Main Stage
     FAQ


Welcome to Harmonica Boogie!
This is the Harmonica Boogie FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) whose purpose is to answer questions about our online jam. We have been running jams online for about nine years, since 2001.

The current Harmonica Boogie Jam 20 started on Feb 2011 and will run until the July 3, 2011.

Myself, Rick Beall, operates the jam. If you have any technical problems or need help, the best way to contact me is through the Harmonica Boogie Forum at
www.HarmonicaBoogie.com . You can leave comments privately or in the Administrative area. Many of the jam forums have moderators, feel free to ask them questions also.




What is the purpose of the jam?

To make harmonica practice fun!

We are a learning site. Great music is created here only accidentally! The goal is to make practice more fun, not create "perfect" songs. Whatever level you are at, and however you play today, that solo will be perfect for our site. Practice is more fun because you will know other people will be listening and commenting on your playing. It is amazing how motivating it is to know that your song will be heard, It is amazing how educational a few well thought out criticizms can be, and how motivating those comments can be.

With that said, some really great music is created here, and many folks go on to join bands or at the very least hold their own with pros in local jams.


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Just how does the Jam work?

Basically, the jam exists as a place which gives you backing tracks, you play to them, send'em them back, and you get feedback via comments and points from the other players.

Go to the backing track page. Download the MP3 backing track. Play the Backing Track and record your solo against it using recording software. Save your song as an MP3 or a WAV file. If your recording software outputs your song as a WAV file, use something like the Lame encoder to convert it to an MP3 file in an extra step. Send the MP3 to the ListeningPost page using the buttons on the form. People can then listen to your Song and vote and comment on it.

Other musicians have 7 to 14 days to comment on it (depending on whether it is on the Main Stage or Open Mic). They comment by writing comments and voting. At the end of that period if your song track gets enough points it moves to the "Gold Room". If it does not receive enough points, it falls into the "Back Catalog". If your track goes into the "Gold Room", it will remain in the Gold Room for all to meditate on your greatness for the duration of the jam.

When the Backing Track author uploads the Backing Track, he chooses the genre of the song. Currently we have Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock, Gospel, Solo and Misc.

"Solo" is for solo harmonica, but we have a broad interpretation of it, so that a "Solo" entry can also include voice, percussion, and bass. But it cannot contain any other instrument in the middle sonic register like guitar, piano, banjo, etc.

For many Songs, the fun needn't stop there. You you can burn them to CD to give to friends or upload to other web sites. But keep in mind that occasionally a Backing Track Author does not want a particular
Backing Track used off-site, so be sure to read about the exceptions, and pick your Backing Tracks accordingly.

One of the cool things about the site is that just by practicing, you will create enough material for your first CD almost automatically! Use some photo editing software to make a cover, and you have a great Christmas present. I gave away copies to my co-workers at work and they were ... impressed. I gave one to Sam the owner of our corner party store and he used to occasionally play it on the speakers in the store ... until he kicked me out for loitering. Who knows? Maybe he still plays it.


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What is the difference between the 'Main Stage' and the 'Open Mic'?
You put your best stuff in the 'Main Stage'. Songs retain their position at the top of the list longer there, because you are only allowed to upload one song every 5 days. In the "Open Mic" you can upload a new song once a day, just like a blues vitamin. In other words, songs scroll down from the top spot of the "Main Stage" in a more leisurly pace than they do in the "Open Mic", so they may get a little more exposure there. The "Open Mic" is a kind of overflow room for the "Main Stage".


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How does voting work?
Voting is pretty simple, you can give someone a A, B, C, or a comment. It is just like the grades you received in school except we don't have any grades below C. Low grades are not needed because if you practice, you are automatically a winner.

You are allowed to vote once for each STrack (Song Track).

Each Jam is weighted as a percentage, that is, to win you need a certain percentage of the total possible vote. If we were really tough, we would require all "A"'s from everyone who is currently voting. But some folks like to comment and not vote, so, for instance as I write this, in the Main Stage, to win you need to earn 40% of the votes possible. When you win, your song moves into the Gold Room.

Let's take a closer look at the Main Stage. An "A" is worth 5 points. A Peer Voter is anyone who has uploaded a Song Track onto the site during the current jam, and has logged in some time in the last 7 days. He is an active harmonica player. Therefore, "Votes Possible" is calculated as NbrOfPeerVoters X 5 points X .40 percent . If there were 35 Peer Voters the numbers would be 35 X 5 X .40 = 70 points . You need 70 points to move our song into the Gold Room! Your song would go gold and at the end of its 10 days would move into the Gold Room.

To see the actual numbers used within a jam, go to the jam's Song Charts Page, scroll down to the bottom, and read the explanation that contains that jam's actual numbers.

When someone uploads a STrack (a Song Track) everyone (except themselves) is given 1 vote (You can't vote for yourself.). If they then remove the STrack, the vote is subtracked from everyone's vote stash. If someone's Available Votes was already 0 when this happened, then their Available Votes would go into the negative numbers.

