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Richard Hunter "New Country Stomp" acoustic harmonica solo

Solo concert performance of my piece “New Country Stomp”, filmed live at Agassiz Theatre, Cambridge, MA on June 5 2009. Played on a Lee Oskar Melody Maker harp in A.

8 replies on “Richard Hunter "New Country Stomp" acoustic harmonica solo”

Love this song!!! Do you use alot of tongue blocking? I have been playin harp for a year or two and just kinda taught myself. Is it possible to play the harp really good without the tongue block?

Yes, I tongue block a lot. You can’t do the kinds of big chords you hear on my pieces without it. Yes, you can play well without a tongue block–players like Butterfield and Musselwhite have done a lot of good work without it. Sooner or later you’ll learn how to block, and it’ll open up a few new avenues for you to explore.

Thanks Boris, this is one of my favorites. Played in 2nd position on a Melody Maker harp. I especially like the big 10ths in the climax.

I enjoy acoustic solo work; I’m just really into looping now, and you need more than one sound to make a compelling loop. And I must admit that I like those big sounds.

Hi Richard,

What overbends did you use on your two “Being” CDs? Which overblows and underdraws did you use? The exercises in your Jazz Harp book leads me to believe that your overbending was restricted to holes 4, 5 and 6. BTW, your recordings are among my very favorite harmonica recordings of all time. Interesting and beautiful.


I didn’t use a lot of overblowing (overbending?) on the two Being CDs. Among other things, I played mostly Lee Oskar harmonicas as the time, and that brand isn’t tops for overblowing. Any overblows I used would certainly have been restricted to holes 4/5/6. (Update April 2016: I do a lot more overblowing now, mostly because I play Manjis and Seydel 1847s more frequently. Either overblows more easily than a Lee Oskar. I still don’t overblow in the low octave or overdraw much in the top octave, because those notes aren’t as reliable as I’d like. I think Joe Filisko was largely correct when he said, in a piece published on my blog about 10 years or so ago, that better instruments were the key to better overblowing.)

I of course used overblows in the middle octave to play the head for “Blue Monk.” (Update April 2016–Nowadays I prefer to play it in 2nd position on a country-tuned harp, and I still use overblows for some notes, like the high flat 3rd over the IV7 chord in bar 6.) I think I played an overblow or two on “Blue Hunter.” I don’t recall playing overblows on anything else, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did, either. There are no overblows on “New Country Stomp,” in case you wondered.

In general, I still use overblows mostly for passing tones, as opposed to leaning on them for exposed tones where the timbre of the overblown note stands out against other notes in the neighborhood. I still don’t overblow in the bottom octave–I’ve practiced it, but it’s not steady enough to count on, so I don’t perform with it–and I don’t use overdraws in the top octave, though I’ve practiced those two. My first preference is to re-tune the harmonica when a note appears in an exposed passage and it’s not otherwise available on the instrument.

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