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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Gripping and Cupping
Gripping and Cupping
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Richard Wood
6 posts
Feb 26, 2021
4:43 AM
Guys I am new to harp, but have been making good progress.


I am doing an on line course and suddenly we are talking cupping.

Here I must add I am a left by nature but have some dodgy fingers on my left hand so find it more comfortable to hold the harp in my right hand and cup with the left.

Question is, am I going to run in to problems? or does it not really matter as long as you can "cover" the harp fully- so far it seems ok but should I fight thru and change grips now? or just stay as I am??

Any reason why I MUST or should change?


Richard aka Snowy
6905 posts
Feb 26, 2021
11:55 PM
I think you just do something that works.
When I was first trying to use a mic, the first instruction I saw was from Adam Gussow.
I just couldn't get his thing to work for me. I fretted about it for a while but then I noticed that Ron Sunshine held the mic differently when he was demonstrating various mics he had for sale, and I decided he sounded pretty good, and so I tried what he was doing and found it much better suited to my face.
There are a couple or 3 important considerations, besides comfort.
I think comfort is important but when you are starting out its sometimes a little hard to know if it's just unfamiliar.
Anyway, you need a space in your hand, a pocket of air, between the back of the harp and the mic.
You need to be able to close the mic off from pretty much everything except that pocket. That doesn't mean you have to play like that all the time, but you need to be able to achieve that sealed up position, or very close.
And you need to be able to open up and close off with enough fluency to get a wah wah effect.
I think if you can do those things, and be comfortable, you are doing it right regardless of how anyone else does it.
Richard Wood
7 posts
Feb 28, 2021
9:04 PM
Thanks Superbee, I have been trying to change my grip and when I think about it I can do it, its just not the natural 1st thing to do - so perseverance is the key I guess

398 posts
Mar 03, 2021
3:45 PM
You are correct that getting a seal is more important than which hand you hold the harp. If you hold the harp in your right hand because it’s more comfortable than holding in the left, that’s fine. If you are using a microphone as well, you want to hold the harp AND the mic in the same hand and cup with the other, as SuperBee described.

The classic harp mic is a bullet mic like a JT 30 or Green Bullet. But you’ll see stick mics used also, as Adam Gussow does. The mic that works best for you is the one that can give you that seal, that “pocket” of air SB described and the sound you want. I personally had a hard time getting that seal with a JT 30 but do well with a Bulletini, a Sure 525 by Greg Heumann and my best cup with a vintage RE 10.

If you’re looking to cup acoustically only, it still doesn’t matter which hand holds the harp.

Last Edited by ME.HarpDoc on Mar 03, 2021 3:47 PM
Richard Wood
8 posts
Mar 04, 2021
10:02 PM
Thanks gents, For now I am just working on acoustic harp, but also want to try get get the basics as close to correct as I can so that I do not have to relearn anything as I progress.

In my musical experience it has always been best to try get the correct principles down 1st whether is how to hold an instrument or embouchure.

After a week of forcing myself to change I now seem to be able to go with the left hand 1st MOST of the time, and it is helping to get a better seal.

thanks again - always good to through out a question and get decent feedback. cheers

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