Volume 1, Issue 2, August, 2004


by Stacy Hobbs

Last month we discussed the why to playing out.

Lets talk about the "when"!

Here are some of the questions you may ask yourself when first deciding to embark on performing with your Harp Guitar!; "How soon is too soon to play out?, Will I embarrass myself in the process?, How much material should I have to perform?, Do I have to!?!"

Lets answer some of them!

In order to obtain my first Harp guitar, reluctantly, I had to sell the only two guitars I had. Consequently, I was forced to play all of my tunes on this unfamiliar beast!

Since the ‘gig must go on’ I was forced into making the best out of what could have been a bad situation. I found that if I kept an open mind, things would happen naturally within the instrument. For instance, the Harp Guitar gave new life to my "same old songs" without having to learn new arrangements. It did this naturally from the sympathetic ringing of the sub bass strings. Experimenting with a capo in various positions produced an even wider array of sounds not possible on a six-string guitar.

So what’s the moral of the story? "It’s never too early to take the Harp guitar out for a performance, even with your current repertoire and technique!"

Will there be embarrassing moments? Certainly, there were for me! There were plenty of inaccurately played or missed bass notes. Periodically, my thumbnail would snag a sub bass string, pulling it a few inches away from the Harp guitar then slapping back down! "Ouch! That was loud!"

These experiences are what shape us as musicians and we learn the instrument so much quicker. There is certain urgency to the learning when you’re getting paid to do it!

How much? Lets say you’ve been gigging out on your six string and have a few tunes worked out on the Harp guitar-- what next? Consider performing your most familiar material first and transition over to the Harp guitar near the end of your set. Your audience will appreciate the visual aspect of this unusual instrument and their focus will shift away from the technical proficiency of the performance, allowing you to be more at ease.

Possibly, people will still have the sound of the Harp guitar ringing in their ears long after you’ve gone and you will have given the illusion of playing more on your Harp guitar than you actually did!!

Is there a moral to this story, too? Yes, no matter how much music you’ve worked up for the Harp guitar – play it out!!

Not quite at this level? Search out you local open mic’ night…lots of towns have them. Take your Harp guitar out for a trial run. You’ll learn a lot while becoming more familiar with the instrument. Good luck, play hard!

Stacy Hobbs has been performing, recording, and teaching music for the past 22 years. He purchased his first Harp Guitar in 1998, which proved to be his true calling. Visit www.stacyhobbs.com for more!

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All Site Contents Copyright © Gregg Miner, 2004,2005,2006. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright and Fair Use of material and use of images: See Copyright and Fair Use policy.