Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Harp Racks?
Harp Racks?
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Micha
52 posts
Dec 26, 2009
11:21 AM
Title speaks for itself. I've started to play the guitar and would like to accompany myself playing harp.

Who owns one or more? Who is happy about it and who isn't?

Thanks!
waltertore
12 posts
Dec 26, 2009
12:09 PM
I use the basic bob dylan, jimmy reed rack. I have tried lots over the years, but this simple one fit me. It costs less than 10 bucks and a couple will last you a lifetime. Most people that go to rack harp playing don't realize how uncomfortable it is and how much it taxes your brains ability to coordinate. So, instead of putting in the ton of hours it takes to get good with it, they go out and buy one expensive rack after another and in the end, end up dropping it most of the time. Walter
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walter tore's sponotbeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

http://www.youtube.com/user/waltertore
jonsparrow
1500 posts
Dec 26, 2009
12:19 PM
what ever you do dont get the hohner one. i got it for free from guitar center for spendin a certain amount, an it is really bad. it feels like its going to crush my harp, an if it dosnt do that it will certainly scratch them.
rbeetsme
90 posts
Dec 26, 2009
1:11 PM
Walter is right, try it first, and the truth is, there is no good one.
Micha
53 posts
Dec 26, 2009
3:46 PM
What is the brand of this rack? I don't seem to find it on the internet...

Thanks!
oldwailer
985 posts
Dec 26, 2009
4:28 PM
The best I have found is the Harp Handle--

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=harmonica+holders&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4577704375&ref=pd_sl_9tc7p25q0b_b

I like it because you can change the tilt of the harp easily.

of the standard types, I like the Lee Oskar next best--again, you can bend it around to get a good angle. They only hold ten-holers though.

If you intend to get a Strnaad mic or any kind of mic that clamps to the harp, the Lee Oskar would be my recommendation--the Harp handle would probably not be stout enough to hold a mic.

I have a couple of others. including a hohner, that I have mainly because I haven't gotten around to throwing them out.

There are some great tips on playing with a holder here:

http://www.harmonicatunes.com/harmonicaholder.shtml

Including a holder which looks like it would really be great--but it costs about $150-- it's made by builderofstuff--if I'm not mistaken, he sometimes posts here. . .
waltertore
14 posts
Dec 26, 2009
4:43 PM
here it is. It has gotten cheaper! Must be made in china. Walter
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002L51EM/ref=asc_df_B0002L51EM988563?smid=A3P8TLUFEJW1Y9&tag=nextag-mi-mp01-delta-20&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B0002L51EM
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walter tore's sponotbeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing.

< a href=http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137>my music

< a href=http://www.youtube.com/user/waltertore
Micha
54 posts
Dec 27, 2009
1:37 AM
Thanks for the info guys! Much appreciated!
EddyLizard2
63 posts
Dec 27, 2009
7:33 AM
no matter how hard i tried, i could not hold the harp with it in the angle i wanted. never used it since.
gave it to a guitar playing friend who is using it.

Last Edited by EddyLizard2 on Jun 24, 2013 2:49 PM
waltertore
17 posts
Dec 27, 2009
8:47 AM
Eddy: It took me years to feel comfortable using a rack. I spent countless hours trying to make them more comfortable fitting to no avail. Now, about 35 years later, I am use to it! Walter
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walter tore's sponotbeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

href=http://www.youtube.com/user/waltertore
waltertore
18 posts
Dec 27, 2009
8:47 AM
Eddy: It took me years to feel comfortable using a rack. I spent countless hours trying to make them more comfortable fitting to no avail. Now, about 35 years later, I am use to it! Walter
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walter tore's sponotbeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

href=http://www.youtube.com/user/waltertore
GEEZER1
13 posts
Dec 27, 2009
9:05 AM
When I use one it tends to tilt down and the harp drowns, it is uncomfortable for sure
waltertore
20 posts
Dec 27, 2009
11:20 AM
GEEZER1: It will just take time............ This subject reminds me of when I asked sonny terry why can't I get sounds/tones like he does. I was probably around 20 years old and dabbiling in amped harp stuff. Mark Werner shared the gear to get and I got it. Yet, I never could touch the tone and soul Sonny got with nothing but him and a harp. Anyway, he took me by the arm and smiled and said - Walter you just keep doing what your doing and in about 30 years, you will know what I am talking about. Obviously, that was not the answer I wanted to hear, but now 30 years gone by, I am getting it. Walter
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walter tore's sponotbeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

href=http://www.youtube.com/user/waltertore
Micha
55 posts
Dec 27, 2009
3:11 PM
Thanks for all the info guys. I've just bought a cheap model and going to take your advice: just take my time to learn it :-).

