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What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:56 pm
by Brendan
Welcome to my new forum! Thanks for stopping by: I hope you'll register and start posting :)

Writing Instructional Books/CDs is very rewarding, but also time consuming. I have four books out now, and each took around a month of total concentration, dropping everything else.

It's hard to do that with everything else I have going on, so I'm thinking of doing some short bite-size lessons in video format. They could be on anything: tunings, playing technique, tech tips etc.

I'd welcome suggestions here for what you'd like to see - let me know!

Re: What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:36 pm
by Pat Cat
Instructional videos sound great. As a beginner, I’ve been scouring YouTube for anything that would help. Only been playing for a year now, am having a ball and love it!!!!!!!!!!

You need a better URL

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:46 am
by Harmonicatunes
So Brendan. In order to get to your forum, users need to enter

Doesn't roll off the tongue. It just means that that your forum is hard to get to.

Easily fixed however. Just setup and redirect it to your forum page

Also, have a dedicated forum link in the top menu of, rather than hiding it behind the "Whats new" link.

These fixes should increase forum visits significantly. You could also advertise your new simpler forum URL on the various Facebook groups and other harmonica forums.

Re: You need a better URL

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:56 am
by RunBanjoRun
Hello Tony

Thanks for the ideas!

I agree that /forum would be better so I've changed /phpBB3 to /forum and put a redirect in for anyone accessing the old address.

You don't need to enter index.php to access the main page as there is already a redirect in place for anyone accessing the root forum URL.

There is a link to the forum in the top menu on Brendan's site - under useful info. However, the fact that you didn't find it means perhaps it should be more prominent and I'll discuss that with Brendan. There is also a link to the forum in the links at the bottom of each page on the main site.


Re: What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:35 pm
by Matt Lavender
Looks like this will be a very informative and fun forum. Looking forward to lots of info attained from here.

I've always wondered what type of tunings different harmonica players may have used on their harps, knowing or not knowing perhaps.
Like, Little Walter. Did he tune or tweak mildly any of his harps or just right out of the box played and never opened them up. I'm curious.
What tunings does Charlie Musslewhite use or Kim Wilson or??????
I could go on and on.

Thanks again for a great forum.

Re: What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:21 am
by Tyler
I'd be interested in learning about how you approach new tunings. For example PowerBender; how do you familiarize yourself and come up with new licks.

I enjoy altered tunings but often find myself replicating Richter ideas on the new layout, not really taking advantage of the strengths offered.

Re: What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:00 am
by Brendan
Often the new tunings come about because I'm trying to play something in a way I hear it on another instrument and I can't. It could be an Irish fiddle decoration, or the way a Chinese Erhu can bend a long way on every note.

I figure out what's missing, scribble down on a piece of paper a tuning or construction that might work to get that sound im after, and head to the workshop to make a test harp. It will generally go through quite a few versions before arriving at the best compromise between easy playability, good sound and achieving the new ability I sought.

To answer your question, trying to emulate what other instruments do on the harmonica is often a good way to learn. The PowerBender will allow you to play Richter harp licks in a new way, but listen beyond harp players to guitarists, sax players etc and see if you can grab a bit of their special magic and transfer it to your harp. Some will work, some won't, and even the stuff that works you will need to tweak here and there to make it sound sweet.

But that's one good way you can get fresh ideas and slowly create your own style.

Another is exploring unusual positions: they take you away from cliches and uncover some surprising hidden gems. Here's a sample of 11 different keys on the PowerBender, all without overblows:

If that sounds worth exploring, theere is more detail with example licks and Tab in the PowerBender book/CD:

Re: What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:27 pm
by Mule
I would really benifit from some tablature for getting started with the 3 power bender harps I just received today until my power bender book gets here from Europe. Just some scales an a few riffs all the up the harp would be such a help.

Re: What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:25 am
by CrawfordEs
A Book idea
How about a book with some traditional folk tunes (airs and "listening music" too) not just session stuff.

Maybe your favorite 10 or 20:
Middle Eastern
Eastern European
Include a Short description of the tune.
Your preferred harp tuning to play it with and why.
Sheet music and Tabs in Paddy Richter, or Paddy Solo, or...

That is a big project, but individual tune videos would make nice mini lessons.

Re: What Would You Like to See?

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:14 pm
by Trev
Hi Brendan! I’m a long time fan, and a new forum-joiner.
I learned a bit of diatonic about 30 years ago, mainly in the Bluesy vein, and still enjoy this from time to time, but got caught up playing other instruments. Recently, I’ve been well and truly re-bitten by the harmonica bug and am desperate to learn.
There’s lots of teaching materials available for harmonica these days, but 98% of this is for the Blues Harp. That’s all fine, but for those of us who are interested in learning to play other things there’s very little. Chromatic tutorials seem to require the ability to read Standard Notation, and seem mostly focused on the classical repertoire. I’ve nothing against that, but I’m not likely to be playing classical gigs, so I’d prefer to learn music to play for fun in the pub where other people join in.
I’ve ordered Irish Music on the Chromatic, (and I’m very excited about that!), and in the meantime I’m learning my way round the chrom by trial and error. I’ve got a day job and a busy life outside work, and only a finite life span, and I would desperately love to have some help.
Bite size video lessons would be great! I’d like to learn Irish and Scottish stuff, American/Canadian traditional tunes, Swing Jazz type numbers - anything that’s fun.
I’m interested in chromatic, and diatonic, and I’m open to trying new tunings and models.
I appreciate that a book can take ages to make. But I’ve thought of something. If you record tunes with your MIDI harmonica, can’t the MIDI information be converted to notation and tablature pretty easily? If so, it could considerably speed up the process of making a chart.