How to Become a Blues Harp Player

So what kind of animal is the blues harp player? In the first chapter of the Apprenticeship Series, guest blogger Elwood takes us through part 1 of his blues ethnography, Figuring Out The Harp Player.

For some, the journey to becoming a master takes them from the depths of frustration to the giddy heights of triumph via a thousand smoky jam sessions and hundreds of hours in the woodshed. Many of us, however, find the journey to becoming a master shorter and much easier: it goes all the way to the local music store and back – more often than not via the ugly hat shop.

There’s an old joke – or historical anecdote? – about a father who sends his son to harmonica lessons. The son comes home after the first lesson and his old man asks what he learned. The boy says, “I learned the two-hole draw, dad.” Mighty impressed is his old dad. (more…)

Hohner MS Replacement Reed Plates

Playing harmonica with thick specs

Heap O' HarpsOtis, the Harp Surgery postman, stopped in this morning for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. He delivered a lovely letter from Mr Clive Langhorn who was the Harp Surgery’s very first student many years ago. Clive is now a great blues harp specialist who performs around the South of England. He writes..

I have recently fitted the thicker reed plates (normal .9mm / thicker 1.09mm) to a MS Blues Harp, and it sounds good. Can you tell me why anyone wouldn’t use them, and if different keys may be affected differently using the thicker plates. Best regards,

It’s wonderful to hear from you Clive. I trust you are still entertaining the masses with your masterful command of the blues. Your question is most welcome and I hope you won’t mind me publishing my analysis, both for your benefit and for the benefit of our reader. (more…)