Mist On the Mountain

Here we go  – I’m playing guitar with harmonica on the traditional Irish tune Mist On the Mountain – I’m playing guitar in Dropped D tuning and playing a G harmonica with it.

Mist On the Mountain is in the key of A minor, so with a G harmonica that means I’m playing in 3rd position harmonica – third position is the harmonica position most often used when the song is in a minor key.

Mist On the Mountain is fairly fast paced and honestly I’ve heard it played a lot faster than what I’m playing here, just not as guitar and harmonica together. I like the A minor chord up at the 5th fret and how you can alternate between that and the standard A minor chord down at the first two frets.

What do you think?

Matthew Shelton

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Star of County Down guitar harmonica

Star of County Down is a beautiful traditional Irish tune. I’m playing it here in A minor standard-tuned guitar, using a 10 hole diatonic harmonica.

Added a little bit of outro at the end, including a held bent note down to A on the #3 draw. Hope you like the piece.

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Tam Lin Guitar and Harmonica together

Matthew Shelton playing the Irish tune Tam Lin Guitar and Harmonica together.

Song is in Aminor, guitar is in Drop D tuning.  Fun tune to play.

The B part of TamLin is hard to play in the upper register because without overblowing a note is missing in the melody.  I am able to play the B part’s melody in its’ entirety down in the low end with a lot of bending, though.  Try it out!

 

 

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Guitar Harmonica Rainstorm Jammin’

In terms of guitar-harmonica playing, playing during a big rainstorm is a lot of fun.  We’ve been having all kinds of downpours in the Atlanta area and they are GREAT to play an acoustic instrument with, but TERRIBLE for recording. I recorded this on a cellphone propped up on a car, so apologies for that.  The low key of G harmonica doesn’t cut through well on this recording but still you get the idea. Next time it is raining, get out there and PLAY – you’ll be surprised at what you may feel.  Just don’t get your guitar wet 😉

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Harmonica Hacker

Sometimes you start doing things simply because there is no other way for them to get done – I’ve become a harmonica hacker.

After looking at all available harmonica models worldwide, checking with online modification options, and talking with people I know knowledgeable in harmonica modding work, it came to the point where I had to just move ahead, even though I was being told by experts that it wouldn’t work.

Here’s the problem that had to be solved:

I am playing a lot of Celtic music nowadays which is really great stuff to do on harmonica and guitar and it’s very challenging, especially when you’re doing the session technique of moving from one tune to the next without missing a beat and what that means quite often is that you are changing keys on the guitar and also at the very least changing positions on the harmonica.

For example, to play these tunes together, Connaughtmans Rambles, Morrison’s Jig, and Kesh Jig, on the guitar you go from key of D, to key of E minor, to key of G. So on the harmonica you can start with a D harmonica in first position to play Connaughtmans Rambles, then stay with the same harmonica in the third position to play the E minor tune, but then there’s a problem with playing the following tune. in G major-it just doesn’t work very well on the D harmonica.

So what are you going to do?  If you’re playing live, it’s impractical to stop in the middle and put a new harmonica in the harmonica rack, and so I wanted to find a way to have two harmonicas in a rack.

The average Marine band style harmonica is 4 inches wide, and I have a seven and a half-inch inch-wide harmonica rack that I like to use, so clearly two standard harmonicas wouldn’t work.

Now the interesting thing is that if you take the actual playing surface of the 10 whole diatonic harmonica, it’s only 3 inches. So if there is a way to reduce the size of harmonicas down to their essentials, to their playing surfaces, then clearly there’s a way to fit two10-hole diatonic harmonicas in a 7 1/2 inch wide harmonica rack.

Harmonicas are made of metal, plastic and wood so you can’t exactly shrink the things to make them fit, like they were fabric or something.  I don’t like min-size harmonicas, anyway, but like to keep playing holes and surfaces to be a standard size so everything works easily from key to key.

Instead I decided to remove the non-playing surfaces of a harmonica – here’s the results:

harmonica hacking

Only had to hack one harmonica to get two to fit into the rack!

 This is a major game-changer!

So yes I’m now officially a harmonica hacker!
Would you like to know more about how the hacked harmonica sounds and if it still works?  Comment below!

 

 

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A Video Called “Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson ‘s Flute Solo” about jethro tull flute

This decision changed Rock history – Ian Anderson (most people think of him as "Jethro Tull" but that is his band's name) decided to concentrate on playing a silver flute instead of the guitar.  He chose to concentrate on a mouth instrument instead of the dominant Rock instrument at the time, guitar, and created his own style and stood way out from the pack – is there a lesson here?  Couldn't this still be done with harmonica?  Here's Ian Anderson much later still at it on his mouth instrument.

 

Ian Anderson OJT 1200.jpg

 

 

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"Ian Anderson OJT 1200.jpg Ian Anderson OJT 1200.jpg"

 


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Ian Anderson: 'I swapped Lemmy's £30000 guitar for £30 pound flute.'

"The only things he could play were “a little harmonica and a tin whistle”. He returned his guitar to the music store with £60 credit from his hire purchase agreement, “the shiny flute was hanging on the wall, and there was a Shure Unidyne III …See all stories on this topic »"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraphtv/10127254/Ian-Anderson-I-swapped-Lemmys-30000-guitar-for-30-pound-flute..html


It's a really good idea to change-up what you do with instruments onstage – certainly just guitar isn't enough.  Playing guitar and harmonica sounds incredible (or at least it should) and gets better the more practice you put into it.
Write something here about jethro tull flute and Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson 's Flute Solo

 

Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson 's Flute Solo

 

"Jethro Tull."

