September 05, 2013

The Best Newsletter Yet

Blues Harmonica Jam Camp News


 Information, Experience, Inspiration


A Whole Buncha New (Free) Lessons That Will Help You Get to Your Next Level

plus Videos of Jam Campers at Jam Camp, Jamming! 



Hotter n' Hell Summer, 2013 



The evidence is in.  If you practice, and if you work with good teachers, and you open your heart and your head to what they are saying, you will improve, and if you keep improving, you will get good. I am seeing it everywhere; people in their  40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's finally getting into music the way they have always wanted to, and with time, and effort, blood, sweat and tears, they transform themselves into musicians, people of the groove, song carriers, jam organizers. 


When you are struggling, one step at a time, you may not be aware of how far you have come, or what you have accomplished.  And I think it's almost universally true: People who do accomplish goals are almost always dissatisfied. They are aware of what they can't do, or what other people are doing, and it hurts them and they want it for themselves. So they try to do it themselves.  And this helps them get better.  

But it hurts. 


Hurts, hurts, hurts... but you keep playing, and practicing the right stuff,  accepting the process of learning, until it feels better.


But in music as in track and field...No Plan, No Gain. 


Write this one down: "Wanting to Play the Blues, Gives You the Blues."


It comes with the territory.  Make that harp wail.  Don't give up!


Join Jon and Pals

at Blues Harmonica Jam Camp in 2014


with core coaches

Jon Gindick

Rj Mischo

Cheryl Arena

Hash Brown

Tj Klay

Brian Purdy

Ralph Carter 


helping you with... 

Blues Harp,  Singing,  Songwriting, Performing, general musicality

 (with guitar lessons from Ralph Carter)

with a huge emphasis on the Arts of the Blues Harp 


over 5 glorious musical days at the World-Famous Shack Up Inn

in The Mississippi Delta              (and now, at The Pierpont Resort in Ventura, California)

with a bunch of great people from all over the world 




 2013 and 2014 Dates -- Tues Afternoon  thru Saturdays         $995
September 24-28, 2013 ---Sold Out!
March 25 - 29, 2014 -- 20 spots remaining
May 13 -17, 2014
Sept.  the 3rd or 4th week tbd ,  2014 
and introducing...  
January 21-25, 2014   (in Ventura, California)*--15 spots remaining
or call Jon at 310-457-8278
 We only allow about 30 people per camp, so sign up asap! 
The Jam Camp Experience -- a Great Movie about Jam Camp. (See Camper Video' s below.)


 SKYPE Lesson from Jon--Baby You Need Feedback!


Highly recommended for anybody anywhere in the world, a SKYPE lesson that gives you real time feedback encouragement and techniques for improvement.  


 In just one morning I have given SKYPE lessons to Kate in Sidney, Australia,  a cat whose name I forget in Kryzistan (out there by Russia) and A.J. in Montreal, Canada and let me tell you, it is like sitting face to face with you, and the lessons are amazingly productive.


In one lesson, I can usually get frustrated beginners to get clear rich 2 draws and 3 draws  and also bend notes. And if we don't accomplish that, you will have the tools that will allow you to get it with continued work.  It's $65, and can save you years of frustration. My format is always to listen to you first, and go from there. Intermediates! I can help you too! 



A Trip to Gindick's Store at

Order books and cds shipped to your door or instantly downloadable.

Let's face it. There is a dearth of harmonica information on the internet, and one of the biggest problems for the student is organizing it in your head. This is one reason, a book and cd fortmat is so useful. It helps you understand what to learn, and what to learn first.  Now for just $19.95 you can get a program that starts at the beginning and focuses on fundamentals

each step of the way... 

This is where blues players should start...

112 page e-book and 73 minute audio $19.95

Country & Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless

The New Musical Miracle Worker from America's Best Selling 


Harmonica Instruction Author

This is the book and audio that sits beside you and shows you how to buy, hold, breathe, move and articulate the harmonica. It shows intermediates what they have been doing wrong, and shows beginners how to get it right.