By the way: Walter, saw you're youtube vids, nice playing!
congaron
364 posts
Dec 28, 2009
11:09 AM
I modified my hohner to make it tilt a few degrees. I simply used a small crescent wrench in two places and twisted the two flat stock pieces so the are holding my harp better for single hole playing when I want. I also wrapped a couple of turns electrical tape to prevent marring the harps. I'll look for or take a pic...

Photobucket

Photobucket

Last Edited by on Dec 28, 2009 11:29 AM
EddyLizard2
66 posts
Dec 28, 2009
11:22 AM
@waltertore
I listened to your one man band, nice stuff, i am amazed.
thanks for your encouraging words towards 'the rack'.
in 35 years i wil be ~97 but (hopefully) still blow-sucking.
:)
oldwailer
990 posts
Dec 28, 2009
4:47 PM
@Congaron--very clever! I'm going to try that on my Hohner--the harp handle I mentioned above will give the same kind of angle out of the box--but it would never be strong enough to hold a Strnaad, or any other kind of mic. . .
congaron
367 posts
Dec 29, 2009
7:52 AM
Thanks. Yep, two minutes with a couple of crescent wrenches and you're done. The tape can be whatever you want it to be..doesn't even have to be that thick...although I think scotch tape might be too thin.
waltertore
26 posts
Dec 29, 2009
7:55 AM
EddyLizard2: Thanks for checking my stuff out. You are welcome for the encouragement. the good news is the 35 year journey is full of great musical moments! Walter
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walter tore's sponotbeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

href=http://www.youtube.com/user/waltertore
congaron
369 posts
Dec 29, 2009
8:01 AM
Yeah Walter, you rock. I went there too. My wife really liked your stuff as well. Some of the most sincere stuff I've heard in a while. You know, no pretenses...no show. To me, that can actually lead to a BETTER show live! Well done.
waltertore
27 posts
Dec 29, 2009
8:25 AM
thanks congaron! I open my soul to the universe and stuff comes out. I love not knowing where I am going. Live shows are good if the vibe is right. Spontobeat doesn't work in a bad set up and unfortunately a lot of live gigs are bad set ups for what I do. Over the years I have learned to be real picky with where I play. Now that I don't do this for a living anymore, and am making a decent a decemt livng. This has afforded me the luxury to build my own studio. Being in my studio is like a perfect gig- great sound in the headphones, and when I close my eyes, I travel through space and time to points all over the world. No lie! Walter
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walter tore's sponotbeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=157137

href=http://www.youtube.com/user/waltertore
HarpMan Freeman
97 posts
Apr 16, 2010
9:08 PM
Has anyone ever used one of these?
http://harpjack.com/
KingoBad
249 posts
Apr 16, 2010
9:51 PM
RocknRons is now selling decent quality racks.

I actually couldn't get mine to bend as far as I would have liked. If I am lip pursing, I prefer a deeper tilt. If I am Tongue blocking, I prefer a little more straight on.

I ended up using the rack to pinch 2 elastic bands (actually my little girls' pony tail holders) to hold the harp straight up and down against the now bent holder. When put it on, It is in a nice position for me. The bands fit nicely on a boxcar kind of harp (MB or Delta frost, etc) but not so well on a full cover harp like a Promaster.

Sometimes it can move around a little on me, so it might not be a permanent solution. But it works for now and I am loving adding guitar to my playing. Now I can have at least 2 personalities.
Hobostubs Ashlock
620 posts
Apr 16, 2010
9:59 PM
im exspecting a harp rack tomorrow from rockin ron,Its the cheapest,one just 8$ free shipping,he called the same day and thanked me for the order,and said its the basic model,and if i wasnt happy i could return it no questions asked,I am little nervouse because of him telling me that,because i dont want to return it,hopefully it will be ok.Im a tinker so if i need to modify it i will.but hopefully it will work for my 1st rack.
Harpaholic
34 posts
Apr 16, 2010
10:18 PM
The Caddilac of harp racks!

http://www.builderofstuff.com/enr.html

Last Edited by on Apr 16, 2010 10:39 PM
nacoran
1689 posts
Apr 16, 2010
10:24 PM
Harpman Freeman- That's pretty cool. I've never seen anything like that before but it looks bulkier than the regular solution.




