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115 Reviews
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST WAY TO LEARN BLUES HARMONICA
I really enjoyed this book. Jon really understands what the blues, and particularly what blues harp is all about and knows how to explain it to you in an exciting and interesting way. Much of the essence of the book seems to be that blues is about creating and resolving tension by knowing which draw notes to accent- (particularly in 2nd position.) I realize that he...
Published on February 28, 2001 by therealdeal87

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs high cheez tolerance
I'd had so much fun with the Harmonica Americana book that I sought out the Rock n' Blues to further my introduction to cross harp. I think Gindick is a great instructor, at least through these books, and I am glad I got the book. However, I don't get the caveman narrative, and I can see why another reviewer thought it might be offensive. Why is this supposed to be...
Published on July 6, 2006 by N. L. L. Sofer


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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST WAY TO LEARN BLUES HARMONICA, February 28, 2001
This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. Jon really understands what the blues, and particularly what blues harp is all about and knows how to explain it to you in an exciting and interesting way. Much of the essence of the book seems to be that blues is about creating and resolving tension by knowing which draw notes to accent- (particularly in 2nd position.) I realize that he isn't the first to "define" blues in such a manner, but rather the first author to clearly show you how each note can be used to effectivly create and resolve tension so essential in this style of playing. I also liked the emphasis on good tone. Clear tone after all, can make the difference between mediocre playing and excellent playing. Finally, what I really enjoyed was the CD that comes with the package, which allows you to shut off the instruction and jam with the band (or shut off the band and listen to the instruction). Jon has a really exciting-somewhat offbeat teaching style that really makes it fun to learn from. This book is not big on theory-though he generally teaches you enough to get by. ( for more a great introduction to this very important subject I highly reccomend reading "Music Theory Made Simple", by David Harp. I would have liked to have seen some more information of position play..particularly third position. (..sorry...I just can't seem to get enough of those minor blues!)For those serious about learning blues harmonica this is no doubt the book to get. Highly, highly reccomended.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the one to get first!, July 8, 2004
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This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
I see that this book has 5 stars and over 30 reviews so I hardly have to convince any one of how good it is. The author is obviously a heck of a good guy and he talks you through all the techniques and riffs in the book. The fact that he is not only a great harp player but also a great teacher makes this book and cd worth it's weight in gold. Another great section of the book is the extensive list of albums that feature harmonica with every track listed along with the key the harp is played for every song on the album! I got myself a Hohner Special 20 harp which is Jon's top recommendation on his website. This is an updated version of the Marine Band and is easier to bend notes on than that. Make sure you don't pay too much for one of these harps, about 20 bucks is about right. I saw a catalog for homespun that had the Lee Oskar harps (also recommended and quite similar to the Hohner Special 20) for sale for 37.00 which I guess is list price. Yikes! Like I mentioned, the special 20 and the Oskar is about 20.00 if you go online or to the big guitar outlet place that's all over the place. Anyway, thanks Jon, I'll soon be getting your Americana book with the 2 cds. The Blues Harp collection (different author, but also on amazon) is also a fantastic book although of course you'll have to get at least a Little Walter and a Sonny Boy Williamson album to hear alot of the tunes transcribed in this book. I got the versions called "His Best" of both of these guys. One other book that is no less than amazing is the Bluegrass Harmonica by Mike Stevens (also available thru Amazon) Don't pass this by because you may not be into bluegrass, it's got quite a few traditional melodies and originals by Stevens but the main thing is the technique involved is incredible. It involves bending like in the book reviewed here but it goes a bit further into bends and a somewhat advanced technique called overblows which together will teach you to get every note available out of a regular diatonic harp. Also with a cd and again, the tunes and technique here are not to be missed. The bending involved for the tunes in this book is probably more challanging than for blues harp playing. One other book that is not blues but will teach you some great traditional American and Irish fiddle tunes is the one by Glen Weiser. What's great about this book is it doesn't involve bending at all but the tunes are challanging and complex enough. Again, not the blues but a way to expand your mastery of the harmonica with some great tunes.
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76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fun as hell. start jamming on day one!, March 31, 2004
By 
Campbell Roark "tri-zeta" (from under the floorboards and through the woods...) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
Wow. I'm glad I went out on a limb and bought this. It's worth it for the CD alone. The book is a nice aid as well, but, ummm the whole caveman blues-band narrative is a tad cheesy, and would be a little racist (a white, Tarzan-esque hijacking of what is essentially a black music form) if it weren't so obviously bone-headed. Oh stop, I can't help with the cultural analysis. It's a reflex at this point. at least you don't have to sit with me in a movie theatre...