The original sold over 1.5 million copies, and created generations of harmonica players. Now this 112 page book and audio lesson have been completely revised, to get you playing sooner, and better, and faster than you ever imagined.

It walks, guide, explains, illustrates and jams you through a lesson devoted to the basics of tone, bending and jamming. You will learn to play beautiful chords, great single notes. You will learn to play several easy 1st position songs, and then move on to Cross Harp (2nd position), the style of the blues.

Before long, you will understand rhythm, tone, articulation, phrasing, vibrato, tongue-blocking, bending, playing the I-IV-V and the arts of jamming like never before.I'll explain how 2nd position jamming works, how the 1,2,3,4,5,6 draw holes will always work when accompanying a chord progression. I'll show you how wailing notes create musical tension, and Notes of Resoltion resolve it.Then I show you six blues harmonica riffs, short patterns that will never make a mistake when jamming with a chord progression. All you have to do is adjust the timing the suit to rhythm of the song, and I show you how to do that.

You will need a diatonic harmonica in the key of C.

If you have the original Country and Blues Harmonica for the Musicially Hopeless, this revision is all new, yet retains the original charm. 


 International: Please download at:


 International Shipping Rates Encourages Downloads


The good ol days are over.  A $19.95 book with now costs $23.95 to ship.  Two books is still $23.95 but the envelope is getting crowded and the goods may be damaged cause the envelope is cheap priority mail envelope. Ouch!! 


NOW,  to get all of my books, Cds, go to my download page at There's NO shipping charge, no tax. Anywhere in the world!


Speaking of More Magic...

Join the Jam Camp team for a West Coast Jam Camp 

in a great California town. .. 


Blues Harmonica Winter Jam Camp in Ventura, California

January 21 through 25,  2014 at

Pierpont Resort

$995 for 5 Days for seminar

$85 a night sleeping rooms

You'll love Ventura's Seaside ambience with it's eclectic, historic locally owned downtown

and old tree parks, and of course the California mission.

Take the train from San Diego because the Ventura station at

the beach, a small hillside away rom The Pierpont Resort, where we hold the seminar.

Built in 1912, the picture blow was taken from the Pierpoint grounds.

You will love Ventura Pier. 





This camp is Tuesday 3 pm through Saturday 6 pm

and will feature our regular coaches...

Jon Gindick, Rj Mischo, TJ Klay, Hash Brown, Cheryl Arena and Brian Purdy,  

and our daily band for learning and jamming pleasures.


As always, all levels are accepted and loved.  

With 6 coaches, about 30 campers, a daily band,

a format that brings out the best in everybody,

including an advance SKYPE lesson,  

and free membership in Jon's Video harp Club. 

About 10 people have signed up so far.  

I'm hoping for about 25 campers.

Why don't you make your commitment now?

And we'll both feel a whole lot better!


Sign up soon! 

Pierpont website: 

Jam Camp Chronicles from an Intermediate Player  


 Great to hear from you, Jon.

Jam Camp was fantastic and I find myself thinking about it every day. Yep, every day. You absolutely helped my playing -- immediately in the area of confidence. And before I left camp, I took a few minutes to answer the question you asked all of us the last day: "What do you need to do to get to the next level?" In about two minutes, I came up with half a dozen things I now know I need to work on. I wrote them down right then and there, and I find myself spending a few minutes on those things just about every day. So I got instant improvement through the support of you and your coaches. And I've got a long term path forward to keep improving! What could be better? Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jon, the whole thing was magic -- from being in the Shack Up...the food...jamming into the wee hours...hitting the juke joints...the whole experience got right into my bones. And my band mates here at home tell me they could hear the improvement in my playing from the minute I got back. You and RJ and Ralph and TJ, especially, helped me feel like maybe I'm not too bad at this. I'll never forget you coming up to me after I played Lonely Avenue on stage with your terrific band the final day of camp. You gave me words of encouragement that meant the world to me. Now I find myself channeling your words any time I need a boost of confidence. Thank you, Jon!

