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flatbaroque

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I enjoy a blow in the privacy of my own home (harp that is)...I play at a rudimentary level but understand cross harp playing for blues etc...the chap on the Dylanchords website has a very good breakdown of how Key selection tends to work....in regards to Bob's songs...but can be applied in general...I didn't really understand 4th position that well before looking at this.

 

http://dylanchords.info/harp/harpkeys.htm

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Yep. Dylan stands as an example of how bad a harmonica can sound when badly played. He has probably been more influential in turning people off the guitar/harp combo than anyone else. That is not all his fault, he is just rubbish at playing harmonica and should be regarded as such. He had his strengths, I suppose. Harp playing was not one of them. As for which key to play in, it isn't that hard. If you want to play in 1st position, play harp in the same key as the song. If you want to play in 2nd position, play the 5th - so a C harp is used for the key of G - an A harp is used for the key of E - a D harp is used for the key of A - a G harp is used for the key of D - and so it goes. It is possible to play a 10 hole diatonic harp in 12 keys - but most people would not want to!

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Fair enough lboy.....I like the sounds he makes....its just colour and feel not virtuosity....and I don't mind sounding like Bob or Neil when I play one...to me the harp on say "All along the Watchtower" or "As I went out one morning"..on John Wesley Harding add a great counterpoint to the song structure.

But I probably wouldn't know a good harmonica player if I fell over one...each to his own.

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dylan plays a great harp , like FB says , its not always about being stevie wonder on them .

would be like saying picasso was rubbish because he painted two eyes on the same side of a face . dylan's songs would lack the emotional impact if it wasnt for the crazy harp blowing in some of his songs

 

imagine his mr tambourine man with no harp

 

listen to what was it you wanted from the oh mercy lp for 'proper' harp playing , just to prove he can do it.

he used to earn a crust before he could by being bob dylan , by being a session harmonica player

one of the names he used to be credited with (tax reasons i suppose) was blind boy grunt

 

keep suckin FB :-)

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dylan plays a great harp , like FB says , its not always about being stevie wonder on them .

would be like saying picasso was rubbish because he painted two eyes on the same side of a face . dylan's songs would lack the emotional impact if it wasnt for the crazy harp blowing in some of his songs

 

imagine his mr tambourine man with no harp

 

 

There are almost as many harp styles as there are guitar styles. There are plenty of people who don't like Dylan's guitar playing, either. Or his singing.

 

In his case, it's not about the quality of any single component of his music. It's about the end result, which is often absolute magic.

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I saw Bobs paintings live and liked them though they took an amount of flak in the reviews.

To be honest, I found it interesting to stand in the very cubic where this giant in modern music, this fire-soul - had made his choices of colors and shapes.

 

Regarding the harp, I'm not sure you have heard all his blowing iannishboy. There are some mighty fine solos here and there. Then again I recognize what you saying as a lot of his harp-playing has been sheer nonsense for the last 25 years. But wait a minute – wasn't the original idea to show everyone that they could play and contribute to the times that were changing. Unlike Lennon f.x., who blew the conventional well-behaved way and soon put the instrument aside.

 

As said, I admit it has sounded like Dylan was more than tired of breathing through this piece of metal for decades. More than once I've heard him go ambulance or just stand in the same note for what seemed like a full minute - talking concerts here. My friend even witnessed him picking the wrong key and blow on. Still those mad lines of barbed-wire continues to be a beat-signal no matter what – the symbol of daring something else.

 

 

 

Btw. it dawns on me that the Oh Mercy cover seen above might be a work of his own hand. Can anyone confirm this ?

 

. . . . . . . . . . . .

.. . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. .What Bob isn't - BobtheMarionette2.jpg

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em7 - read on my friend

.……

 

The cover artwork was picked by Dylan as he passed a mural that caught his eye while biking to the studio (probably for mxing sessions in New York). The piece was called "Dancing Couple," and it was signed "Trotsky."

 

Remerro Trotsky Williams already had a connection with Dylan. Trotsky grew up in Washington, D.C., and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom changed his outlook:

 

"I learned that differences in acceptance could be attributable to color ... and my journey for balance and harmony [in my life] began."

 

The march is most well known for Dr. Martin Luther King's' "I Have A Dream" speech, but Dylan performed at the event as well.

 

The artist's life changed again when Dylan wanted artwork by Trotsky to be used as an album cover. According to a 1989 article in People magazine:

 

... Bob Dylan sent agents scurrying to locate the creator of a mural he'd spotted on a building in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen district. Signed "Trotsky," the painting, a colorful acrylic-on-brick of a dancing couple, adorns the side of the Kowk Wah Chinese Restaurant at Ninth Avenue and 53rd Street. When Dylan wanted to photograph it for the cover of his 35th Columbia Records album, Oh Mercy, Columbia minions went in search of the artist  ... with a contract for more than $5,000.

