[Harp-L] First Uploads on YouTube

Michelle LeFree mlefree@xxxxx
Thu Mar 9 12:39:45 EST 2017

Hal Waite asked:

> Please check out my version of "Blue" on YouTube.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIToDce5R8g&t=28s
> I know I still have lots of room for improvement, but I really want to land
> my first paying gig, so what better way to create audition videos than to
> upload on YouTube.
> I've been playing at jam circles and open mics, but want to land that first
> of what I hope will be many paying gigs.
> I really appreciate any and all feedback, constructive comments etc.
> Many thx,
> Hal

OK, Hal, here goes.

Your singing and guitar playing are much closer to being "gig ready" 
than your harmonica playing.

I say that because you are being thwarted by the basic nature and 
central limitation of a diatonic harmonica -- the "missing"notes. That's 
clear because when you come to one of those pesky missing notes you play 
the native tone that's closest. "Close" doesn't work with music. Playing 
those notes that are "close" destroys the melody and defeats your 
purpose in accompanying yourself with a harmonica.

The fix for the problem is to learn how to bend accurately to fill in 
those missing notes. That is what separates a diatonic player from a 
diatonic wannabe player. How? Best answer is to get a teacher. Second 
best, in my opinion, is to join David Barrett's blues harmonica.com web 
site.David is arguably the best teacher of blues harmonica. He  has a 
very thorough "system" consisting of dozens of lessons with lots of 
supportive material (recordings, tabulature, standard notation, etc.) 
I'm studying Joe Filisko's section right now. Superb!

Another tool that is great for learning to bend is an inexpensive 
software program called "Harp Ninja." David recommends it highly and I 
do too. He even has several lessons on how to put it to best use on his 
web site. It's extremely helpful with visual feedback that  lets you 
know when your bends are in tune. It's presentation is via a visual 
model of the holes on the harp tat displays the possible bends for each 
hole. Essentially, what it does is highlight the note being played over 
the visual model of the harmonica and its possible notes by displaying a 
small tuner over the target note in real time. I find it useful to check 
my bending accuracy after over fifteen years of playing (and thinking my 
bends were accurate enough -- they weren't).

Another resource is Jon Gindick's many books and video lessons. I found 
one of particular help in capturing the benefits of bending. It's 
called, "Bluesify Your Melody." He teaches how to play familiar melodies 
in second position. These are melodies that you already know so you can 
tell with your own ear when your bends are right.

Finally, Youtube offers a tremendous resource for learning to play the 
harmonica. Of particular note are Ronnie Shellist, Adam Gussow, Lee 
Sankey and Will Wild. You can find their Youtube channels and pick the 
lessons that fit you best.

Good luck and keep us informed with your progress.


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