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Thread: ukers guide to blues harp

  1. #1
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    Default ukers guide to blues harp

    hi folks

    I am new here and not sure of the rules.

    I have been thinking of doing a ukers guide to blues harmonica.

    Am i allowed to post it on this forum?

    would anybody be interested?

    it may or may not be a few installments ( i can be long winded) and the content is still up in the air as i am quite busy right now. It would focus on the beginner ( harp player) who is interested in playing the harp but cant get the process kick started.

    there is alot of harp instruction on the net so i dont want to reinvent the wheel.

    I dont want to do harp lessons per se, more like some perspective with maybe a basic riff or two to get folks started

    if its OK and if there is enough positive feedback via this post for the idea i can start the process.

    peace eor


    .
    kala ka-kcg-ct ltd , aNueNue papa ll ce,

    gold tone buc banjo uke, Covered Bridge redwood/myrtle tenor

    noname 60's baritone

    http://www.youtube.com/user/MultiFlyfisher

  2. #2
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by eor View Post
    hi folks i can be long winded...
    That's good for a harp player isn't it?
    My News is Blues!
    www.dtfbmusic.com
    www.youtube.com/DTFBMusic
    http://musicandjewelry.com

    Kala KA-JTE/2TS Jazz archtop electric tenor
    Kala KA-PSS pineapple soprano
    Several custom made tenors and a baritone

    I get my large circumference from too much pi.

  3. #3
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    Default

    sounds awesome! I have been wanting to learn harmonica for a while and a guide on here would motivate me to do it!!

  4. #4
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    Default

    I play a bit , but I would certainly be eager to learn more , go for it
    Steve

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by the52blues View Post
    That's good for a harp player isn't it?
    insert drum roll here

    LOL

  6. #6
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    Default

    Go for it I love the harmonica, always have done, count me in
    Applause Ovation UAE 20
    Sheltone Ukulele Banjo 1971 (My ninth birthday present, thanks Dad) Brian May plays one on Bring Back That Leroy Brown on Shear Heart Attack
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  7. #7
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    Cool

    Bluze is CooL!

    Harp on, brother... harp on....
    Cheers and Twangs!

  8. #8
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    Default ukers guide

    hi folks i am not an expert and any and all feedback from the harp players here is welcome...

    The ukers guide to blues harp..

    Chapter 1


    The harmonica is a unique little instrument. Almost every house hold has one in a drawer or a box in the attic someplace but few households have somebody who can play one.

    For our purposes when we discuss the harp we are talking about the 10 hole diatonic harmonica.

    Part of the problem is the harp is one of the only instruments where almost everything happens where you can’t see what is going on. Things happen in your mouth or behind cupped hands so its difficult to watch another harp player and see what he is doing. To learn to play the harp you have to replace your eyes with your ears.

    The style of harp playing we associate with the blues and most rock music is called cross harp or second position. Cross harp gives the sound of the blues.

    Each harp comes in a specific key but even if you change keys of harp the pattern of notes doesn’t change so if you learn a riff on one harp it can be played on any harp in any key, same riff ,same pattern. The same riff played on an A , C and an F harp will play different notes on each but will sound the same , only higher or lower in pitch.

    If you play your harp alone, sitting and practicing a riff for example, key isn’t so important but the minute you play to music you have to match the key of harp you use to the key of the music.

    In second position, you choose a harp that is in a different key than the song is.

    Song key ...... cross harp key

    A ....... D
    C ........ F
    G ........ C
    D ....... G
    E ....... A …ect


    To learn the harp one of the hurdles a newcomer has is to get over being intimidated.

    Its possible to play harp effectively, even with out being a whiz, if you under stand that a lot of harp playing especially in rock is only accenting the music or only in a small part of the song, yet really adds a lot to the feeling of the music.

    Rock music uses a bit less harp than blues does.

    So let look at the form

    a classic riff every body knows is played ( by lee oscar, yes that lee oscar) in the song “low rider“ by war. Its only a few staccato notes but it defines the song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro4yhp9L6Ok

    another great harp part that instantly defines the song is at the beginning of this song.. supertramps school

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaW2_LMEEz8&feature=fvsr

    and because it is so iconic check out this version.. same tune with a slight change in feeling…maybe more bluesy.. and more harp in the tune than the original. still all very basic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTXWX...eature=related

    Another good example is trooper.. small harp part, not to complicated but defines the tune..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHnl7jNK6us


    Another fairly simple but iconic harp part is in long train running by the doobie brothers. I usually harp to the whole tune but the original is all you need.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5e3M6v-rCQ


    In “if you want to get to heaven” by the ozark mountain daredevils note how much repetition of a riff is used to build musical tension. this is very common in harp playing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WZNOaKbYtA

    In all these tunes notice how feeling in more important that blistering speed and in some cases technical prowess. Simple riffs well played with feeling work better than complicated ones played poorly or played quickly to show off how cool a dude you are.

