Harp On!
Beginner advice


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Starting out on stage or jamming with others

Harmonica players have a bad reputation among other musicians, and sadly it's well deserved. Here are some tips that may help earn you some respect.

Harmonica resources

Useful practice software tools

Suggested first time rigs

If you're relatively new to harmonica and don't want to spend too much on your very first rig, then these options are a good way to start out. It's assumed these won't be used in a venue bigger than a lounge, they're best suited for practicing at home, or small private jams with friends.

Clean practice rig

If you just want to make your acoustic harp playing louder The Leem SF-600 is a cheap vocal mic that'll do the job. The Shure SM58 is a long standing professional workhorse. I recommend both a long cable and the XLR to 1/4" patch cord so you can use your mic and cable with any sound system you end up playing through later on. If you get a long XLR to 1/4" cable you may end up having to buy a second long XLR to XLR cable so you can plug into a mixer or PA.
The MS-16 stereo monitors have seperate stereo line inputs on the back, with a stereo 4mm to RCA lead you can plug in any music playing device e.g. iPod, CD player, laptop etc. So you can practice with any backing. It also has headphone output so you can practice with headphones.

Chicago Blues practice rig

If you want to produce overdriven tones in the tradition of Chicago Blues Both mics are currently available on today's market. Sadly most of the best traditional mics can only be purchased second hand. The Shure 545 will need to be wired for high impedance to drive amps and effects properly. The mic comes with instructions on how to do this.
The HoneyTone amp is only 1Watt which is plenty for bedroom practice or jamming in the lounge. It also has a headphone output, so you can practice with headphones.
The Pignose amp is 8 Watts, bigger, heavier and louder. This is a very popular little amplifier. It's good for busking, and more than enough for practicing at home or jamming with a few mates.
The Behringer VD400 vintage delay is an inexpensive copy of an early Boss analog delay and surprisingly effective. You can use just a little to fatten up your sound, slap back or go crazy go nuts with it.
If you get a Leem Micro Mixer WAM290, lead and connectors, you can plug your microphone/delay into that plus any music playing device, e.g. iPod, CD player, laptop etc and it's output into your amp so you can play with backing.


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