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Featured, Harmonica Lessons »

[1 Feb 2012 | Comments Off | 12,672 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 …

Featured, Harmonica Workbench »

[1 Feb 2012 | Comments Off | 13,779 views]
Harmonica Workbench: BlueXlab SP20 Comb—The Sequel

by Kinya Pollard
In the 2011 October issue of HarmonicaSessions.com®, I wrote about two extraordinarily good looking BlueXlab combs I had purchased. The quality and craftsmanship of the olive wood and anodized aluminum combs were exquisite. It was love at first site. I even contemplated running off to Vegas with them—and why not?  After all, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
My heart was broken, however, the moment I placed the SP20 to my lips. The protruding mouthpiece created an obstacle between me and the “fat tone” embouchure I worked so many …

Featured, Microphone Choices »

[1 Feb 2012 | Comments Off | 12,512 views]
Microphone Choices: NITS and CHIGGERS—THE NASTY DETAILS INSIDE:

SWAPPING OUT FOR CRYSTAL, PART 1
by Fritz Hasenpusch
I’ve got to admit that the squad of post-holiday helper elves still on duty down here in the MICROPHONE DUNGEON were more than a little concerned with the working title of this installment of THE MIC BENCH. They’ve requested that I state for the record: This is about harpmics that utilize piezo-electric/Rochelle salt elements—or that we’ll be using these high impedance devises. They’ve also asked me to request that the DEA please stand-down at this time. Thank you…
During our last visit we looked …

Featured »

[1 Feb 2012 | Comments Off | 28,462 views]
Power Licks!

By David Barrett
 
This month we’ll dig into the Power Licks section of my newly released book with Mel Bay Publications Rock Harmonica (MB21979BCD).
The guitarist on the following recordings is John Garcia. John is a master of the extended solo—he can easily wow the crowd for twenty choruses. Not only does he own a huge vocabulary of licks, he’s also very adept at scale combinations and arpeggios at lightning speed. My playing, on the other hand, has become more and more classic in nature over the years. In my teens my …

Featured, Harmonica Workbench »

[1 Dec 2011 | Comments Off | 14,715 views]
Harmonica Workbench: Passion On The Bench

by Kinya Pollard
Over the years, I have been approached by numerous harmonica players who have confessed their love for tinkering. Many of you spend more time on the workbench than on the bandstand—sound familiar?
 
Motivated by the economic downturn or simply a desire to monetize their hobby, a few of you out there officially set up shop and began marketing your harmonica centric business.
 
As a business owner for over 30 years, I am always intrigued and delighted when I find an enterprise that has crossed over the notoriously difficult five year …

Featured, Harmonica Lessons »

[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 …

Featured, Harmonica Lessons »

[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 …

Featured, Microphone Choices »

[1 Dec 2011 | Comments Off | 7,461 views]
Microphone Choices: NITS and CHIGGERS: THE NASTY DETAILS INSIDE!

 by Fritz Hasenpusch
 
 
Patients make their way to the MIC DUNGEON for all manner of reasons, for all manner of treatments. Just like with people, microphones can be affected by many different types of maladies that can adversely influence their looks, their viability, and their functional capability. Since we’ll be studying the “nasty details inside,” let’s assume we’ll be passing on the purely cosmetic fixes (no Kardashians) and dig into ways of actually maximizing your mic’s capability to deliver what you’re looking for: BETTER PERFORMANCE from your harpmic.
 
Topping the list of upcoming …

Featured, Harmonica Workbench »

[11 Oct 2011 | Comments Off | 10,263 views]
Harmonica Workbench: BluesXlab SP20 Combs

 by Kinya Pollard
 
What’s not to love about the perfectly milled SP20 combs made by BlueXlab (Italy)—makers of the vintage switchcraft lookalike Amphenol connector volume control. With exquisite materials and seductive finishes, I was fully expecting the BlueXlab (www.bluexlab.com) combs to provide me with my next favorite Special 20 harmonica.
 
Shown in aluminum

 
Check out the detail on this olive wood comb:

 
Unfortunately, there was a design flaw that prevented this from happening. For those harmonica players on the quest for big fat tone, you probably spotted the “fly in the ointment”—the mouthpiece.

No, it …

Featured, Microphone Choices »

[11 Oct 2011 | Comments Off | 3,349 views]
Microphone Choices: Back Inside Lord Microphones

by Fritz Hasenpusch 
Sure, it’s always fun to hang in the bright shiny world of the thin, thin candy coatings that shield LORD MICROPHONE from the corrosive world outside—not to mention your grubby paws—but it’s time to dive back inside. Where the TONE is…
 
There’s a compulsion among Tin Sandwich jockeys—not all, but many, that drives them to experiment with virtually every aspect of their sonic pursuit. Some will focus on tinkering with the instrument itself: The harmonica’s reeds, the reed plates, the combs, even the nails and screws that hold them together. …