Votes are tallied by both Popular and Peer modes. That is, you can see graphs displaying how well everyone liked your STracks, and how well your Peers, other musicians who uploaded STracks, liked your STrack. Generally, these numbers are about the same, since mostly musicians hang out at the site. But we do get the occasionally groupie. But you don't want to hear about harmonica groupies do you?

You are not allowed to vote for your own STracks. Hey, as my wife likes to say, we all like the smell of our own shorts. The Jam software rejects those votes.

You are allowed to comment on your own STracks. We would love to hear any story or technical details you would like to share. The story can really help people enjoy your song, enter into your world for a minute and it may boost your vote rating. Or you could put the information in the forum. Listing lyrics there can help people enjoy your song on the first listen.

Each person is only allowed to vote for a particular STrack one time. If a STrack gets a lot of votes, this means that a variety of people voted for it, rather than one person liked it "a lot".

Everyone gets to vote. Votes are tabulated for the Peers (musicians), and for the Popular Category (everybody).
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How are the winners picked?
The three musicians who get the most songs into the Gold Room are the winners. Their names will be recorded in this FAQ for their eternal glory. You can see everyone's current stats in the Main Stage here:

Main Stage Charts Page.

But really, everyone who practices is a winner.

The BTracks, or Backing Tracks, don't have as elaborate a tracking system as the STracks, but they are rated too. In the Charts of each jam you can see which BTracks were used the most, and the ones used the most are the winners. You don't get any more objective than that.
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How much does the jam cost?

The jam is basically free.

The jam uses the "Contribution Model". People are asked to contribute what they can, based on the worth they personally get out of the jam and on what they can afford. People who donate more help subsidize the people who are unable to donate.

People who donate $5 or more, or who contribute 5 new backing tracks, or who generate a lot of sales in the Harmonica Boogie Store (which is not currently turned on) have access to extra features. The extra features are: (A) their Song Tracks will remain visible even after they fall into the Back Catalog. (B) They can see how they have scored everyone's songs (helps track what you have already listened to). (C) They can sort songs in the Listening Post by whether they have voted on them , and other ways. Jams run for 6 months, and when they end the Special Access List is reset.

We use PayPal to accept donations. You can donate in one lump sum, or subscribe to donate monthly. I encourage people to subscribe, since it helps me estimate cash flow into the future, helping me plan new features. Donations buy bandwidth, disk space, and help pay me back for the 100's of hours I have worked on the jam. Click on one of the donation buttons, to learn more.
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How do BTrack and STrack permissions work?
Each of the Backing Tracks (BTracks) is loaned to Harmonica Boogie by the Backing Track Author. Harmonica Boogie does not own any of the Backing Tracks. The Jam is more like the phone company connecting you guys. Each Backing Track has its own contract that the user of the backing track must abide by when he uses it. There are only three contract types: "BTrack Restricted/STrack Restricted", "BTrack Restricted/Song Unrestricted", or "BTrack Unrestricted/STrack Unrestricted".

BTrack Restricted, STrack Restricted.
BTrack use and any resulting STracks are restricted for use on the current jam only. Permission from the backing track author is required for any other use. Do not use it on other sites, CDs, or even copy it to another jam currently running without permission from the author.

BTrack Restricted, STrack UnRestricted
Although the BTrack can only be used in the current jam, the STracks derived from it can be used anywhere as long as you (a) you name the backing track author (b) you cite HamrmonicaBoogie.com, (c) if you make more than $500 off the resulting STrack you need to renegotiate money with the BTrack author.

BTrack Unrestricted, STrack Unrestricted
You can use the BTrack or STrack anywhere you want, as long as (a) you name the backing track author (b) you cite HamrmonicaBoogie.com, (c) if you make more than $500 using of the resulting STrack you need to renegotiate money with the BTrack author. The BTrack can be used as a Backing Track elsewhere.

We have three different Backing Track contracts because authors make backing tracks for different reasons. Some of them sell their backing tracks elsewhere and use Harmonica Boogie as a fun way to sharpen their skills, so they do not want their Backing Tracks or the Song Tracks derived from them used off site. These folks often only want their Backing Track to be visible on Harmonica Boogie within a certain time window.

Other Backing Track authors are sharpening their skills and use the resulting songs to build up a sort of musical resume. Others just love music and love sharing. So we have different contract types.

The contract or permissions statement for any Backing Track can be read from the page where you downloaded the Backing Track.

Often the Backing Track authors are flexible in how their backing tracks are used, you just have to ask them.
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When does someone have full rights to a Backing Track?
Musical copyright law says that an artist can copyright melody, lyrics, and a particular distinctive arrangement, but no one can copyright a sequence of chords. So, if there is a song you really love playing, you can record yourself playing the chords, make up a different melody, make up new words, and you will be "street legal".

You also want to be 100% sure you have full rights to share the "performance" on the backing track. You need to know who originally created the backing track and what musicians are playing on it. The only exception might be if you bought some royalty free loops and you yourself constructed the backing track from it. Also, if the track was originally a MIDI track, then I want to know who originally sequenced the MIDI.
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How can I make Song Tracks that do not violate copyright law?
United States musical copyright law says that an artist can copyright melody, lyrics, and a particular distinctive arrangement. So, even though you know you could play the melody or sing the words to a well known song to a backing track --Don't do it! On our site, you have to make up a new melody and new words.

