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Author Topic: Instrument Challenge  (Read 1803 times)
c-man
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« on: January 10, 2018, 08:52:00 PM »

I've always thought that it's a harmonica on "When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)" - but does anyone think it might possibly be an accordion? Just wondering....

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DonnyL
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 12:01:30 AM »

Harmonica

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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 10:59:59 PM »

Harmonica



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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 05:59:34 AM »

Definitely sounds like a harmonica to me
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 09:31:27 AM »

Harmonica, specifically an Ab harmonica...breathe in for the Eb chord, breathe out for the Ab chord, anyone could play the part.  Grin  Just an aside...you really don't see too many Ab harps, it's not a common harp key unless you're playing harp with a blues guitarist who tunes down a half-step.

You can hear whoever is playing it blowing both chords on one of the mixes that has the studio chatter just before the count-in, before the take.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 08:04:50 PM »

Double-reed? Or single reed?
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 08:51:35 AM »

Double-reed? Or single reed?

Not a clue! I'd lean toward single reed because if you walk into a music store for a harmonica, you'll probably get a Marine Band or something similar, and if you're into folk or blues, you'll want to bend notes more easily which is where you'd get a single reed harp.

But the part is literally draw in for chord 1, draw out for chord 2...they could have had the guy filling the vending machines at the studio play the part. The oddity is that it was an Ab harp, I'm guessing they just bought one at Wallichs' to do that track or something.

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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 09:36:29 PM »

My understanding is that it is a chromatic harmonica, though I don't know what further evidence exists.

Frankly, the revelation that the harpsichord may have been electronic was surprising enough!
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c-man
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 10:41:12 PM »

My understanding is that it is a chromatic harmonica, though I don't know what further evidence exists.

Frankly, the revelation that the harpsichord may have been electronic was surprising enough!

Yeah, well - I don't think the harpsichord was electronic, after all. I originally did, but now I don't. Smiley
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DonnyL
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2018, 11:24:24 AM »

Def an acoustic harpsichord to my ears. Not sure the Baldwin electric existed l, and the RMI Rocksichord was a couple years away.
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2018, 01:23:01 PM »

I highly doubt that's a chromatic harp, those are more for melody in styles like jazz and even classical (yes, classical) and if you want examples of chromatic harp playing in the mainstream, listen to Stevie Wonder or the late Toots Theilemans, who were melodic players. Not many rock or blues players (or folk, or country) used or use a full chromatic harp.

I'll say again, anyone on this forum who has never played harmonica could learn that part in a minute or two. Get an Ab harp, find the right position on the harp, draw in for the Eb chord, and blow out for the Ab chord. Buy any single reed harp in Ab for 30 bucks or far less, and that's the part heard on the record waiting to be played by simply breathing in and out on the thing.

Or spend 200 bucks on a chromatic harp for no reason, and start woodshedding Stevie's solo on "For Once In My Life" or anything jazzy by Toots.  Grin
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2018, 02:18:57 PM »

I highly doubt that's a chromatic harp, those are more for melody in styles like jazz and even classical (yes, classical) and if you want examples of chromatic harp playing in the mainstream, listen to Stevie Wonder or the late Toots Theilemans, who were melodic players. Not many rock or blues players (or folk, or country) used or use a full chromatic harp.

I'll say again, anyone on this forum who has never played harmonica could learn that part in a minute or two. Get an Ab harp, find the right position on the harp, draw in for the Eb chord, and blow out for the Ab chord. Buy any single reed harp in Ab for 30 bucks or far less, and that's the part heard on the record waiting to be played by simply breathing in and out on the thing.

Or spend 200 bucks on a chromatic harp for no reason, and start woodshedding Stevie's solo on "For Once In My Life" or anything jazzy by Toots.  Grin

Yes indeed. Toots was a master of his instrument. This is from the soundtrack of Turkish Delight (1973):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVZB3Dinp2M
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 02:02:45 PM »

One more thing, I assume it's the same harmonica as the one used on Help Me, Ronda...
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 06:17:17 PM »

One more thing, I assume it's the same harmonica as the one used on Help Me, Ronda...

Was that an Ab harmonica, too?
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2018, 07:33:01 PM »

One more thing, I assume it's the same harmonica as the one used on Help Me, Ronda...

