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 system. 

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 sound. 

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 bad tone. 

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 players.

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 cause.

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 SuperStart?

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 chord harmonica.

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?

Harmonica SuperStart  

copyright 2003- 2010  E. Matthew Shelton  All rights reserved






Can the guy who wrote this play the harmonica? You  decide


 how to play the harmonica Paul Finley

What 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.

Paul Finley,
Musician and
Recording Artist, Austin, Texas












"dear matthew,  

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
good crowd

( i'm gunna start charging for the concert


Greg A Helland jr"









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. thanks again. ralph weiler 












 Jimi Hendrix said something like:  

"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.





















“To know and not to do is not to know” 

traditional Samurai saying