I left the camp with a greater appreciation of music and of my playing. I feel so much more comfortable on stage now. I'm not worried and nervous. I'm just thinking about sending the music out to the people. And I know it comes through in my singing and my harp playing. And Jon, I especially must thank you for helping me realize how important the singing is. Before the camp I felt like singing was nothing special in general and that my singing in particular was so-so at best. Before Camp, I felt like I had to learn to be the baddest ass harp player in the world if I was ever going to carry my weight in our band. With Jam Camp, that's all changed. I see the harp playing adding to my singing and contributing to the song vs. trying to make it stick out and grab all the attention. I've calmed down...relaxed. I'm letting the music come out naturally. I can hear the whole song. Am I'm learning to produce notes deeply with my harp. It's sounds so much better! The "koo" is magic! 

My harp playing is better. My singing is better. I'm having more fun. And I have a bunch of treasured memories of really good people -- campers and coaches alike. I probably get or send 2-3 emails a week to and from my camp-mates. We are friends for life because of you and the Jam Camp. The music and the atmosphere and the people made all that happen!

I'll stop going on Jon. I just wanted to share with you some of my thoughts and feelings after returning home. Thank you for everything. You are a special guy and you have surrounded yourself with the most wonderful and supportive people in your staff of coaches. It's great to be in an atmosphere where it's all about the music.

Finally...I'm so glad you're enjoying Lonely Avenue -- what a song! I've loved that one for many, many years. We used to do that one in our band, but we've sort of forgotten it. I need to bring it back into our sets! 

Hope to see you again soon, Jon. Thank you again for such a special experience that you gave all of us.

All the best...
Chris Wirthwein

P.S. Feel free to use anything in this email any way you please. 



Above is the group photo our May Camp.  That's Chris in the neon green shirt second row from the top. Every camp feels like the best yet, and this was no exception. We had a fantastically international flair with campers from Switzerland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Quebec, BC and all parts USA. The accents were bustin' out all over.  About half our campers were repeat, and that's real rewarding, to see our friends again, and see how improved they are. We jammed at Ground Zero, Hambone, Bluesberry, Blues Chapel and everyone got so much better. We had a wonderful group of raw beginners, and after 5 days of instructed wailing, one could call them Slightly Cooked Beginners. I was surprised by how many people sang for the first time. Can't wait for September!


 Here's our March Jam Camp, a great group of people who made amazing progress.  At this camp we had two father and son combos, 2 best friends from Canada, (their fourth camp together) and players of all different levels having great time. Photo by Tom Status.  


The Yearly Plan


Jam Camp is a new, and better way to enjoy music, to enjoy listening, learning and making it-- in a community of friends. Many campers are returning once a year, others every two years. Sometimes campers come to several camps in a row. Lots of people put Jam Camp on their bucket list, but then come back year after year.


Setting yearly goals and returning to Jam Camp to show them off is a big motivator for practice.

 Please join us at Blues Harmonica Jam Camp as soon as you can. There is nothing else like it.


 The Best Place to Get New Harmonicas Online..


Be a happy customer...


 Harmonicas are better than ever. I still like the Hohner Special 20's, and others go for that Suzuki Mangi. Lee Oskar also makes wonderful instruments, and so does Seydel.  Other people, like our beloved Cheryl Arena won't budge off those Marine Bands. The  mail order company that has them all at the best price, and ships internationally, is also the company that does my mail order fulfillment.  Ron carries every make every model and his service speed is remarkable. Plus a great guy who it is easy to work with. 

When you get new harps, check out Ron first.


"It's not about the music. It's about the magic that the music creates."


 Speaking of Magic...

There's still room at all of our 2014 Camps

Mississippi Delta Blues Harmonica Jam Camp  at the Shack Up Inn

and the Pierpont Resort in Ventura, California.

Sign up ASAP.

310-457-8278 to speak with Jon and to sign up.