    Before we take a look at the harp in blues music , since we are on the topic of feeling here is an interesting passage..



    “ I've never lived so far that I couldn't walk to the nearest highway and stick out my thumb and be home the next day. I came home for good that way, on a wet November morning, leaving Halifax on a transit bus which would deposit me on the Dartmouth side of the bridge. Maybe you saw me there back in 1988, a young man with longish hair in an old army coat and work boots. I would have been in the hiker’s stance, my back toward my destination, my thumb out, standing back ward as if taking a last whist full look at where I had been. You would have seen my guitar case and kitbag, placed off to the side of the highway out of the mud, and my sign, a requirement for the serious hitchhiker, in the hand that wasn't extended out to the highway. A good sign could take hours off of your travel time and mine always said HELP! HOME TO MAMA...and the name of my hometown on the other side, in black permanent marker to ensure better visibility for the cars and trucks rushing by. What you couldn't see was the damp chill down the back of my neck, the twenty six dollars in my wallet or the straight razor, wrapped in a red bandanna and tucked in an easily accessible pocket. We all carried some kind of blade on the road in those days, for peace of mind more than anything and my choice was based on its clean shave and significant intimidation value.

    You don't see many folks riding the thumb any more. "Smoke house" Willie Brown
    would have called it "hoboing". My generation didn't hop rail cars, we followed the asphalt instead. It amounted to the same thing I guess. You took the train or bus and if you wanted to save the cash or didn't have the funds you took your chances with lady luck and the generosity of strangers. There is a feeling of freedom on the open road that is almost a cliché. Hitch hiking is the ultimate expression of that freedom. Its not the short local journey of some kid going into town on Friday night, but the long haul that lets you experience it, the isolation, the independence.

    They say that wherever you go you run into some body from back home.

    Its a safe bet that at least a good majority of them did part of the journey on the cheap. I would see allot of other guys around my own age on the road, every one of them coming from somewhere and going some place else, for reasons all their own, with a handful of change and itchy feet. A bandanna tied on the end of a pole replaced by packsacks and duffel bags as they stood in the sun or the rain, trying to look mean enough to discourage foolishness but friendly enough that folks would give them a ride.

    I learned to play the harmonica on the road. It's the perfect place to learn an instrument since you have lots of time and nobody around to make you self-conscious. It's not the place to learn the cello, but its perfect for the harmonica, though any bluesman worth his salt calls it a harp, or my personal favourite, the Mississippi Saxophone. When you first learn to play and it still sounds like a tinny kids instrument its a harmonica, when you can finally play with feeling and understanding and the music just seems to come out on its own, its a harp.

    I don't remember a lot of that last trip home. I do remember taking shelter beneath an overpass, crawling up to the top and sitting for an hour with my harmonica and playing. Heavy moist air and tons of stone and concrete were like an amplifier and with the traffic thumping across the expansion joints above me keeping time; I played. It started out as a blues improv, second position, key of A off the blues scale, but some how morphed into something about maritime boys and the road, about being young and scared, about choices made and regrets. It started as a piece on the harmonica and ended as a piece on the harp.



    next …… the harp in blues…..
    Last edited by eor; 09-10-2010 at 03:33 PM.
    kala ka-kcg-ct ltd , aNueNue papa ll ce,

    gold tone buc banjo uke, Covered Bridge redwood/myrtle tenor

    noname 60's baritone

    http://www.youtube.com/user/MultiFlyfisher

  9. #9
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    Default Harp Key Chart



    From this thread
    http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...55-a-harmonica

    ...so a blues song in the key of G uses your C harp. A song in the key E uses your A harp, etc.

    Incidentally, this is the same relationship as a Baritone Uke (or guitar) to a standard C-tuned ukulele! Playing a G chord on a baritone is the same fingering as a C chord on a soprano, an F on a baritone is a Bb on a soprano. 5 semitone interval.
    Last edited by allanr; 09-13-2010 at 06:03 PM. Reason: added examples

  10. #10
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    Default Passage...

    BTW, where is that passage from? It's great.
    Allan
    Sopranos:Gibson Uke 1, Ukebrand Kumalae, Martin S-O, Northern JCD1, Risa Stick, Aloha plastic, Dixie banjolele, Macafferi Islander
    Concerts: National Triolian, Koaloha Sceptre, Gold Tone banjolele, Kala SMHGCE-C, Gold Tone Banjo, vintage Harmony
    Tenors: Godin MultiUke, Regal Wendell Hall Teeviola, Sonny Daze CBU, Oscar Schmidt 8-string A/E
    Baritones: Bobby Henshaw
    The Mrs...
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