paid $10 for it in the 60’s  the same book is offered now, but comes with a blues harmonica, and a blues CD Pack for $27.99 more money but more value.

The best way to get harmonica lessons if you can afford it, would be with a professional Instructor one, on one, lesson which are usually $100 an hour. That is why most people learn from books, CD’s, or online courses. Some of the lessons that they offer are for beginners to professionals from A-Z they teach you everything from the basics, of  learning simple melodies to playing single notes.

Some of the online instructors are David Barrett, Ronnie Shellist, Jason Ricci, Adam Gussow, Howard Levy, and J.P. Allen which is an instructor that I suggest I purchased a CD lesson Pack thru J.P. Allen that has helped me become a better harmonica player, even after playing for 25yrs.

You can always learn something new, you’re never too old, I’m 65, and still learning new skills on the harmonica.

Have you ever taken harmonica lessons?

Did you know about free online lessons?

Have you ever hear of, any of these harmonica instructor’s?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments, or questions below, and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, and please com back in the future, as I’m always adding new, and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

 

Playing Harmonica!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

I’m going to be talking about playing harmonica a long time ago, when I learned to play the harmonica, you learned from a harmonica book that taught you the basics of playing chords, and melodies, and single note playing, and simple songs like “Mary had a Little Lamb,” and “Row Row Row your Boat.”  It took time, a lot of practice, and self motivation because you had to do everything for yourself, without personal help from harmonica instructor’s online like you can get now because of technology.

I just found the harmonica book, that I learned from, on amazon through my website. The name of the book is “How to play Harmonica Instantly ” by- Marcos. When I bought the book back in the 70’s it cost ($10) now you get the same book a harmonica, and a Blues CD Kit for ($27.99) that’s a great deal. I guess what worked then, still works now, just with the CD it makes it a little easier to learn. You still have to be motivated, and practice a lot.

This day an age most people learn how to play the harmonica, from free online instructors you can google harmonica lessons, and you will come up with a number of different harmonica instructor’s that are free. They have Training CD Packs, and products that you can purchase online, that help you to learn to play the harmonica. Some examples are Ronnie Shellist, Adam Gussow, David Barrett, Howard Levy, Jason Ricci, JP Allen, and more. I have a link on an earlier post I did you access here> harmonica lessons.

I’ve actually been playing harmonica for about 25yrs and have purchased CD lessons from JP Allen, and I’ve learned a lot online from Ronnie Shellist, and Jason Ricci to name a few. You’re  never too old to learn something new, I’m 65yrs old, and play professional harmonica now, 100 shows a year part time.  If I can help you out, to learn to play the harmonica the proper way, instead of learning bad habits, from the start, that will make you a better player in the long run, if you continue to pursue the harmonica.

I hope this post gives you a little bit more understanding on what it takes to play the harmonica.

Have you ever tried to play the harmonica?

Have you ever used books to learn to play the harmonica?

Have you ever used online instructors, to learn how to play the harmonica?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments, or questions below, and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, please come back in the future as I’m always adding new, and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

Blues Harmonicas!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

I’m going to tell you about blues harmonicas, which most harmonica players use when playing the blues.

The Richter-tuned harmonica, or 10-hole harmonica (in Asia) or blues harp (in America), is the most widely known type of harmonica. It is a variety of a diatonic harmonica, with ten holes, which offer the player 19 notes total, (10 holes times a draw, and a blow, for each hole, minus one repeated note) in a three-octave range.

The standard diatonic harmonica is designed to allow a player to play chords, and melody in a single key, diatonic harmonicas are available in all keys.

“Playing in different keys”

Playing the harmonica in the key to which it is tuned, is known as “Straight Harp,” or “first position” playing.  For example, playing music in the key of C, on a C-tuned harmonica, using mostly blow notes, and chords.

More common (especially in blues and rock) is “Cross Harp,” or “second position” playing which involves playing in the key which is a fourth  below, the key of the harmonica (for example, on a C tuned harmonica, a second position blues, would be in G, for the guitar, or music being played. This is is because the notes of the G  pentatonic scale, (a commonly used scale in blues, and rock) that are more easily accessible on a C-tuned harmonica. The lower notes, of harmonicas in the lower keys, (G through C) are easier to bend, but take more wind. Since much of Cross harp is played by breathing in, it’s important to blow out lots of air on every exhaled note, and during every pause.

Hohner Blues Harp, key of Bb

Here’s some examples of blues harmonicas, that you can look at , and purchase at amazon through my website. If you need help finding the correct harmonica, for you, or as a gift for someone, please don’t hesitate to ask me for advice, I want your experience with my website to be pleasurable, and fun!

 

Hohner Blues Harmonica key of C

These are just some of the Hohner Blues Harmonicas, that they offer in different sizes, and kinds. You can view more choices by clicking here> blues harmonicas !

