Group Harp Sessions on Zoom this Week!

Come and join the Zoom harmonica gang!

PLEASE NOTE – NO WORKSHOP THIS WEEK (8TH/9TH JULY) OWING TO OFFICE REFURBISHMENT. NORMAL SERVICE WILL RESUME FROM 15TH/16TH JULY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND OUR APOLOGIES FOR ANY DISAPPOINTMENT CAUSED THIS WEEK.

Zoom: 914-617-7410 058464

•  Beginners – Wednesdays 6pm-7pm (UK Time)
•  Intermediates – Thursdays 6pm-7pm (UK Time)

Use the link shown to join us – newcomers are always welcome, so don’t be shy! If you don’t have Zoom, click the logo to download it – there are plenty of short tutorials on YouTube, and we’ll help you too.

Voluntary contributions
It does take some time to prepare and organise each workshop. If you enjoy your experience, a donation is always welcome. Simply copy paypal.me/harpsurgery into your browser to transfer your contribution.

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Programmme & Resources

General
•  Harmonica Map – Map
•  Piano Keyboard Map – Map

Beginners (C harmonica required)
We’re working on introductory blues playing, 12 bar blues structure, I-IV-V chord progression, minor pentatonic and blue scale, couplets…
•  Pentatonic & Blues Scale (C Harmonica) – Tab
•  Thirds Exercise (in Couplets) – Tab
•  Thirds Exercise (in Triplets) – Tab
•  Quadruplets Exercise – Tab
•  12 Bar Blues introduction – Tab
•  When The Saints Go Marching In – mp3
•  When The Saints Go Marching In – Tab
•  Shuffle Link here

Intermediates (various keys of harmonica required)
We’re currently working on Portamento, Octaving and Intervals, I-IV-V chord progression, what to play over the IV chord in a Blues, and third position Blues. We’ll also be tackling Overblow 6B#, Blow Bends and Throat Vibrato, …
•  Breathing Exercise Tab
•  Modulation Exercise Tab
•  I, IV, V Chord progression study: Major Triads, Minor 7th, Minor 3rd Tab
•  Double Crossed and Blue – 3rd Position Study
•  Inchworm (Loesser) (Ostinato 6B# exercise) Tab
•  Jesu Joy (JS Bach) Outro section arpeggio 6B# exercise  Tab
•  Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven) 1st Movement intro arpeggio 4B# exercise Tab

Whammer Jammer […with tab]

J. Geils Band - Full HouseYou gonna get it all down, get it all night, get it all right, get it out of sight and get it down baby?

Here’s the top entry in our ‘I wanna play like that’ hit list. Originally recorded on the J.Geils Band studio album The Morning After in 1971, Whammer Jammer reappeared a year later on the classic live album Full House. It is a power harping beast of the highest order.

Like the lunar landing, or the fall of the Berlin Wall, every power harp fan can remember when and where they were first Whammered! So, it’s time to reminisce a little, do some research and then, with the help of modern technology, deconstruct the song for you. Key of A major ten hole diatonics harps at the ready..
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1st Position Blues Harp – An Introduction (Part 1)

Harps and Guitar 1A guide to straight blues harping

No force, however great, can stretch a cord, however fine, into a horizontal line which is accurately straight. Elementary Treatise On Mechanics (William Whewell)

The classic blues harmonica journey starts with a crusade to the Holy Shrine of cross harp. Whereupon, straight harp (normally in the guise of Oh Susannah) is swiftly abandoned. Drunk on the glories of success, and soon lavishly equipped with assault amplifiers and bullet microphones, the crusade continues.

New techniques are won – including tongue blocking, vibrato, blow bends and third position blues – before a dark specter looms like a cloud on the horizon; the ghost of first position past. It’s been neglected for too long and now it’s broken our serenity, and it’s raining torment. Here’s how to make amends…

Listen to

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Misty – Jerry Portnoy [..with tab]

On my own, would I wander through this wonderland alone.. Misty (Johnny Burke)

In 1995, Jerry Portnoy recorded his landmark harmonica album Home Run Hitter with The Streamliners. The record’s producer was Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, while Duke Robillard contributed guitar and vocals to the project. The result is a collection of songs that bounce, groove and swing like a beast.

Listen to

For harmonica players, the album provides many rewarding avenues for exploration. This is partly owing to the diverse rhythms and styles Jerry uses, but more importantly because of his unerring attention to detail. The title track Home Run Hitter for example, is one of the finest examples of first position blues harping you’ll ever hear. If this position is new to you, or you just need to brush it up a bit, grab an E harp and play along.

In Misty (the 1954 jazz standard written by pianist Erroll Garner, adopted by Johnny Mathis with lyrics by Johnny Burke), Jerry demonstrates his ability to hit and hold those awkward cross-harp bends that would leave most of us audibly exposed. Add in the exciting transition from ballad to swing time at the midway point, and we have two and half minutes’ worth of sublime jazz. (more…)

Why Are Draw 2 And Blow 3 The Same?

Every truly cultured music student knows

Find your 10 hole C diatonic harmonica and blow hole 3. You’re playing G natural. Now draw hole 2. You’re also playing G natural. So why do we have duplicated notes on our instrument?

Well before we get all technical, for beginners it’s a great way to check that your 2 draw is true and not partially bent when you’re playing. When starting out, 2 draw can be hard to master. It can help to blow 3 and see if you are in pitch by comparing it with your 2 draw. If you’re experiencing problems, check out this helpful post ‘Why is 2 draw so difficult?. Now back to our two note conundrum. No it’s not a mistake, and yes, it does seem strange.

To solve the apparent mystery, let’s first consider blow 3. Our blow notes are arranged uniformly in terms of pitch. If we blow them in sequence from hole 1 to 4, we’ll hear the C major arpeggio. The same goes for holes 4 to 7, and 7 to 10 respectively. It’s the same result in three different octaves, each one higher in pitch than the previous, rather like a piano keyboard. (more…)

Guitar Licks For Harmonica – You Don’t Love Me

Allman BrothersYou don’t love me, pretty baby

The Good Doctor, Greasy Rob from the garage and Barry the Landlord were enjoying some time out on the patio, shelling a mountain of fresh prawns and sipping ice-cold pilsner. Amidst occasional quacks from the village duck pond and the chirrup of sparrows in the privet hedge, they could detect the approaching whistle of Otis the postman, who was steadily making his rounds.

Shrimps and BeerHow do all!‘ Otis leaned over the Surgery gate, tugging the peak of his hat and holding out a letter for the DocThanks Otis old boy, have you time for some of our splendid seafood?’ the Doc enquired. ‘Sorry’, Otis replied, ‘I’m in a bit of a rush right now – an Otis rush you could say’. Otis was visibly pleased with his impromptu blues pun.

‘Aaah!‘ said the Doc, ‘You Don’t Love Me!‘ Otis looked a little surprised. I wouldn’t go that far‘, he replied, straightening his cap. ‘No, no, no…the letter old boy! It’s from Tom Esposito. He wants to know how to play the riff for You Don’t Love Me by The Allman Brothers’. ‘Now we’re talking!‘ whooped Otis, as he pulled a Special 20 from his pocket, ‘I likes a drop of the AB’s.’

Listen to

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