Did you know that every time you sing "Got My Mojo Working" at an open mic, you are supposed to be paying BMI or ASCAP fees? When enforcement actually occurs, bars have been forced to close. You might think you are keeping the blues alive but you are breaking the law. ASCAP can fine you for singing "Happy Birthday". They have threatened legal action against the Girl Scouts for singing around the camp fire (the last one was a public relations nightmare for them). It may sound crazy, but that is the reality in which Harmonica Boogie has to live.

Even performing a public domain song is dangerous. This is because although the song itself is public domain, different arrangements of it may have been copyrighted by various artists, and you may be singing a copyrighted arrangement without knowing it. Also, sometimes artists copyright public domain songs and BMI and ASCAP pursue those fees just as diligently.

If you are interested in learning more, Harvey Reid writes about the
shadowy but all-powerful tendrils of ASCAP and BMI, and read about folksinger Richard Phillips who beat ASCAP and BMI by singing only his own songs.

Are the laws evil? Some of that cash goes to the bluesman or his surviving family. The laws are harsh, but can be kinda friendly if you are on the receiving end. On this learning site, we get around the harshness of the laws by writing our own words and melody. So guys, let's do ourselves a favor and not attempt to stretch the law. Stretch your imagination.
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What is the difference between Popular and Peer voting?
The Popular vote includes the votes of everyone who visits the site, registers and votes. The Peer votes only include the votes of other harp players who have uploaded STracks.

Both types of votes are important.

Winning the Popular vote can be meaningful because it means your music connected with the largest group of people. An interesting point of view that someone might use is that they won the Popular vote because their music connected with the most people, but they did not win the Peer vote because harmonica players naturally over-emphasize the technical aspects.

Arguing from the opposite direction, someone might say that the Popular vote is naturally skewed by the harp players with the most web surfing friends. Winning the "Peer" vote is more meaningful because it is like winning an Oscar or Grammy where only the "industry insiders" vote, that is, other harp players.

On our site, both votes tend to be about the same because we are all mostly harmonica players, so it is a moot point.
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How does unlimited commenting work?
After you cast your vote and comment, you can comment again by going throug the voting motions and choosing "Comment". You can post an unlimited number of comments this way.

Giving people feedback for their playing is a central goal of Harmonica Boogie, so we encourage you to leave lots of comments.
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How many times has the jam run before? Who were the previous winners?

In nine years we have run the jam 18 times. In the interest of Internet Immortality we have the following etched in deep Old English letters on the face of the internet, and the Google servers purring on into posterity.

Harmonica Jam 1 Winners Dec 2001
1st Place Mojo Red

Harmonica Jam 2 Winners June 2002
1st Place Wild Willy G
2nd Place Dennis"Harmaniac" Cooper
3rd Place Will Vogtman

Harmonica Jam 3 Winners Dec 2002
1st place Claudio Brutti from Italy,
2nd place Paul Lassey from France,
3rd place Tinus from the Netherlands,
4th place Martin from Bulgaria
VIP Winner Wild Willy G (Wild Willy Actually had the most votes of anyone again!)

Harmonica Jam 4 Winners Sept 2003
1st Place Tinus from the Netherlands
2nd Place Edi Baur from Switzerland
3rd Place Flash from Louisiana.


Harmonica Jam 5 Winners July 2004

Best Player as Judged by Peers
1st Place D
2nd Place SweetAndBlue
3rd Place Mueleski
4th Place Mark Wilson

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st place "Busking Blues" by SweetAndBlue
2nd Place "Chicago Blues by Blue in Green
3rd Place "Down on Stage by SweetAndBlue


Harmonica Jam 6 Winners February 2005

Best Player as Judged by Peers
1st Place HarpLips
2nd Place Davey G
3rd Place Frank

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "A Boogie" by Steph Wilson for a track by martin@bluesblast.com
2nd Place "Key to Harp" by SweetAndBlue
3rd Place "Blues Grooves" by Steph Wilson


Harmonica Jam 7 Winners October 2005

Best Player as Judged by Peers
1st Place Frank
2nd Place Bro Bob
3rd Place azzazzello

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Nothing Cures the Blues" by Blues Tom
2nd Place "Blues No More" by Blues Tom
3rd Place "Black Magic Boogie" by Kiwiblues


Harmonica Jam 8 Winners February 2006

Best Player as Judged by Peers
1st Place Bro.Bob
2nd Place HarpLips
3rd Place Peter Holliman

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Baby Blues" by SmoothBluesr
2nd Place "Blue Balls Blues" by SmoothBluesr
3rd Place "Puddy Tat" by SmoothBluesr

Honorable mention goes to Blues Tom for the many great backing tracks he provided, including "I'm the Man" which would have come in 4th, if we had a 4th position.


