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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > I did something good?
I did something good?
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527 posts
May 27, 2009
9:05 PM
I auditioned for a blues band as a bassist and got the job. The lead singer is a total wanker harp player and the band is pretty bad. Even on bass I think I am the strongest member of the group. LOL

I have only been playing bass off and on and rank myself as a total beginner. I was forced to buy a bass to play music when my wife was pregnant and she couldn't stand the sound of the harmonica or keyboard. PERIOD!

I was a total poser on the bass tonight. I borrowed my bassist's $20000 bass rig and I have a pretty nice fender jazz bass.

All I can think now is SHIT what the **** did I just do? I understand why musicians are flakes now because I ponder flaking out on these guys for the next rehearsal.

The only harmonica content here is, I think it's a good idea to play another instrument as it will enhance your harmonica skillz.
Patrick Barker
305 posts
May 27, 2009
9:53 PM
Does the singer know about your harp playing? Lol this sounds like a pretty dysfunctional band.

Playing piano and playing trumpet in my highschool's jazz band has helped me immeasurably in my harmonica playing- Without it I probably wouldn't get any basic blues theory and It would've taken me at least twice as long to reach the level I'm at right now (probably more).
"Without music, life would be a mistake" -Nietzsche
528 posts
May 28, 2009
5:00 AM
the singer doesn't know that I play harp. The guitarist swears he's seen be play before but as a harmonica player but he's confused and I said I play harp "But NOTHING like this guy" pointing to the singer, which is a true statement.

It's not a good band by a long shot, I doubt they will get out of the garage and I believe actually being a live bassist might help. I know a few basic blues grooves and my solos totally suck. LOL But I'll say it's very interesting that I could still get in the zone and hear music the way I normally do. There was so much I wanted to play but wasn't capable.

I'm sure with a couple of years of good technique practice I could turn into a decent bassist. They all remarked how good my groove was... time and rhythm is internal so it's not a huge surprise.

Last Edited by on May 28, 2009 5:02 AM
386 posts
May 28, 2009
5:23 AM
Harmonica virtuoso takes a job playing an instrument he barely knows, and keeps it a secret from band's harp player that he is a harp player too. I'm impressed.
529 posts
May 28, 2009
5:47 AM
it's called living life on the edge or gone crazy from plinking or bored
80 posts
May 28, 2009
5:49 AM
Man with bizarre sense of humor, who spends long days alone with a herd of dogs in his secret desert laboratory, decides to entertain himself.

Underwater Janitor, Patriot
212 posts
May 28, 2009
7:04 AM

Whatever you do, don't ever play harp in front of that harp player. If is ego is too fragile, you'll finish him off!

It will be fun to see how long it is before you blow your cover.
'If it sounds GOOD to you, it's bitchen; if it sounds BAD to YOU, it's shitty' - Frank Zappa

530 posts
May 28, 2009
7:07 AM
the thing is, I have a real affinity for the bass. I always wanted to be a bass player. When I was in high school I was more into playing bass than harmonica but I broke my hand playing football and cured me of playing bass until my wife got pregnant and forced me back into it.

I listen to a lot of bass players and having a great bassist in my band in necessary otherwise I'm not going to have a band (duo situations are different).

I did have a really hard time not telling him to stop doing the head shake in every chorus of his solos but then again who am I to say anything? I'm just the bass player.

Last Edited by on May 28, 2009 7:09 AM
199 posts
May 28, 2009
8:14 AM
After a couple weeks, ask the harp player to show you a thing or two. He'll probably show you how to tongue block or bend. Come back in a week and show you can do it (but not too well.) Rinse and repeat for awhile, until he feels he's taught you enough to do a harmonica duo with him onstage. Then break out the jams!
531 posts
May 28, 2009
8:27 AM
that would be funny and it's no secret that I sometimes enjoy messing with people but I'm doing this to force myself to play another instrument. It's truly a garage band situation with guys who are more interested in jamming, "smoking" and drinking beer.

And who knows, I might just get so fed up with the harp player and start telling him what to do. And when he tells me to STFU I can say "Ya know, I'm a world class harp player so don't talk to me like that."

Hmmm, I better get them used to me bringing my dog. Time to break out the service dog vest... yeah protection service!

Last Edited by on May 28, 2009 8:29 AM
10 posts
May 28, 2009
8:31 AM
If it was me, I'd probably just come clean and then try to make the most of the situation -- learn the bass better and offer to help the harp player. But I'm goofy that way.
532 posts
May 28, 2009
8:52 AM
ness, this is not about being dishonest in anyway. IF I come clean, they are going to think I'm screwing around with them. I had no idea there was a harp player in the band.

