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jason g
Sep 10, 2009 5:17 PM GMT

hello all my name is jason i just got my 1 harmonica, i won,t to say hi, i am 34 is it to late for me ? the harmonica is a hohner pocket pal is this ok to start. thank you

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Comments (35)

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Sep 10, 2009 5:27 PM GMT
HarpMan Freeman Replied:

Welcome to the addiction :)

Any harmonica is ok to start with. There are better ones then Pocket Pal, but for now you'll do just fine. I recommend the first thing to attempt to learn is to play blow and draw on one hole at a time. In other words learn to shape you mouth "called embouchure" to be able to play one note at a time; both inhale and exhale.

There is two methods: Pucker or Tounge Block. Neither is better than the other, but it is my preference to pucker.

A great website to start learning the facts about harmonica is:

Also, Adam Gussow's YouTube harmonica instruction videos are wonderful.

Most important, don't give up, don't get discourage, make lots of noise and have fun. Soon the noise will turn into music and life will be good.

Sep 10, 2009 7:21 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

hey harpman freeman thanks for your post! i am happy to here that this harmonica will work for a bit, i got it for 5 bucks, so not much money - i like this !

Sep 10, 2009 9:07 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

thanks for your help, i have had a look at a golden melody { key c } will this be better for me ?

Sep 10, 2009 10:16 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Jason, whenever you're new to anything, it's always going to be a bit intimidating, and in the process of learning things, frustration is part of the learning curve and we all have had that, but just don't fall into the bad habit of trying to force things, which will lead to some really horrible habits that will not only work against you, but will shorten the lifespan of the instrument considerably.

Remember this, every single one of the great players, when they started out, all stunk it up big time and screwed up big time as well and so it's like the old saying "a baby has to learn how to crawl before it learns how to walk, and that baby has to learn how to walk before they learn how to run," and that is so true for just about anything one tries to learn. No matter how good you get, there is always more to learn and the minute you stop learning, you become musically senile.

Never be afraid to ask questions, even if you think it's dumb as the day is long because the only dumb question is the one you didn't bother to ask but should've.

It may make it easier to spend more money on a better harp to start with, but personally, I feel it is better to start on a much less expensive instrument because every player new to the instrument, often unknowingly, is gonna be brutally hard on the instrument and it's better to ruin a $5 harp than anything you're spending from $25-50 and upwards.

Don't do what too many newbies want to do and get into the gear thing in less than a year because getting technique, breath control,acoustic tone, chops, timing, resonance, articulation and accuracy is considerably more important and the one thing gear is guaranteed to do and that's expose what's there and will never hide anything. Now, this is not to be condescending, but it is important to get focused on those things first because those are considerably moreimportant and cannot be overemphasized.

Your first key to start out with should be a C, regardless of the brand/model as this is in a range that's neithr too high nor too low for newbies to handle.

Sep 11, 2009 5:20 AM GMT
Chris C Replied:

As we say in Australia 'Good On Ya Mate'. Never too late to start, and there is a magic and boldness in having a go. Freeman's advice is very good. I would like to add that as well as single notes to me it all comes back to rythym. The first three holes ( the lowest notes) are designed so that rythyms can be found between inbreath and outbreath. Thats right all three holes at once. You will soon find some that sound familiar. You do not have to blow/suck hardinfact it is an advantagenot to. The same applies to speed. You do not have to play fast. I hope this makes sense to you. Keep tryng for the single clear notes as well.

Sep 11, 2009 3:07 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

hello i am going to get a new harmonica, what one do i need ? - would you get. and thanks to all that posted !

Sep 11, 2009 4:38 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

The only thing that really should matter at this point in time is not so much the model but that it is tuned to the key of C and once your skills progress, then you can start thinking about both other keys and upgrading to a better instrument

Sep 11, 2009 5:23 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

thanks barbeque bob m ,i will keep that in mind,i just startedto learn to play blackbird, the harmonicais so much fun i dont think i will ever stop playing. now how good i will be, i dont know ! lol

Sep 11, 2009 8:36 PM GMT
HarpMan Freeman Replied:

I think this should be your first harmonica:

:) LOL

Sep 12, 2009 2:05 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

harpman freeman are you trying to tell me somthing with that pic. lol

Sep 12, 2009 2:43 PM GMT
HarpMan Freeman Replied:

That's right "Be the Harmonica" lol

If you "Buy" this one as your first, you get two assistances. :)

By the way, this past Janurary, Hohner came out with the "Blues Bender" which is being haled as a great beginners harmonica.

Sep 12, 2009 3:11 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

when a had a look at that pic i told my wife i found the right harmonica for you, i was laughing her not so much! thanks for the link i will have a look at that one.

Sep 12, 2009 6:36 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

Those are old store displays and the last one was something I've never seen before. Awesome!!! Now you created a monster and I want one for myself.

Sep 12, 2009 11:43 PM GMT
jawbone s Replied:

Hey Jason - I was 51 when I started so I hope it's not too late for you - it all depends what you want out of it.

Sep 13, 2009 2:47 PM GMT
Jawbone K Replied:

i was just a kid of 30-sonething myself.

Sep 13, 2009 2:49 PM GMT
Jawbone K Replied:

i was a kid of 30-something myself.

Sep 16, 2009 3:10 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

thanks jawbone k, i need to ask will mycheeks ever not be sore ? i cant put it down! lol i used all the great input and got a cheep harmonica it is a suzuki folk master. i am trying to learn black-bird,piano man,blowin in the wind,amazing grace. time will tell thanks for all the help!!

