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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / recommend harmonica guitar jam songs....

Contributing Member

South Florida

Nov 6th, 2016 02:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A friend wants to join me at the local blues jam so he can play harmonica. He's a beginner but pretty enthusiastic.I have plenty of standard Chicago Blues songs.

But in order to get some variety to the repertoire I'm looking for some good open jam songs.

The first that comes to mind is "Down by the Water" by the Decembrists.


Contributing Member


Nov 6th, 2016 05:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"He's a beginner but pretty enthusiastic."

Hopefully he has more than one harp.

I jest, but...I have been there.

Contributing Member


Nov 6th, 2016 07:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Last Dance With Mary Jane- easy harp part but he needs to know how to single note on the harp.

If he cant do single notes well then What I like About You- Romantics has a well known harp lead that does not really require single notes but the lead is the only part of the song with harp in it so he needs to single back ups or play percussion.

Both will depend on how the venue defines "blues"
If he does straight. (Country) harp then Neil Young or Dylan tunes work well and are very easy. Cross Harp (blues) is Tom Petty type stuff.


Willoughby, OH , USA

I'm arrogant and a moron
Nov 10th, 2016 10:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

At least in MHO, a "jam" isn't about plaing solos off the record. It's more about playing tunes that you don't really know frequently with people that you haven't played with before.

Contributing Member

Suburban MD.

Are your prayer beads maple or rosewood?
Nov 10th, 2016 02:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Folsom Prison Blues... we added a harp solo for me. It's a song that cries out for bends!

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Nov 10th, 2016 03:13 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Define "beginner".
That's a very broad descriptor of experience level, especially when it comes to harmonica imo.

As a harp player of over 30 years, and a teacher for 17, I would definitely suggest some rehearsal before the "gig".
If for no other reason, so *you* can hear where he's at skill-wise and do songs accordingly.

I have had "beginners" that came in with some pretty good fundamental skills, and I have had "veterans" (self-proclaimed - "I've been playing for years, I just need a few tips") that couldn't play single notes or do bends.

Regarding your original question, some of the suggestions above are a good place to start but even songs that "sound easy" are not necessarily so if the skills aren't there. Have a rehearsal!

On a personal note, I commend you for giving this person the opportunity to do some public performance. (actually, you're a brave, brave man!)
I had people like you 30+ years ago that were willing to let me have a go and encouraged me.

I know I made plenty of sounds akin to the strangling of cats & geese, but it gave me the motivation to keep playing. (I eventually got it right!) We all start somewhere!




Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Nov 15th, 2016 09:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

What- no Blues Travelers! Lol
Major riffage going on there.....



Say what one more time!
Nov 15th, 2016 03:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No! Simply put the harmonica in the trash and look away.

Contributing Member

South Florida

Nov 15th, 2016 06:51 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

We did a couple shows. I figured it out. Play whatever I play and then leave a spot open for a couple bars and let him have some fun.

In other words let him come to my songs rather than the other way around.

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / recommend harmonica guitar jam songs....

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