I'd rather model harmonica holders

Bob Dylan
and the harp


There are those - especially among "professional" harpers - who don't like the way Dylan plays the harp. A common line of argument is something like "I respect him as a songwriter and a performer, but my 4-year old son plays better harp than him." (this is a genuine quote. If you search this page thoroughly, you'll find a link to some more similar quotes. Read on your own risk!)

Then there are those who go mad about almost anything he plays - be it good or outright bad.

And then there are us middle men, archive crawlers, dust researchers, who admit that Little Walter has a slightly better technique on some minor points, but who still go out and buy a Marine Band and feel satisfied when able to produce some of Dylan's clumsy, unstable, unsofisticated fills, instead of the great, virtuosic work of Sonny Boy Williamson or Charlie McCoy (I always thought it's a pity he ended up playing bass, of all things,on those country records - like Blonde on Blonde - way back when).

Here's a little miscellany of Dylan harp trivia from various sources, concerning Dylan's harp. They are taken from r.m.d. and from the Harp-L archive. If you know of something that definitely belongs here, let me know, and I'll add it.

You should also look into Christer Svensson's comprehensive list of the harp keys of just about every song Bob's released where there is a harmonica. Very impressive work! I haven't double-checked it, but it seems right. It is at the same time a great exercise in Dylan acronyms...

Last but not least I've made an annotated list of links to general harp sites. It is sadly un-updated by now...