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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 11/16/14: Mix Show
    Show Notes: An entertaining mix show for today featuring several tracks by Papa Charlie Jackson who was spotlighted in last week's show on blues banjo. In addition we spina set of sides revolving around the song Jackson made famous, "Salty Dog", a couple of songs revolving around both Sonny Boy's, plus we hear from several […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 11/9/14: I Thought I Heard My Banjo Say – Blues Banjo 1920's-1970's
    Papa Charlie Jackson For sometime it seems that guitar has eclipsed every other instrument to be the the one most commonly associated with the blues. It wasn't always the case and if one looks at the history of black music it's littered with pianos, harmonicas, violins, mandolins, jugs and other instruments. The banjo has a […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 11/2/14: Old Country Blues – Forgotten Country Blues Heroes Pt. 8, 1960's & 70's
    Show Notes:   Read Liner Notes I was talking last week on the air during our pledge drive about radio and how the landscape has changed with iTunes and services like Spotify and Pandora. What I tried to emphasize is that even with these services there is a vast amount of material that has never been […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 10/26/14: Mix Show & More
    Show Notes:  Last week our feature was on Post-War Black String Bands but due to our pledge drive we ran of time to include all the tracks I intended to play. Today we open up with those tracks with background information to be found on the notes for last week's program. The rest of the show […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 10/19/14: Raise a Ruckus Tonight – Post-War Black String Bands
    Show Notes: *Due to the pledge drive several tracks (marked with an asterisk) were not played today. We will play these tracks on next week's program. As collector Marshall Wyatt wrote, “the violin once held center stage in the rich pageant of vernacular music that evolved in the American South… and the fiddle held sway […]