FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Harmonica SuperStart
Q: What kinds of music can I play with Harmonica SuperStart?
A: You can play Folk, Acoustic (meaning a more contemporary style of "folk"), Blues,
Rock, Reggae, Classical, Funk, and lots more!
Those just listed are the styles of music included in your Harmonica SuperStart
Q: Is it possible to select just one style of music, for
example, the blues, and work your way through Harmonica Superstart?
Ok, here's the deal:
If you are a total beginner, everyone and I mean everyone
has you start with simple tunes, because that builds your basis for your understanding and
feeling for the harmonica.
Harmonica SuperStart does work to get you out of
"Twinkle-Twinkle land" and into the blues as fast as possible - in fact, the Train song
you'll learn in the beginning is the basis of many blues songs and riffs.
Blues on the harmonica is not as intuitive or naturally picked-up
as folk or first-position, and for that reason it is actually faster for you to
learn a few folk, first position tunes first before going to the blues,
because with the simple tunes you are learning how to automatically go to different parts of the harmonica
(color positions) and while there you'll know how the harmonica will respond and how it will
All of this really comes in handy really quickly for the blues, plus even
more importantly you'll be building your harmonica tone
Tone is the most important factor in your harmonica playing - a
harmonica played simply, with good tone, will ALWAYS beat a harmonica played with advanced techniques with
Why? Because bad-tone harmonica is just not impressive or pleasing to the ear, while
good tone is always appreciated, just like good singers are.
Q: What's wrong with plain-old harmonica tablature?
A: There's nothing wrong with harmonica
tablature, it certainly has it's place - it's just that for the beginner, playing-by-colors is far
superior. Tablature is best for intermediate and advanced
It is just so painful for beginners to get anywhere quickly with
traditional tablature, and that's why so many people try the harmonica and then give it up as a lost
What a tragedy! That's why I created Harmonica SuperStart -
once you find out how fun playing the harmonica can really be, you won't want to put it down
There's just so much you can do as a beginner and sound great
without a steep learning curve
Q: Do I need my SuperStart Card to be able to play-by-colors?
A: Yes, you do, for two main reasons:
1. Because you need to be able to SEE where you are on the harmonica, and you
can't do it without your SuperStart Card.
2. Your SuperStart Card has everywhere on the harmonica color-coded - this
makes it easy to play exactly the right place on the harmonica for each part of a song
- plus the color coding makes it an absolute done-deal to know
whether what you are going to play is blow or draw!
All that being said, it is possible to use your SuperStart Card and color
system enough to where you can hear or see a color and know exactly where to play on the harmonica and to
know whether that color is blow, without your SuperStart Card on your harmonica
- people do it all the time - but it does take practice and it takes
becoming very familiar with your Harmonica SuperStart System.
Q: Is Harmonica SuperStart "kid-friendly"? If so, how young can they start?
A: Yes, the Harmonica SuperStartSystem is extremely kid-friendly!
You may want to glance at the book though to see if your child is up
to that reading level - if not, then help them with the reading and you'll have a good experience
together. As to how young, I've taught using Harmonica SuperStart to children as young as 5
years old and they've been able to learn some songs - and have fun! That age thru age 7 or 8 it
really is good to learn along with them, and to emphasize having fun with the colors more than anything
else. Encourage them to make up their own songs!
Q: Can I use my own harmonica with Harmonica
A: Yes, if your harmonica is a 10-hole diatonic
harmonica in the key of C, and if you have the hook-and-loop fastener (the generic term for "velcro") that
goes on the harmonica so your Harmonica SuperStart Card will attach properly.
Of course, you don't really need to worry about this - you already get the
correct harmonica, fastener and Harmonica SuperStart card with the Harmonica SuperStart system. This
is just a matter of preference.
Q: " I am trying to figure out what Chord Red
is, Orange, Yellow, Bred, Borange, BGreen, and BBlue are on a C Harmonica.
Please give examples and explain for me please".
A: Ok, here's the deal - on the standard 10 hole diatonic harmonica (that's not in a
special tuning) the only places that are set up for actual "chords" and "chording" are at holes
1,2,3, and 4. On a C harmonica, blow holes 1,2,3, and 4 would be the chord C, and the draw holes
1,2,3, and 4 would be the chord G7.
The way the colors are set up for you in Harmonica SuperStart is that if
you are playing the colors you are playing the melodies of the song without having to play single
notes. It is possible to play each "color" on the harmonica and figure out exactly what the notes
are and thus the technical chord/chord inversion that it may be since any group of 3 or more notes has
to be a chord of some type, but the diatonic harmonica is not a
The diatonic harmonica as it was set up and originally invented was to
play melodies and accompaniment at the same time and that is one of the things you can do with Harmonica
SuperStart (and sound really good doing it).
If the diatonic harmonica was set up to play standard blocks of chords then it could not play simultaneous
melodies and accompaniment - it would be a totally different creature.
So, that's the long answer.
The short answer is that you don't have to worry
about it at all - if you play the colors you will be playing the melody and accompaniment at the same
time and it will sound like a song and it will sound good and people will like what they are hearing.
That's what we all want, isn't it?
copyright 2003- 2010 E. Matthew Shelton All rights reserved
(c) 2010 E Matthew Shelton All rights reserved
Can the guy who wrote this play the
Matthew, and in his
book, knows how to do is
TEACH. I had the privilege of many genius
teachers in my days; real teaching skill is
better than gold.
Finley, Professional Musician
and Recording Artist,
i would like to tell
you how great my playing has
improved over the past 4 months since i
have used your
system. i have "love works" and "dobro
swamp" down pat and
sounding good!!!!! i am now working on
"harp you got it"
track. i have even started playing at
work and draw a
( i'm gunna start
charging for the concert
Greg A Helland
I have been
trying/learning to play the harp since my
retirement 2 years ago. spent hundreds of
dollars on everything that i have come
across on the web. even flew to a jam camp
(which was ok-but too advanced for me) and
finally came across your stuff. its great,
mostly because you make it so much fun. the
superstart cd is terrific and easy to use
makes me want to practice more and more.
thanks so much for offering this kind of
instruction material. i probably am what a
lot of people might be inasmuch as i am
always looking for a secret to becoming a
harmonica player but i finally found the
secret thanks to your stuff, practice,
practice and have fun while doing it.
Jimi Hendrix said something
"I'm OK at playing lead, but I'm the best rhythm guitar
player you ever heard".
Even Hendrix attached more
importance to rhythm than lead.