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[1 Feb 2012 | Comments Off | 12,673 views]
Keep that Slider Slidin’- Part 3

Chromatic for Diatonic Players
By Winslow Yerxa
Last time I showed you cross-tuned and straight-tuned chromatics, where to find the reeds for each note on each type, along with some cleaning tips.
This time, I’m going to look at slide springs.
 
Springs—Why?
When you depress the slide on a chromatic harmonica, and then release the pressure, the slide springs back to its original position. This is nice, as it saves you the work of manually shuttling the thing in and out. But it’s also kind of expected. After all, when you press on your …

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[1 Dec 2011 | Comments Off | 7,977 views]
Chromatic for Diatonic Players: Keep that Slider Slidin’- Part 2

By Winslow Yerxa
In the last installment I described the various types of mouthpiece/slide assemblies found on current chromatic harmonicas. This time we’ll look at the differences among the actual sliders and describe ways to keep your slider clean and sliding well.
 
Straight and Cross Tuned Sliders (and the Reeds Behind Them)
Look inside the mouthpiece holes of the two harmonicas below and you’ll see two different types of slider. The one on top has all the upper halves of the holes open, while the one on the bottom has the upper half …

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[1 Dec 2011 | Comments Off | 9,462 views]
Beginning Blues Harmonica Songs? Do they Exist?

By David Barrett 
 
The following forum question to me offers our discussion for this article…
 
“Hello David, please tell me what would be the most important songs for every beginner to learn? I’ve just finished [insert study material here]… and I am looking for great songs that I can learn with my level of skill. Can you please suggest a short list of songs to learn alongside with my regular lessons?” Signed, LearningTheHarp
 
My initial reaction was that they don’t exist. For a blues harmonica song to exist, it’s assumed the player has …

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[11 Oct 2011 | Comments Off | 8,791 views]
No More Excuses – Part VII: 1st Position, Part 2

By David Barrett
Last issue we explored the standard three chords used in the blues, the I7, IV7 and V7 chords. If you spent the time necessary memorizing those three chords on the C Harmonica and playing the examples to a twelve bar blues jam track, then you’ve already experienced what amazing things it can do for your playing and you’re ready for this new study. If you haven’t, go back and do it. This article will do you no good if you haven’t mastered the basics. The focus of this …

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[11 Oct 2011 | Comments Off | 8,306 views]
Keep that Slider Slidin’- Part 1

Chromatic for Diatonic Players
By Winslow Yerxa
The slide mechanism is what separates the chromatic from other types of harmonica. Of course, not every chromatic player takes full advantage of it. Witness the famous photograph of blues harmonica icon Little Walter Jacobs holding a Hohner 64 with the slide button broken off. Or listen in on a harmonica club playing session where everyone plays a tune in C, then presses the slide button and holds it in to repeat the tune in C#, just for some variety.
But many players (even Little Walter, …

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[29 Jul 2011 | Comments Off | 10,972 views]
Review of 14-Hole Chromatics, Part 2 Chromatic for Diatonic Players

By Winslow Yerxa
 
In the last issue I got under the hoods of four mid-price 14-hole chromatics (try saying that fast several times). The harmonicas in question were the Hohner Chrometta 14, Suzuki Chromatix SCX-56, Hering Stan Harper 56, and the Bends Tonica 56. This time, I’m going to give you recorded samples of those instruments, together with my impressions from actually playing them.
Playing Impressions
After all the measuring and photographing, I was finally able to reassemble the instruments and actually play them. I resisted the temptation to adjust, alter, or otherwise …

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[29 Jul 2011 | Comments Off | 7,125 views]
No More Excuses – Part VI: 1st Position, Part 1

By David Barrett
We’ve finished 2nd and 3rd Positions, so it’s time to move to our last most common blues harmonica position—1st Position. Again, let’s start with the basics—which notes match the three blues chords for each hole on the harmonica in 1st Position. This is your first step in moving from being an intuitive player to a purposeful player. This knowledge is also imperative for accompaniment playing. Grab your C harmonica and let’s dig into blues in the key of C.
We’ll start by listing the notes in the Key of …

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[7 Jun 2011 | Comments Off | 8,430 views]
No More Excuses – Part V (1st Position, Part 2)

By David Barrett 
Last issue we explored the standard three chords used in the blues, the I7, IV7 and V7 chords. If you spent the time necessary memorizing those three chords on the C Harmonica and playing the examples to a twelve bar blues jam track, then you’ve already experienced what amazing things it can do for your 1st Position playing and you’re ready for this new study. If you haven’t, go back and do it. This article will do you no good if you haven’t mastered the basics. The focus …

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[7 Jun 2011 | Comments Off | 15,006 views]
Review of 14-Hole Chromatics, Part 3 Chromatic for Diatonic Players

By Winslow Yerxa  
 Last time I reviewed two high-end 14-hole chromatics from Hohner and Suzuki, and a Seydel 12-holer that also starts on G below Middle C. This issue I’ll review four 14-hole models that deliver solid quality at the low-to-middle segment of the price spectrum. These are the Bends Tonica 56, the Hering Stan Harper 56, the Suzuki SCX-56, and the Hohner Chrometta 14.
In the previous installments I discussed the rationale for the slightly extended range of 14-hole instruments and their relationship to the 12-hole and 16-hole sizes. However, …

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[1 Apr 2011 | Comments Off | 6,946 views]
No More Excuses – Part IV

By David Barrett
We’ve finished 2nd Position, so it’s time to move to our next most common blues harmonica position—3rd Position. Again, let’s start with the basics—which notes match the three blues chords for each hole on the harmonica in 3rd Position. This is your first step in moving from being an intuitive player to a purposeful player. This knowledge is also imperative for accompaniment playing. Grab your C harmonica and let’s dig into blues in the key of D.
We’ll start by listing the notes in the Key of D Major. …