Adam Gussow - Modern Blues Harmonica

2007-05-14 11:28:00

My brother Larry (bass player for Carlos Colina's Band), went to buy milk about 20 years ago and as he gets out of the car in the Grand Union parking lot, he hears someone wailing away on the harp. Larry's not shy and introduces himself. The harp player is Adam Gussow who was raised a few miles from our old Nyack, NY homestead and is out buying milk, too.

Skip forward a few years.

Adam went on to discover Satan (Sterling Magee) playing guitar and rhythm on a street corner. The story is that Adam asked Satan if he could jam along. Adam is supposed to have said, I won't embarrass you or something to that affect, and he didn't. Satan and Adam was born. They went on to make a few tapes, one of which I found in a flea market down on Canal Street. I found another down at the Greenwich Village Tower Records before they closed up. Good stuff on both of them.

Skip forward to 2007.

Now, we all know that there is no money in blues. A bad country and western band cleans up. A heavy metal cover band can make $1,000 a night most weekends, but a blue band usually gets a handshake and a free drink from the bar. Don't quit your day job. Adam has been making a few bucks here and there giving lessons, but I don't think that he is getting rich. A few months ago, Adam Gussow started giving away some kick-ass harp lessons on YouTube. These are some of the best lessons on the net and I am betting he is finally getting some much deserved revenue from his websites.

If you are interested in good blues harp, check out Adam's site. (The site is sometimes slow to respond.)

If you are in the New York Metropolitan area, go down to Terra Blues on Friday, June 1, where Satan and Adam will be playing their first New York Gig in over 11 years at Terra Blues.

Modern Blues Harmonica


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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

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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 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 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