A blog about the Jaw harp.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Tis the season to be Jolly Boingin'!

Ho Ho Ho! Or should I say Boing Boing Boing!? It's that time of year when we're celebrating Christmas, winter solstice, friendship, love, long nights by the fireplace all huddled together, having feasts with friends and family and then some. Some of us will spend more money than we should just to buy that something special that will bring a twinkle in the recipient's eye... But then again, some will consider that these are not the best of economic times and think about buying a gift that is meaningful, fun, personal, unique, economical and won't end up in the trash. The obvious choice is of course... a Jaw Harp! They come in all shapes and prices, from the ridiculously inexpensive to the -hum- a bit more. You can spend from under $10 and go all the way up to... $100! The question is: where to buy and who from? Following are my recommendations.

First, I buy a lot of my own from Mouth Music. Their selection is limited but Mark picks really good j-harps. On the low price end, they sell a Cambodian Bamboo Jew's Harp for $8. I have one, it sounds great and is fun to play. I love playing along Iggy Pop with it. Another favorite of mine that they've started selling recently is the Nepalese Murchunga. It's a fun brass j-harp for only $16. Higher up the price range, is the Altai Khomus by Vladimir Potkin. That is one terrific little j-harp that packs a super punch and many harmonics. It's priced at $39 but could easily sell for twice the price. Plus, the case is hand-carved and very pretty. Another great buy is their Brass Hmong Harps by Chong Moua Lee. This is a hand-crafted gem through and through that can be yours or a loved one for a mere $69. Look around on their website and you'll see many more like Yakutic j-harps that are sure to fit your budget and make someone happy.

Nepalese Murchunga from Mouth Music

Next, you can visit Wang Li. His selection is also limited but well chosen. Most of his j-harps come from China, his native country. I recommend his Hohos. They sound amazing with their multi-tone range and folks won't think of it as your usual boinging j-harp. As a matter of fact, you can read some of the past posts here and listen to Ma Guo Guo play the Hoho (or Kou xiang). Wang Li also sells pull-string bamboo harps that are a bit challenging but very fun. He does not list his prices online but you can email him and he will respond promptly. His prices are like Mouth Music's, i.e. affordable. Wang li now lives in France but his shipping is expedient and reasonably priced.

In the UK Sound for Health sells j-harps but also didgeridoos, flutes, Tibetan singing bowls, crystal bowls, shruti boxes, monochord, udu, tingsha, damru, gongs, ritual bells, books, CDs, DVDs and then some. All of his items for sale are well chosen and if you're not sure about what to get, check out Jonny's videos here.

Finally, you will find the largest selection of j-harps at Dan Moi, out of Germany. Name the continent, the country or the type of harp you want and you're sure to find it there. They have a page of Christmas specials and I recommend their Dan Moi Christmas Set which includes one Mini Dan Moi, one Standard Dan Moi, and One Bass Dan Moi. It comes with playing instructions and a beautiful fabric bag. You can't beat the price at 18 EUR.

I'm probably missing some very cool independent makers so if you know anybody I should mention, do let me know.

I leave you with a fun piece using a J-harp, a mike, a Boss RC, a synth and a guitar. Happy holidays everybody! Health, peace and love.


Аксентий said...

Hello! (-:

May be, our album of jews harp music (Kaan Kaerede - Jaw Harp Speech - 2008) will be interesting to you.
Free and legal on jamendo.com -

Best regards,

Delta_slider said...

Hey! Just found your blog. I've always enjoyed the Jews Harp, and been meaning to buy one for a long time and see how I might fit it into my music.
I'll be checking back.