Harmonica Resources

When I started playing, almost 30 years ago, the only way to gain harmonica knowledge was to buy records, and attend local blues gigs, hoping to see good players. I was fortunate to meet some great players early on, who mentored me, and showed me how to explore the harmonica world. Also, Chess reissued many of their classic 1950's blues recordings at that time. I was able to buy these at greatly reduced prices in bagain bins. My Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Howling Wolf double albums are now cherished (and much used) treasures.

The Internet opens the world of harmonica to all of us (this course being an example!). Becoming harmonica literate is now far easier. Below are links to harmonica players and harmonica resource sites. Work through these slowly, and absorb the wisdom they contain.

Links to Players

Mike Stevens is a prolific and very highly regarded Canadian player, specializing in Bluegrass and other styles. He has performed with many Bluegrass greats, including Jim and Jesse, and has authored the instructional book "Bluegrass Harmonica", distributed by Hal Leonard.

Brendan Power is probably the best known player of Irish harmonica, due to his album "New Irish Harmonica" and his work with the Riverdance show. However, he plays a wide variety of styles, as his web site indicates. He uses altered tunings extensively, which enable stunning ornamentation for his Irish playing on chromatic harmonicas. His approach to Irish styles is outlined in his book "Irish Music on the Blues Harp," and is highly recommended

Matyas Pribojszki is a wonderful Hungarian player who plays blues, even though he is from Eastern Europe.

Tom Ball is a prolific recording artist and and author, best known for his long standing duo with Kenny Sultan. He has produced many harmonica teaching books, including a sourcebook of Little Water/Big Walter licks.

PT Gazell is from Nashville Tennesse, in the USA. His playing is based more on country music than blues. His is a pioneer in bluegrass harmonica, and has recently released a stunning jazz CD.

Howard Levy, from Chicago, is considered the most advanced harmonica player in the world. Follow the link and you will understand why.

Al Blake is a well known American blues player and singer, who fronted the classic 1980s West Coast blues band "Hollywood Fats".

Hazmat Modine are a very unusual band from New York city, featuring wonderful harmonica players.

Shtreiml are a Canadian band, featuring Jason Rosenblat on harmonica. The band is influenced by traditional Jewish music.

Mark Hummel is considered amongst the greatest of the current generation of American blues players.

Willi Burger is a very well known classical chromatic harmonica player. He tours and records widely. Visit his site to hear clips of this extraordinary player.

Adam Gussow is a well known blues player who has created a wonderful series of YouTube harmonica instruction videos.

Crossroadslearning provides harmonica teaching in schools. The program is run by David Berntson, who has 20 years experience in this area.

Harmonica in Schools: Charlie Story is a well known harmonica teacher who runs harmonica workshops in schools and clubs in the North Caolina/South Carolina area. He has also played on Broadway(!)

Richard Hunter is a well known American player and the author of "Jazz Harp". He has created an excellent harmonica patch set for the Digitech RP350, the patches are available at his site.

Links to Harmonica and Blues Resources

Harmonica.com - an extensive, well organised and popular harmonica teaching site by J.P. Allen

Harmopoint - a new harmonica teaching concept, based on an online visual tool.

Mary4Music.com has been a leading blues and indie music site since 1998.

Pat Missin is a well known source of harmonica information. In particular, his site has a detailed overview on harmonica tuning(s).

Diatonic Harmonica Reference. Put together by Mike Will, this is a detailed and well known harmonica information source.

National Harmonica League is a UK based organisation. Their website has a terrific links page.

Harp-l. This is the major English language harmonica list, with mostly a US focus. Definitely worthwhile, I read it most days. Any question will be answered, sometimes by famous players. The archives are available on Yahoo and Google Groups.

Harp On! Harmonica Resources is a well organised collection of harmonica resources by G, a NZ based harmonica player and customiser.

Harmonica Jam provides jam tracks for home recordings, which users then post on the site. The environment is supportive, and beginners are welcomed. A great resource.

Band in a Box is the metronome for the 21st century. In particular, it helps build the technique to enable a beginning player to join with others. Essentially you can set a backing band to any speed (or key), then slowly increase tempo while gaining familiarity with a new tune. I have used this software extensively for practice, and cannot recommend it highly enough

Dutch harmonica site with a good harmonica links page.

Homespun tapes provide excellent resources for learning tunes. In particular, Steve Kaufman's four hour Bluegrass workout is a complete resource for learning the basic bluegrass tune repertoire. Similarly, "121 Favorite Irish Session Tunes", by L.E. McCullough provides the essential foundation for Irish session playing.

Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society Melbourne Blues Club (Australia), bringing together blues enthusiasts and blues artists, with jam nights, gigs, events, awards, contests, and a Blues Forum.

Irish Blues - all about the (active) blues scene in Ireland

Blindman Blues Forum A long running and excellent blues forum. "Jam Session" is the place to ask harmonica related questions, some fine players may answer them.

Todoarmonica An extensive harmonica site (in Spanish!) with a wide selection of interesting links

Gold Harmonicas A unique service, providing gold (or chrome) plating to harmonica covers

Blues Radio UK - UK Home Of The Blues - playing the very best blues. Tune in and enjoy the sound of well known and up and coming blues.

Live Blues World: blues discussion site, with almost 3000 members.

The Harmonica Company is a comprehensive online shop, with a well organised site.

Blues Jam Tracks Pete Schmidt's blues jam tracks are the best I've heard. Put together by seasoned blues players and available online, these tracks cover a wide range of common blues rhythms. Highly recommended.

The Harmonica Honker is a purpose built harmonica microphone, small enough to fit inside the hand while allowing natural acoustic style cupping techniques.

Harponline is a comprehensive online harmonica shop, based in Germany. In addition to stocking pretty much every good harmonica item, they also have replacement reeds and the necessary tools.

Aprenda a Tocar la Armónica: Online harmonica lessons in Spanish!

Links to Traditional Music Resources

Fingerstyle Productions is an Australian site for learning/purchasing banjo or guitar. It has a good set of links about the Australian bluegrass community

Ezyfolk is a massive repository of folk music resources

Jack Hatfield banjo teacher Jack has carved out a major niche as an author of banjo methods. He stayed with me during an Australian visit a few years ago, he (unknowingly) helped plant the ideas behind Harmonica Academy.

Links to Music Education Resources

Music education has been around as long as music. Online music teaching is obviously more recent. For those interested in music education, particularly online, the following links are of interest.

Music Lessons Plus: an online resource for locating music teachers

How to Play The Guitar - Tips and lessons on learning the guitar with videos and tabs.

Childrens Music Workshop is a California based music teaching organisation, focusing on schools. The site has extensive music teaching resources.

Education Online Today outlines a variety of online degree programmes, in music and other fields.

World Wide Learn Online Education - World's largest directory of online degree programs, online courses, continuing education, online training, and online education.

elearners.com A wide of accredited online degrees and programs for music and other areas

National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota. This is an extraordinary collection of historical instruments. Of particular interest is the Alan G. Bates Harmonica Collection, the largest historical harmonica collection outside of Trossingham (the home of Hohner Harmonicas).

Links to General Web Resources

Beyond the Black Stump is a large Australian link directory, with hand selected links to just about everything. Beyond the Black Stump is an Australian expression for very remote...