Blow Bending… that ‘Mini-Gillespie’

Ken had a very productive session this evening, learning how to blow bend. He reminded the Good Doctor the first blow bend on hole 10 is necessary to complete the upper major octave (doh-ray-me..):

7B 8D 8B 9D 9B 10D (first blow bend..) 10B’ 10B.

We read through the blow bend page from the Harp Surgery menu and put it into practice. With patience and one-to-one coaching, Ken had his first blow bend (8 hole on an A harp) nailed within ten minutes.

His feedback? Yippee! And the ‘Mini-Gillespie air cushion’ advice on the blow bend page was crucial.

Top End Harp Playing

Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?’ Harold Pinter

What is the ‘Top End’?

Holes 7-10 and everything that goes with them. When I first took up the harp, it seemed players always asked each other two questions: ‘Do you tongue block?’ and ‘Do you use the top end?’ At that time I didn’t do either. I didn’t really know what they were.

Apart from one high-pitched lick I had gleaned from The Cheaters song ‘Drugs’ (on their excellent ‘Sweat It Out’ album), I think I cracked blow bends long before I ever explored what has lovingly become known as ‘banjo country’. The top end. I go there more often these days (I also tongue block). (more…)