I'm thinking it will be nice to live in an alternate reality.
Honkin On Bobo
74 posts
May 28, 2009
9:03 AM
"And when he tells me to to STFU I can say 'Ya know, I'm a world class harp player so don't talk to me like that'".

Hey, that'll teach him.

Last Edited by on May 28, 2009 9:04 AM
3 posts
May 28, 2009
9:27 AM
Why not just teach the guy to play harp and see if you can turn the band into something?

Isn't this what Adam is doing with free videos on youtube? I totally appreciated finding those and they have really helped me out of my 35 year failure at harp. Now I also play in a blues band ( after less than 3 months on this successful attempt to learn the harp) and nobody has done anything but ask me for more as I progress at my own pace...if I am a wanker, nobody around me knows it. Maybe the harp guy will surprise you with just a smidge of your experience passed on with a little love and lots of luck. Maybe he doesn't even know he is a wanker?
96 posts
May 28, 2009
9:38 AM
I'm thinking Chris doesn't want to be known as a harmonica player for the sake of respect issues, possibly. How would you like some guy hounding you for lessons if you were in his band?
5 posts
May 28, 2009
9:43 AM
for the good of the band, what would be the harm? If it's about the music, I have always passed on anything I can regarding guitar, trumpet, mandolin, bass, drums, conga, bongo, world percussion, and vocals. I realize not all musicians teach, but if you do..yopur own band seems like a logical place to help someone grow musically. Otherwise, why play in that band? Just my opinion. It works for me and I've been doing it for years in many categories. The bands have gotten better and the gigs have paid more. Seems like a good way to go. I come and go, but I leave a footprint.
50 posts
May 28, 2009
9:49 AM
"...Isn't this what Adam is doing with free videos on youtube?..."

I smell another MBH T-Shirt:

(What Would Adam Do?)
535 posts
May 28, 2009
9:51 AM

I'm a serious musician and especially passionate about the harmonica. I like Adam, have lots of free lesson available on youtube. If they want to do their due diligence and figure out that I can play harmonica then that's great. I'm not entirely unknown in Phoenix as a musician and if they don't know who I am then they are not serious musicians. Not everybody is... Why isn't he on this forum? Why doesn't he know about harp-l? Because he's not serious and doesn't want to be.
I have quite a few local harmonica students and if this guys hasn't sought me out then he doesn't care. I respect that.

I don't have time to give lessons to people who are not serious about it.

This band for me is something I am doing for fun and as a learning experience. I deal with harmonica 16+ hours a day and sometime I just don't want to deal with it.

Last Edited by on May 28, 2009 9:53 AM
6 posts
May 28, 2009
9:52 AM
fair enough.
7 posts
May 28, 2009
9:56 AM
Who is teaching you the bass? I also play bass whenever I can and it is very cool...I play it as a rhythm instrument except during solos..feels like a variation of conga to me sometimes. Very cool instrument. Gets you work too!
536 posts
May 28, 2009
10:20 AM
I'm self taught but have had lessons from some of the best players in the world who are current or former band mates in Mahlon Hawk and Skinny Bishop
www.mahlonhawk.com www.skinnybishop.com

I have had a short lessons with Tony Levin and Stu Hamm too.

I'm not good enough to gig with a real band and bass isn't my focus.

Last Edited by on May 28, 2009 10:23 AM
25 posts
May 28, 2009
10:25 AM
Ditto on being a sometimes bass player. Really gives you an appreciation for the drummer's right foot and how the bass guitar and kick drum sounds fit together. They become one sound with a percussive attack blending seamlessly into a nice round note. Imperative for any studio work.
56 posts
May 28, 2009
11:17 AM
Interesting that you've picked up a Bass. I've been away from playing Bass for at least 10 years. In fact I sold my precision thinkin I was done with it. That was before I picked up Harp. This whole deal has fired me back up. I just bought a Yamaha RBX765A 5 string on Ebay. I shoved in a Johnny Winter CD and took off. It felt like I had found a long lost friend. Wow, the low B string is so fun I can hardly stand it.

