Harping Again

I didn't look at this thread because I seriously thought that it was about harps, not harmonicas.

In the late 60s, shortly after I learned to play guitar, I bought a harmonica to learn the blues. Could not figure out the instructions for using the tongue on the holes and blow out of the corner. I did love it when a Harmonicats song came on, saw Larry Adler live in New York one time. Over the next few years I kept my harp with me, only tried playing occasionally with the pursed lip style that didn't work well. After I became a propman in the Hollywood movie studios, I was assigned to a pilot at Paramount with Al Molinaro from Happy Days, and Lyle Waggoner from The Carol Burnett Show. On the third rehearsal day, the producers announced that they have to rework the script and told us all to hang in for a couple of hours.

After a few minutes, Al brought out his ukulele and started playing. Then the casting director, an old song and dance man, started doing a soft shoe. Sitting in the audience bleachers, Lyle pulls out a harmonica and really cooks. As soon they finished, I zipped over to Lyle and told him that for the last 10 years I've been trying to figure out the tongue example that came with my harmonica.

Lyle said that he will show me how the person that taught him did it. He took my hand and put the outside fleshy part in his mouth and played it like it was a harmonica. WOW, that's all I needed, got it then and there. I took out my harmonica and within seconds, could play On Top of Old Smokey!

A couple of weeks later I was working on another pilot, which included a teenage heart throb type, but a very nice guy. During our lunch break, I practiced my harmonica when he came over, pulled out a harmonica and did some great blues licks. I asked how to do that and he explained that it's all in the tongue, reshaping it to create the blues sound. As it turns out, my tongue was made for it. As a kid I worked on snapping my tongue really loud, and in doing so, made my togue very strong and flexible. He showed me how he formed his tongue, I did readily, and boom, I had the blues.

Recently with my group getting together again because the covid restrictions eased a bit, we started meeting every other Wednesday and Sunday outside. On Wednesday I play bass uke, on Sunday our other bass uke player is up, which gives me opportunity to play ukulele, and opened the door to also play blues harmonica whenever a blues song is requested for our pre-set play list. It's been great to be able to do that again. I have seven Lee Oscars to cover all the keys we play.

Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)
•Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
•Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
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I’ve been playing mouth harp for a long, long time. A few years back, I was really into it. I played ‘em and retuned them and fixed them and even carried one with me. Then I quit! I just moved on to something else.

Now I’m back playing them, and enjoying them as much as I usta. I’ve forgotten a little, but I can still draw bend and blow bend so I’m on my way.

Most of my harps are old, German Hohners. I don’t care for Lee Oscars, though I have a few. I have some other kinds too.

NOTE: This damned Spell Check REALLY needs a spell check!!!
I haven’t been harpin’ lately. There’s been too much other stuff goin’ on. I’ve gotta get back to it, and my flutes need some attention too. Onward and Upward!
I will be doing some harpin' this weekend as our band is doing its annual "MLK" services at church. Lots of r+b/blues tunes that need some blues harp...
NOTE: This damned Spell Check REALLY needs a spell check!!!
Forgive the thread drift, but this comment reminded me of a joke:

A priest, a minister and a rabbit go into a bar. The bartender asks the rabbit, "What would you like?"
The rabbit says, "Ask these guys first. I'm just here because of autocorrect."
I’ve been so busy with other stuff that I haven’t even touched my harps. I wanna get into the minor ones some more. I really like the sound.
Well, I finally got around to playing two of my minor harps. I had a really good time playing tunes from Fiddler On The Roof, a Jewish tune I know (name unknown), some Russian sounding stuff and some just cool sounding, made up stuff. Good time! I gotta do it more.
I played my Bm harp today, and had a ball. I played some Fiddler . . ., a little from Brahms’ Hungarian Dance #5 and even The Little Nash Rambler! Anyone remember it? I really like the minor keys, especially in Klezmer music — sad yet wild and happy.
Some of my harp covers need to be cleaned. I don’t know what to clean ‘em with though, so I just wiped them with a clean cloth.

I play chromatic harmonica - the product I use to clean mine is called Nevr-Dull. Works like a dream on any bare metal. They end up looking better than new. Don't use it on painted or lacquered metal, though.
I like playing tunes in minor keys on tremolo harmonica in 3rd position. I play Am on a C harp, Em on G, and Bm on a D major harp. Yesterday I was playing "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty and "Turn the Page" by Bob Seger on the harmonica and baritone uke. Other fun "minor" tunes are "Jolene" by Dolly Parton and the old gospel classic "Wayfaring Stranger"...
Yeah, Rusty, I play Wayfaring Stranger too. I mostly play classical, the others that I named before and some Russian or Klezmer sounding stuff that I make up. Minor keys are a lotta fun to play.
Played my favorite harp, a Golden Mel in C. Somethin’ was wrong with the #3 draw bends, but one can’t really work on it. I cleaned it out a bit, but its bends are a bit chancy at best. Mebbe I’ll try some more next time. Anyway I had a good time with it.
Well, I’ve been very busy with all kinds of stuff, and, alas, I’ve let my harps slide into retirement again. I was really enjoying them too. I gotta get back to ‘em.

I’ve become an iPad addict lately — shame!
I helped a member who was having a harmonica problem a coupla days ago.

Then yesterday I played one of my harps just to see if I could still draw and blow bend and if I could remember how to play. And, doggone, it pretty much all came back! Well, I thought about how much I usta enjoy the harp all afternoon.

So today I had another good time looking at my old harp books, and I‘ve decided I’m gonna start playing my harps again.

I was really into them before. I usta fix and clean and retune ‘em, and the learning of new stuff never ends. They are also good for people with breathing problems.

I’m gonna give ‘em another go and see if I still enjoy ‘em.
Ah, the pleasure of rediscovering an old love. … But after reading your most recent post, maybe I should say “transient pleasure.”
Naw, the harmonica is one of my favorites. It’s right up there with my Tuba and my Mandolins. My Flutes belong in that bunch too.
Well, I finally got back to my minor harps. I had a lot of fun with my Naturals, but I still don’t know what or how to play the Harmonics. I have two of each. I guess I’ll just stick with the Naturals.

Last night I went through some music and found a bunch of minor tunes to play. I love the sad/happy sound of the minor keys.
I understand the natural minor tuning, and the music to use for it. However, what music is used for the harmonic tuning? Why are there two minor tunings? How does one tell which minor music to use for harmonic minor tuning?
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