From: bbbe~ris.com (Barry B. Bean)
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 95 11:02:00 EST
Subject: Confession time

I've made a painful decision, and I feel like I probably owe the
readers of Harp-L a true confession.

For the last 20 years or so, I've been a dyed-in-the-wool Marine Band
man. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a harp made that has a
better sound than the good old model 1896 Marine Band. I've been
seduced away a few times by the scarlet Golden Melody, and trifled
with Huang and Special 20. I even had a fling with Lee Oskars (too
tempermental), but in the end, I always came home to old faithful: My
Marine Band and a quick dip in water.

Lately, as often happens in long marriages, I've been taking my MB for
granted, and my eye began to rove. Some of you may have seen me
slipping into nightclubs with a metal bodied harp by my side. I've
toyed with the Meisterklasse and the Suzuki a little, and I'm afraid
they're widening the gulf between me and my MB.

Mind you, MB and I make beautiful music together, but there's nothing
like a good easy harp.

Given that I'm doubling much more between sax and harp than I used to,
ease of playing and consistency are becoming more important. I used to
play harp only for 3-4 hours a night, and the inconsistencies between
MBs were a small price to pay for that tone.

But now that I play harp perhaps 30% of the time, with sax taking the
larger chunk of my time, I'm looking at a switch to the Suzuki
Promaster. Mind you, I'll still have a set of MBs set aside for
all-harp gigs and studio work. But I think you'll see me keeping a
stack of Suzukis for casual gigs and rehearsals.

Tune in tomorrow as we ponder these burning questions:

Will Bear be seduced by valves?
Will he ever try a reverb unit or let anything come between his mic
and his amp?
Will Garrison Keillor ever answer his phone calls?

Find out tomorrow on

As the Harp Turns

- -
B.B. Bean - Have horn. Will travel.


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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

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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.

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Harp Frequently Asked Questions