What inspired you to play the harmonica?

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  • #4653
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Hi Guys,

    I’m looking for the songs, artists and harmonica solos or melodies that inspired you to pick up the harmonica??

    In addition to my original jam track series that kicks off later this week, I’m thinking it would be good to look at some of your most loved harmonica pieces, showing you how they are played.

    First, I need to hear from you guys as to what those pieces are??

    It could be an entire piece, or simply a small phrase like John Lennon played on the Beatles “love me do”. In any case, I’d love to hear what turned you on to the idea of playing the harmonica, and the tunes you would love to learn..

    Alright.. shoot below, and lets get this train rollin’

    Mg

    #4667
    IanIan
    Member

    Not sure where to start!
    Much of what got me in to harp was subconsciously assimilated through film soundtracks I think…
    Lonesome cowboy stuff, bluesy riffs in American films, you know the stuff.
    As far as specifics go, I’ll have to have a think.
    I love cephas and wiggins if any you are taking requests though 😉

    #4698
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Thanks for getting the ball rolling here Ian! 🙂

    Cephas and Wiggins, there’s a lot of cool stuff to choose from there.. I am looking for specifics if possible?

    Youtube links or song names would be great.

    Keep the suggestions coming guys!

    #4700
    LanceLance
    Participant

    Gooday chaps.
    I’ve been playing the Ukulele for a couple of years with a range of Uke groups from Yinnar through Melbourne and up to Girgarre here in Victoria, Oz.
    What got me excited about picking up a Harp was not one particular riff or tune, it was the fact that the harp is so versatile.
    All the groups we play in has a Harp player lurking and it’s great to see and hear them produce one from the pocket and just break out into a ripper little instrumental.
    I wanna do just that sort of thing.
    Some of the Simon & Garfunkel stuff lends itself to just that I reckon.
    I’m a long way off ripping the Harp out of the pocket in public, but we have a goal.

    Cheers to y’all 🙂

    #4701
    IanIan
    Member

    Love this one. The harp part is kinda achievable too. So much of his harp fills in other songs are crazy quick they are way out of my reach. Love it all though.
    Black rat swing is another.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by IanIan.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by IanIan.
    #4704

    My dad Graham Jenner was a really good player – people used to say that he must have had a forked tongue!
    I was also inspired by Club de harmonicas de Valparaiso – there is a fantastic film about the club and its place in our beautiful port. They asked me to play with them, but I know that I am not good enough yet. Their star player is Daniel Bahomondes.
    Now is the time for my 9 year old daughter and I to really start playing properly, after messing around on the harmonica before.
    Here we go!

    #4742
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Thanks Guys, that’s great stuff. I’m having fun checking out the different players and ideas. From Stuart in Chile, with a nice harmonica band, wow! To Simon and Garfunkel (good idea Lance) and Cephas and Wiggins. It already just goes to show how versatile the instrument can be..

    Keep the stories and specific suggestions coming everyone! The more the merrier!!

    #4759
    IanIan
    Member

    Oh, and in no small part…. This…..

    #4760
    AvatarMark
    Participant

    I’ll give you two. The first is “Make Me a Pallet on The Floor” by the immortal Mississippi John Hurt. In this rendition on YouTube, starting at 13:18 and continuing to 17:45, John is joined by Gary Ricks and John Sabasion. I have always found the Harmonica work inspiring – Mississippi John Hurt live 08-29-64. The second is a nod to a local artist, Peg Harvey, who does a nice job with Hurry Home Daddy

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by AvatarMark.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by AvatarMark.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by AvatarMark.
    #4764
    AvatarMark
    Participant

    I’ll throw in a third one for good measure. Orange Dude Blues, a harp duet by John Sebastian and Annie Raines.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by AvatarMark.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by AvatarMark.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by AvatarMark.
    #4774
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Hey guys I’m luke.
    I have been playing guitar on and off for ten years. I love to make music and used to love playing for friends at a get together. After I had kids the get together dwindled and I play less and less. But that feeling you get when you play can lift your spirits. Make you remember and express things you can’t with words and make it real. I do a lot of things solo now like fishing or sometimes camping with a friend. Being able to carry that tool for expression in your pocket is an amazing thing. But the thing that got me is you can feel the music in your hand, throat and chest breathing becomes something amazing and I feel more connected to the music. When me and my missus split up I wanted something more than guitar, a new way to express and I found the harmonica to be a good tool for that. Even though I’m only just new, I can see it’s gonna be just right for me.

    #4776
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    As a non musician that wants to learn to play an instrument, it seemed like a no brainer.

    Harmonicas are not as expensive as other instruments, they do not take up a lot of space, and you can carry them around with you. I can play around with it in the evening when the kids are asleep, or while stuck in traffic on my commute.

    How much would I spend on a guitar, or brass instrument? I have always had a thing for pianos, but they are larger and cost more than I would like to spend on what can ultimately just be a phase of mine. Much easier to justify a $40 harmonica. If I feel I have aptitude for music and enjoy it I can always get a guitar or something else later.

    There is also something special about the Harmonica. It always seems cliche when one of my colleagues mentions they are learning to play the guitar or drums. I always think, “typical new dad trying to stay cool”. It seems a bit too much like one of those Rock Band video games. I also do not have that fear of being compared to little girl that has been taking piano lessons since she was five. A man in his thirties playing “here come the clowns” on the piano is not what I want to be associated with. Playing row, row, row your boat on the harmonica just feels less embarrassing.

    Harmonica felt more original and solo to me. I have not mentioned it to anyone, but my wife of course hears me play.

    #4780
    Ken ClouserKen Clouser
    Participant

    I played alto sax from grade school through college. At my high school graduation, the seniors from the band got together and played Huey Lewis and the News Workin’ for a Livin’. Since none of us played harmonica, I played Huey’s solo on my sax. Was a lot of fun to play then, would love to play it on the harp now. It starts at 1:21 in the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcIK3akktLU

    Another song that I would LOVE to learn to play is the intro to Clink Black’s State of Mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PvR4SMWVwY

    #4793
    Mitch GraingerMitch Grainger
    Keymaster

    Hey Guys,

    I’m really diggin hearing your stories of inspiration. Keep the stories and links coming. The more I hear from everyone on this topic, the better!

    Meantime, I’m listening to ‘Pallet on the Floor’ from the John Hurt live show that Mark mentioned above. I’ve always liked Mr Mississippi, but I’d never come across that performance, thanks Mark. For anyone who is working on steps #23 and #24 in the course, check it out. Gary is using an E harp in second position major (country scale) on that tune to play in the key of B major, with some nice high trills on the 6 and 7 hole draw, among other things..

    Mg

    #4795
    RichardRichard
    Participant

    I started playing because I am a terrible singer but love music!

    The harp is always in key. I have the strange affliction of being able to hear when something is in tune but being completely incapable of consistently replicating a sound with my voice.

    I love the sound of the blues harp most, but being from a small Canadian island with a strong Celtic tradition I have heard some amazing harp renditions of traditional Irish and Scottish music and would love to learn some. I have not been brave enough to try it yet as I am still working through the advanced portion of the course, but this is one example that I found on youtube. Any special techniques you are hearing here?

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by RichardRichard.
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