Posted by Dr Harmonica on October 28, 2000 at 09:29:19:
Some of you may have noticed I started posting to this board about a week ago. Stupid enough I am so used to being a living legend that I didn't think to introduce myself properly. After posting several replies today - to some very old messages, so look back well - I suddenly realized that a lot of you don't know who I am. This post is intended to make up for that.
My name is Paul van der Sijde. I am almost 40 years old. I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands together with my lovely better half Olga. On the message boards I go by the nick of Dr Harmonica and as far as being a living legend it's not that I consider myself such an exceptional player, but because I have the ability to voice my thoughts in a way that can be understood by beginners and pros alike. And I do that a lot, so people are kind of used to me as a regular on no less than six newsgroups, discussion forums and message boards.
During daytime I make a living as a management consultant in IT. I mainly advise in organization improvement and don't care about all the iron that litters desktops. That is tech stuff and techies are much better in that than I am.
Harmonica playing is my passion. I started playing about two years ago when I was down with a fractured hip after some nasty fall. With loads of time on my hands and no posiibilities to walk more than just a few steps Iwas so bored that I jumped (metaphorically) when my better half brought me a Lee Oskar diatonic. After a couple of days of "Oh Suzanna" and "When The Saints..." I started roaming the net, suspecting there should be more to life than those two and "Jingle Bells". As it turned out there was.
Soon I was immersed in practicing blues scales, bends, licks and the likes of it, and lacking anything else to do (or the physical ability to do it) I practiced a wee 12 hours each day for months on end. I didn't really make new friends and I saw several neighbours move; some even a few weeks after moving in... :-)) Needless to say that with that amount of practice time my abilities on the harmonica skyrocketed. In the meantime I also found several discussion groups, some of the ones I mentioned in my long post a couple of days ago. There I met new people, made friends, learned stuff, told others how to do stuff after finding out myself and all that jazz.
Quite soon after that I was a respected member of the community, seen as some sort of guru by some. Believe me: I am not. I just know how to write it down and that looks good, but doesn't mean a thing. I can play some, I hold my ground in a band among musicians with more experience than I have and some even say I play quite well. I don't judge myself.
About a year ago I seriously started out on the chromatic harmonica, playing jazz. I don't perform with the chromatic, at least not yet. I play along with jazz records by Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane and Zoot Sims, to name a few. I try to go along with the sax and/or trumpet solos and of course I am unable to copy the genius of either one of these giants, but I tag along nicely and wouldn't make an utter fool of myself in a band performing the tunes by these greats. That is good enough for me.
Nowadays I play, mainly for fun. I participate in a rock/blues band, have my "own" guitar player to do Delta stuff with and occasionally I set up a workshop for beginning and intermediate players in the environs of Amsterdam.
I am a huge fan of Lee Oskar harmonicas, but I also play Hering diatonics and the occasional Hohner. For chromatics I have both Hohner Toots models, a CX-12, a Hohner 280 (16 holer) and five different models of Hering chromatics with the sixth underway; a Charlie Musselwhite signature chromatic in C-tenor tuning.
For amplification I use a Shure Green Bullet, a Shure SM-58 both through an ancient 60 Watt Peavy solid state amp. I am an official endorser of Microvox Harmonica microphones, in the US sold by David 'Silk' Stegner. These are very clean electret microphones, so small they fit between two fingers in your hand, leaving all the room for cupping and other hand effects. I use that microphone when playing Delta style. In that case we only use amplification to reach the other end of the room and balance the volume between the guitar and harmonica.
I hope to be able to contribute a lot to this group, this board and this site. Of course the magic word is 'time'. But I promise I will try. I don't have my own website yet (again: time) but I am working on it and as soon as it is up and running I will of course announce the fact here. One more thing: Thirsty, my groggy froggy is a little plush frog riding in the breast pocket of my jeans jacket. He is my mascotte. I didn't have a name for him so I wrote out a contest on another group for naming him. The winner got a lifetime supply of air for blowing and drawing through his harmonica. The runner-up, who introduced the 'groggy froggy' part, got a box full of bent notes, so that he didn't have to bend them himself anymore.
Well, this pretty much sums it up. You'll be seeing more from me in the coming time.
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