Was that an Ab harmonica, too?

"Ronda" is in C#, or Db to line up with the key of Ab being discussed. This has actually become something of an obsession for me. But I did road test this on my own Hohner Golden Melody, closest key I had was "A". The When I Grow Up part is possible to draw in and out, simple as that...two breaths.

In order to play the Ronda riffs, you need a different harp which would have a key that would also produce a different range than those around A or Ab to play those licks. They're not complex, but the range is different from harps in the A range.

My question is was there a session musician logged for the Ronda session playing harmonica? If so, they'd have dozens of harmonicas at their disposal, as Brian described Tommy Morgan did when he pulled out the giant bass harmonica akin to the old Harmonicats records and Brian said "use it!" on Pet Sounds. So the possibilities grow substantially if that was a session player blowing harp on that track.

If not...my guess is they got a C#/Db harp off the shelf. But it sounds more professional on Ronda than When I Grow Up.

But I look forward to hearing more on this. The funny thing with harmonicas is there are range differences that change the sound drastically in different yet related keys. If I get near a C# harmonica, I'll try it out with the Ronda licks. But I doubt that will happen soon.  Smiley
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2018, 08:00:47 PM »

For anyone interested, this is The Harmonicats in a more modern incarnation, but playing the same style harps as heard on their original smash hit Peg O My Heart. The guy on the right is playing bass harp (as used by Tommy on Pet Sounds), the guy in the middle is Jerry Murad and he's playing the melody on a chromatic harp, which is what chromatic harps usually do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF0f1TFx-0Q

And tying it into the Beach Boys...the original record of Peg O My Heart by the Harmonicats, released in 1947, was the first hit recording to use artificial reverb...engineered and cooked up by Bill Putnam, owner/founder of Western studios who put a mic in a bathroom and ran the feed from that returned back into the board...creating the same electronic reverb Brian used on almost every BB's session at Western or anywhere else he recorded at in the 60's with the Beach Boys.

The original from 1947 with Putnam's artificial reverb that was a #1 record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SquuMPQMHtk

So a bit of history there, lol.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2018, 08:31:03 PM »


My question is was there a session musician logged for the Ronda session playing harmonica?

Yes - Billy Riley, the rockabilly great who passed away awhile back. For the "When I Grow Up" session, Carroll "Cappy" Lewis (a trumpet player) is listed on the AFM sheet, but there's some question as to whether he actually played this date, or was merely being compensated for being left off the contract for a Christmas album session...I suppose it's possible Brian may have initially hired him to play trumpet on "When I Grow Up", and at the last minute changed the part to the harmonica...this would explain why Lewis was paid both $61 (the same as Dennis, Carl, and Al were for the "When I Grow Up" session) AS WELL AS $101 (the same rate most musicians were paid for the earlier Christmas Album session), and why the latter fee was added to the contract at a later date. I agree that the harmonica part in question is extremely simple, and could have been played by most anyone (but not Brian, Carl, Dennis, or Al, as they were all seemingly occupied playing parts on harpsichord, guitar, hi-hat, and bass - respectively - on the very same overdub as the harmonica)...I've wondered if maybe the harmonica was played by Mike (not likely, though, as his name does not appear on the AFM contract), or maybe roadie (and non-union member) Ron Swallow (he was definitely present at the session). But none of this satisfactorily explains why "Cappy" Lewis was paid BOTH $61 AND $101 for this session...
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2018, 08:56:58 PM »


My question is was there a session musician logged for the Ronda session playing harmonica?

Yes - Billy Riley, the rockabilly great who passed away awhile back. For the "When I Grow Up" session, Carroll "Cappy" Lewis (a trumpet player) is listed on the AFM sheet, but there's some question as to whether he actually played this date, or was merely being compensated for being left off the contract for a Christmas album session...I suppose it's possible Brian may have initially hired him to play trumpet on "When I Grow Up", and at the last minute changed the part to the harmonica...this would explain why Lewis was paid both $61 (the same as Dennis, Carl, and Al were for the "When I Grow Up" session) AS WELL AS $101 (the same rate most musicians were paid for the earlier Christmas Album session), and why the latter fee was added to the contract at a later date. I agree that the harmonica part in question is extremely simple, and could have been played by most anyone (but not Brian, Carl, Dennis, or Al, as they were all seemingly occupied playing parts on harpsichord, guitar, hi-hat, and bass - respectively - on the very same overdub as the harmonica)...I've wondered if maybe the harmonica was played by Mike (not likely, though, as his name does not appear on the AFM contract), or maybe roadie (and non-union member) Ron Swallow (he was definitely present at the session). But none of this satisfactorily explains why "Cappy" Lewis was paid BOTH $61 AND $101 for this session...

