Monday, April 09, 2007

Adam Gussow's Keys to the Kingdom...

This is between you and me.

Adam Gussow is a heckuva harp player. Me, I'm OK, too but Adam is one of the special ones.

So here's what the bugger does:

He lays out on YouTube over 40 lessons about how to play blues harp, from very very beginner to certified screamin' funkmonkey, and he does it in a way that pretty much means that if you can see and hear, you'll get it. Probably quickly.


The whole shmoo: tone, technique, equipment, effects and tricks. Whammo. Not all there is but so close to it y'can feel the breeze. Mr. Gussow mentions he thinks a dedicated type could put it all together enough for pro work in about two years. I think he's right.

The lessons are organized, easy to follow and thorough. I've played for maybe 40 years as a pro and semi-pro and I'm quite decent. I learned very useful new-to-me stuff in lesson two.

I'm certainly not going to support competition in my trade by constantly reminding people about Adam's near-total destruction of the market for blues harmonica teachers in the english speaking world. There is no way I will constantly repeat that I've never encountered better lessons, nor will I unfailingly be advising readers that so far in the series a student requires 10-hole diatonic harmonicas in the keys of Bb, C, D and I think F and G. It would be foolish if I repeated further that the Bb will get a person through the first 10-15 lessons or so.

It would only be adding to the damage were I to even occasionally reiterate that it'd be an idea to get a good harp to start, at least the quality of the quite serviceable Suzuki Harpmaster or better. Adam uses Hohner Marine Bands/Model 1896 (not my first choice, but they're good pro level harps).

Bottom line: I teach harmonica and if you want to play well, you don't really need me anymore. I'll be happy to help, but almost everything you'd want to know is in these lessons, and everything you need to know is right out in the open.

There. I've told you.

The blues harp keys to the kingdom are laying out in plain view.

Don't let this news get out.

And don't expect me to remind you.


Anonymous said...

Roger Daltrey - Teenage Wasteland.

I'd pay to be taught how to do that :)

Ron said...

ah, but would you practice enough if you could learn it for free? :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey, there's a new Satan and Adam album available. Here's the info:

I'm happy to announce the release the first new album in 12 years from the blues duo Sterling Magee and Adam Gussow, aka Satan and Adam. It's called Word on the Street, and it consists of 14 tracks--more than 2 hours total--that I recorded on the streets of Harlem in 1989 when we were a neighborhood act up there. I'm really proud of this stuff. Although I love our three "legit" albums on Flying Fish and Rounder, particularly the raw stuff on Harlem Blues (1991) that first got us some attention, this album is much more representative of what we were actually doing in those days. Six of the tracks are more than 10 minutes long; we were a jam-band duo, really.

In the All-Music Guide to the Blues, DJ Rich Skelley wrote: "Satan and Adam have redefined and shaped the sound of modern blues so much that 'I Want You' from their Harlem Blues debut was included on a Rhino Records release, Modern Blues of the 1990s." Word on the Street shows you how that sound was forged.

Tracks on the album include covers of "What'd I Say," "Every Day I Have the Blues," and "Big Boss Man," plus a whole mess of jazzy, funky, bluesy, soulful originals.

The album is available for immediate download at a price of $12. There's a nice preview track available so people can check it out.

We're doing some touring this summer, mostly in July. All that info is on my website,

We've got two record release parties planned at which I'll have actual double CDs for sale: May 20 at the Peninsula Inn in Gulfport, Florida, where Sterling lives. And Saturday, July 5 at Red's Lounge in Clarksdale, Mississippi, about 60 miles from where I live.

This is not the same old retro blues. This is risk-taking, inventive, fierce, new down-home-up-North blues.


Adam Gussow

Modern Blues Harmonica
P. O. Box 2216
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Ron said...

Adam, many thanks for dropping by and for keeping me/us posted on your newly available material.


Ian Scott said...

Ah I knew I had left a comment in regard to harmonica lessons on your blog at one point! Here it is... and here now I have a Hohner Marine Band - and am learning my first song!

Yes, I'd practice enough if I could learn it for free :) I think the people around me are getting tired of all the off notes and too much "breathy" sounds coming out though.