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Harm Monica

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A few weeks ago in my drunken enlightened state of mind, I decided to go on amazon for a few items I've been putting off buying. Nothing crazy, just a handle for my 5 gal carboy and some sugar free Heinz ketchup (Don't judge me), but I needed to buy one more item to get free shipping. I thought long about what I need and couldn't come up with anything, so then I considered any items that I want.

It was at the moment between draining and filling my tumbler that I remembered that I've been wanting to try out a harmonica. I half-heartedly started to look through what was available, fully ready for some obscene price for a small instrument; that or the harmonica is cheap but doesn't function, aka sneaky Chinese knock offs. Much to my surprise, they were all quite affordable and decent quality (as per reviews). I decided to go with the Bluesmaster made by Suzuki. It was $36 CAD, so it's not like I was breaking the bank. As it turns out, the harmonica is actually well made!

So, here it is, the much vaunted ultimate mobile instrument, right in my hands. I lick my lips and give it a try. Much to my relief, the sound is quite crisp and true. I quickly learned that playing the harp (harmonicas are called harps for some reason) requires you to both blow and draw in order to get the full range of notes. I never realized how hard it is to keep playing draw notes consecutively. It feels like the inverse of being out of breath, hard to explain.

So away I went, playing some made up jaunty tune, having a blast. Then my dog started howling. Every time I started playing, she would start howling. I was nearly doubled over laughing as my dog was looking at me concerned and confused. I finished my fit of laughter, tried again, and she started howling again. I guess it really is bluesy if my dog wants to sing a duet about her doggy-blues

Anywhoo, fast forward a couple weeks and I finally figured out how to bend the notes to actually get that real bluesy sound you hear when others play. As it turns out, no one can clearly explain the process. To save someone else time, the act of bending a note on a harmonica, is to partially close off or restrict the are flow through the hole. The easiest way to get the sound is to turn the harmonica upwards so your bottom lip will partially block the hole. Then your brain can figure out what shape to make with your mouth to get the same sounds (ee and oh) without moving the harp.

It goes without saying, as soon as I started playing with my newfound bluesy sounds, my dog was keen to jump in with her own. I wouldn't have it any other way! 10/10 would recommend

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  1. Neetu's Avatar
    A duet isn't so bad, is it? Glad you're enjoying your Harm Monica.
  2. Stygian's Avatar
    She's got the soul of a blues singer. I think it stems from the heartbreak of me starting to give her half a cookie instead of a full one.
  3. Neetu's Avatar
    I have a beagle and when he howls, oh well, he has the soul of a lost singer...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stygian
    She's got the soul of a blues singer. I think it stems from the heartbreak of me starting to give her half a cookie instead of a full one.
  4. tinacrabapple's Avatar
    That makes me laugh. I have a beagle as well, but he's old and deaf. In his prime he'd probably howl too. Love it! Man and his dog...and a Harm Monica.
  5. Winston's Avatar
    I'm jealous. I appreciate music like crazy, but have no ability to make it.
    Good on you.
  6. Stygian's Avatar
    It's too bad dogs have such short lives. It was my dog's 6th birthday last Friday. I spoiled her rotten. We went for a long trip to Banff and Lake Louise. I got her a new Nylabone S-shaped chew toy and one of those beef bones with meat on it (Pet store kind). She was a happy pooch!

    I'm not really that great at playing music, I just keep at it and improve every day a little bit. Teaching myself to play piano (read notes mostly) helped a lot. I managed to memorize and play the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata and, more recently, Carousel of Memories by Jean-Philippe Rio-Py. I mostly just play around with random notes and chord shapes now, lots of fun.
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