This is me:


That's fascinating, I had no idea. So it's the same Billy Lee Riley who cut those manic records on Sun in the 50's, blowing harp on "Ronda"? Hot damn!

Just an aside, my dad had a copy of Billy's "Red Hot" on Sun, and when I was a little kid I would play the heck out of that record on the old hi-fi console...good memories! I loved his voice on that record, before I knew anything other than what I liked to hear. That's crazy rockabilly. Later when I got into it even more, the song "Flying Saucers Rock And Roll" killed me with that great guitar solo from Roland Janes.

I mean, I'm shocked to hear that it's the same guy! Billy Lee Riley even by rockabilly's standards was manic, just crazy on his vocals, as wild as rockabilly was and even a notch above Jerry Lee Lewis on some of those records Riley cut at Sun. And the same guy played on "Ronda"!

Any idea how he came to be playing harp on sessions in LA by 1964/65? Was that his main instrument in the union phone directory, or was he just a fluke of a hire on a Ronda session in this case?

I'm thinking the Cappy Lewis payment may have been a back payment with interest/apology if he didn't get paid for the actual earlier session he worked. It wouldn't be uncommon for musicians to get a "Bonus" like this, for doing no-show work or as gratitude for something else, and it would be as easy as calling a guy like Cappy to the session, logging him in and paying him, but not having him blow more than a single note on a rehearsal take and he'd be paid the same scale.

Brian was known for taking care of the musicians who worked his sessions, as has been documented quite a few times. Hal said Brian would deliberately run the clock a minute past the end time so the musicians would get overtime for the next hour as a thank you gesture. That's one reason why they loved working for him...according to several who did.

But this harmonica thing, wow it just keeps getting more interesting! Billy Lee Riley, wow.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2018, 03:23:18 AM »

My question is was there a session musician logged for the Ronda session playing harmonica?

Yes - Billy Riley, the rockabilly great who passed away awhile back.

That's fascinating, I had no idea. So it's the same Billy Lee Riley who cut those manic records on Sun in the 50's, blowing harp on "Ronda"? Hot damn!

I mean, I'm shocked to hear that it's the same guy! Billy Lee Riley even by rockabilly's standards was manic, just crazy on his vocals, as wild as rockabilly was and even a notch above Jerry Lee Lewis on some of those records Riley cut at Sun. And the same guy played on "Ronda"!

It borders on the surreal! Lot of folks gonna hear "Ronda" differently in future----and maybe even appreciate it more. Thanks, c-man.
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« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2018, 03:33:37 AM »

My question is was there a session musician logged for the Ronda session playing harmonica?

Yes - Billy Riley, the rockabilly great who passed away awhile back.

That's fascinating, I had no idea. So it's the same Billy Lee Riley who cut those manic records on Sun in the 50's, blowing harp on "Ronda"? Hot damn!

I mean, I'm shocked to hear that it's the same guy! Billy Lee Riley even by rockabilly's standards was manic, just crazy on his vocals, as wild as rockabilly was and even a notch above Jerry Lee Lewis on some of those records Riley cut at Sun. And the same guy played on "Ronda"!

It borders on the surreal! Lot of folks gonna hear "Ronda" differently in future----and maybe even appreciate it more. Thanks, c-man.

According to his Wikipedia page, "In 1962, he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session musician with Dean Martin, the Beach Boys, Herb Alpert, and Sammy Davis Jr., among others, and also recorded under various aliases." The source cited is: Wilkerson, Tony (2002). "Rockabilly Hall of Fame Biography". Retrieved June 26, 2017. The page lists several harmonica albums he cut, including Harmonica Beatlemania on Mercury in '65.

He eventually moved back to Arkansas and went into the construction business, but ultimately returned to music. And - speaking of "Hot damn!" - you may or may not know that was the title of his 1997 Grammy-nominated album!

