No. It’s a very complex instrument (and requires a lot of skill in playing). You need to play the harmonica differently to a guitar than you do to a banjo. Guitar players play it differently. That’s how you learn how to do it. Playing the harmonica is a process of understanding how to play. It’s not like learning how to play some of the best traditional African music instruments. It takes some time, but once you get it down, you’ll play the harmonica well.
What about the sound quality, is it good enough? Oh god, it’s so good, but you’ll find people saying that it sounds like a bad harmonica! That it sounds too thin… No. It’s not that thin; you’ll still be able to hear what’s happening, especially with more advanced players — even on the lowest notes. You’ll be able to hear the notes being played, and it really does sound like a harmonica. You don’t need a big instrument like a snare drum to hear notes.
Will I want to learn more about harmonica? Absolutely, but you’ll want to stick with a beginner’s instrument, like the banjo or a violin; those are the ones I use most often. It’s the same with any instrument that requires effort.
Do you play in bands? Yes, although I play with a harmonica player for nearly all my gigs. You’ll need to have some experience with harmonica as it requires a lot of practice. It can take a few years, but with proper practice your game will rise to the same level as a banjo player, and you’ll be playing like a professional.
What is your attitude about playing harmonica? It’s something that you have to feel comfortable with, to be able to play it confidently and learn the correct technique without any fear. When I play it, I try to create a sound with my hand. As you get better, you can hear what I’m doing. That’s the trick — you need to go outside and listen for yourself, because it sounds different with the right music and atmosphere.
Did you learn to play harmonica by listening to other folks’? Yes, I did. I started practicing harmonica on the bus, because I wasn’t able to play on the guitar well. I learned it by listening to people around me and practicing on the bus.
I’ve known someone who is a musician and a harmonica teacher, but didn’t start playing
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