Harmonica Jam 9 Winners February 2006

Best Player as Judged by Peers
1st Place Bro.Bob
2nd Place HarpLips
3rd Place Steph Wilson

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "TKOBLUES" by to-tired
2nd Place "LGBoogie" by to-tired
3rd Place "Da Raggae Bluz " by Rev. JT


Harmonica Jam 10 Winners September 2006

Best Player as Judged by Peers
1st Place Bro. Bob
2nd Place Peter Holliman
3rd Place Little Kenny

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Slow Gin" by Martin Jones
2nd Place "Red Moments" by Kjell Karlsson
3rd Place "Big Bad Blues" by by Mr. America


Harmonica Jam 11 Winners February 2007

Most Songs that Went Gold
KiwiBlues 9
HarpLips 8
Steph Wilson 6
Davey G 6

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "Acoustic Swing" by Martin Jones
2nd Place "Southsite Boogie" by Roj
3rd Place "Down At The No Name Bar'n Grill" by dblues

Most Prolific Backing Track Authors
dblues 19
Peter Holliman 18
Wyred 8
BamBamBustaWyte 7
Martin Jones (Steph Wilson) 7


Harmonica Jam 12 Winners July 2007

Most Songs that Went Gold
KiwiBlues 11
Lips Angelo 10
Blues in Green 7
TonyH 6

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "My Three Day Creep", by afrosippi, used 34 times
2nd Place "What You Gonna Do?" by afrosippi, 26
3rd Place "If The Blues Got U Baby" by afrosipp, 25


Harmonica Jam 13 Winners December 2007

Most Songs that Went Gold
BlueInGreen 14
Peter Holliman 14
Sebastian 13
Tonyh 13

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "Breakn My Back" by Mark Wilson, used 22 times
2nd Place "DeltaShuffle n Slide" by StratSlinger, used 19 times
3rd Place "Misty Monday" by Frosty
4th Place "Wailin at the Wall" by Blues hamster, used 13 times


Harmonica Jam 14 Winners July 2008

Most Songs that Went Gold
HarpLips 15
BlueInGreen 9
Tonyh 9


Best Song as Judged by Peers
Blues Been Bad by Ed

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "Granite Bay" by Matt Gunn, used 30 times
2nd Place "Cat Blues" by Steph Wilson, used 29 times
3rd Place "Blue Angel" by Peter Holliman, used 26 times


Harmonica Jam 15 Winners December 2008

Most Songs that Went Gold
Lips Angelo 22
Blueshiner 14
Chrisbrasil 14
htrain 14

Best Song as Judged by Peers
Solo 1 by BlueInGreen

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "Baby Blues" by Stephs Friends, used 37 times
2nd Place "Cold as Ice" by Stephs Friend, used 32 times
3rd Place "Swinging Steve" by Ben Bouman, used 31 times


Harmonica Jam 16 Winners July 2009

Most Songs that Went Gold
Lips Angelo 16
Magic Martian 8
Brett 7
Blueshiner 7
Just Joe 7
Floppy Lips 7

Best Song as Judged by Peers
Gotta Spend my Money by Eric Stah

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "East Chicago Blues in D" by IowaBluesTracks, used 29 times
2nd Place "East Pasco Blues" by IowaBluesTracks, used 18 times
2nd Place "Baby Blues" by IowaBluesTracks, used 18 times
3rd Place "Cheerleader Blues" by IowaBluesTracks, used 17 times


Harmonica Jam 17 Winners Feb 2010

Most Songs that Went Gold
Floppy Lips 30
Just Joe 29
Lips Angelo 23
Brett 18
Frosty 15
Eric Stahl 14
HTrain 14

Best Song as Judged by Peers
Take It Down A Little by BlueInGreen

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "Take It Down A Little" by IowaBluesTracks, used 36 times
2nd Place "Expired Tags Blues" by IowaBluesTracks, used 22 times
2nd Place "waitingroom" by Floppy Lips, used 12 times
3rd Place "Mr. Goecke Blues in D" by IowaBluesTracks, used 12 times


Harmonica Jam 18 Winners May 2010

Most Songs that Went Gold
Lips Angelo 10
Frosty 7
Lindy Harper 5
P-J 4

Best Song as Judged by Peers
Solo 1 by JustJoe

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "I Live Near Boston" by Brett, used 30 times
2nd Place "Ba Ba Blues" by P-J, used 23 times
2nd Place "Hi Jump in D" by Bluesinbflat, used 16 times
3rd Place "Junior's Funky Blues" by Brett, used 13 times
3rd Place "Oh Suzanna" by DJazznbluz, used 13 times
3rd Place "Slow Walking Man" by P-J, used 13 times


Harmonica Jam 19 Winners February 2011

Most Songs that Went Gold
djznblz 14
Lips Angelo 12
Frosty 12
Eric Stahl 11
Bro Bob 10
Brett 10

Best Song as Judged by Peers
Royale by BlueInGreen

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "Blues For My Friends" by djznblz, used 19 times
2nd Place "Solo 1" , was used 17 times
3rd Place "Blues Jammin' in D" by Mark Wilson, used 11 times
4th Place "Comes the Rain, Comes the Sun" by djznblz, used 10 times