Lastly - Billy L. Riley is also listed as playing harmonica on the session sheet for the BBs' "Don't Let Me Wonder" (aka "Please Let Me Wonder"), although I can't really hear it - if he's there, I'm assuming he blends in with the horns...
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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 08:09:12 PM »

That's crazy good info - I had no idea it was the same guy who cut "Red Hot"! Amazing how these paths cross, from Sun rockabilly wildman to a sideman on BB's sessions blowing harp. I actually listened to Billy's Red Hot again for the first time in awhile...still sounds as wild as I remember. I'll bet that record scared a lot of parents and preachers back in the day.  Grin

Just an aside...This harmonica stuff is getting downright bizarre for me.

I come home tonight, put on the show "Storage Wars". The buyer named Ivy buys a locker that contained a harmonica collection...which included a Hohner bass harmonica as I was posting about earlier, the kind heard on Pet Sounds and the Harmonicats. And various chromatics, an advertising sign, etc. He took them to John Popper (one of the best harp players in the business, IMO) who checked out the collection. What are the chances they'd feature a harmonica collection on the new episode tonight?  Smiley

This must be the week of the harmonica or something.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2018, 01:10:26 AM »

Ok I have a dumb question I've been meaning to ask for many years. Now, I've heard there is "no such thing as a dumb question " ( not true..."what's the color of an orange" would surely qualify ) but I'm still rather embarrassed....

Okay here goes...why is a harmonica sometimes called a harp? To me a harp is a big beautiful golden instrument played by angels and occasionally Joanna Newsom.  I've seriously wondered that since my teens and finally worked up the nerve to ask.
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« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2018, 01:45:10 AM »

Ok I have a dumb question I've been meaning to ask for many years. Now, I've heard there is "no such thing as a dumb question " ( not true..."what's the color of an orange" would surely qualify ) but I'm still rather embarrassed....

Okay here goes...why is a harmonica sometimes called a harp? To me a harp is a big beautiful golden instrument played by angels and occasionally Joanna Newsom.  I've seriously wondered that since my teens and finally worked up the nerve to ask.

Don't be embarrassed, man. Found this for ya (http://www.dummies.com/art-center/music/harmonica/why-is-a-harmonica-called-a-harp-when-it-doesnt-have-strings/)

WHY IS A HARMONICA CALLED A HARP WHEN IT DOESNíT HAVE STRINGS?
 
"Both harmonica and harp are borrowed names, and neither one is the only correct name. The harmonica was invented during the Romantic era of Beethoven and Schubert, a time when garden dťcor included the Aeolian harp, a stringed harp that you set outdoors, where the wind makes the strings vibrate. Even though the harmonica has reeds sounded by a playerís breath instead of strings sounded by the wind, some early harmonica makers referred to their instruments as Aeolian harps by way of poetic association.

"Early harmonica makers in German-speaking countries used the term mundharfe (mouth harp). Still others called it mundharmonika (mouth harmonica), borrowing the name of the glass harmonica, which is played with a moistened fingertip rubbed on the rim of a glass. Meanwhile, American books were comparing the harmonica to a harp as early as 1830, and the introduction of a model called the French Harp in the 1880s may have helped to popularize calling it a harp in the American South."

Ignore the name of the website, haha. I have their book called Baseball for Dummies and most of it is still Ancient Greek to me. Grin
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« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 04:17:58 AM »

It's also sometimes referred to as the "mouth organ". Strangely, the back cover of Meet The Beatls names both the "harmonica" and the "mouth organ" among instruments played by the Fab Four...although they're the same thing (as far as I know)!
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2018, 01:57:40 AM »

It's also sometimes referred to as the "mouth organ". Strangely, the back cover of Meet The Beatles names both the "harmonica" and the "mouth organ" among instruments played by the Fab Four...although they're the same thing (as far as I know)!

That's only on "Little Child", right? Maybe US Capitol had a "CV" sent them from the UK and they combined the information there with that on the cover of the UK near-equivalent With The Beatles, which mentions "some neatly-timed mouth-organ phrases":



This fascinating article gives an illuminating run-down of Beatlish blowing history:

http://www.ksanti.net/free-reed/essays/panfilebeatles.html
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