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Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!

17 Apr 08 - 07:08 AM (#2318110)
Subject: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: GUEST

Any handy tips for a beginner - Old Time Harmonica?

Well, my Harmonicas just arrived in the post today!

So before I go off at a tangent & teach myself lots of bad habits, does anyone here happen to have any useful tips, to help keep a complete beginner on the straight & narrow?

I hope those Lee Oskar models by TOMBO are OK for Old Time Music?

Cheers
Dick


17 Apr 08 - 07:23 AM (#2318114)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: Mr Happy

Moothy= Scottish, meaning harmonica?


17 Apr 08 - 07:55 AM (#2318132)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: theleveller

"Moothy" is a good word.

"Harmonica" always strikes me as being a bit of contradiction.

Same with "melodeon"!


17 Apr 08 - 08:12 AM (#2318144)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: Steve Shaw

If you don't already play the harmonica, the first skill to perfect is to be able to play one note at a time. Also, you should be aware that there are two ways of getting the notes, one by changing your mouth-shape so as to blow or draw through one hole at a time (pucker embouchure) and one by covering four holes with the tip of your tongue and uncovering just the hole you want to play (tongue-blocking). I played for years unaware that anyone did the latter and it's been a bit of handicap that I can't do it.   One other thing is that you should play your harmonica with a relaxed mouth (counter-intuitive to start with!) and you should breathe gently from your diaphragm. Forced breathing will result in a thin, harsh tone and will drastically shorten the life of the harmonica. You'll know all about it when reeds start to go flat. Enjoy!


17 Apr 08 - 09:32 AM (#2318209)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: The Sandman

try tongeuing,up and down yourscale ,once you have found it of course,try the rhythm titty tum tum,or tum titty tum.
you have to move your tongue,up to the roof of your mouth,try it slowly on one note say a blow ,then try it on the suck of the same hole.
obviously this will be easier with the pucker technique ,than with the tongue blocking method.
it will be a very useful technique for ornamentation later on.
but as Steve says first learn to get single hole,I use the pucker technique,which has the advantage that your tongue is available for tongueing.
there are some harmonica tracks on my latest cd.
and Steve Shaw has a cd available of harmonica tunes at http://harmonicapics.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk

http://www.dickmiles.com


29 Aug 08 - 06:05 PM (#2425862)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: GUEST,Dan P.

Start with a good quality harmonica with a plastic comb.Do not use a wooden comb harp like a Marine Band until you become proficient at getting single notes.A wooden comb is not as responsive as a plastic comb unless you are able to direct all the air into one hole without any air spilling over to the side holes. It will take practice in order to do this. The trouble with $5 harmonicas is that you might get a good one and you might not.Many in that price range are out of tune. It is best to spend a few more dollars and get a good plastic comb harp like a Suzuki Bluesmaster which can gotten for around $20 on the internet.The cheapest good quality harp is the Huang Silvertone Deluxe which can be gotten on-line for around $10. Start out by playing simple folk melodies until you can play each single note clearly. Learn to play those simple songs in both the puckering and the tongue-blocking methods. Tongue-blocking will allow you to add chords to your lead notes,octaves,percussive single notes and various other special effects. When you can do all that well then you can start trying to bend notes which is essential for playing the blues but thats another program. If I had to sum-up my advice for a beginner in three words, it would be practice, practice, practice.


29 Aug 08 - 07:13 PM (#2425916)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: katlaughing

Dick, I tried to fix your link to Steve Shaw's CD but it keeps defaulting to some generic "orange" site for building your own site and when I searched on his name there, I got nothing. Then I searched google which came up with the same broken link. I did find THIS which looks pretty interesting!


29 Aug 08 - 07:17 PM (#2425918)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: Steve Shaw

I'm sorry, my site has been down for several weeks due to Orange changing things.   As soon as we get some bad weather I'll get to work on restoring it.


29 Aug 08 - 07:23 PM (#2425922)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: Steve Shaw

Katlaughing wrote:

"Dick, I tried to fix your link to Steve Shaw's CD but it keeps defaulting to some generic "orange" site for building your own site and when I searched on his name there, I got nothing. Then I searched google which came up with the same broken link. I did find THIS which looks pretty interesting!"

The link is to the National Harmonica League (NHL) website. I've written some articles in the NHL mag about Irish tunes on the diatonic harmonica and there are some musical examples on the music link on the site. For some reason I've popped up once or twice as "Steve Smith" instead of Steve Shaw in the listings. 'Tis I, I assure you!


30 Aug 08 - 12:24 PM (#2426301)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: The Sandman

try buying Sullys mouthorgan book,It is fairly good.
available from tony sullivan,Halshaw music.


30 Aug 08 - 02:53 PM (#2426384)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: Acorn4

Try listening to old Rolling Stones records and try to imitate the sound that Brian Jones got by bending the notes - you can't really explain to anyone how to do this, it's just trial and error.


31 Aug 08 - 12:46 PM (#2426859)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: GUEST,Jane Bird

One of my tips would be to start by trying to work out how to play tunes that you already know quite well. This is good advice for anyone learning a new instrument, but particularly useful as mouth organ lends itself to being learnt as you go along.

Have fun!

Cheers,
Jane


09 Nov 08 - 12:03 PM (#2489074)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: GUEST

Use a Marine Band Harmonica only.   soak it in Beer until the wood warps. Slice the warped wood off of the mouthpiece. You will be able to bend the notes as the blues harp players do.


09 Nov 08 - 12:39 PM (#2489098)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: GUEST,meself

The wood that expands past the edge of the "mouthpiece" has nothing to do with the ability or inability to bend notes.

Furthermore, there is no reason to use Marine Bands "only". Contemporary blues players use a variety of brands.

Furthermore, the OP said nothing about playing blues - but he did express interest in "Old Time Harmonica" and "Old Time Music".

Oh yes - do NOT soak your harp in beer. Most authorities do not recommend soaking it in anything nowadays. However, there are those who feel that soaking wood-combed harmonicas in water helps temporarily with achieving a fuller sound, at the price of briefer life for the instrument.


09 Nov 08 - 12:48 PM (#2489107)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: The Sandman

Iagree with guest meself.
hohner blues harps are ok,as are lee oskars,bending notes has more to do with sucking in a certain way,and using hand vibrato on the blow notes.


09 Nov 08 - 01:54 PM (#2489146)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: GUEST,stringsinger

I would go with Howard Levy's instructions. He uses a Special K (?)
Or is it a Golden Melody?)
where he actually files the reeds to get overblows which is an advanced technique. He has an instruction video on Homespun.

Frank


09 Nov 08 - 04:14 PM (#2489252)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: Rumncoke

Hmmm - always tap the thing before playing - a sharp rap will probably, hopefully, dislodge anything inside loose enough to become detatched and fly into your mouth.

Saw someone do that in a pub and an earwig fell out. Not something to breathe in.

Anne.


10 Nov 08 - 01:35 PM (#2490024)
Subject: RE: Any handy tips for a beginner - Moothy!
From: Escapee

I would suggest recording yourself as often as you can. Sometimes there's a big difference between what I think I'm doing and what the audience hears. Second tip is play a lot. Carry a harmonica wherever you go. Third tip is join Mudcat and check in now and then. Collectively, these people seem to know everything. Like watching out for earwigs. They will support and encourage a beginner.
Good luck Dick.
SKP