8 posts
May 28, 2009
11:36 AM
Buddha - do you have an opinion of the educational materials that Carol Kaye puts out for the electric bass?
537 posts
May 28, 2009
11:48 AM

I know nothing about the bass other than I taught myself to play it.

can I keep time? Yes. can I groove? Yes but that doesn't make me a bassist.
I'll tell y'all a secret... my playing is based on bassists more than anything other instrument.

You ALL should borrow or buy victor wooten's groove workshop DVD. 5 hours of incredible information. This is not just a bass instructional DVD it's more about how to be a good musician. Seriously, borrow it from a bass playing buddy and watch it ASAP

Last Edited by on May 28, 2009 11:51 AM
118 posts
May 28, 2009
12:53 PM
Chris, you should take "lessons" from that harp player. Really mess up everything, don't hit single notes, play loudly and on a crappy harmonica. Gradually show him a few songs you 'worked on' like "Happy bday" and "Hey Jude"

When he's just gotten bored of your showcasing your 'talent' blow him out of the water.

Shrug, "I've been practicing"
13 posts
May 28, 2009
12:56 PM
A little anecdote some of you might know. When asked to join The Band, Garth Hudson said yes on the condition that he becomes the band's music teacher and charged each of them 10 dollars a week.....in order to justify his new job to his parents who of course previously paid for his musical education.lol
29 posts
May 28, 2009
3:47 PM
I hate bassists and bassism.

I wish I wasn't prone to wrist problems. My bands bassist always leaves his electric over at my place. He's been playing for 5 years and still doesn't understand what a key is. Our guitar player shows him what notes to play. I know I need to work on my theory, but you'd think he could have learned one key by now. I tried to teach him, 'Doe, a deer' from sound of music so he'd learn all the notes in one key but he said he hates that song. I guess that's what happens when you're in a band with your friends.
199 posts
May 28, 2009
6:59 PM
One of these days, Chris, they're going to stumble upon you on the internet. Wouldn't it be more fun to unexpectedly pull a harp out of your pocket and blow them away?!

Film it! We wanna see their faces!! :D

Hmmm...I wnder if they'd even recognize good harpin'...
540 posts
May 28, 2009
7:36 PM

they might but I'm not obligated to tell them I'm a harmonica player. Maybe I will at some point but Phoenix is a weird place. The people out here don't like playing with people that are too good.

In MN it was all about finding the best players you could be here it's more about fitting in as a person and drinking beer.
307 posts
May 29, 2009
6:09 AM
I can see it now... Buddha with a neck rack and a bass guitar, frustrating harp and bass players everywhere he goes... Dude, you should try the Peter Frampton thing except instead of using your voice/guitar use the harp and bass... :D

I think it's cool though. It's pretty common to find musicians who enjoy playing more than just one kind of instrument in different bands. I know someone who plays guitar, bass, and drums for 3 different bands!

I believe it really does help your harp skills in general too. I'm personally taking my time to look into another instrument I can get obsessed with.

Man I'm surprised by the elaborate fantasy prank situations expressed here! Pranking an amateur harp player? Come on!

What if he was one of you guys?

On the other hand, if he is picking a fight... let him have it!

mr sog
25 posts
May 30, 2009
2:43 AM
I agree with Zhin. I know I'd be wondering what some guys problem was if I was doing the best I could on an instument and someone much better had the the intention of trying to make me look like a dickhead just to give themselves an ego boost.
If the guy throws down the challenge however all bets are off.

No matter what it is you do there is always someone better at it and if there isn't, there will be sooner or later.
58 posts
May 30, 2009
3:51 AM
Buddha, what does your bass rig consist of?
102 posts
May 30, 2009
10:05 AM
That's a scary bass rig!!!
9 posts
Jun 01, 2009
10:09 AM
Just to be clear...bass tips from old band-mates.."world class bassists" I presume. No tips for current harp playing band-mate from "world class harp player."

Adam Gussow is the guy I am going to use as a harp player role model. tremendous skill, musicianship and a degree of humility he has chosen to project. He could be plenty arrogant at his level, too.

This thread and it's very concept rubs me wrong as a musician and a person. I'm outta here.
201 posts
Jun 01, 2009
1:23 PM
I like this thread!!
I can't wait to see how things go. It's bound to have a great ending. :)
308 posts
Jun 01, 2009
7:37 PM
congaron, what crawled up your butt?

Did Chris give you a critique you didn't like? ;)

Because it sounds like he really rubbed you the wrong way!