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Guitar Hero Who Cares?

The days of the Guitar Hero are long gone no one really cares anymore, except for guitar geeks here and there.  If you are a good guitar player, then that is great, but it is crazy to try to be "the world's greatest guitar player" anymore. 

The proof of this is right in any live music bar you go into: You'll see some guys all cranked up and shredding riffs, and people don't even look up from their drinks.

That's why it is a worthy goal to do something different.

Learn to play the guitar and harmonica together, better than you've heard anyone else do it live before.

It sounds great and it is rare, and people pay attention.

Here's the quoted article:

What It Takes to Be the Next Guitar Hero

by Bob L Danner

Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Slash are just some of the biggest names in rock history. These names are known for their masterful use of the guitar and each of them have innovated the art of guitar playing in their own ways.

Any aspiring musician who takes inspiration from these guitar heroes should remember that all of them were once a newbie. Of course, the same can be said about every other guitarist in the industry regardless of their musical genre or their current skill level. Realizing this can serve as a motivation for beginners who also dream of excelling in what they do.

Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources available for novice guitarists. An example of this would be the numerous guitar-tutorial websites that freely share basic and advanced lessons for interested learners. These online sites can be a huge help for anyone looking for information about basic chords, strumming techniques, scales, fingering exercises, and many more.

In addition, there are also many companies that sell instructional CDs and DVDs featuring amazing guitarists. These audio/video courses provide step-by-step instruction and they do it in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. If you want to access a more focused approach to learning the instrument, then this is a better option than merely browsing guitar websites. These days, there are even some cheap applications for tablets and smartphones that provide sequential lessons for learners.

However, it should still be noted that nothing beats the advantages of working with an actual guitar instructor. Hiring a professional teacher by signing up for guitar classes can be the fastest way to improve as a player. Although tutorial sites and DVDs can get you started in the right direction, only a real mentor can assess your strengths, point out your weaknesses, and tell you what you need to do to be better. Whether you are a beginner or someone looking for advanced instructions, a good guitar teacher can guide you in your efforts towards quicker progress.

Another advantage of enrolling for such a lesson is that you will be able to ask questions any time. If you have technical questions about the instrument or if you have certain musical styles you want to explore, all you have to do is ask. Your guitar teacher will be glad to respond and provide you with the needed help at once. You can never get that out of a DVD!

Bob Danner is an amateur photographer and hobbyist. He also loves playing musical instruments. He strongly recommends MSOM guitar lessons in Melbourne.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com


So let's work on being Guitar/Harmonica heroes, and have fun and sound really good no matter what else happens, right?

 

 

 

 
 

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Guitar Harmonica Breathing!

Quite often you’ll see people playing their guitar and harmonica together (see video below!) where their harmonica playing sounds very hesitant, playing guitar-harmonica and breathing like they are afraid of it.  This is ok for a beginner, but it is a very limited way of playing.  This is almost always done in First Position harmonica playing, which is playing a harmonica in the same key as the guitar.

With first position playing, the harmonica playing is weighted toward the EXHALE notes, which is what beginners usually think is supposed to be done with the harmonica.

What can improve your playing tremendously and almost be a revolution in your playing is to realize that the harmonica is an INHALE and exhale instrument – it is the only instrument that is played in both inhale and exhale.  So this is where you can really take advantage of your natural breathing instead of just playing like a school-marm librarian, just pecking away on the instrument.

Here’s some tips for you:

  1. 1. First thing to do is remember when you blew out all the candles on a birthday cake: how did you do it?  You took a big breath first, didn’t you!
  2. Good – now lets’ do the same thing, except in the opposite way:
  3. 2. Exhale all your air, just as far as you can go, now inhale through holes 1,2,3,4 on the harmonica.  Do this a couple of times.
  4. 3. Next, do the same thing except  blow through holes 1,2,3,4 on the harmonica for your exhale – blow ’til you run out of air, and then inhale again through your harmonica.

You’ll notice a lot more volume – of course you can do this anywhere on the harmonica that you want, but it will automatically sound best at the 1,2,3,4 chord on the harmonica because those are built-in chords there.

So think of your harmonica as an inhale/exhale instrument and really step up your breathing through the instrument and you’ll be able to express a lot more emotion with it.  Whenever we get emotional at all, whether it is anger, joy or excitement, our breathing gets faster and deeper, doesn’t it?

Your audiences will notice this change in your breathing and will react to it on a subconscious level: “This performer is excited!”

So most likely you’ll have to increase the volume of your guitar playing to match that of your harmonica, but that’s ok, too.  Just try to keep a balance of volume between your guitar and harmonica.

  • Do that guitar-harmonica breathing thing and notice the difference in your playing!
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Guitar-Harmonica Freak!

Matthew Shelton guitar-harmonica

Matthew Shelton guitar-harmonica freak!

Well I gotta admit I am a total guitar harmonica freak.  What I absolutely love to do is to play the guitar and the harmonica together, with the harmonica being held in a harmonica rack.

You just get this massive sound that is really inspiring and your harmonica playing is also inspired because you have a great background to your playing in the form of what you are doing on the guitar.

If you already play the guitar, you really ought to consider trying it.

And if you play the harmonica, then seriously consider learning to play the guitar – just simple chord progressions along with your harmonica playing sound remarkably good.

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