Lots of people say that it is easy to play the harmonica. I guess what they mean by easy is that you can start playing songs on it real quick. My opinion is that there are genres that take longer to get good at then others. What do you guys think?
Took me literally one full year to learn to blow bend the 10 hole. and several more months to do it with any control. One of the toughest things for me to learn. I'm very proud to be able to do it with confidence now. most of the guys in my area can't. Does anybody ever take notice during a gig when I do? Nope.. 🙂 I consider myself a very average harp player. most of the guys in my area, I think, are better than me. But I got this one thing…
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I guess I haven't spent long enough I've spent a month and still can't bend more than 1 out ten times on any hole.
What I like about harp is that you can know literally nothing and still get a jam on with a bit of a mess around.
Sure, there's theory, and technique, but that's not as good as firing up a classic tune on Youtube – or a good jam track – and playing along.
If you have any musical background it's very easy. That said I still can't bend a damn note. So I've relegated myself to melody makers, a chromatic and playing in first position. So unless it's really technically demanding you can probably play most melodies in the first few days.
Edit: What rule did I violate on this sub that I'm being downvoted for?
I didn't downvote you, but I'd guess it's because you said it's very easy, then followed it up with “I still can't bend a damn note”. Bending is one of the most basic things.
I do think it is easy to play, say you want to do the pianoman bit without any knowledge… I think you can get that down in a day, of course depending on the genre it does pose a problem if you want to be a blues harmonica player you are going to need to bend at least a bit, perfectly in cue and in tune so you sound good, and it can get as crazy as whammer jammer
Then you also have the chromatic harmonica which is a different beast where you can play stuff larry adler wrote and go nuts.
Harmonica is the epitome of easy to learn hard to master in my opinion.
As long as you are in the right key, you can make things that sound decent in songs. However to actually play the harmonica is a different story. (Funny that you use Whammer Jammer as an example. That song is one of my favorite harp songs.)
I have found the harmonica much harder to get good at, more than guitar, bass, or banjo. Maybe because I can't really tell what I am doing…and I am lazy.
I think the way the harmonica is designed makes for a hell of a difficult time to learn theory. I played drums before so I didn't really know any kind of melodic theory, coming into it through harp is a bitch and I walk through life now thoroughly confused. I have friends who are college educated musicians that can't figure out the layout of the harp. This is why most teachers start with positional playing, it's easier to have a hard and fast rule like “Play G blues in second position on a C harmonica”. But now I'm having to unlearn all that stuff so I can think in terms of scales and individual notes instead of riffs and positions.
A community for all harmonica players and enthusiasts. Whether you play diatonic, chromatic, tremelo, bass, or chord harps – or you lip purse, tongue block, or u-block, welcome!