Hohner PentaHarp

The harp beginner’s and guitarist’s new friend
The PentaHarp has finally reached the UK and we have been busy putting it through its paces. With an attractive electric blue ABS comb, the PentaHarp is essentially a special tuning in a Special 20 shell. An addition to Hohner’s Progressive Series, it comes in a sturdy flip-top box and is packaged in an eye catching outer carton featuring Nashville singer song-writer, Payton Taylor. The packaging explains:

The PentaHarp simplifies the harmonica by giving players easy access to one of the most useful scales in rock and blues music without the need for advanced techniques. The tonal layout is the Blues Scale, which is a Minor Pentatonic scale with the added ‘blue’ note. Create expressive melodies and solos quickly and easily, and never play a wrong note!(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
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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…)

Building Confidence in holes 7-10

Harmonica UK – Lockdown Sessions

Thank you for joining my HarmonicaUK Zoom session on accessing and playing the top end of the diatonic harmonica. Thanks also to Jason Ricci for joining us live from New Orleans with some wonderful insights into playing solo harmonica.

If you’d like to learn more about specific aspects of diatonic playing, feel free to contact me for 1:1 tuition. Alternatively come and sit in on our free weekly Workshop Group where we can share your questions and make you feel welcome.

You can review this tutorial on their website here. You can also sign up to receive their monthly magazine and news of harmonica festivals, harmonica music learning in all its forms, and other great events.

Harmonica Lessons Available Online

The Good Doctor’s making house calls

We hope you’re staying safe and keeping well. While we’re isolating and enjoying some extra down time , what better opportunity could there be to grow your harp skills and elevate your playing. Don’t put it off any longer!

While regular live lessons may be on hold, this isn’t stopping us from enjoying harmonica learning at the Harp Surgery. Indeed, the Good Doctor is ready and waiting to coach you over internet right now! To book your online session, go to our Contact page and get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you very soon. 

Free Online Harmonica Festival 5-7.Feb 2021

Harpin’ By The Sea is back and online for 2021 and it’s free! From the 5-7.Feb 2021 join us for a weekend of harmonica happiness.

•  Live on Zoom and simultaneous YouTube stream
•  Fifteen international guest artists
•  Performances, tuition and harp chat
•  Interviews and breakouts with our event sponsors
•  Hohner Harmonica’s virtual factory tour
•  Limited edition gold plated Hohner Marine Band to win
•  Harmonica product giveaways
•  Archive video footage
•  John Cook’s harp tech drop-in studio

And all from the comfort of your sofa. We’re locked down, loaded and ready to rumble. Check out our website for the latest news of our line up, sponsors and festival schedule. Please support our artists by donating to paypal.me/harpinbythe sea

Tune in. Dig it. Tell all your friends.