Re: [Harp-L] To Gear Or Not To Gear

        I'll second that!

>>> Ken Deifik <kenneth.d@xxxxxxxxxxxx> 29/06/2007 5:32:12 >>>
I saw a post yesterday by someone who says gear is not insignificant in
scheme of things.  (Sorry friend, I already deleted your post and I do
recall who you are.)

Well, I'm one of those boneheads who buttons alot of my posts with
not about gear."  And yet I've been raving about my Suzuki Fire Breath

harps because they have improved my sound and technique.

What gives?

Well, I think the reason I insist on repeating the dreaded It's Not
Gear reminder is because too many new players get caught up in the gear

before they can play much at all. It's like a skier who has gone down
Donald Duck slope a couple of times and now goes out and buys $4G worth
--- well, gear.

Worse, it also reminds me of people who want to write screenplays, so
go out and buy seven books on the subject, read two of them, go out and
a screenplay formatting program, take a course, buy some more books, go
a ton of movies ("research") and never quite get around to actually
a screenplay.  Getting caught in the gear scene too early is a great
way to 
put off getting good forever.

(Off topic: If you want to write screenplays, write for at least a
and finish several screenplays, before you look at a single book on the

subject.  That's when those books become helpful.)

I had an amusing trick that got me work on a number of occasions.  That
until fairly recently I used funky, busted up cigar boxes to carry my
in, and when I'd show up to do something for a guy I hadn't worked for

before, I'd make sure he'd see that.  It always elicited a comment, as
"So and so, (his usual harmonica player) has this elaborate harmonica
that cost a month's pay and really looks cool."  I'd say, "Yeah, I like

those."  It's true, too, I do.  But then I'd play and I'd naturally
play my 
best, and if that gave the producer the impression that I was a better

choice for harmonica player than the other guy, the producer'd look at
box and get the message that it isn't about the box it's about how you
what's inside.

Heart-warming as that homily is, it still says It's About The Gear, of

course.  I just used ugly, funky ol' gear, the cigar box, to increase
contrast between myself and the guy who was competing for my grocery 
payment.  (I now use a small, gorgeous little metal box that held four

expensive steak knives bought by my wife.  It holds 12 harps and looks

chic.  I'm not a savage, after all, though you couldn't tell it by
at me.)

And I don't doubt that the exact right mic and PA or amp improves your

presentation, if you've got something to present.  Hell, I play a great

1970 Martin D-18 and STILL lust after a thousand better acoustic steel

string guitars.  And I'm pissed as hell that I can't get a Suzuki 
Firebreath in B for a project that needs it, even though I have other B

harps.  Believe me, people who say stuff like "Hemingway didn't need a
processor" do not get invited over to my backyard.

And I have to presume that most of youse guys and goils who have
about amplifiers and pedals are excellent musicians for whom the right

answers will kick it up a notch.

But I STILL think it's important that crabby dudes such as myself keep
notion of It's Not About Gear in the mix for those newer players who
these posts and get the idea that gear is what's going to make them a

So I'll stick to my guns and split the difference at the same time, 
whatever that means.  Advice to newer harps players: learn how to get 
beautiful single notes, learn how to play great melodies, learn how to

swing.  Then the best gear will do you some serious good.

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