Practice beats equipment and it ain’t even close.
When I was in my first year of playing, I thought that buying a Hohner Crossover for about 80 bucks would immediately give me the ability to bend notes and have a clear tone.
But it didn’t. It did sound better to me, don’t get me wrong, but I still needed to do something else.
I needed more practice. I needed more time with the instrument.
So the more I practiced. The more I played. The bends got easier. In addition, they got clearer.
Now I am by no means an expert or professional right now, but I my bends are getting better every day.
OK…so new equipment ain’t gonna necessarily get you to your goals. So how do you know when to buy some more equipment and when to just practice till you get over it. Read more ›
The other day I listened to a harmonica player on YouTube. The note playing was perfect, but something was wrong. The notes felt lifeless. What could be done? It then hit me. The player had no vibrato at all.
What is vibrato? It is the minor fluctuations in sound that you hear when someone sings or plays notes.
Vibrato is one of those things that just takes your playing to the next level. But how do you do it? There are a number of different ways to play a vibrato and each one sounds a bit different. In this article, I’m gonna give you an example of four approaches to doing a vibrato. Learn as may as you can to increase the sounds that are at your disposal as a musician.
As noted above, I am writing four methods. There are probably some more. And you can combine these methods to give a different sound.
In addition, I think that the Face and the Diaphragm vibrato may be the same thing, but I haven’t convinced myself of it yet.
At any rate, I am going to name these approaches the Throat or Cough vibrato, the Face or Jaw vibrato, the Diaphragm or gut vibrato, and the Hand or Wah-Way vibrato.
So lets talk about them one by one. Read more ›
One of the first things you need to do when learning to play the harmonica is play single notes. In fact one of the easiest ways (and I mean relatively easy” to separate yourself from very new players is to learn how to play single notes.
I remember just playing some folk tunes and folks came to me and said, “My father plays harmonica too, but I can’t always make out the tune he is playing.” After a little talking to her, I realized the issue was her father only learned to play chords and never could get the single notes out.
So if you want to separate yourself from very new players, you want to learn this skill.
OK…how do you do it?
How do you improvise on the harmonica? Well I am just learning like everybody else, but right now I have four phases. And each phase has a different mindset and different approach.
I call it “Listen and the 3 Ps”
OK, the first phase is to listen to all kinds of music to put music in your head. Here you need to listen to great harmonica players from the past and the present. But not just harmonica music, but also listen to great singers. Study them. In addition, listen to great instrumentalists of all kinds like trumpet players, sax players, guitarists, keyboardists, etc.
So you want to play harmonica. You have viewed a few YouTube videos and have seen some great players and teachers and you are now excited and ready to get started.
I want to welcome you to the guild of Harmonica Players. We need more of you.
So you go see your local professional harmonica player and he brings a case of 30-40 harmonicas to a gig. You watch him carefully as he skillfully plays by pulling out one or another one.
Then on some songs you watch amazed as he sometimes holds two harmonicas in his hand and alternates between the two as he plays.
And then you begin to wonder, just how many harmonicas do I need to play?
Read more ›