Sep 16, 2009 10:00 PM GMT
blogward Replied:

You might want to consider one of these accessories. But don't tell your wife.

Sep 17, 2009 12:34 AM GMT
jason g Replied:

i lik this accessorie , where do i get one !

Sep 17, 2009 2:13 PM GMT
Dai Replied:

If 34 is to late then I've got no chance I'm 48 and having a wail of a time learning to play. Just remember to keep it fun and enjoy it even when you are taking it serious.

Sep 17, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

dai thanks for your post, it is good to know that i am not the only late starter. i am having a wail of a time my self, is there something a should focus on to start. should i or do i need lessons? can i go it on my own. thanks again for all the help!!

ps {how do i put up a pic?}

Sep 17, 2009 7:09 PM GMT
Dai Replied:

check the above links they should get you started. Harmonopoint is a good site to learn from.

I have some ebooks on learning harmonica but, you have to send me a private message to see what's on offer

Sep 18, 2009 12:49 AM GMT
Jawbone K Replied:

jason, like any activity, the muscles have to be trained. once you learn the fine points of wind control, and when to cut loose, you will likely have got past the soreness stage. i know for me, at a couple of points, i had both raw lips and sore cheeks. and as i took a few voice lessons and did the exercises i learned- having to do with a heavy book placed on the stomach and breathing deeply a certain way-, i also went through a period where my diaphragm was really sore. it did pass.

a shorter practice time every day, with a focus on something new pretty often, will maybe alleviate the soreness of one area and sort of spread it around some.

as for what direction to go, there are a lot of resources online, youtube, several web sites, and there are also book/cd sets like gindick's and jerry portnoy's and others. our host here, adam gussow, aka kudzurunner, has some great stuff for new players on youtube.

Sep 20, 2009 8:02 AM GMT
Ana R Replied:

Hi Jason,

It's never to late to start. I started playing when I was 31 and I was asking my self the same I too old to start....will I be able to learn to play I'm almost 33 and I know that it's never too late if you dedicated youself and practice enough.

The only important thing is to practice don't need to be obssesed like I was and practice for 10,13 hours a hour is enough!!!

Don't give matter how much frustrated you get or think it's uselles and that you will never be able to play like harmonica players you are listening....just do you're daily excersises and you'll get there.

There were times when I was actually sitting and crying over my harmonica...I was so so frustrated and angry and disapointed, thinking that it's just to damn hard and imposible for me to learn....but only clever thing I did is that I didn't give it up...and that's just need to continue practising and playing.....and after all the nervouses and frustration the joy you'll feel when you learn a new song will errase all of that and you'll be feeling happy as a child with a new toy!!!!

Just keep on playing:)

Sep 21, 2009 4:00 AM GMT
Ricardo Replied:

10-13 hours a day! Wow. I'll try your 1 hour a day advice. Thanks.

Its never too late but geta much better harp.

Sep 21, 2009 2:34 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

i made a wood mic i cant post pics but there in my album, i am going to call it the acorn mic.

Sep 22, 2009 1:40 AM GMT
jason g Replied:

this is the wood mic i am makeing, what do you think?

wood micwood micwood mic

Sep 29, 2009 2:58 AM GMT
Chris C Replied:

Ibought a wooden harp mikelast week. It sounds pretty good. Its called a Loud Bark made here in Aus. I can tell you that it has a dynamic element in it.Their website shows the focus of the designwas to find wood types and holes that make feedback less (so you can turn it up). Looks similar to yours but with smaller holes. Great work.

Sep 29, 2009 12:52 PM GMT
jason g Replied:

thanks chris c i will look that one up for the info, i dont know what element i am going to use so i have to look and see whats out there. i dont need a mic at this time i just made this one for fun. this is my 1 mic so all input will help me. thnaks

Sep 29, 2009 2:20 PM GMT
Elizabeth S Replied:

Hi jason: I've belonged for a while but don't stop in often, so just saw this. I'll repeat what others have said: NO age is ever 'too late'. I'd like to mention one point to Joe...that a few years ago Big Rivers were considered bad and cheap harps (honestly)...and one guy who came to SPAH regularly played them beautifully to everyone's immense them a certain cachet. Otherwise few people would touch them. The Hohner instrument of choice of almost everyone was (and is) either a Marine Band or Special 20. Since then Seydel and Suzuki have both come into the picture (Lee Oskar already was), giving Blues Players more choices.

No matter which instrument you play two things are important: ALWAYS play with a clean mouth (brush your teeth firstand don't eat or drink sugary drinks (coffee, soda, etc.) before playing..and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water). The latter might sound counterintuitive, if you're a 'wet' player. That question might come up later. But for most people, saliva becomes an issue, and staying hydrated keeps your saliva thinned....ergo less build-up (stickiness) on the harmonica.

DO clean it after playing. Whether you do so each day...or afterevery couple ofdays...what we call 'crud' builds up in the mouthpiece holes and on the plates. Don't use anything toxic for this. more thing. Don't let anyone else play your harmonica (an old rule of thumb: no one should play it you wouldn't be comfortable kissing) ;)...and if someone picks it up and plays it (complete strangers will sometimes do this without asking, on occasion), it should be cleaned, again.


Sep 29, 2009 3:02 PM GMT
Chris C Replied:

Great advice Elizabeth! An old mate and a wonderful player used to call the water he was drinking--Harmonica Juice--. This is the sort of advice we sometimes forget to pass on.

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