2 posts
Jun 02, 2009
2:21 PM
ever consider Bass harmonica?
585 posts
Jun 02, 2009
4:51 PM
I had one for awhile. I think it's with my parents though. I played one in a harmonica band
71 posts
Sep 29, 2009
6:47 PM
how did the story turn out?
634 posts
Sep 30, 2009
12:07 AM
"ever consider Bass harmonica?"

I've considered it, but two things put me off. 1) the price. 2) you need a certain type of music to use it.

This is the last thing I bought with bass harmonica on it, but music like this doesn't crop up often! :-
42 posts
Sep 30, 2009
3:39 AM
This reminds me of myself. While I don't regard myself as world class on any instrument (because I am not), I did manage to play piano well enough to get me where I am. I've been playing harp for about a year and a half after giving up on piano and guitar due to injury. When I play harp with my friend (he plays guitar), he says "man, I really like it when you play piano or guitar."

Its good how people encourage each other like that.
But hell, I'm getting better.
So I think.
Fact is I'm just not that good at harp yet.
23 posts
Sep 30, 2009
4:49 AM
Buddha, I am mainly a bass player, but also play harp (Currently in a southern rock band) when I joined the singer said he was a harp player. i cringed every time he picked one up. (nails on a chalkboard)we auditioned a keyboard player and were just playing some 12 bar blues. i picked up a harp and the KB player picked up on the bass line. I never saw our singer pick up a harp again, and nothing was ever said about it. Our drummer gets a little upset and says i usually pick new songs to play that have harp in them. I mentioned that every single song that he has ever suggested have drums in them ;-)
1 post
Apr 02, 2023
6:55 AM
I don't consider myself a multi-instrumentalist, but I do use the bass to write songs with. I fooled around with the guitar when I was younger; never got good at it beyond a few chords, but I always kept it around. I knew that when I'd start playing in bands, I was going to write songs. Harp is a great instrument, but I can't compose on it. :-) And guitar is a great composing instrument, but I'd be dealing with bassists who were playing something altogether different from what I had in my head. So I started writing on bass just so everyone knows where the groove is.

(I know this thread is fourteen years old, but it struck a nerve, so I thought I'd revive it! If you're still around, Buddha, how did that band work out?)
10417 posts
Apr 02, 2023
11:58 AM
Hi Rockinitis... unfortunately Buddha (Chris Michalek) passed away in 2010.

Thread Organizer (A list of all sorts of useful threads)

First Post- May 8, 2009
818 posts
Apr 03, 2023
9:39 AM
I fully agree [it helps a lot to play another instrument] Learning where 1 3 m3 5 on the bass and trasferring it to the harp, is super helpful.

sometimes when im doing a lead on harp---I hear a guitar lead in my head and play off that. sometimes I hear a harp lead and play off that-they both get mix'd up in my head, so my leads are different sounding sometimes.

I try to throw boogies basslines in, as well maybe with fills--

The other good thing about playing in a band is learning the type players u like to play with, or not.
U learn that a full democracy in a band doesn't work. Someone has to be the guy or gal. When that person switches to another song , not on setlist-----go with it-arguing on stage is horrible----

I also learned that u need to watch whoever is singing, they may want to repeat a verse.

I quit a band while back for many reasons.
1] they wouldn't book anything; we're not ready!!
2] The ??leader?? didn't like diva's- so nobody ever stood out. pretty boring for an audience. One time I got rebellious and stood at the front of band on my lead, luckily I nailed it , crowd liked it.
Later he said 'thats not what were about"
In other words 'no one, at any time should stand out.

The positive I got out of it was learning to recognize the type of ego's early on.
And someone has to lead---probably the person singing or doing a lead at that time.

its all good learning experiance.

Playing the bass will help u know where and what the changes r in chords.
3115 posts
Apr 03, 2023
7:22 PM
RIP Chris—I got a chance to meet him in person a little before this thread (probably late 2008).

Here’s a bass player story from Willie Nelson.

From a story in the New Yorker:

On your most recent album, “First Rose of Spring,” you cover “I’m the Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised,” which was a single for Johnny Paycheck, in 1977. I know you briefly replaced Johnny on bass in Ray Price’s band. What do you remember about him?

He was a good buddy, a good friend of mine. When he was playing bass for Ray Price, his name was Johnny Young. And he quit Ray’s band. At that time, I was writing songs for Pamper Music, which was Ray Price’s publishing company in Nashville. Ray called me and said, “Uh, can you play bass?” And I said, “Hell, can’t everybody?” I’d never played bass in my life. So I went out on the road with Ray Price and played bass for a year out there.

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