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FAIRLY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Most basic (and some not-so-basic) questions about the harmonica are answered on the following excellent web sites:

Diatonic Harmonica Reference
HarpOn Chromatic Harmonica Reference

However, there are many questions which I get asked by email which either are not covered on other FAQs, or I feel are worthy of deeper coverage. This page presents some of the more common and/or interesting ones.


DIFFERENT TYPES OF HARMONICA

Does the Hohner Blues Harp have thinner reeds than other harps?

What was the Echo Super Vamper?

What's that boomerang-shaped harp on the cover of Charlie Musselwhite's "Ace Of Harps" album?

What's that harmonica on the cover of Toots Thielemans's "Man Bites Harmonica" album?

How is my double reed harmonica tuned?

Did Walter Horton ever play chromatic harmonica?

What harp is Sonny Boy Williamson playing on "Dissatisfied"?

What is a slideless chromatic?

What do I do with the Suzuki MR-300 Overdrive harp?

How about an electric harmonica, or even a midi harmonica?

What harmonica did John Lennon use to play the intro to "Love Me Do" and other songs by The Beatles?

How is my Hohner Chordomonica tuned?

What are the different types of diatonic harmonica?

How has the Hohner Marine Band changed over the years?

What is a solo tuned diatonic?

TECHNICAL QUESTIONS

Does a wood bodied harp sound better than a plastic bodied harp?

Does tongue blocking give you a better tone than puckering?

If I gently "break in" my harmonica, will it last longer and be easier to play? How long should my reeds last anyway?

What does the "A440" on the top cover of my Marine Band mean?

Why is it impossible to bend notes on a double reed harmonica?

Why do I get those squealing/ringing noises when I bend/overblow notes on my Lee Oskar/Huang/Suzuki harmonica and how do I get rid of them?

How did Alan Wilson play the solo on "On The Road Again"?

Why are chromatic harmonicas made in several different keys?

When I play two notes together, I often seem to hear a third note - what's going on?

Why do chromatic harmonicas have valves?

What does "cross tuned" mean when describing chromatic harmonicas?

What do you know about microphones and amplifiers?

Have there been any scientific studies of the harmonica?

What lubricant should I use on my chromatic's slide assembly?

HISTORICAL QUESTIONS

Who invented the harmonica?

Should we call it a harmonica or a mouth organ?

Why is it called a harp?

Who was the first blues harp player to record? (Plus a few other blues harp "firsts")

So just who was this Richter guy and what exactly did he invent?

Who are the pioneers of the overblow technique?

Which recordings feature the harmonic minor tuning??

MISCELLANEOUS

Are there any books about the history of the harmonica?

How much is my old harmonica worth?

What are the mistakes in Tony Glover's book?

Can you recommend some recordings of early blues harp?

Is the harmonica the only instrument played by drawing as well as blowing?

Can you recommend some tuitional material for beginners?


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If you have any questions that you feel should be added to the list, please use this contact form to drop me a line.


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