Is there a story behind this shot? You bet!




Videos of Jam Campers at Jam Camps!!!


The section below was copy and pasted DIRECTLY from the Jam Camp Facebook page.


Click the LINK, Not the video image.






  • Here's Aussie Adam Kereszetes at his second Jam Camp singing "Hey Now, Baby!" -- a song he took from band leader Hash Brown's cds. Adam is in his second year of harping and getting up on stage. A little more confidence and Adam is going to kicking ass.
  • Jon Gindick doing "Fly Me to the Moon" at the May 2013 Jam Camp

  • A great RJ, Hash and Ralph performance at our May Jam Camp.
  • Frank Woods came to Jam Camp, Mississippi all the way from Scotland. I have no idea what he says at the beginning but once this dude starts to play 
    there is no effing doubt. Frank rocks! Listen to him work out "Messin with Kid."
  • Now Pete Evans is a judge out of Florida who is really a bluesman in disguise. This is a GREAT vocal, with great timing. He has only ben playing harp for one year and he is coming along.
  • Here's raw beginner Joe Boyle who rode on from Calif on his motorcycle for his introduction to playing the blues. After 5 days of working out the 2 draw, the breathing, the embouchure, the articulation, Joe and I take the stage for a blues song he wrote. It turns out out really great!
  • Here's Georgian intermediate Phil Chan singing and playing Sweet Home Chicago. Phil has a strong voice that confidence will strongly improve
  • New musicians Simon and Bob doing "Careless Love" on stage with the Jam Camp Band. You've got to love that wonderful rhythm harp.
  • This is a a training session where the coaches try to lead our intermediate players into new and different sounds while they are on stage with the band.
  • Keith is an Australian who came to our Mississippi Jam Camp. He is still learning the basics of harping and singing, and we love him! Watch him work out Blues with a Feeling with our veteran blues band.

Thanks to Keith Messing for sending out the links of several Jam Camp videos to May jam campers and coaches. This one is on the Thursday Night jam at Ground Zero. Thanks, Keith!





There's nothing quite like The Shack Up Inn. It's just one more component in the experience that is Jam Camp.


Grip Me, Baby! 




Getting a good grip is essential for good blues harping. The idea is to create an airtight airchamber that pressurizes the sound going into the microphone. This overdrives the microphone capability, and creates a warm natural distortion. For many intermediates, getting an airtight grip is the NEXT STEP and is what is missing in their playing.

On stage, you need a fierce focus and this can start with your grip.


In the above grip, you bring the heels of your hand up to the sides of your face to make it airtight. Notice how the right thumb covers up the highest holes. This helps with the airtight grip, and you easily move your thumb out of the way when you go high. This is only one of many different ways of gripping the harp. Everyone's hands are different. In addition, you don't have to use a bullet mic as shown in the photo.





Here's the Skinny on  

Blues Harmonica Jam Camps,

Mississippi Delta


$995.00 for 5 Days of Instruction and Jamming in the Heart of the Blues Country

at the Shack Up Inn, Clarksale, Missisippi


Does Not include Shack or food.


With  every camp sign up: free membership in Jon's Video Harp Club and a free SKYPE lesson with Jon


Plus our Jam Camp Band which sets up daily and helps each camper get use to playing amplified blues with an ensemble. 


Plus a great group of fellow harp one of the world's coolest places, Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where campers stay in "bins" and "shacks" and we hold classes in the Shack Up Inn's world famous "Blues Chapel" and on front porches and shacks around the compound.  


On Thursday nights, we take the entire camp to Ground Zero, the juke joint co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman, and everyone in the camp jams, in one 30 minute non-stop boogie that your friends and family can watch at


On Friday mornings, interested campers visit Sonny Boy William's grave out in the countryside. 


On Saturday afternoons, the camp ends with a big show as campers get to use the jam camp tools to create a performance. These tools include our amazing band, with Hash, Ralph, Lee, Heather and Mark on the Blues Chapel stage -- plus fellow campers who sing backup vocals, dance, or help out in other memorable ways.


