World harmonica Festival 5th-6th Nov 2021

Fédération Internationale de l’Harmonica (IHF) presents United In Music:

Following the cancellation of the World Harmonica Festival 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the festival artists will appear at United In Music, a live Zoom event over two days from the Music School in Trossingen, featuring a combination of live performances, streams and exclusive video material.

Live interviews with performers, breakout rooms and a virtual bar offer visitors the opportunity to meet online, interact with the artists and enjoy the festival atmosphere. Full details click the logo or click here.

On Friday evening, the World of Chromonica offers an exciting program featuring some of the world’s finest chromatic harmonica artists and groups from Europe and Asia, including Sigmund Groven, Long Deng Jie and the Sirius Harmonica Ensemble.

On Saturday, International Harp Masters presents a selection of today’s leading diatonic harmonica performers from the USA and Europe, among them Jason Ricci, Joe Filisko, Dennis Gruenling and Steve Baker.

Harmonica Workshops Live and Online

From Weds 15th Sept, weekly harmonica workshops return to The Brunswick, Hove

• Beginners 6.45-7.45pm
• Intermediates 8.00-9.00pm

Entry: £10.00 per session, payable in advance by paypal.me/harpsurgery

Later this Autumn, our weekly online harmonica workshops will return on Zoom

• Beginners – Details to follow
• Intermediates  – Details to follow

Entry: £10.00 per session, payable in advance by paypal.me/harpsurgery

Join our fun harmonica community
Harp Surgery’s workshops are all about connecting with other harp players, sharing music, learning songs, asking questions and developing key technical skills. We do blues of course, but we also explore a wide range of musical styles with a reasonable splash of music theory. We’re here to offer up solutions to your specific developmental needs during our group sessions, but you can also book 1:1 coaching if you wish to fast track your learning.

Attendee Feedback 
“You just helped me find my first overdraw!” Azza, UK
“Thanks for a fantastic workshop.” Mary Beth, US
“It’s been a joy sharing in a harmonica experience with you.” Maurice, US
“Sessions are thoroughly inspiring”.  Ron, Canada
“They are great sessions.” Roy, UK
“Thank you for sharing all of your expertise with such enthusiasm and humour. It is a wonderful opportunity for beginner and experienced harp players!” Stan, Canada (more…)

NEUMA Harmonica 10 Blues

Putting your money where your mouth is

For a budget conscious harmonica shopper, there is an ever increasing range of cheap harmonicas available online. By budget we mean under £25.00 GBP/$35.00 USD. While the price may be attractive, there’s one home truth that cannot be denied: buy cheap, buy twice. A clean cut web page, some impressive blurb and a few sharp images can make any harp look great, but don’t be fooled.

Read the reviews and remember you’re more interested in how the harp sounds and plays than how great it looks. We’d also advise against buying used harps and grandpa’s cast-offs. Unless they’re for your personal museum collection, or you’re adept at restoration projects, these are best avoided too. (more…)

1st Position Blues Harp – An Introduction (Part 4)

The Grand Canyon which yawns between the writer’s concept of what he wants to capture in words and what comes through is a cruel abyss.
— Fannie Hurst

Welcome to the final leg of our journey into 1st position blues technique. In previous posts we considered why 1st position blues can sometimes be left in the shadows. We also touched on building a general awareness of positional playing, how some positions are interchangeable, the Ionian Mode, the low end 1st position blues scale, and some low and high end 1st position signature licks.

As our versatility in 1st position grows, an inherent problem soon emerges; there’s not much on offer in the middle octave, so it’s difficult to connect holes 1 to 10 fluently using the blues scale. Consequently a common feature of 1st position blues involves jumping back and forth between the lower and upper ends of the harp.

In the middle register, the 1st position blues scale is buried in some uncomfortable overbends. For many players these are unachievable, which is why they’re left with such a meagre musical menu. Examples of licks played between holes 4B and 7B are few and far between, and the content is usually unsubstantial. Nonetheless, let’s see if we can shed some light on this time-worn enigma

Listen to
(more…)

Mud Ball Musings CD Review

Good afternoon gentlemen, let’s go for a blues on this mudball!

Regulars at the Harp Surgery will know how much we admire the harmonica style of Adam ‘Tidy’ Burney and The Brothers of Mothershovel. Newcomers fear not, you can catch up by reading our review from 2017 of their wonderful album Umcha, Umcha. In the meantime, hang onto your hats, he’s back!

Last month, amidst a nerve-wracking summer of Euro soccer, Otis the postman delivered an eagerly anticipated copy of Tidy’s new solo album, Mudball Musings. We duly closed the Surgery early, put the kettle on and gathered round the radiogram. The result? A feast for the ears, with an array of guest artists and supporting musicians, and of course harp playing of the highest magnitude. (more…)

Introduction to Sonny Boy II Harmonica Technique

Rice MillerDon’t start me talking, I’ll tell you everything I know

Elwood reminded folks at the Harp Surgery it’s the anniversary of Sonny Boy II’s birthday this week. How about we tab out one of his monster tracks? he suggested. The Doc stroked his goatee and lifted his bowler down from the coat stand. No need to tab one number, young Elwood, we’ll do them ALL he replied. But how is that possible? quizzed Elwood.

The Doc raised a sagely eyebrow. Once you’ve mastered his trademark cross-harp licks and timing, my boy, you can tackle much of his material. Then it’s a case of studying the first position harp work, timing and tone. But always remember you will never sound exactly like the master, nor should you . Elwood started warming his favourite blues burger. So where do we begin? he asked. From the turn around, answered the Doc, it’s his signature lick. It goes like this…

Listen to

(more…)