Here’s some Famous Blues Players, that play blues harmonica, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson 11, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Paul Butterfield, Sonny Terry, Carey Bell, Sugar Blue, Kim Wilson, George harmonica Smith, Rod Piazza, and more.

Have you ever heard of Sonny Boy Williamson?

Have you ever played Blues Harmonica?

Did you know what Cross Harp meant?

Do you need help picking out a Blues Harmonica?

Would you purchase a Blues harmonica through my website?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments,, or questions below, and I will answer as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, please come back in the future, as I’m always adding new, and exciting content!

larry@alllaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry

Country Harmonica!

Hello Harmonica Lovers!

This post is going to be on country harmonica, which is a whole different tuning than standard Richter tuning.  The 5th draw hole is raised a 1/2 step to create a country sound on the harmonica.

The standard Richter 10 hole harmonica tuning was devised in the early 19th century and is still used by most. Intended for “first position” chord/melody playing, it has been widely adapted to “second position” blues. That is, a harmonica in C for songs in G. As harmonica players know.

Despite the ubiquity of Richter tuning, the common second position style lacks an important note. Hence Country Tuning, the topic for this article.

First, a word on tuning reeds. Unscrew the cover plates from an instrument. An old one if you’ve not done it before. Look closely at the reeds. You’ll see small diagonal scratches on some, where they’ve been tuned in the factory. Tuning reeds, or changing their pitch is commonly done. Scraping the top of the reed with a small file removes metal, the pitch rises. The same at the bottom of a reed lowers the pitch.

The scratches you see on the reeds of your instrument provide fine tuning. However it is generally possible to raise (or lower) the pitch of a reed by a tone or more with this technique.

Country tuning is the same as Richter tuning except that the 5 draw reed is raised a semitone.

If you’re not  confident, and haven’t tuned your harmonicas this way.

Country tuned harmonicas, are available from Hohner, the special 20 is the only one they  offer currently. Ok you’ve got a country tuned harmonica, in the key of C, and a standard Richter tuned one in the key of C.

First, take the standard harmonica and play “The First Note”, in 2nd position. The opening notes are:

D, for draw!, and B, for  blow!

3D 3D” 2D 3D” 3D 4B 4D 5B 5D 6B

Assuming you can do the big 3D” bend, which means that you can bend, a draw note 3 times down on your harmonica.  The second to last note, the 5th Draw In second position, this note is the flat seventh. Great for blues, often not so for melodies.

Now try with the country tuned harmonica.

Hear the difference?

The tune sounds right the raised 5th Draw is a major 7th.

This note occurs rarely in blues solos, so you probably haven’t missed it so far.

However the major 7th, occurs everywhere in other music types, particularly pop, and folk melodies.

Ok, now try the entire major scale, first take a standard G harmonica, and  play the first position major scale. That is:

4B 4D 5B 5D 6B 6D 7D 7B

Now repeat this G Major scale on the country tuned C harmonica. Sound Different huh?

2D 3D” 3D 4B 4D 5B 5D 6B

Try the scale up, and down a few times. Now extend to the low notes, namely:

2D 2D’ 2B 1D 1B

Notice how the 2D’ is the same note as the 5D, just an octave lower. If you’re fumbling these scales, stick at them until they are smooth.

Now try some second position folk melodies.

However, gaining the major 7th (by tuning up the 5D) means losing the flat 7th, the original note.

Bend the 5D down, the original flat 7th returns. Try this exercise:

With the standard Richter tuned C harmonica, play 2D 3D 4D 5D

Now with the country tuned C harmonica, play 2D 3D 4D 5D’

The last note of each phrase should match. Of course the bent note doesn’t sound as smooth as the 5D on the Richter tuned harmonica.

For this reason standard Richter tuned harmonicas are generally better for blues.

Except perhaps for this riff. Take the country tuned harmonica, play the following 12 bar:

2D 3D 4D 5B 6B 5B 4D 3D
2D 3D 4D 5B 6B 5B 4D 3D
4B 5B 6B 6D 7B 6D 6B 5B
2D 3D 4D 5B 6B 5B 4D 3D
4D 5D 6D 7D 8D 7D 6D 5D
2D 3D 4D 5B 6B 5B 4D 3D

Sound familiar? It’s the essence of many blues, and rockabilly guitar backing lines.

Sounds good on the harmonica, the country tuned raised 5th Draw makes it possible.

Here’s a video so you can hear some Country Licks!

Have you ever heard of Country harmonica?

Have you ever used country tuning?

Do you own any country tuned harmonicas?

Do you have the need for country harmonica?

I would love to get your feedback on this, please leave any comments, or questions below,  and I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting my website, please come back in the future, as i’m always adding new, and exciting content!

larry@allaboutharmonicas.com

Have a blessed day!

Larry