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  • Jerry Portnoy's Blues Harmonica Masterclass
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Jerry Portnoy's Blues Harmonica Masterclass


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Jerry Portnoy's Blues Harmonica Masterclass + Hohner Special 20 Harmonica, A
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • ASIN: B00D7LK1AS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,680 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 85 people found the following review helpful By silverwingit on April 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I have never felt strongly enough about any product to take the trouble to write up a rating. But, the potential of this 3 CD set to dramatically enhance the ability of any but the most accomplished harmonicist (diatonic or chromatic) is enormous. The title is slightly misleading, but in a good way. I would not confine its benefits to blues (diatonic) harp players!
I had purchased and aggressively used all the top-rated blues harp instructional products (including those available at Amazon), avoiding Portnoy's because of its relatively high cost. Mistake! It's not that the other materials are not worthwhile. It's that Portnoy's CD set is where I should have started. Learning from the rest of the instructional material out there would then have come much easier. After "taking" Jerry's Masterclass, I find myself going back to the other material with far greater technical ability and a more thorough understanding of the instrument that grant me fuller access to information I was previously unable to absorb.
In this Masterclass Portnoy clearly articulates even the most difficult to understand nuances of playing effective harmonica, rendering the material accessible even (especially?) by a beginner. As the serious student of any musical instrument should expect, Jerry carefully concentrates on all the fundamentals. He takes his "student" through each technique in small steps, giving superb examples all the way. You just follow along with Jerry's lessons on your diatonic (in the key of A), stopping and repeating at your own pace until you're comfortable with each new technique. You decide when to go on to the next lesson, and can come back for a refresher any time (a highly recommended practice).
If you want to learn specific blues licks, there are better resources.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I've been playing about 30 years, and a friend wanted to learn to play blues harp from me. I told him just have a miserable life and the rest would take care of itself. After that, I began to look at instructional material to help him. Jerry Portnoy's set is the best. Period. The other materials are divided into either playing Oh, Susannah or learning licks (which is difficult for beginners.) Portnoy provides a very good sequential method of learning. This is a great harp player and a smart guy who can also teach. Just buy this course and forget about the rest.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Boorman VINE VOICE on January 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you can find an instructor, Harmonica lessons can cost between $20-$75 and hour, and you have no idea how good the teacher is. This is a great Blues Harpist who also happens to be a really good teacher. For the cost of 1-3 hours of professional instruction, you can get this set.

I'd recommend buying this. Th

There are cheaper sets on the market. In fact I think this is the most expensive set of it's kind. A lot of the less expensive sets are the ones where the author has you playing simple songs in 5 minutes. 6 months later, you may be able to play 2 or 3 songs, but that's about it. The harp, book, and CD end up in a drawer.

If you buy these, you will NOT be playing simple sings in 5 minutes. You will learn the techniques that will allow you to make continual self-directed progress. You will be able to expand your repertoire as you progress. By the time you're done, you will know how to teach yourself to play the music you hear.

If you already play a little (like I was when I got this set) you should still go back to the beginning and see what he's got to teach. This guy is a serious Harpist. He's played with BB King & Eric Clapton.

It requires time and patience. The author understands how to teach, and he understands the limitations of the "CD/book set" as a medium. The CD talks you through each exercise, and you learn skills. He gives you clear instructions, and he provides examples of what each exercise should sound like.

This is incremental instruction. The lessons are short and structured. You will want a CD player where you can pause and go back pretty easily.
You will also need a Harp in A. I recommend you skip the $3-5 cheapies and get something good.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "unclelala" on March 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I purchased this tutorial even though I already knew the basics. After listening and following the individual lessons, I was able to broaden my technique allowing solos to be unique from each other.
I still listen to it from time to time this day. It's fun to play with, and be taught by one of the harmonica's greats.
Jerry is a great teacher. If you always wanted to play blues-harp you won't be disappointed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christophe Ludet on March 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This book contains all you need to know about playing the harmonica. Jerry wastes no time diving into fun and useful techniques. He will show you how the blues monster get their big sound. Every chapter is important in its own way. You start with rhythmic exercises, then single notes, scales, special effects, modes. He doesn't repeat himself all that much, but he helps you develop your technique slowly. So make sure you don't skip through those chapters too fast. If it takes you 6 months before you get to the last chapter, i think it's just fine.

This set will benefit absolute beginners as well as advanced players. This set however targets people who are serious about learning. If you're willing to take it a step at a time and build up your skills, this is the right choice for you.

One thing Jerry doesn't show is licks, riffs, patterns. He suggests you get that by listening to artists you like. But he gives you the necessary tools to understand how riffs are played. This set is mostly about technique, he becomes your teacher for a couple hours. Creativity is left to you.

It ends with a nice selection of play-along blues tracks. You'll learn in various keys and at various tempos.

You will need an harmonica in A.

The CD set is a bit pricey, it certainly could be more affordable, but once you get it, you'll forget about the money. It's really worth it.

The presentation is excellent, the booklet is filled with artwork and fun photos - a nice complement to the audio. One thing I would suggest as an improvement: some of the written content is mostly the same as some of the audio content. I would have liked to see some analysis of his playing in the the play-along tracks.
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