Of course, it looks like it would be easier to add a second deck to that to get all twelve keys, and the Hohner one only comes in the Tremolo set.

Wait! I clicked on the link. Does that thing have a mic built in? That is really cool!

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Nate
Facebook
Kyzer Sosa
378 posts
Apr 16, 2010
10:25 PM
i remember my first high quality rack... shes married with kids now. (sigh)
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Kyzer's Travels
nacoran
1690 posts
Apr 16, 2010
10:27 PM
There is also this solution-



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Nate
Facebook
waltertore
409 posts
Apr 17, 2010
5:18 AM
nacoran: that is exactly how I learned. When you got to play you will find a way! I had no idea there was a harp rack. I also would get friends high on the condition they hold the harp in my mouth as I played guitar. I sounded pretty lame like all beginers, so I had to get them really high. But then they would space out and drop it, or walk away. Boy was I thrilled when I saw a bob dylan album with a harp rack! Walter
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walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year.
" No one can control anyone, but anyone can let someone control them"

2,000 of my songs

continuous streaming - 200 most current songs

my videos

Photobucket
Hobostubs Ashlock
630 posts
Apr 17, 2010
10:06 AM
Walter i have a new respect for you and your rack playing,I just got mine in,and tried it out,Ouch its like starting all over, how do you play the harp or move around to different notes, get cool sounds,I was playing in the key of G with the guitar,I had a C harp trying to play 2nd pos.It felt like i was doing a sloppy 1st position,although i was in 2nd.Wow your right it will take some getting used to,its a whole new instrument,And i havent learned how to really play a harp normal yet.my hats off to you.I might have to stay sober to learn this:-))

Last Edited by on Apr 17, 2010 10:44 AM
waltertore
413 posts
Apr 17, 2010
11:14 AM
Thanks Hobostubs! I wasn't lying was I? It is like walking with crutches or something similar that takes your body to a totally new way of moving around. The good news is you are at a definite advantage starting it early in your playing career. Guys that are accomplished players and go to the rack usually quit pretty quick. Your playing skills are still in the begining stages. They are at a point that mine were when I first started messing with a rack. That is the good news because the rack and hands on playing can now develop together.

The only tip I have is to keep doing it. Time is what will get you good. Enjoy the sounds of guitar and harp at the same time. Don't focus on the how long untils. It will come in time. I made joyful noise for years. It made me feel good. That is all I cared about, and is still really all I care about. Walter
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walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year.
" No one can control anyone, but anyone can let someone control them"

2,000 of my songs

continuous streaming - 200 most current songs

my videos

Photobucket

Last Edited by on Apr 17, 2010 11:17 AM
Hobostubs Ashlock
633 posts
Apr 17, 2010
11:21 AM
i was thinking and correct me if im wrong but,im going to try and keep it real simple,simple guitar and simple harp,and hope i can tap my foot in time with my stomp box,I allways heard that the more instruments involed the less each one needed to do,in a band,im guessing it would be the same for a 1 man band,
waltertore
414 posts
Apr 17, 2010
12:38 PM
simple is best. You are basically going to be learning new ways for your body to work. In martial arts you learn new moves slow, same here IMO. Play your easiest chord on the guitar and blow harp to it and stomp your feet. I spent at least a year on one chord guitar. I am not sure about the more instruments you play at once the less you need to play on each. I go with whatever flow is flowing. Walter
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walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year.
" No one can control anyone, but anyone can let someone control them"

2,000 of my songs

continuous streaming - 200 most current songs

my videos

Photobucket
Hobostubs Ashlock
635 posts
Apr 17, 2010
12:57 PM
oh yea you let ir ripe,i didnt mean you,on that theory,i got thinking after i posted i was thinking i hope he didnt think i meant his stuff was simple cause its the just the oposite,i dont know how you do it.But it sounds very complicated and what gets me is you said you use mostly the A harp but it sound different each song
waltertore
415 posts
Apr 17, 2010
2:27 PM
I took no offense. In fact the older I get the more simple my music becomes. Notes and sounds and that stuff is just the vehicle to express and the simpler I can do it the more intense it is. the e chord progression never ceases to hold my attention. That is why I play about 90% of my stuff with an a harp. I have had accomplished musicians suggest I mix my keys up more. I don't get that idea at all unless that is what is calling me. Complicated, fancy, high brain stuff is thinking. I play not to think. I look forward to seeing where you go with it. Walter
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walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year.
" No one can control anyone, but anyone can let someone control them"

