[Harp-L] Going solo

i would think the problem doing a one man harmonica gig for 3 or 4 sets is lack of variety in the basic sound. Harp has a certain "voice" even when modified with pedals. That voice contrasts nicely with guitars or keyboards and other non-wind instruments. But a steady diet of harp by itself may be a different story. Hard to leave space and still carry the music along.

Also, one cannot "build" chords on harmonica--we are stuck with the chords that are on the instrument which are extremely limiting. So it would be hard to back yourself effectively, even using a looper. A duo gig with a guitar or keyboard does not present the same problems.

FWIW, I played a duo gig a couple of months ago with a guitar player singer and we did John Lee Hooker, Rev. Gary Davis, Son House and similar old traditional mostly blues numbers with each of using an arsenal of pedal board electronics which is not the usual approach to that sort of material. We wouldn't use the electronics at the start of each tune, but would work them in as the song progressed. The guitar player and i have played together before and we have some similar sounding effects pedals so we can get the guitar sounding like it is emerging from the sound of the harp and get the harp sounding like it is emerging from the sound of the guitar and sometimes you might not be able to tell which instrument was playing what. Of course, sometimes we'd use contrasting effects, too or no effects. We didn't overdo it with the electronics but the gizmos gave us an unusual way to approach very traditional material. The crowd loved it and we got very well paid. But my point is that it was the CONTRAST and INTERACTION between the 2 different instrumental voices that made it work. I think it would be hard to pull off something like that with just a harp and electronics even if you do sing well. But that's just my take on it. YMMV.


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