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Howard Levy and the Overblow.

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Zack P
Mar 05, 2009 12:37 PM GMT

So I've been listening to Howard Levy alot, especially the Rabih-Abu Kahlil stuff. He e-mailed me saying he would watch my videos, cool! And plus, he's cool looking and I like his hair. But, the question I have is, is there anyone who does similar? Not rock or blues overblow usage but full chromatic usage? And, was there anyone around the seventies? Someone told me (yes I had to look up his name) that Will Scarlett of Hot Tuna played the first album on one harmonica, and used overblows. SO, I am assuming that there were SOME people doing overblows in the seventies (around Levy's entance) that wee not just mainly passing tones, but for position playing? Either way, I gotta get in on the action, that is some history to be made :)

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Comments (19)

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Mar 05, 2009 2:30 PM GMT
Andr D Replied:

Here's a song of Jefferson Airplane with Will scarlet to my ear no overblow there's

Here'sa recent video of Will Scarlet if it's the same guy is surely not an overblower cause he left his harmonica after realizaing he didn't get the key that he want.

Anyways man if you found something let me know i wannalisten to that.

Mar 05, 2009 3:21 PM GMT
Cloud 1 Replied:


There is a brazilian, Otavio Castro,siminilar to Howard Levy only plays a C harp. I was suppose to take some lessons from him. But finding a Brazilian bank here is impossible, and the guy doesnt have any Paypal account.

He is very good, I think you can see him on youtube. Hope this help.


Mar 05, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
Bluesie Replied:

Yeah, I would also say that Otavio Castro is one of the top players right now. I like his style a lot. I discovered him a few months ago on a french forum. There is also Sebastien Charlier who is is into bebop mostly. He is extremely good too.

Mar 05, 2009 4:53 PM GMT
Bluesie Replied:

I also forgot. Frederick Yonnet. Check him out. A true great player. He is on YouTube.

Mar 05, 2009 5:03 PM GMT
Joe Replied:

Jason Rosenblatt, Sandy Weltman...also I don't know if Carlos Del Junco fits within the boundries of your query, but if you haven't checked him out you should do so immediately.

Mar 05, 2009 5:05 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

Andre, the debut album he uses the same key the whole time, and the songs are not in the same key.

Thing is, were these guys around in the 1970's at all or are they new?

Mar 05, 2009 5:58 PM GMT
Brutus Maximus Replied:

I think most of us were around in the 1970s. LOL

Mar 05, 2009 10:24 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

Well, that is 'cuz' you're old! KIDDING :)

Mar 24, 2009 9:39 PM GMT
Peter N Replied:

Try Greg Szlapczynski.

Very Good.

Mar 25, 2009 4:31 AM GMT
spud Replied:

Chris Michalek, Dennis Gruenling, Joe Filisko, Winslow Yerxa, Richard Sleigh, and many others are today using overblows with all kinds of music. IMO, Chris is the best of the bunch as far as knowing the nuances of OB.

Mar 25, 2009 1:28 PM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

Carlos del Junco is my favorite OB player. He just does it all... so smooth... so musical... such a wide array of songs and not just hardcore blues.

When he comes out with a new CD, I never hesitate to buy it. I've never been disappointed.

I do get frustrated sometimes trying to figure out what he's doing, from song key to harp key, etc, but on later CD's he usually documents what he's doing.

Mar 26, 2009 4:09 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Tinus Koorn, PT Gazell (valved diatonic), Sebastien Charlier, MARIANO MASSOLO,

Mar 26, 2009 10:10 PM GMT
Brown Ale Guy Replied:

I knew a lot of guys that were doing overdraws in the 70s, but not with the harmonica

Mar 26, 2009 11:06 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:


Mar 28, 2009 1:54 AM GMT
Madcat Replied:

Will Scarlet and Mike Turk might have squeezed out a few overblows in the 1970s, but it was Howard Levy who really developed the technique and was able to play completely chromatically on a diatonic harmonica, and that wasn't until the late 1980s. The first Bela Fleck and The Flecktones CD was released in 1990. It was a revolutionary recording.

Apr 06, 2009 8:51 PM GMT
THOMAS F Replied:

Will Scarlett is still around-he appeared on the first Hot Tuna album. Orignally,he was to play only on the song "New Song",but he had been pestering Jorma and Cassidy to play for a long time-so when the recording began,Will just stayed for the whole session.

I heard Dennis Gruenlig play acoustically one night at The Dinosaur in NYC-I gave him the Hot Tuna cd to listen to-it's the only time I ever heard anyone sound that much like Will Scarlett.

P.S. -Will made his own harmonicas -he also made a prototype three-reed system,with an "enabler reed". He used a G harp on the Hot Tuna album for every song,using overblows.

Apr 09, 2009 12:12 AM GMT
Zack P Replied:

What is this 'enabler' reed?

Apr 10, 2009 11:51 AM GMT
Dave D Replied:

Odd that no-one here has yet mentioned Civet Cat. Go to his home page and listen to the track that starts with Trip.. and ends with ...dactyle. Fabulous stuff. Many people comment that overbends are all very well but they don't sound musical - just showing off for showing off's sake ("Look Ma, No Hands" is the hackneyed phrase often invoked). But Jason's playing flows like.. er... something that flows very .. er.. fluidly.

Another guy worth checking out who's well away from blues isIrishman Mick Kinsella. His CD entitled just "Harmonica" is, in my view, essential listening for anyone interested in modern diatonic gobironing.

Great site by the way. Just discovered it this week. Thanks Brady. Watch out harp-l....

Apr 10, 2009 3:21 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

I will check him out Dave.

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