2,000 of my songs

continuous streaming - 200 most current songs

my videos

Photobucket

Last Edited by on Apr 17, 2010 2:29 PM
Hobostubs Ashlock
640 posts
Apr 17, 2010
4:51 PM
well it will be a day or 2 befor i throw something down:-))

BlankWeb music player
HarpMan Freeman
99 posts
Apr 17, 2010
9:02 PM
TJ KLAY is one the best Rack Players out there today:
HarpMan Freeman
100 posts
Apr 17, 2010
9:04 PM
Hobostubs Ashlock
646 posts
Apr 17, 2010
10:00 PM
very soulful music,very inspiring,thanks harpman freeman,I enjoyed both songs very much.
jaw444
2 posts
May 14, 2017
1:26 AM
this thread is from 7 years ago so i don't expect to get a reply, but i got nothing to lose for trying. i ended up here after googling "what kind of harp holder did bob dylan use." The reason i used those search terms was because, when i was in high school in 1964-66, i took up playing dylan songs, and i had probably one harp key, memory is not clear enough to be sure, and i got a holder, it looked the same as the one dylan used, i didn't give it any thought, i thought a holder is a holder and the one i got looked right, and i learned maybe two or three songs, and my life was in turmoil, moving around, jerked around, so i didn't stay with playing harp, with or without guitar, at least not that i remember. i did play now and then holding the harp in my hands over the years, but only knew about two songs. i played a lot of guitar, and probably mostly blues. so, for some reason, last August, it suddenly came to me, "i want to learn to play blues harp." i had just played straight before, 1st position, i knew nothing about cross harp. so, with all the free lessons on you tube and a lee oskar C harp i had in the closet, i started working on it, and it made me happy and i gradually progressed. i mostly worked on blues harp techniques, but also played some 1st position tunes that i liked, which included the only two i remembered from high school, oh shenandoah and mister tambourine man.
I ended up finding that Special 20s were easiest for me to learn on so i have 6 keys of those now.

Eventually, i felt like playing dylan songs with harp, i never got anywhere with it before and so it sounded like a manageable and fun challenge and, so i needed a harp holder.

I went to Amazon and was sorry to find that among all the many choices, there was nothing that looked anything like the harp i had in high school, which looked just like the one dylan used with the two wing nuts, just the right size for a 10 hole diatonic.

so i got an inexpensive one, $12, Stageline i think. It looked like the one from high school except bigger. and it is. it has the two wing nuts but it's wider and kind of awkward, because it's too big and it doesn't fit my face. The thing is, the one i had in high school was easy to use, i took to it easy, i could play lots of songs, i used to sit on the floor in front of the record player, learning the songs, wearing the harp, and it just automatically positioned right so i could sing the songs without the harp being in the way, and when i wanted to play the harp, it was at a good angle, i never even thought about it. Not so with the new bigger one, the only way i can reach the harp to play it is to have it right up next to my face while i'm singing, tightened so that i can play without it moving away from my face. It's frustrating. It's not unusable but because i used to have something that worked much better, something really simple and seeming to be the common kind that everybody had, i'm wondering why isn't a harp holder like that available anymore? i've watched videos of Dylan playing with his holder and it's not up in his face but it's with in reach when he wants to play the harp. It's sized for a 10 hole and it has space to slide the harp a little bit. That's what i want.

I have read a few discussions on forums and they all say the same as this one, that none of them are any good.

Except for Walter here, who my googling search terms picked up when he said "I use the basic bob dylan/jimmy reed rack."

Walter, if you're out there, or anyone, can anyone tell me where to get a basic bob dylan/jimmy reed rack?

I tried eBay. I found one that looked just like what i had in the 60s. It's old and it didn't work, it has issues, including that the harp slips out of it, won't stay in.

If anyone from 7 years ago is out there and knows how i might get the kind of harp rack i had in the 60s that looked like the one dylan was using, and fit me like the one he used fit him, no issues, no struggles, i would be grateful for info on where to find such a rack.

Last Edited by jaw444 on May 18, 2017 3:17 AM
Harmonicatunes
213 posts
May 14, 2017
5:26 AM
Ok. Get the Hohner Flexrack. End of story.