Harmonica Jam 20 Winners July 2011

Most Songs that Went Gold
FloppyLips 19
Frosty 15
Steam Rollin' Stan 13
Bro Bob 12
Brett 12
BlueInGreen 12
dmb 12

Best Song as Judged by Peers
Shuffle in E by justjoe

Most PopularBacking Tracks
1st Place "Lick a Riff " by NotSureYet, used 12 times
2nd Place "Bluesgasm" , by NotSureYet was used 11 times
2nd Place "Jump Dem Bones" by BeelzeBob, used 11 times
2nd Place "Blues in E" by Harp Bone, used 11 times
3rd Place "Eight Bars, Eight Rounds" by Frosty
4th Place "Shuffle in E" by Harp Bone


Harmonica Jam 21 Winners February 2012

Most Songs that Went Gold
FloppyLips 27
Frosty 22
7LimitJI 19
Eric Stahl 18
BlueInGreen 15
Steamrollin Stan 15

Best Song as Judged by Peers
Solo_1 by BlueInGreen

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Solo 1 " by -, was used 33 times
2nd Place "Real Easy Groove in E" , by BeelzeBob, was used 19 times
2nd Place "Help Me to Help You to Help Me" by BeelzeBob, used 16 times
3rd Place "Icebreaker" by BeelzeBob, used 15 times
4th Place "Slue Foot Shuffle" by BeelzeBob was used 13 times
5th Place "Play Party Pickin" by BeelzeBob was used 12 times
5th Place "Spanning the Blues" by BeelzeBob was used 12 times


Harmonica Jam 22 Winners July 2012

Most Songs that Went Gold
WindSaver 17
FloppyLips 16
Frosty 13

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"That Funny Ga O Mine" by Windsaver 182
"End of the World Blues" by Brett 110
"End of the World Blues" by 7Limit 105

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "End of the World Blues " by BeelzeBob, was used 12 times
2nd Place "Bellyacher Boogie" , by BeelzeBob, was used 11 times
3nd Place "At Behest of the Blues" by BeelzeBob, used 10 times
3rd Place "Jimi Lee Swing Shuffle" by BeelzeBob, used 10 times


Harmonica Jam 23 Winners February 2013

Most Songs that Went Gold
Floppy Lips 29
Frosty 19
Windsaver 15

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Kingston Mines Shuffl" by Steamrollin Stan 118
"Gotta Bossa" by Windsaver 104
"A Minor Blues" by Windsaver 93

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "A Minor blues " by BeelzeBob, was used 13 times
2nd Place "Aint No Use" , by BeelzeBob, was used 11 times
3nd Place "Any Little Thing You Do" by BeelzeBob, used 10 times
3rd Place "Organized Blues" by BeelzeBob, used 10 times


Harmonica Jam 24 Winners July 2013

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Chesters Jam" by floppy lips
"Black Magic Bossa" by Windsaver
"Time" by Rick

Backing Tracks
The last jam was bouyed once again by the fine backing tracks by BeelzeBob. He put up 34 of them. Wow! Thanks a lot for that great effort Beelzebob! Frosty, Gorf, and Floppy Lips also contributed backing tracks.

Harmonica Jam 25 Winners February 2014

Most Songs that Went Gold
Floppy Lips 18
Frosty 17
Ringer 12

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Acoustic blues E" by Ed 64
"Mean Again" by Lips Angelo 55
"Soul Surfing" by Lips Angelo 55
"Soul Surfing" by Beelzebob 55

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Tolex and Tweed " by BeelzeBob, was used 10 times
1st Place "Yelp me" , by Steamrollin Stan, was used 10 times
2nd Place "Just Enough Gas" by BeelzeBob, used 8 times
3rd Place "Deuce and a Quarter" by BeelzeBob, used 7 times
3rd Place "Soul Surfing" by KR-Harpe, used 7 times


Harmonica Jam 26 Winners July 2014

Most Songs that Went Gold
Frosty 14
Floppy Lips 13
Ringer 13
Windsave 10

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Mairead in the Spring" by Windsaver 67
"Gospel Piano" by floppy lips 65
"Stormy Reso" by floppy lips 64

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "128 Shuffle Street" by BeelzeBob, was used 10 times
2nd Place "Gumbo Grease Guitar" by BeelzeBob, was used 8 times
2nd Place "Big D Boogie" by BeelzeBob, used 8 times
3rd Place "Strumming My Blues Away" by BeelzeBob, used 7 times
3rd Place "Soul Surfing" by KR-Harpe, used 7 times


Harmonica Jam 27 Winners February 2015

Most Songs that Went Gold
Floppy Lips 20
Frosty 16
Lips Angelo 15
Blue boy 15

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"The Good Old Blues" by BeelzeBob 55
"Ikes Boogie" by Boue boy 45
"Bonnies Blues" by Ringer 44

