Header Graphic
Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Playing softly with a band
Playing softly with a band
Login  |  Register
Page: 1

36 posts
Mar 24, 2022
3:53 PM
I have a couple of harmonicas set up for overblows, and I LOVE them. I have noticed that, when playing on my own, I play much more gently, and I never have problems with reeds choking etc.. With my band I tend to play much louder, and it leads to occasional choking of reeds - especially on really fast passages.

This is especially bad when I am playing through the PA without monitors, but even when I have a monitor, I find it hard to a) stay gentle, and b) really hear myself. I think it's mostly about hearing myself, but adrenaline of playing live (or even just with other people) could be a big part of it.

It's annoying because I feel like I can't trust myself to use my more sensitive harmonicas (with all of the benefits like more responsiveness and the availability of easy and expressive overblows) when it really counts.

I will keep working on it, and I know that a lot of it has to be mental - learning to exercise self-control - but I'm wondering if other people have found useful tricks for staying in control in these situations.

I find that wearing earplugs really helps me hear myself, but I can lose touch with the rest of the band (especially the rhythm section). It's also tough to get my harmonica loud enough in a monitor without it driving others crazy, making it to hard to hear the rest of the band, or feeding back.

Does anyone use some sort of in-ear monitor?

I know I have probably already answered my own question, but thanks for any thoughts.
758 posts
Mar 25, 2022
8:18 AM
if u get, get ambient in ear monitors that allow u to hear surroundings as well

ie in earphone u hear u---outside u hear band and audience.

Am Pro 10 Ambient Earphones

Westone Am Pro 10 Ambient Earphones


Last Edited by snowman on Mar 25, 2022 8:20 AM
994 posts
Mar 28, 2022
9:24 AM
If you wear earplugs, a blindfold and a swimmers nose clip you should be good to go!

No seriously, welcome to the world of amplified harmonica! Unless your the frontman it's an ongoing battle.

Last Edited by Harpaholic on Mar 28, 2022 1:52 PM
400 posts
Mar 29, 2022
12:29 PM
Fortunately, when I play through the PA, I have a monitor in front of me (we have multiple monitors and I'm typically only in the one nearest me, so others don't suffer too much!) -- when playing through an amp, it is in front of me like a monitor (miked to the PA). Works for me. I don't think I would play through the PA w/o a monitor -- just too much sound on the stage (drums, guitar amps). Just my experience.

Last Edited by TetonJohn on Mar 29, 2022 12:30 PM
3677 posts
Mar 30, 2022
8:35 AM
Well, for me, I had a bit of advice from a legendary Boston area blues piano legend named David Maxwell and in his early years, he didn't have the benefit of monitors when he started out back in the mid to late 60's and the advice he got that he passed down to me is that as a piano player, you're often trained to NOT hear yourself at all, which seems strange, but I wound up getting used to it and avoided the temptation of trying to get stupidly macho and play too hard to try and hear myself and just wait for the audience's reaction more than anything else.

From many years of real gigging in bands, especially if there's electric bass in it, I've had the bass player stand to my left and along the way, I did wind up having a bit of mild hearing loss in my left ear but for the last 25 years, I've usually gigged with a stand up bass player who would at times double on electric bass and that's help enormously in keeping the stage volume way down, making the need for a monitor almost unnecessary and that's helped save my hearing so that I didn't need to invest in specialized earplugs.

I wouldn't recommend getting the off the shelf ones because those take off way too much across the board and the specialized stuff works better because they cut down the frequencies in the audio spectrum that does the greatest amount of damage, which is the bottom end, like electric bass and bass drums. Even tho loud guitars can kill your hearing, the low frequency instruments like I mentioned and instruments that are defined as having an indefinite pitch, like symbols as an example, actually do far more damage than a guitar actually does, and just about every reputable audiologist will tell you that very same thing.
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte

Post a Message

(8192 Characters Left)

Modern Blues Harmonica supports

§The Jazz Foundation of America


§The Innocence Project




ADAM GUSSOW is an official endorser for HOHNER HARMONICAS