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Tony Eyers
Australia
www.HarmonicaAcademy.com
everyone plays...
jaw444
3 posts
May 18, 2017
3:18 AM
thanks for reply. the flex rack is quite elaborate. it must adjust good from what you say. is that what you have? expensive, will take a close look at it. but...how come they used to make simple cheap racks for a 10 hole harp that comfortably fit your neck and face, and now they don't? it's a rhetorical question. i mean like, inquiring minds want to know. i just now bought an Elton, an old Elton, on eBay, which has yellow-green original paint on it it. Model 1734. $15 and shipping. holds up to 5 1/2 inches wide harp, mine are just under 4" so that sounds like progress. current harp holder i have is 8" across. wish me luck with that one. thanks again
belfast_harper
432 posts
May 18, 2017
4:01 AM
I don't like the flex rack, it is big and looks like you are wearing a neck brace.

The farmer archtop harp holder is just about perfect.
Komuso
688 posts
May 18, 2017
6:32 AM
Flex rack suits me perfectly, best rack I've found - especially if you're playing electric with a mic attachment. It's rock solid, so you can push against if you need to and it won't give like the flimsier wire racks.

Farmer looks great but seems limited to acoustic playing into a mic. If you need a mic attachment (STRND, Tsunami, BlueX, or custom frankenmic) it's not viable due to the way the harp attaches via the magnet. At least as far as I can tell.
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Paul Cohen aka Komuso Tokugawa
HarpNinja - Learn Harmonica Faster
Komuso's Music Website

Last Edited by Komuso on May 18, 2017 4:57 PM
JInx
1310 posts
May 30, 2017
1:10 PM
Has anyone tried the new Suzuki SSH 10r?
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Frank101
227 posts
May 30, 2017
1:53 PM
couple ideas for improving the basic harp rack -

* glue rubber "shelf liner" (from Ace Hardware etc) to the upper & lower horizontal bars - cushions the harp a little

* install rubber washers for the wingnuts - lets you tighten 'em up real good so you don't have the harp gradually getting away from you while you're playing
shakeylee
648 posts
May 31, 2017
11:38 AM
Jaw 444 ,I would imagine that Dylan used an Elton. That was probably the main rack in the day .

I like fairly cheap racks ,like those sold at Rockin Ron's.

If you look at Rockinronsmusic,you are sure to find one to your taste ,or,eBay up a classic Elton.

I also use duo harp magnets and a harplock holder that attaches to an sm58.
Good luck in your search.

http://rockinronsmusicsd.com/hohner-blues-harmonica-holder.html
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www.shakeylee.com

Last Edited by shakeylee on May 31, 2017 11:42 AM
JInx
1314 posts
Jun 03, 2017
12:25 PM
The new Suzuki SSH-10R is great. The best so far and I've tried them all.
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JInx
1315 posts
Jun 03, 2017
1:32 PM
It's very well designed, a real testament to a progressive engineering philosophy. It's making me want to try their harps again (after a terrible primaster experience years ago)
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Last Edited by JInx on Jun 03, 2017 1:32 PM
Johnnie 9-Toes
11 posts
Sep 17, 2017
5:01 AM
HI.
I have tried a few racks over the years.. about 30 years ago or so, I am 73 now.. I got an idea of doing the following with a rack..

Wear a shirt with a collar and get a bungy cord.. Tuck the back of the rack under the collar.. Hook up the bungy cord around where the wing nut is , under your arm pit .. around your back , up under the other armpit and connect to opposite wing nut area. Not just the wing nut around the wire too. You'll figure it out.

After about six months or so I did not have to worry about using a shirt with collar. Just used the rack.. Another thing was to put a piece of leather between wing nut and wire with screw going thru it.. I had tried wood but it still moved around a bit, not quite as bad tho.Have the leather kind of flat so it sits on your chest area. Rack I was using , tried em all, Lee Oskar rack.. BUT i recently got Farmers rack and its is similar to my setup i did years ago.. WHY.. you ask. The Magnet.. Sure nice just poppin it on and off. Also can change the angle where magnet is mounted.

Works great does not shift around and been using this method for years. Don't knock it till you try it. More en likely you will never go back to the fuss and muss of the usual way of using a rack.

enjoy

Johnnie

Last Edited by Johnnie 9-Toes on Sep 17, 2017 5:18 AM


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