Now its time for you to take your stand, to make your commitment. The Mississippi Delta is waiting for you!  


Questions? Shoot me an e-mail at . That's the quickest to get a hold of me. 



Our September 2012 Camp.


 Notes from Campers... "You and your staff were all superb. It's not easy to address the needs of  people with so many different personalities, from so many walks of life. I got the feeling that some of the people there are really shy at home, but somehow you got them playing harmonica in front of a group of strangers. That's really an achievement."Your comments about my harp playing were spot on, and greatly appreciated. I learned to bend years ago, on my own, mainly by narrowing my draw and tightening up the mouth and tongue. It worked, but  my tone made me cringe when I heard it, and I didn't know what was wrong. You spotted it instantly. Also the fast sliding from one part of the harp to another. Not easy to enjoy somebody who seems in a panic all the time. I have much to work on. I picked "Easy" for the final jam, as I wanted to focus on tone and slowing down. It wasn't great, but it was the first thing I ever heard myself play that didn't make me cringe more than once or twice. That's a start. "The take home lesson of "do simple things really well", and the importance of the groove,  sums up blues playing really well. Great to see all the women there as campers, and to have a superb player/teacher like Cheryl there. Anyway, if the gods so will it and you'll have me, I'll be back. David Kissel


 The women of Jam Camp.



And here is my core team of coaches.


 Cheryl Arena                                        Hash Brown 

RJ MischoBrian PurdyTJ Klay working with Kate and Jerry
RJ Misho                                                   Brian Purdy and camper Eddie          Campers Jerry and Kate, and coach TJ Klay





 Below you see the Fab Five, a group of  five new friends from all over the globe who organized online before the camp to rent a car for the drive from Memphis down to Clarksdale.   Butts, Kate, Bob, Dale and Jim. Behind them the band is laying down some solid blues. . 



 Above is another ensemble of musician/campers: Scott Harris, Lynda Stirling, Kate Wakeling, and Jenkins.


 We organize into small groups based on level and topic. This is a class where we mixed harp playing with vocalization. Many jam campers sing in front of others for the first time in classes like this.  Over the course of 5 days, sings are written and before you know it, campers are organizing their favorite songs with the band and singing them in our Jam Camper Revue, the 3 hour show in the blues chapel's main stage on  Saturday's day 5.  Working with top flight musicians like Hash Brown, Cheryl Arena and Ralph Carter helps campers learn how to set things up with the band. Now don't get me wrong, not every body plays and sings their own song, and beginners often get up with coaches. It's a comfort level kind of thing. No pressure. Just encouragement.


Tone, bending, vibratto, articulation, gripping, improvising, getting used to jamming with the band, learning how to call a tune and perform it, singing, harmonica repair, songwriting...

with guitar  lessons on the side!


with an increased emphasis on singing!


Plus Jamming at Ground Zero, Red's, Bluesbarry Cafe, and The Blues Chapel!



A sense of community...lifetime friendships...a common purpose shared among freinds...


A GREAT WAY for total beginners to get started with the basics.

A wonderful way to up the ante on your playing, and on your commitment.

The way to learn anything--using the power of the group to accomplish individual goals.


Whatever your level is, that's where we meet you....

With only 30 campers, 6 coaches, a great band for daily improvement


In accomplishing our goals of making you more musical, we have created an experience some call life-changing. Sounds extreme, but if you aren't musical, and suddenly, as a result of Jam Camp the pursuit of musicianship has taken over your life,well, that is indeed life-changing.

Here are some of the ways Jam Camp itself keeps reaching a new level:

* Expansion from typical weekend seminar to five days camp. ( started two years ago)

*Moving the event to the Blues Chapel in the Shack Up Inn for increased community.

* Emphasis on singing results in campers breaking through and singing. 

* Classes on songwriting results in songs written and performed. 

