[Harp-L] Harmo Torpedo

Chris Hofstader cdh@xxxxx
Mon Aug 21 11:16:28 EDT 2017


I really liked the post you sent in response to Leonard’s query. As I’ve said on the list before, my goals are fairly modest, I want to play basic blues and blues-rock and I enjoy jamming on 12 bars with a acoustic guitar player while hanging out in the park or, as we did yesterday, in the courtyard out back of a cafe we enjoy on Haight St. in San Francisco.

What I especially liked about your post was it’s emphasis on the value of song craft. I’ve a terrific instructor (Tomlin Leckey) but I tend to ignore his lessons showing how to play songs or parts thereof and focus almost exclusively on technique. My rhythm is pretty solid, I can hit all of the draw bends and most of the blow ones, I have all sorts of articulations I use but ask me to play a super simple tune that isn’t mostly parts of the blues scale and I’m at a total loss as I’ve zero of such memorized.

Tomlin has some lessons that teach songs (I’ve been playing around with his “Watermelon Man” lately and finding it pretty hard which is both good and bad: I love challenges but I’m hoping to learn some simple things so as to be more musical when playing alone), I’ve found a few YouTube videos that Gusso has on his site that look like they’ll be useful in this pursuit but I was wondering if you could suggest other YouTube guys whose stuff I could use to compliment my practicing technique with doing the same for songs? If I find an YouTube lesson useful, I always go to the instructor’s web site or Patreon or whatever and send a few bucks to help support their work. I send Tomlin much more than a little donation every month but we do two private Skype lessons per month as well.

As I said at the top, my goals are pretty modest. I’m a career software guy so playing harmonica is a hobby and I don’t want to turn it into an enormous use of my time but I do want to sound more musical as just running up and down scales and hitting the right chords in a 1-4-5 is getting kind of boring for me.

Thanks again for your terrific post to the list, reminding me to ask what my goals are will lead tony learning more and different things.


> On Aug 21, 2017, at 6:31 AM, flyingv8 at xxxxx wrote:
> Hi Leonard. Whenever I see questions like yours my first thoughts are that you need to relax and get a good understanding of why you want to play the harmonica and what your goals are. I have a customer who is 85 years old who sends me harps to repair. He doesn't bend any notes! Never! None at all! He loves playing diatonic harmonica and plays old folks homes 20 to 25 days a month. My question for you would be what are you trying to accomplish? If you are aiming at being a harmonica superstar on the level of Jason Ricci you better be prepared to put many, many, many, hours into practicing. I am thinking 8 to 10 hours a day for years. So many people want to move so fast in their learning but they skip the basics. A knowledge of music theory is necessary as well. Do you know the cycle of fifths? Do you know the sharps and flats in all 12 keys. Do you know chord construction? Then there is timing, quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth and thirty second notes. Do you understand 4/4 time? 3/4 time? Can you play Mary Had a Little Lamb in 3 different positions on one harp? Do you know where all the octaves are? There is way too much emphasis put on overblowing, overdrawing, and speed playing these days and not enough on style. Are you playing to impress others or to make music? Playing the harmonica or any instrument should be fun. The better you get at it the more fun it is. Overblows and overdraws have been explained on this forum before but your best bet is to schedule a lesson with a player who can show you the idea. You could also take up the chromatic if you really need the missing notes. It all depends on what your goals are. What are you trying to do?
> Dee
> Dee's Finely Tuned Instruments
> Erie,PA.
> www.deesfti.com
> ---- Leonard Schwartzberg <Leonard1 at xxxxx> wrote: 
>> Hi;   Thanks for your essay on the Harmo Torpedo.   Just about when I'm
>> finally starting to play a "song" (in other words, the folks no longer give
>> me dollar bills to STOP playing), I'm MORE CONFUSED than ever.   I'm
>> somewhat of a lower/middle intermediate harp player and trying to do ALL my
>> bends (on my Seydel Session Steels) through Tongue Blocking, which I'm
>> starting to do ok.   I'm not familiar (yet) with over (???).   What is (and
>> what is difference) overblowing, overbending, overdraw, overdrawing?   Do I
>> need your Torpedo Harp for this?   Can I use my Session Steels?   Do they
>> need to be specially tuned?   What notes will I hit (that I'm not hitting
>> now) with these other techniques?   Seems like Jason Ricci uses some of
>> these unusual techniques.   Why is he using them?   How does he know when to
>> OB, OD, OBend, OBlow, Regular Draw, Regular Blow, Draw Bend (1/2, whole, 1
>> 1/2)?    Thanks, Leonard

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