Re: What types?

   I bought my first harmonica about five years ago, it
was a Hohner Blues harp in A.  At the time, I found that
every other Hohner I bought was junk. I think they were
having a serious quality control problem at the time.  It
wasn't just me, I had others try the lemons that I bought
and every one  agreed.  I then tried the Lee Oskar.  At
the time a Blues harp was about $10.00 and the Lee Oskar
were about $20-$25 (I don't remember the exact price) at
the local stores.  I found a place in NY where I could
mail order Lee Oskar harmonicas for $15.50 plus shipping.
I don't know what their current prices are, but here is
the address for those interested:

        Alex Musical Instruments, Inc.
        164 West 48th Street
        New York, NY 10036
        (212) 765-7738   581-2312

I like the Lee Oskar's because they can be taken apart to
be cleaned easily. They also have a plastic comb which
most traditionalist don't like.  I like the plastic
because it last longer.  Also I've found if I play a Blues
harp, which has a wood comb, for an extended time the wood
swells to a point where it juts out thus rubbing the
corners of my lips raw.
    The Blues harp is an excellent harmonica if you have a
large collection of harps to choose from.  If you are just
starting out and only want to pick up one or two harps, I
would recommend the Lee Oskar.  If you are on a budget, I
would recommend the Hohner Special 20.  Like the Lee Oscar,
it has a plastic comb and can be easily cleaned. I have a special
twenty in b-flat which is my all time favorite harmonica.
I bought it five years ago and carry it with me every
where and it still sound great after all these years.
    If you are just starting off and do buy a Hohner,
immediately take the instructions that come with it and
burn them.  I think the tongue blocking method is a
terrible way to learn to play.  Instead, pucker up so that
you can play a single note clearly.  This takes a lot of
practice initially, but try playing scales and simple
songs until you can play them cleanly.  Once you have this
down, try bending notes on holes 2 - 4 by first drawing in
and playing the note normally.  Then drop your tongue to
the bottom of your mouth and concentrate on drawing the
air in to the back of your throat.  It's difficult to
explain, however, I've found that it's easier to start
bending notes if you play the note normally and then bend
it down, as opposed to trying to play the note bent from
the start.

I hope this helps.

Alan Heyd

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