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Over the past thirty years or so, I've written a whole bunch of articles about the harmonica for quite a few different magazines. Many of them are now rather outdated, but several of them are still useful, although the magazines that carried them are now out of print. I've decided to share some of those articles here.

A note about the musical transcriptions

Several of the articles presented here include musical examples, many of them transcribed from actual recorded examples. I have provided details of the source materials, usually with a link to Amazon to find out more about them, often with audio clips you can preview. For more information about these Amazon links, click here.

The musical examples are all presented in both regular notation and tablature. The tablature used is SuperTab - click here for more information about this system. Because of the modal nature of much of the music associated with the diatonic harmonica, I have transcribed the tunes for diatonic using the key signature of the harmonica used to play the piece, rather than the actual key of the music.

With the material transcribed from recordings, I have tried to strike a balance between accuracy and readability, but when in doubt, I have always leaned towards the latter. In some cases, the notation has been moved up or down by an octave in order to make it more easily readable and often the timing has often been simplified a little. I can't stress enough that the transcriptions should be regarded merely as guides to enable you to find the right notes and locate them on your instrument and whenever possible, you should try to hear the original recordings to pick up the subtleties that are impossible to notate clearly and accurately.

Pre-War Blues Harp Greats

This series was written for Harmonica World and originally published in 1990 and 1991.

Pre-War Blues Harp Greats 1 - Daddy Stovepipe
Pre-War Blues Harp Greats 2 - DeFord Bailey
Pre-War Blues Harp Greats 3 - Eddie Mapp
Pre-War Blues Harp Greats 4 - Rhythm Willie
Pre-War Blues Harp Greats 5 - Stovepipe No1 (Sam Jones)
Pre-War Blues Harp Greats 6 - William McCoy

Take It On Home

This series was written for Blues Revue magazine, back in the days when it was called Blues Revue Quarterly.

Straight Harp Blues
Minor Key Blues Harp
Early Gospel Harmonica
Early Jazz Harp - Part 1
Early Jazz Harp - Part 2
Early White Blues Harp
Rhythmic Chordal Patterns
Intro Riffs
Ending Riffs

American Harmonica News

I was a fairly regular contributor to AHN, from the late 1980s up until its demise. Here are a few articles that I hope might still be of interest.

Finn Magnus - Man of Plastic
Exotic Scales for Blues Harp
Mixin' and Matchin' Reedplates
Harp the Naked Truth
On the Trail of Rhythm Willie


Basic Chromatic Harmonica Blues - to be honest, I'm not quite sure where this article was intended to be published and as far as I know, it never was.
125 Years of the Hohner Marine Band

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