Author Archive

Video Lesson: How to Create Throat Vibrato

By Michael Rubin ~ I loved harmonica from the moment I played it. The sound was the coolest, it was small enough to fit in the pocket and my hands, and I could play it right away. But the sound that kept me in the game was Paul Butterfield’s throat vibrato. It was deep, sobbing, guttural and sorrowful and [&hellip... Continue Reading »

U Blocking: The Redheaded Stepchild of Harmonica Embouchures

By Michael Rubin ~ You will see people on forums very dogmatically declaring that tongue blocking is the only correct way to play the harmonica. Then you will have someone send a video of them playing in the pucker style sounding like a pro! The tongue blocker will then explain how much BETTER he would sound if only he [&hellip... Continue Reading »

This is Why Little Walter is the King of Blues

By Michael Rubin ~ Here’s a loose quote by John “Juke” Logan, harp player for the television shows Roseanne and My Name is Earl as well as a fine songwriter, singer and bandleader in his own right, RIP. “There are two kinds of harmonica players, those who have joined the Little Walter sweepstakes and the rest of us.” What [&hellip... Continue Reading »

Mount Rushmore of Blues Harmonica

By Michael Rubin ~ Although there are many non-blues harmonica players who did important and influential things, there were in my opinion, 7 blues harmonica players who basically defined the way blues harmonica is played to this day. Since these 7 blues players arrived on the scene, there have been others who have truly come up with a unique [&hellip... Continue Reading »

Norton Buffalo – Lovin’ in the Valley of the Moon (Full Album)

By Michael Rubin ~ Norton Buffalo’s album Lovin’ in the Valley of the Moon is fantastic, showcasing harp outside of blues. Although Norton’s work seems impossible, notice the majority of the album is cross harp. Spend time with the blues scale and the major pentatonic scale and watch your ear begin to pick out what he is doing. Why [&hellip... Continue Reading »

Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band – Hoo Doo Man Blues

By Michael Rubin ~ Here’s your chance to learn, listen or jam along with the songs from Hoo Doo Man Blues by Junior Wells. I’ve included which key harmonicas you’ll need below the videos. (Note: apologies if these videos don’t play in your country, that’s out of our control. If you’re in the US you should be able to [&hellip... Continue Reading »

Sonny Boy Williamson II – The Real Folk Blues

By Michael Rubin ~ Sonny Boy Williamson II (AKA Alex Rice Miller) set the stage for all harmonica players who followed him. He was the BEST at cupping the hands to get a wah-wah sound. This album is classic, with incredible songs and playing. He played acoustically without a bullet mic and amplifier. Throughout his playing, notice little quick [&hellip... Continue Reading »

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Keep On Moving

By Michael Rubin ~ Here’s a look at Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s album, Keep On Moving… The entire album is in 2nd position. On the title track, jam along in the key of D on a G harp. Listen to the wah wahs he achieves by cupping his hands. He also uses a G harp in D to play [&hellip... Continue Reading »

Caveman Reed Gapping

By Michael Rubin ~ Jump to a Section ⊝ Caveman Reed Gapping Method ⊝ Why Gap Reeds? ⊝ What Is Reed Gapping? ⊝ How to Reed Gap? ⊝ Overblow Gapping What Is Reed Gapping? The quick answer… it’s a way to massively increase the performance of your harmonica. Why might that be helpful? Read on… I’M A CAVEMAN When [&hellip... Continue Reading »