1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Blues Harp man is a wanker, big time....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by billoetjen, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Jesus Christ, why are audiences so impressed with wankers?
    In my band, we got a harp man with great chops, but he nevah steps out. Nevah! He drones on and on, through every measure. I seriously doubt he even knows what tasteful playing is supposed to be.
    Most of the rest of us acknowledge it but are too chicken **** to take a stand. I'm intimidated by no one, and refuse to back down from a confrontation when it comes to our sound.
    Tomorrow, I'll try to get some face time with him alone, and explain to him that he's got to discipline his talent. Any suggestion about how I should put it across?
    If he don't hear it from me, I'll walk. What the hell, I was looking for a band when I found this one...
    Wish me luck
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Start playing everything up or down a half step.
  3. djwackfriz


    Jul 31, 2007
    Astoria, NY

    but seriously, nip it in the bud before it turns into a weird passive-aggressive, tense confrontation. That is poison for a band's sound anyway.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    does the harp player play like that at rehearsal? did you think it would be different on stage? he sounds like he has a version of the Lead Singer Disease. Maybe recording a rehearsal and pointing out the problem might help. YOu'll have to be specific on what you want him to do.

    I suggest getting the band together and figuring out an arrangement for one song with him playing when you want him to play and then discussing it with him. If you he rejects your arrangement and wants to continue playing it as he did before, then you'll know what to do.

    edit: Sounds like he's jammin' rather than actually playing parts for a song or enhancing the song. He just wants to hear himself play. If he was concerned about how the band comes across FOH, he'd play differently.
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I my experience, every harmonica player is a no taste wanker. Methinks it just comes with the territory.

    I think it may have something to do with the discipline of becoming a good harmonica player. Everybody knows that in order to get good, they have to be homeless, or have travelled by hopping trains, or owned a corncob pipe, or all of the above. Perhaps once they've been through such rigorous training, they feel obligated to play all over everybody.
  6. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    What do you expect from an instrument you can buy for under 20$ and practice on the morning commute to work.

  7. bggeezer

    bggeezer Guest

    May 25, 2001
    try the magic words 'dynamics' or 'less is more'

    or massage his ego "if you lay back (back not off) a bit, then when you step forward and solo, it will sound EVEN MORE AWESOME"

    that might work...

    or shove his mouth organ up his ass...that Always works
  8. One of our singers picked up harp & it really added a nice touch- in the right places. This guy is no wanker; if anything he needs to project more- again, in the right places. At first he would just toss a light bit of background, almost like a keyboard wash, but kind of all the time, when he wasn't singing. I told him what a great drummer told me: Don't play over the lyrics. Taking it a step further, a song is often like a good conversation, particularly between the most prominent instruments(including vocals). Vox says something, guitar replies, keys/horns/harp(not all at once)add a 'comment' & so on. Meanwhile the rhythm section keeps the bus rolling. In a good conversation, there is an interesting topic, everyone(w/something worthwhile to say;))gets a turn & there's no interruption. This thought has helped curb my tendancy to overplay.
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    That'll show him who's boss! :D
  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA

    +1 Without clear direction, people are left to guess what they're supposed to do until someone in a position of leadership tells them what to do, or what not to do. Is there consensus among the rest of the band about exactly what's expected of the harp player?

    If there's been a lack of assertiveness from leadership, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the harp player blows when it's inappropriate. If leaderships has been consistent and assertive, and he's just playing whatever and whenever he feels like, it may be time for the harp player to move on to greener pastures.
  11. Amen, brother.;)
  12. Easy8


    Sep 5, 2007
    Austin, Tx

    The harp player in the house band I work with at an open mic that I do just whips out a G# for all those SRV wannabe E flat tuners

    I just bring two basses, one tuned concert and one E-flat
  13. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    That's where a 5-string comes in handy.

    OP, get your harp man some percussion toys, maracas, tambourine etc. Give him something else to do.
  14. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Banned

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    GIVE someone a tambourine? Are you SERIOUS!?!?!?!?!?!

    And another rule: If a harp player asks to sit in, you CAN be absolutely certain they STINK, regardless of how many different keys they have in their little belts. This rule has never been broken in almost 20 years and over 3000 shows.
  15. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    So you're advocating giving them a chance, since you CAN'T be sure they're bad?

    Not sure I understand the point of your rule.
  16. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    You need to use some err.. "psychology" I guess. Finesse it. You have to express it to him in positive terms, or it will be a disaster. - you'll just get everybody pissed off. Unless you're looking for an excuse to get rid of him, figure out how you can bring it up, that doesn't sound like you're putting him down. Make it into a positive conversation.

    Even better, if you can make it seem like it was his idea in the first place.

    Maybe tell him you're looking for a more "call and response" type approach?
  17. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Fortunately, I've been playing blues around my town long enough to know the harp players that are good, and those that suck. We had one guy at a blues jam we hosted who was on stage all the time and played all the time. Finally, the soundman (who was a stud) would pull him out of the mix until we gave him a solo.

    I dare say that the only possible thing that would be worse would be a banjo or accordian player that never shut up.
  18. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Anyone who never shuts up = nightmare...

    A guitarist going weedle-weedle-wee all the time? Puh-LEEZE...
    A singer who never shuts up?
    wait, I dated her for a while...
  19. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    It seems the term 'Wanker' is used in the US as a simple expression of overplaying your instrument.

    It is a much more derogatory term over here in England that is used as a jokey form of repartee between friends, but would likely get you a smack in the mouth from a stranger

    Dictionary definition here http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?dict=CALD&key=88987&ph=on

    Then again...overplaying your instrument is probably still appropriate
  20. OMG.... He DOES practice while commuting! But then, so did I when I was trying to learn the harmonica.

    So, we had our chat and it went amicably. I wasn't bossy or negative - let him know how much he's added to the band's sound (true enough). We haven't played together since, yet. He did e-mail me the next day and thanked me for having the huevos for approaching him on the subject and for caring enough about the band, etc.

    He said that he wanted to fit in better, but really had no frame of reference before. I believe that. To me, it's just one of those things that you have to be taught along the way: how to keep one ear on the whole band. But it is one of the essential things to being in an ensemble.
    Thanks everybody, and I'll let you know if the sound changes.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.