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Ikes Boogie" by BeelzeBob, was used 7 times
1st Place "Aspirations in A" by Blue boy, was used 7 times
2nd Place "Walk with Me Talk with Me" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
2nd Place "Thunderbird Alley" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
2nd Place "Last Joint Open" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
2nd Place "Gotten Too Friendly with the Blue" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
2nd Place "Bonnies Blue" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
2nd Place "Jazzy Fusion Minor Blues in " by Blues boy, used 5 times
3rd Place "Gumbo Grease reGroove" by BeelzeBob, used 4 times
3rd Place "Gershwins Guitar" by BeelzeBob, used 4 times
3rd Place "Swinging From Barren Branches" by BeelzeBob, used 4 times
3rd Place "Hard To Lose Blues" by Blue boy, used 4 times
3rd Place "Alte Zeiten" by Blue boy, used 4 times
3rd Place "Blues in C" by Naptown Blue, used 4 times
3rd Place "Cut The Cane" by Harp Dog, used 4 times


Harmonica Jam 28 Winners July 2015

Most Songs that Went Gold
Floppy Lips 6
Lips Angelo 6

Blue boy 5

Frosty 4
Pluffmud 4

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Mississippi Trance Music" by Lips Angelo 45
"Grit in the Git Shuffle" by camiloHarper 45

"Barrelhouse" by camiloHarper 43

"Mississippi Trance Music" by floppy lips 40
"Nasty As" by floppy lips 40
"Grit in the Git Shuffle" by Brett 40
"Into the Water" by Blue boy 40
"Shuffle Out of Sight" by Frosty 40

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Grab Bag of Groove" by BeelzeBob, was used 7 times

2nd Place "Knee Deep in the Blue" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times

3rd Place "Barrelhouse" by BeelzeBob, used 4 times
3rd Place "Thunderbird AlleyLees Bossa" by BeelzeBob, used 4 times
3rd Place "Scattin Cat" by BeelzeBob, used 4 times
3rd Place "Love You Blues" by Blues boy, used 4 times
3rd Place "Droppin Down D" by Blues boy, used 4 times
3rd Place "Funky Reggae" by Blues boy, used 4 times


Harmonica Jam 29 Winners February 2016

Most Songs that Went Gold
htrain 15

bill gardiner 13
Lips Angelo 13

Frosty 12

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Midnight City Highway" by Tumble Weed 65

"Tallys Corner" by panamaharp 50

"Three Minutes of Mellowness" by Frosty 49

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Midnight City Highway" by Blue boy, was used 8 times

2nd Place "That Hollow Log" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times
2nd Place "So Ugly and Alone" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times
2nd Place "Three Minutes of Mellowness" by Blue boy, was used 6 times
2nd Place "Dime That Bass" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times
2nd Place "Blues for Gary" by Blue boy, was used 6 times

3rd Place "Trial by the Blues" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
3rd Place "Bell Tone Blues" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
3rd Place "Slow Organ Blues" by Blues boy, used 5 times
3rd Place "Rocking the White Stuff" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times
3rd Place "Jamming with Fats" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times


Harmonica Jam 30 Winners July 2016

Most Songs that Went Gold
Frosty 8

Lips Angelo 7

Floppy Lips 5
htrain 5

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Bro Bob Tribute" by RonDutch 50

"Barely on my Feet" by htrain 47

"Interstate of Mind" by Frosty 44
"Pocket Full of Piano" by Frosty 44 (Dude tied hisself)

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "A Bluesier Blues" by BeelzeBob, was used 7 times

2nd Place "Barely on my Feet" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times
2nd Place "Katy Go Home" by Harp Dog, was used 6 times
2nd Place "Bro Bob Tribute" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times
2nd Place "Dime That Bass" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times

3rd Place "Bathtub Boogie" by BeelzeBob, used 5 times


Harmonica Jam 31 Winners February 2017

Most Songs that Went Gold
Floppy Lips 8

Frosty 8

Ringer 6

Lips Angelo 3
Rontana 3
BeeleBob 3

Best Song as Judged by Peers
"Train into Tonopah" by floppy lips 35

"Strangers When We Part" by BeelzeBob 33

"Baby Talk Blues" by floppy lips 30
"Aspirin Bottle Blues" by Rontana 30
"Jump Sister Blues" by htrain 30
"Cafeteria Blues" by floppy lips 30

Most Popular Backing Tracks
1st Place "Backdoor Buzzer Blues" by BeelzeBob, was used 5 times

2nd Place "Babytalk Blues" by BeelzeBob, was used 4 times
2nd Place "Aspirin Bottle Blue" by Harp Dog, was used 6 times
2nd Place "Mojo Workin Blues" by BeelzeBob, was used 6 times

3rd Place "Jump Sister Jump" by Frosty, used 3 times
3rd Place "12 Minutes to 8 " by BeelzeBob, used 3 times
3rd Place "Divided Country Blues" by BeelzeBob, used 3 times



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How do I upload songs?
A song track must be uploaded against a particular backing track. You can choose one of the existing backing tracks, or you can upload a song track played against your own backing track if you upload your backing track first. You must have full rights to anything you upload.

If your song is just solo harp with no accompanment, we have "dummy" backing tracks labeled "Solo 1", "Solo 2" etc. against which you can upload.

