Q: Should I break my harp in?

A: Some people say it's necessary, some people say it isn't. Anyway it couldn't hurt to play softly at first and don't bend the notes too far. Then after the first hour of playing or so you could start playing harder. This could lengthen the life of your harps -- BB

Some purists take a new harmonica apart and re-tune and re-gap each reed to optimize it to their playing style before they even start to play, and then break it in (more on this below) ! -- HA

((FMI: "Reed Fatigue" 26 Mar 94 RJ (FMI: "Re: Breaking in revisited" 27 Mar 94 TA (FMI: "Tongue Blocking Again" 31 May 94 WY (FMI: "Why do reeds fail?" 22, 23 May 95 RE, DT (FMI: "Reed fail follow-up" 27 May 95 RE

Others finish the reeds in a special manner to minimize transverse scratches and thereby prolonging life. Pretty involved -- HA

(FMI: "re:Classical Harmonica and long lasting reeds" 21 Apr 95 DT) (FMI: "Classical Music and long lasting reeds" 21 Apr 95 DT) (FMI: "The Tate Method" 25 Apr 95 DT)


Buy the Book!

I cleaned up my tab for Sonny Boy's Help Me and made it into a short book. There's a Kindle version for 99 cents, and if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle free.

Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

I also write Science Fiction, so you can sample some of my best stories. Also available in Kindle format.

Error Message Eyes: A Programmer's Guide to the Digital Soul


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The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into JT30.com in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

Picking Up Blues Harp

A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

Usenet Articles

Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old Harpamps.com website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.

Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


Harp Frequently Asked Questions