Back to the point, I would go so far as to guarantee that if you simply play along with the CD and skim the book, just spend about 20- 30 minutes a day, you will MASSIVELY improve in skill. And the harmonica sounds really damn good on the CD- which makes you try harder. You want to be that good. Oh- Learning to Bend the notes on holes 2 and 3 takes TIME. I still can't hit them all when I need to.
But I can jam along with my favorite tunes by Mandrill, The Clash, The White Stripes, and many others... I feel like I have bounced months ahead in 2 weeks' time!
I don't know about or own any other 'teach your self blues harp,' guides, because this one is working so well I haven't felt the need to purchase another. I enthusiastically reccomend this without reserve!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frustrated harmonica players take notice, April 4, 2001
By 
Tim Castleman (Enid, Ok United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
Frustrated harmonica players take notice - your savior hasreturned. After selling over 1.5 million copies of his various how-toharmonica books (Country & Blues Harmonica for the MusicallyHopeless, Harmonica American and The Natural Blues & CountryWestern Harmonica just to name a few) Jon Gindick is back with hisrevised Rock n' Blues Harmonica book.
The first thing you'llnotice is the revised edition is huge. With 226 pages the 8 ˝ x11-inch book dwarfs the first edition while sporting a new cover,bigger print, and a binding that allows you to lay the book down whilepracticing without fear of it closing. Not to mention the 74-minutejamming CD, which features tons of examples played over a loopingblues chord. With this edition Jon also goes into greater depth onseveral topics making the revised copy a must, even if you own theoriginal. "The instruction covers almost every topic in harmonicaplaying, and yet continues to focus on the skills a beginnerneeds," said Jon...
Jon began playing 30 years ago while workingat a packing plant. The Beatles had overtaken America, includingJon. He played along with pop music on the radio searching for thesounds of the harmonica. His first taste came from Rod Stewart whoplayed the riff on My Boy Lollypop, followed by John Lennon'splaying. This later lead to the blues, with influences Little Walter,Sony Boy Williamson and Big Walter Horton. Soon after he startedplaying frustration set in. "I didn't understand cross harp for thelongest time. Getting it, and the sound, was a revelation,"remembers Jon.
It was with that cross harp revelation that hewanted to write books. In 1977 Jon sent his book off to the publisher.Months passed and he still hadn't heard anything; a phone callrevealed that they had lost the book. It was then he enteredself-publishing and Cross Harp Press was born. He printed 2,000 copiesof The Natural Blues & Country Western Harmonica, and sold them tolocal music stores and through Rolling Stone. Several books followedand so did the praise.
"If the measure of a book's greatness isits ability to change a readers life, then your instruction books onthe harmonica are great books," said Gene Berk who bought Jon'sfirst book. Jon is able to take learning the harmonica and turn itinto a process. He knows learning is not an easy thing, contrary topopular opinion and acts as a "big brother" through the book andCD. He starts off by slowly teaching some simple riffs and giving thereaders a sense of accomplishment before moving onto harder subjects.His books are very simplistic in teaching but detailed inknowledge.
Rock n' Blues Harmonica is no different as Jon expandson several subjects including bending, harmonica positions, tongueblocking, breathing, and slant harp. "I am something of acollector of how-to harmonica books and tapes and I wanted you to knowthat your stuff is the best," said Joe Vitale in a letter toJon.
When you've finished the book and want to expand your playingcall Jon at 1-800-646-9245 and get a lesson. Leave him a sample ofyour playing and he'll give you some free feedback. Along with Rockn' Blues Jon has also released a CD entitled Banished Moon. It runs 49minutes through 10 tracks in which Jon plays a majority of theinstruments and supplies the vocals for each song. The CD is harmonicaheavy and showcases his ability to play different styles andpositions. Jon's writing, vocal, and playing skills are superb withsongs like All I Ever Needed, Maxine and Mystery of Your Love. Jonsupplies the key and positions for each song for anyone interested inplaying along...