* New emphasis on Saturday Jam Show in which each camper prepares a peformance has resulted in many campers singing their own songs and also incorporating other campers as back up singers or "guest soloists." (increasing over last year)

*People bringing ukleles to camp has in late night uke jamming, ( started with May Camp) and uke playing in final Saturday Jam Show.

*Inclusion of guest coaches along with a core coaching team. The guest coaches keep us fresh, the core coaches keep- getting more effective in mentoring our campers.

*Having the band come in four times over the five days for training sessions as opposed to free form jams has made a big difference. Now each electric band jam focuses on mic-grip, relaxing, listening, even scat singing with a coach standing besideyou "coaching" you.

*Having a strong program for beginners that IS separate but equal and includes EVERYBODY in all the electric jammingbut also gives an accoustic beginner oriented alternative. --(from the beginning.)

*People coming back time after time gives us a chance to guide their evolution.

Doing Jam Camps at the Shack Up Inn in the Mississippi Delta has allowed us become a part of the Clarksdale Music Scene, and also housed the campers one one of the best hotels in the world for this sort this sort of thing.

*Getting Jam Camp catered for lunches and dinners with greens salads and fruit salads as well as wonderful main courses.

*Using a well balanced team of great player/musician/teachers who have a strong combination of different musical skillsand personalities and yet share one common goal: to get you to your next level.

*Locking down a great rhythm section who knows what we need, with Jam Camp Great "Hash Brown" on guitar, Ralph Carter on bass, Lee Williams on drums.

*Getting to do our Thursday Night Jam at Ground Zero, one of Bluesdom's most hallowed stages, our performances streamed live from the Ground web site.



One of the great things about Jam Camp is its location, the Shack Up Inn. No stuffy hotels, unopenable windows, and daily maid service for us! This is rural Mississippi, baby, and the ghosts of the legends are smiling at us, and teaching us their tricks.


This picture shows the extremely talented John Grubbs singing and jamming with the band. Note how good Johnnies music is making everyone feel.  I can't guanatee it will work for everybody, all of the time, but as you can see, John is in a chair, leading the band, and it's working out just fine.  This is a realm where dreams can come true.




Have You Gotten These Second Position Riffs Into Your Muscle Memory Yet?

Here's a Cross Harp Riff that you should learn to play smoothly, 
over and over, with gaps, or hesitations. The exhale helps you keep your breathing solid.

Good Morning Circle Riff
1d 2d 1d 2b (x infinity)

And here's another easy one, and oh so funky! Slide the 2 draw into the 3, 
and, like through a ball back and forth, play catch with the 4 blow.
You can end the riff on the 2 draw, as shown, or on the 3d, or actually just abpout any old note.
Go gaps, no hestitations. Focus on these small subtle moves. Make them efficient.

Funky 3d to 4b
3d 4b 3d 4b 3d 4b 2d

Now let's head up to that funky non bending but big talking 5 draw, one of the most important reeds
in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd position. Right now, we're talkin' 2nd position. The 5 draw is the

Beatle's "Love Me Do"
5d 5b 4d 3b / 5d/ / 5b// 4d 3b / /

4b 3d 3b / 3b / / 4b 3d

3b / / / /

Now here's a lick that you can take all over the harmonica, and the 5 draw is a great place to start.

5 Draw Slider Down
5d 4d 5d 5b 4b 5b 4d 3d 4d 4b 3b 4b 3d 2d

As I said, you can take it all over the harmonica. let's work the same pattern out of 6 blow.


6 Blow Slider Down

6b 5b 6b 5d 4d 5d 5b 4b 5b 4d 3d 3d 4b 3b 4b 3b


Here's a really easy jamming lesson that shows you to use the riffs I teach.





                                 Why Do I Still Sound Bad????

Here's why:

How Can I Sound Better?

Here's How...

All the way back in open mouth , pushed up towards nose gives you great tone.

It's almost that simple.

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up.

.promotion ul li { display: block; } Liquid error: Could not find asset snippets/zopim.liquid