How to Play the Blues Harp

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Useful Links for Harp Players

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Apart from YouTube and the Instructional Videos to be found there, there are some really excellent websites for harp players.

One of the most useful that I have discovered is The Diatonic Harmonica Reference which has been built up by Mike Will over the years. (I often used to wonder why it was called "My Quill" until I realised that Mike Will was the man behind it - if you are as slow on the uptake as me, just read it out loud and the penny should drop)

I have found it particularly useful for the comprehensive description of harp maintenance and customisation (I used to have a whole drawerful of "dead" harps at the time but thanks to Mike's pages and a maintenance course at the NHL Autumn Festival (see below) I recovered a significant number of them. There is quite a lot of useful information on this site that you can sample before subscribing.

It is a well-laid-out site which includes keyed lists of songs on many of the more popular blues CDs. Cost of membership compares very favourably with buying a couple of tutors and an instructional CD or DVD, although, like everything else, once you are hooked you will probably buy a number of those as well.

The National Harmonica League - If you are based in the UK and want the opportunity to attend harp workshops and meet some of the world's best harp players NHL membership is a must. Catering for all styles of harmonica from blues to Irish to Folk and Classical, the NHL has seen some really good players rising up from being raw beginners.

Their Spring and Autumn Festivals provide the main forums for exchange of ideas as well as opportunities to jam with other harp players, the help and support available at these meetings is nothing short of amazing. The Autumn event in Bristol has featured workshops by Joe Filisko, Steve Baker, Brendan Power, Johnny Mars, Tom Ball, Ben Bouman, and many other top harp players and includes jam sessions, competitions for all styles of harmonica playing and a Saturday evening concert which features all the star players who have given workshops. With harmonicas, amps, microphones, music, tutors, videos, CDs and every harp-related object that you could possibly want to buy, together with friendly advice, the challenge would be to leave one of these events without having learned anything.

The Spring Meetings are also very well worth attending and have featured Giles King, Lee Sankey, Paul Lamb and many other great players in a very intimate setting. Like the Bristol meeting, it includes an evening concert and the cost of the whole event is £10 - this has got to be the best value ever.

Pat Missin's Page. What Pat Missin doesn't know about harmonicas can probably be written on the kneecap of a flea. As he himself say's "rumours that I have a life have been greatly exaggerated." If you want to know about differences in harmonica tunings and intonations, just click on Pat's page and stand by to be well informed! His section on uncomon harmonica techniques is very interesting and comes with sound bytes to illustrate the effects discussed.