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn..., June 26, 2001
By 
J. Daily (Fort Worth, Tx United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
from the ground up with this one. Gindick tells and explains all. From how to choose a harmonica to helping you pick a mike and amp to play live with by the end. You cant go wrong here. Not too heavy on theory(and thats probably a good thing, most original bluesmen couldnt read print, much less music)....why let it get in the way of good music? However he does give you a foundation and the vital I-IV-V blues progression. Laymans terms though, nothing to technical.
Using his fictitional tribe of ancients who just discovered a harmonica, he lays it all down for you. He boils blues harp down to its basic feeling, that it is a language of tension and release, something you have to feel and live. He gives you all the basics: individual notes, chords, too numerous to mention techniques, even a couple of pages on harp repair.
What I like is his inclusion of not only simple songs and how to spruce them up with your new found techinques, but actual blues licks that can be used to improv with or to use when playing along with a garage sitdown or eventually a stage jam. So many instuctionals leave this out.
The indexed 74 track play along CD instructional is the kicker. It actually lets you hear how you should sound. Allows you to get the tone down that is so hard do on your own when just starting out. Even lets you turn the band accompaniment or the harmonica sound off, so you can hear just what you need.
The only thing that keeps me from giving this 5 stars is that the CD is a little disjointed from the book. I wish it would have more closely followed it. Probably a 4 1/2.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blow your money on this book, October 23, 2001
By 
Alex Carvellas (Teaneck, New Jersey) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
I'm not a harp guy, so I can't get technical; but as far as I'm concerned the search is over for harp instruction- I don't care what else is out there- even if it's good, it can't possibly be any better than this. Like Jon says, "five minutes to play, and five years to master". In a little more than five minutes, I was playing along with Jon's cd backup track. Maybe my playing sounds not so hot now but I'm sure having fun getting there.
I like the book (nice drawings and interesting stories) but the cd is the killer. It's just great blues that won't bore you no matter how may times you listen.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs high cheez tolerance, July 6, 2006
By 
N. L. L. Sofer (Tennessee, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
I'd had so much fun with the Harmonica Americana book that I sought out the Rock n' Blues to further my introduction to cross harp. I think Gindick is a great instructor, at least through these books, and I am glad I got the book. However, I don't get the caveman narrative, and I can see why another reviewer thought it might be offensive. Why is this supposed to be more accessible if we follow the tale of a great caveman harmonica player and his neanderthal pals? Why is music theory more logical if Adam and Eve explain it via glasses of iced tea? Offensive or not, I find it so annoying that I find myself skipping pages of text just to avoid it all and stick to the lessons immediately surrounding the riffs.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge..., January 7, 2001
By 
Rick Cavallaro (Mountain View, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
I started with Jon Gindick's book "Country and Blues Harmonica for the musically hopeless", and liked it so much I thought I would try this one as well. Both are excellent. While I was no longer an absolute beginner, this book would still be suitable for someone with no music experience at all. Even so, there was PLENTY of new and useful material for me. In fact I have a friend that I consider an advanced blues harp player, and he still enjoys these books and finds them very useful. The CD is packed with good instruction and music to play along with as you advance. The instruction is on one channel and the background music is on the other - cool idea to give you more control. I don't think you can go wrong with this one.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, July 31, 2004
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This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
This book and companion CD just work. It is fun, and full of insight and detailed instructions, not to say audio examples!

I don't like the tone and "jokes" in the book, and skim through the "caveman" parts (those who read the book know what I mean), but who cares if the goal of having fun with the harmonica is achieved!

I also purchased the Idiot's guide - but will return it. It is so verbose and dull. Just no fun! and playing the harmonica should be fun ...
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended Blues Harmonica method, July 20, 2003
By 
Stan Shear (Vancouver B.C.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rock n' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons, Riffs, Techniques and Audio Index for a New Generation of Harp Players (Paperback)
After having played chromatic harmonica for years, I thought I'd try and play around with this "Micky Mouse diatonic harp". Got a Hohner Pro-harp and Jon's book, and discovered a whole new world out there. If you want to learn Blues Harmonica in theory and practice in a really fun, but no-nonsense way, this is the best I've seen. The book covers all the basics - a bit of music theory, diatonic harmonica theory, riffs, bends, hand effects - all you need to know. But best of all is the companion CD, which Jon talks and plays you through. You'll just want to listen to this for fun. But you WILL learn. Jon has a unique style of teaching that really works, and speaks volumes for his ability, knowledge, and desire to teach you. I want to ultimately get more of his follow-up books and CD's. He's a great teacher, and you'll love it.
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