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Welcome to ‘Harmonica Riff’

Harmonica RiffThis site explores the possibilities and pleasures of jamming on the diatonic harmonica. I have been playing the diatonic harmonica since I was 14 years of age. My father first taught me the basics, by showing me how to get the basic notes of do re mi fa so la ti do in order to play South African folk songs like SARIE MARAIS. I discovered that once the basic technique was mastered of producing whole notes or chords under control you had at your disposal a compact and extremely portable instrument which you could use with the same dexterity as the human voice.

Once I had discovered how to play harmonies in first or second position I was on a roll. I soon was playing in bands and ultimately formed my own band ‘Blue And Beyond‘. Even though I play guitar the harmonica is definitely my first instrument. What ‘Harmonica Riff’ aims to do is reel in the wealth of material out on the internet and organise it into logical steps, so that anyone can enjoy jamming for pleasure to their favourite bands while improving their playing. There is a wealth of material already out there on explicit technique, but since the harmonica sounds different from player to player, I believe it is more important to show and develop your own style rather than desparately trying to carbon copy the great players.

John Tribe

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  • Big Road Blues Show 2/7/16: Meet Me In The Bottom – Forgotten Blues Heroes Pt. 9
    Show Notes: Johnny Wood, Olive Branch, Mississippi, 1972 (Photo by Tom Pomposello) Today's show is part of a semi-regular feature I call Forgotten Blues Heroes that spotlights great, but little remembered blues artists that don't really fit into my weekly themed shows. Today's recordings are mainly from the 60's and 70's and showcase artists who […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 1/31/16: Alabama Boogie – Post-War Alabama Blues
    Show Notes: Blues writer Chris Smith noted that “Alabama attracted many folklorists, from John Lomax on down, seeking the oldest styles of black music in a state which long had a reputation for backwardness, poverty and racism. …Despite flourishing gospel quartet and piano traditions, the state’s blues are comparatively under-represented on 'race' records.” And as […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 1/24/16: Mix Show
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  • Big Road Blues Show 1/10/16: Ramblin' On My Mind – Steve LaVere, A Blues Life
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  • Big Road Blues Show 12/27/15: Texas Worried Blues – A Tribute To Mack McCormick
    Show Notes: Mack McCormick, 1986. Photo: Carlos Antonio Rio The blues, particularly the early history, has an air of mystery and myth that's accrued over the years and is a big part of what draws people to the music. You need look no further than the mythic status attained by Robert Johnson. Johnson was also […]