This is a very old thread, but I haven't been here for a while, so I hadn't seen it before.
I've recently started to think of learning to play the harmonica, although I know almost nothing about it... And although it's not the first time I think of learning.
To begin with, I don't know how many types of harmonica there are. Two or three? I've got a 10-hole blues harmonica, a 16-hole diatonic harmonica and a 12-hole chromatic harmonica (all in the key of C), and while at first I thought that the first one was a smaller version of the second one, the distribution of holes and notes is not the same. So I'm going to use my own terminology -harp-diatonic-chromatic- in the following, even if I don't know whether it's right or not.
Focusing on the Beatles, in 'Love These Goon Shows!' (BBC volume 1), John says that he plays a harmonica in 'Love Me Do' and a harp on 'I've Got to Find My Baby'. While I had always thought that by 'harp' he meant the blues harmonica, and that by 'harmonica' he meant the diatonic harmonica (of unknown number of holes), this article
explains that for him 'harp' was a diatonic harmonica and 'harmonica' a chromatic one. I haven't read the whole article yet, but it may be of interest to you. The guy who's written it seems to be quite knowledgeable about harmonicas.
Now, apart from the Beatles but related to harmonicas: would anyone explain to me the difference between my first and my second harmonicas? Are they the same instrument in different sizes, or different instruments? The notes in each are (first blown, then drawn):
1) Blues harmonica:
1C/D 2E/G 3G/B 4C/D 5E/F 6G/A 7C/B 8E/D 9G/F 10C/A
2) Diatonic harmonica:
1C/D 2E/F 3G/A 4C/B 5C/D 6E/F 7C/A 8C/B 9C/D 10E/F 11G/A 12C/B 13C/D 14E/F 15G/A 16C/B
3) Chromatic harmonica (without using the button):
1C/D 2E/F 3G/A 4C/B 5C/D 6E/F 7C/A 8C/B 9C/D 10E/F 11G/A 12C/B
To me, the harmonica number 2 is closer to number 3 than to number 1, since -as you can see- the notes are the same in both. It's just lacking the button that allows to play the accidentals (and, well, it's got one more octave, but that doesn't worry me). But the guy who wrote the article on John's harmonicas talks about diatonic vs. chromatic. This would lump numbers 1 and 2 together, and leave 3 alone.
Now that I'm learning from scratch, which one should I use? I don't count number 2, because I think that once you can play number 3 you can play number 2 (and, besides, because it's so wrecked that it's almost useless). So should I learn to play number 3 first, and then switch to number 1, or the other way round? I suppose that different kinds of music should be played with different harmonicas, so my idea is to learn to play them both, but I don't know whether the change is smoother in one direction than in the other. What is a pity is that the distribution of holes is not the same in all cases.
Also, do you know of any good web site or YouTube tutorials where I can learn about cross-harping, bending and so? I've tried a couple of them, but they haven't been of much use so far. I'm starting to be able to bend some drawn notes, but at the expense of hyperventilating and of playing several notes when wanting to play only one!