Songs must be in MP3 format.
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Am I limited to playing to the backing tracks?
Yes and no. You must play to a backing track on the site, but you can upload your own backing tracks also. This allows other people to use them.

Before uploading a Backing Track to Harmonica Boogie, you must have and grant
permission to use the Backing Track, and you must follow the United States music copyright laws. Be sure to read the cited links in this FAQ.
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Once I make a song track can I burn CDs and give it to my friends?
For most of the song tracks you create, you will be able to burn them to CDs, or upload them to other online music services as long as you mention the backing track author as the author, and cite Harmonica Boogie. Also, if you happen to make over $500 from a song using the btrack, you need to renegotiate the money with the backing track author. Also, you can not distribute them for use as backing tracks. We call this the "Restriced BTrack/Unrestricted STrack" license. So you can do what you want with the music you create from the backing tracks. But there are some exceptions which are
described in this FAQ and which are listed on the download page of the Backing Track itself.
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I thought musical copyright did not apply in a teaching environment?
Fair use in a teaching environment is a lot more restrictive than you might think. Since we are not affiliated with an accredited university, and are a fledgling commercial organisation where some money changes hands, we cannot hide behind educational fair use. Therefore, we only use songs for which we have full permission. Blues was born of restriction, and this is just another one. Negative, positive? I actually believe this restriction is the water necessary to nurture the plant of creativty that grows within all of us. (How is that for a little burst of poetry?)
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Can I sample or include other artists' work in my STracks?
United States copyright law does not allow you to sample artists outside of Harmonica Boogie without paying. For BTracks and STracks on HamrmonicaBoogie.com, by default, if a BTrack or STrack has the Restricted permission, then you cannot sample it without asking first. Remember, that some of our artists sell their work elsewhere, so they do not want it generally available. But with that said, many of our artists will grant you permission if you ask.
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What does the color coding of the song and backing track titles mean?
If a Song Track has a green color then it has no votes and is a brand new Song Track. A blue Song Track has received some votes, and gold Song Track has met its voting goals. It has gone gold! A red Song Track is about to disappear from the jam due to not meeting its voting goals.

So, songs age in the jam, depending on how many votes they get, and the color coding indicates where they are in this process.

If a Song Track meets its voting goals, after the run in the current jam is over it is moved into the Gold Room where it can be listened to until the end of the jam. It will also be visible in the person's Online Album.

Not only the Song Tracks undergo a process though. If a Backing Track is used enough times, it remains in the jam until the jam closes. Backing Tracks disappear if they are not used enough. The color coding of the BTracks is similiar to that of the STracks.
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Does the jam need more backing tracks?
You betcha! We always need more backing tracks! You can record a single guitar or an entire band, or create MIDI files, or ACID files or whatever works. Compose, convert to MP3, and then upload. I'm learning how to play a little shuffle on a guitar myself so I can toss some up.

The rule is that you have to have full rights to that backing track. Music publishers can copyright lyrics, melodies and particular arrangements, but they cannot copyright a sequence of chords. So all you have to do is create your own arrangement of any song you like without the melody.

You also must own the particular performance which is on the backing track. I wouldn't want to use backing tracks by Doug Puls, or Jon Gindick, or anyone else unless I had explicit permission from them. There may be no copyrightable melodies or arrangements on the backing track, but these guys performed or are responsible for the performance on the backing track, and if you think about it, they need to feed their families too.

If you're wishing we did some song that you're really digging, create a backing track similiar to it for us! Or make a request in our Backing Track Author forum and you might get lucky.
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Can I upload the same STrack again?
You can, but it is bad etiquette unless you changed something, or the jam ended early and you don't think people had time to listen to it.
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Can I upload a solo without the Backing Track?
Solo harp has no backing instruments, so you are cool there, but other than that, any Song Track you upload has to be played against a backing track currently in the jam.
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Can other instruments appear in a solo track?
We do allow a few other instruments to be in a solo track. You can have bass, percussion, vocals, multiple harmonicas, and maybe something simple like a jews harp. But you can't have guitar or piano or any other instruments that use the middle register.
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Why do Song Tracks disappear after awhile?
Each jam has its own rules concerning Song Tracks "timing out". The goal of the site is to encourage you to continuously practice and upload new material, rather than to aggregate material already created.
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Why do Backing Ttracks disappear after awhile?
If a backing track is not used enough, it too falls off the bottom of the jam. For instance, as I write this, in the Main Jam a backing track has to be used 5 times in 60 days or else it disapears.
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Why does the jam use MP3 files?
MP3 files are more generic and common than Microsoft's wma files, and Real Audio's ra files. You can find more free software and utilities for them. This will give us all more options and save us money. But MP3 is not open source. Maybe someday we will start using a truely open source audio compression like Ogg Vorbis.
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Is there any free software I can use to listen to the Jam?
In order to listen to the music in the jam you can use anything that plays MP3s, that includes WinAmp, Microsoft Media Player, the Real Audio Player, and others. I use
WinAmp because there are no enforced ads like Real Audio, and it does not try to take over my PC like Media Player.
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Is there any free software I can use to record my Song Tracks?
A lot of people are using the open source
Audacity.