 

Weeks later, Trotsky was located with the help of a local community group. "There I was in early July, returning from landlord-tenant court, completely exhausted, and the phone rings," says Trotsky, 36, who owed back rent on his ramshackle $369-a-month studio near his mural. "I answered with a whine." And utter disbelief when told of Dylan's intent. "I said, 'You're full of it,' " he recalls...

 

Flirted with now by agents and galleries—"I'm hot right now and I love it," he says—Trotsky enjoyed an audience with his benefactor at a Dylan concert in July. "He told me my painting blew him away," says the artist. "He was also concerned that I liked the title of the album to go with my artwork. That was very nice."

 

Trotsky was also quoted as saying, "I was just about to give up and move to Atlanta or Istanbul, and I get this phone call: 'CBS (who owned Columbia Records pre-Sony) calling - We want to use one of your paintings for the Bob Dylan LP,' and I say, 'You're kidding; this is some cruel joke; go away, but give me your number, and I'll call you back.' I called back and it ended up being the real thing."

 

According to Trotsky, Dylan asked him for advice when they finally met. "He said, CBS was scared the title Oh Mercy sounded religious. I said Oh Mercy had guts and feeling, and it matched the art."

 

A few months after the album's release, Trotsky was diagnosed with HIV. "I never thought I'd still be alive in 2007," he said four years ago. "HIV has astonished and confounded me, my work and my friends in uncounted ways [and that's not a bad thing]."

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Flatbaroque: i too blow harp, a lot more lately than in the past. Ive been working on my 3rd position playing, as i feel it uses more draw notes in the minor key, which sounds great for blues. To me, i think of 4th as straight harp minor (C harp in A minor) i havent spent too much time playing 5th position, but have been considering a natural minor tuned harp or 3. What kind of harps do you play? Ive been on special 20s for awhile, but started venturin into some higher-end, sealed wood comb harps since i lack the ability and patience to seal up marine band combs. I have a marine band deluxe and marine band crossover that are fantastic, and have been considering trying either the seydel 1847 or suziki manji (or probably both) in the future. Harp on!

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Lazer I can tell you are much more of a harp afficionado than me...kudos on your enthusiasm.I'm at work at the moment but from memory I have a few marine bands, a couple of "folkmasters?" and a couple of black ones...can't remember what they are called.

I got to thinking about harp keys because I was going to play one on the song I posted here on the weekend.

Song was capoed to sound in F. I didn't have a harp in F....had 3 G's though..haha

I had an E so the decision was to sacrifice my cutting edge vocals to display the blunter edge harp [rolleyes] ...so I went for the easier singing key of F.

You sound as though you may be a real harp player...I certainly aren't up on those variations you've mentioned, marine band crossover etc. But like all of us its good to learn new stuff.

Cheers mate.

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Song was capoed to sound in F. I didn't have a harp in F....had 3 G's though..haha

 

F is an interesting key when it comes to harmonicas as there are 2 octaves available. Do yourself a favor and be aware of this if you go out to buy.

I by mistake got the high one first, which meant I couldn't do f.x. Heart of Gold paralleled one step down as intended. Found the low version and now have things under command. The high one sounds fine and is usefull in other contexts.

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Thanks Em7.That's good to know. I wanted to get an F cause I was thinking about having a go at Guy Clark's Dublin Blues.Drop D and in D but capoed on 3rd Fret to sound in F.Original doesn't have harp but i think it would suit.

A lot of great knowledge available on this forum!!.......despite the occasional lover's tiffs. [biggrin]

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Thanks Em7.That's good to know. I wanted to get an F cause I was thinking about having a go at Guy Clark's Dublin Blues.Drop D and in D but capoed on 3rd Fret to sound in F.Original doesn't have harp but i think it would suit.

A lot of great knowledge available on this forum!!.......despite the occasional lover's tiffs. [biggrin]

You could also consider playing a Bb (B flat) harp in 2nd position (cross harp) to give you the key of F. Not a common key for harp but a very nice range for the instrument. Depends on the feel you are after I suppose.

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I need a low f...lowest i got now is a low F#, i wanna keep going down, possibly to low d and beyond. Baroque: check out the marine band crossovers or deluxes. While they are more expensive than the regular marine bands (around $60 street) they are well worth the extra change and still have that classic marine band sound

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I like Dylan's harp playing. Always have. He doesn't come across as a professional harp player because he's not. To me, he sounds "real." Not highly polished or commercialized. He has that raw sound like Cash and The Tennessee Two and he turned it into "his" sound. He's not trying to be a member of The Harmonicats (anyone remember them?,,,lol..). He's a folksinger and his use of the harmonica works very well when making a connection with the folks.

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