I know there's a group for real harp players, but I'm not in that class. However, since finding my old harp rack, and one of my harmonicas, I decided I'd start using them again when playing some of my favorite folk tunes.
Any other of you folks using a rack and harp care to offer suggestions for what type of harmonicas you use. I need to get G - A -D - F and Bb to give me a start on using them in tunes that I play. I'm leaning towards Hohner Special 20's, or the Suzuki Harpmasters. I have Suzuki Folkmaster that I like but some folks say these Hohner Special 20's or the Harpmasters would be better.
About $30 a harp is all my budget allows. Anyway, thanks for input.
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I'm partial to Special 20s, but have a few Lee Oscars that belonged to the late Willie P. Bennett.
Willie P. Bennett was a great harp on a rack player. He was a friend and a mentor to both of my sons. Darcy has a guitar that belonged to Willie and Clayton owns one of his mandolins.
Here`s the last song I ever heard Will play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F60DwKOZkU
I am using this photo inside my new CD which is due in October...It is my old rack.
I use Hohner Blues Harps exclusively. I used the Lee Oskar ones for a while but I just like the wooden construction better. I have them in many keys, including a "Low D" which is in the key of D but an octave lower. Prices can really vary, so go on line and order from the cheaper vendor. A safer way to that is to shop thru Amazon.com. That's my 2 cents!
I have two types of holders (racks) that I use, both made by Hohner. I prefer the older slimmer simpler style and I still have two of them from the early 70's. They have a wignut on both sides.
The newer one I bought because i couldn't find the older style anymore:
I just got one on Amazon with wing-nuts, only 10-hole style which works for me at this point. Though, what's always bugged me is it never seems to be at the right angle for me to comfortable work with it. The support sides are flat, not tubular, and I can't easily bend it. Now, there is one Hohner makes that looks interesting, it's called a flex rack. Haven't seen one at a music store, and it is about $60. A bit high, compared to my $10 rack. Still, down the road, maybe able to get it. Need the harps first though.
I agree with Edward about the simpler racks being the best. I have two almost identical racks. One I bought circa 1962, right after I got my first Jimmy Reed album. It is an Elton rack. The only modifications I made were to bend the rack holder so it hit my mouth at a right angle, and to add some no slip washers.
The plastic box was bought from Canadian Tire and was meant to store small objects. I use it for storing small objects (mouth harps) It fits perfectly in a guitar case.
Edward mentioned the "low D" harp. I love this harp. It is in the same range as the fiddle and I have used it for twin fiddle arrangements using a harp/fiddle combination. I also have a "low F", but it doesn't get as much use.
The only point of Edward's that I don't agree with is his preference for wooden combs. I think the plastic comb was a huge improvement. It's more comfortable on the tongue, doesn't swell when it gets wet and seems easier to clean.
Hey Jim, I too added the slip washers to mine (great minds obviously think alike) and the box is cool. I carry my harps and rack in a small leather backpack and they have individual sleeves with a Key tag on each one. They are made by Hohner. The one thing I don;t like about the new Hohner rack I got is that it doesn't sit at the right angle and that bothers me...I do like the way it tightens with only one wingnut and it is a little bigger and doesn't pull out a few strands of my hair when I remove it!
Edward, I notice that you too have facial hair. The only times that I am tempted to shave my 33 year old beard and 45 year old moustache are when a hair gets caught in the harp rack and during corn on the cob season.
There is nothing worse than diving into a great harp-on-a-rack solo and one of your mustache hairs gets plucked out! Makes your eyes water, while you continue the solo without letting anyone notice! Doesn't happen often, but its the knowledge that it could anytime that gets to you! ;-)
Great box, I've been looking in the wrong places!
Speaking of racks, A local busker, Claude Paquette, has made an ingenious rack from a neck rack and an old mic stand. It has a little table for his extra harps and he hangs a small battery powered amp from the front of the stand.
I saw that on the harp forum, too. That is one great idea. Gonna try that kind of thing, when I get more confident and actually play in front of folks in public again.
I appreciate the info and advice. I've got facial hair, and I have to watch out for those springs too! I was wondering about those low keys. Folks tell me the normal F harp is kinda shrill sounding, and I might want to get a low F one. Also, I keep my parlor guitar tuned a full step not exactly open-D, but using the E shape, I'm playing in D. I play some tunes in F and want a harp in F to blow with that setup. What do you think the normal F or low F?
I have both, but the high can be really piercing.