In order to upload Song Tracks to Harmonica Boogie you need an MP3 encoder. Audacity has an MP3 encoder built in. Some software does not. If you software does not, then a well known MP3 encoder is the the Lame encoder.

When you upload, you can upload two versions fo your solo, a low bitrate and a high bitrate version. We consider 24kbps - 64kbps low bitrate, and 65kbps - 128kbps as high bitrate. In order to help us keep the bandwidth usage down, please don't upload anything higher than 128 kbps.
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Why do we have to log in?
In order to upload songs you need to login with a name and password. You can also create a stage name by which you can be known. Anyone can create a login for themselves. In order to leave comments you need to login first. In order to upload backing tracks you need to login first. But without logging in, you can still listen to music.

Right now, logging in is a little confusing because the site is made up of a bulletin board and a "jam queue" back end, and each have separate logins. Both bits of software have the same color scheme, so it can be a little hard to tell which you are in. It's best to use the same name and login for both.
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What sort of picture should I upload?

Send us your head!

We like people to send close up pictures of their faces. Your picture will appear next to the songs you upload, and will also appear on the main page of Harmonica Boogie along with pictures other jammers. The pictures help us get to know each other in this sometimes impersonal internet. If we ran into each other at a Harmonica Jam Camp or SPAH event we would be able to recognize each other. The pictures you upload can be gifs or jpgs and should be 50 x 50 pixels in size, and no larger than 20K.
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I'm lost. How do I navigate this site?
If you get confused, you might try starting out from
www.HarmonicaBoogie.com. From there the perspective might seem more logical.
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Why do I have to log into the forum and jam queue separately?
The site is made up of two different software applications that use the same color scheme. They will be integrated some day, but I have other features to add before I create the integration. To avoid confusion, it is best to create the same name and password for both the forum and "jam queue".
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Everyone has an Online Album? What is that?

You can Hang your Name on our server!

You can set up an "Online Album" which displays just your music and all the comments made about your music. You can customize it with text, html and links. Your Online Album will be your stage name hung off our server. You can get to your Online Album by clicking on your picture wherever it is displayed.

Your Online Album will display all the songs you have currently running in any jam, and all your songs which made the Gold Room. If you donated, then your Online Album will also display any songs of yours in the Back Catalog.

To set up your Online Album, go to or click the following:

ListeningPost
Click on your name or log into the jam
Update Information
Click the check box under your stage name
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Update your Information".

Now, if you click on your picture anywhere it appears, you will be taken to your Online Album. The "Update your Information"area also has various fields you can fill in to customize your Online Album. In particular, if you have another website somewhere, you can add it to "Home Page Optional Link 1" and it will be dislayed on your on your Online Album and by any backing tracks you upload.
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What sort of criticism and comments are you looking for in the jam?

Hey, I'm really glad you asked!

For great criticism, you need to answer 3 questions about the player:

  1. Where are they coming from? (How were they playing 3 months ago.)
  2. How do they sound now?
  3. Where are they going?


At Harmonica Boogie, we often have to infer (A) and (C) from (B), the only thing present. But, without (A) your criticism may be too harsh, and without (C) your criticism may be just plain irrelevant. What's a poor critic to do? I don't know --that's why constructive criticism is a bit of an art form.

If the criticism is too withering, then the act of practicing and uploading to the jam may cross the line from fun to stressful, discouraging people from participating.

On the other hand, if criticism is too light, it makes people feel no one is really listening so why bother. If there's no content then you don't learn anything, and we are all here to become rock and blues stars as fast as possible, so, we need that honest feedback.

To give good criticism it is best to know the answers to (A), (B), and (C), but I do have a shortcut. After years of reading and writing research papers in an academic environment for years on this subject (grin), I decided that Mom was just about right: Never say anything "bad" without saying something "good" to balance it. I call this Yin/Yang criticism.

Yin/Yang criticism has a way of generating answers to questions (A), (B), and (C). Suppose we have the worse case scenario where you listen to a solo you really don't like. Most likely, there is something good about the person's playing, and by forcing yourself to listen more closely to uncover it, the critic may learn something himself. Looking for the good in something you don't like is a way of forcing yourself out of your own pre-conceived notions. I also found it is a way of remembering stuff I forgot a long time ago. This learning/remembering process usually mysteriously provides clues for questions (A) and (C).

But, closer to Mom, you could justifiy Yin/Yang criticism from a psychological stand point also. Whether people admit it or not, they have egos, and if you sting them, you should always give them something good to hold on to because this will help them absorb the medicine. You could also call this the Mary Poppins principle.
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I'm having a problem, who should I contact?
If you have questions or are experiencing difficulties, you can leave me, Rick Beall, a message at the
HamrmonicaBoogie.com in the Administrative area. I don't put my email address online because of the automated email harvestors which run through the site and then turn around and sell your butt for a quarter of a penny. But I do want to hear your concerns. You will have to create an account with a valid email address but I promise to protect your email address like I would protect my own.