IMPORTANT NOTICE: Unfortunately, many people who could be helped by this plan - mainly the homeless - are not making use of the information because they're misunderstanding the goal here. "Why in the hell do I want to play with some stupid harmonica, or worse, a damn toy kazoo? I'm worried about existing here, man!" I get that, believe me, but . . .

Whether or not you like simple instruments like the harmonica or the kazoo, isn't what's important here. If you need an honest, quick way to start making money (tips, not handouts) NOW, this is it. You don't need to have ever played either instrument. Actually, it's preferable that you haven't: you'll be more open to the speed-learning concept. As you'll read again a little further down the first page or so, "If you stop reading now, the joke's on you."

So, for the bizillionth time: this isn't about being on America's Got Talent or having a residency in one of the showrooms on the Las Vegas Strip, or even winning some local talent contest; it's about not sleeping on the street and dumpster diving - any more, ever - a no-jive way of making a pretty decent living. But you're going to have to turn off the "rejection gene" and turn down your ego for it to work. Fair enough?

(New entry 8-16-2022: you'll see a relatively new section on kazoos here further on down the page, including an interview with the couple that turned me on to the whole concept. The more I've experimented with them in the last year or so, the more convinced I am that it may be the best instrument for totally untrained people who need to make money now.

Another point in its favor is the the cost of harmonicas that have doubled in price since Covid and related issues. The lowest priced true performance harp, the Suzuki Bluesmaster, has gone from to about $35 to $75 (although, if you'll just keep reading, I tell you how to get instruments free). Bummer, especially for panhandlers and "campers" trying [hopefully] to get a foothold.

And here's a news flash that I found out by accident: the thing works even better - in this context - without the membrane [the little piece of wax-ish paper that vibrates to augment the sound]. It just becomes a simple echo tube [with a very clever venturi/stereo design] and without the buzz. You can play loudly enough for others to hear, or softly enough to only be heard in your own little space while you're getting the hang of it and don't yet have a lot of self-confidence in your playing. Loud or soft, good or bad, just play ... and make sure there's a cup or whatever marked with "$" and "Thank you!" in plain view. Skill and confidence [and tips] will increase naturally.

You can play any melody you can hum scat, add interest with a lot of "shoo-be-doo-opps" [jazzy embellishments and endless variations] to any one of them. Read the course, man! It's not "hum, hum"; it's "rrraaapa-di-di-di-da." [That's a lot easier to do than it is to explain and write about.] You can be a smokin' street musician in five friggin' minutes - with an instrument that fits in your pocket ... and costs a dollar! Don't think of it as a birthday party joke; think of as a jazz clarinet or saxophone. Project that feeling and illustion. What better, faster opportunity can you possibly be waiting for? Even if you're dead set on the idea that you "Can't make no money playin' a damn kazoo on the street," just get one and embrace it as a hobby to start with. You don't have to change a thing about your pandhandling routine ... just start "passin' the time with the kazoo."

As you'll read later on, street performing at this level is as much about networking for the long term as it is making tips for food and laundry money in the present moment. No, you're almost certainly not going to make enough busking with a kazoo or a harmonica [or even a guitar or a horn, etc.] to feed a family and gain any real stability, but it could very probably be a means to help you meet someone who likes your style and initiative and has a job that you might never have heard about or had offered to you had it not been for meeting them through your street performance, however basic it may be.)

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for
 a lifetime.”

MISSION STATEMENT: This short-but-focused music course is for anyone, young or old, male or female, who wants to earn part- or even full-time income as a "grass-roots street musician" playing the harmonica. The course was first designed to help substance abusers get clean and do something more productive than panhandling and shoplifting, so expect some "tough-love" shots along the way, but anybody (and I mean "anybody" ... even if you've never even touched  a harmonica) with an interest in the "harp" and the concept of street performing can have some fun with the course ... and make money, too.

This course is unique and complete in its purpose, even to the extent of including short segments on instrument funding for the financially challenged and entertainment psychology for the timid. Suggestions about brands, types, models and keys of harps (from someone who isn't trying to sell you anything, so you'll have a truly objective viewpoint) and some helpful music terms and principles are also covered, along with interesting tune selections to get you started - right now - harp maintenance, etc.

If you've ever wished there were a "speed course" for performing, this is it, Babalu. But let's keep this in perspective. Remember, though, this isn't about making you into some kind of musical star; it's about making subsistence money as a street musician. Will it get you on America's Got Talent? Of course not. But who would disgree that it's a thousand times better than "GOT-ANY-SPARE-CHANGE?" Lee Oskar, arguably one of the best and most successful harp players in the world had this to say: "Don't try to play it; just enjoy it. . . ."

Take a look on under "street musicians" or "busking"; It sure beats a cardboard sign, an eventual criminal record for shoplifting and a life that never gets any better. 

Relax. There is absolutely nothing for sale on this website; no offers for additional lessons, memberships, etc. Just COMPLETELY FREE, PROFITABLE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE INSTRUCTION - Publisher's promise!

FUNDRAISERS, GET HAPPY!: This is a free-use document. A smart organization (churches in particular, that are always in need of fundraising ideas) can have the course printed as a small booklet. The printer or some other local concern runs an ad for his business on the back cover to cover his costs. Such co-op printing arrangements are nothing new. Sell the copies as 100% profit fundraisers!

(Don't try to print the pages on a photocopier or computer printer; the cost would be prohibitive. A commercial offset printer will know how to load the digital information onto, most likely, a 16-page "signature" - a large sheet of paper printed on both sides - that is then machine-folded and trimmed to form a small, attractive booklet, similar to a religious tract, costing - in a run of several thousand - pennies a copy that would sell for 50 cents or $1. Free fundraising materials with a real societal purpose [help for substance abuse and homeless issues]. Win-win!)

Mickey Parker  cool  Las Vegas


(Getting your act together ... in more ways than one.)
There's no gimmick, no trick, no joke, and no charge. I can teach you how to earn tips - good ones - playing the harmonica as a street musician. With some honest effort you should be in "earn-as-you-learn mode" in about an hour. If you're panhandling - whatever the reasons or circumstances - you can make fifty times as much busking (street performing), and you can be doing so by this time tomorrow. Most important point: you're not going to be looking at sheet music and trying to fight this stuff into your brain (I hate that); it's all done by ear. The details are covered a little later farther down the page; if you stop reading now, the joke's on you.

If you do keep on reading, with an open mind, you'll see there's no spam, no scam ... just a lifestyle that will have you smilin'. Unfortunately, we're programmed (generally with some very necessary defensive reasoning nowadays - I get that, believe me) to view everything through that type of critical lens. But save it for something else; this concept is hot, honest, and totally free.

If the harmonica seems too difficult or intimidating, try a kazoo, and I'm not joking, in fact, as I've written and entered this update during the past week or so, I've actually begun to believe the kazoo might be a better choice for non-musicians, just beginning to busk. Plastic kazoos are only a buck apiece (nostalgic metal kazoos are still available, but they're inferior in every way and can cost 10 times as much), and you can play any tune you can hum ... immediately. Point in fact, if I started this project right now, I would concentrate on the kazoo - man, that thing is fun! And to be able to play any song, just one after another, that you're listening to on your headphones (as opposed to practicing a tune until you're sick of it, don't have the right key, need half steps that aren't there on a diatonic harp, etc.), is just a total riot, Alice! 

Familiar Big Band dance tunes from the 40's, 50's and 60's are fun and easy to play and embellish, sound great on the kazoo, and can be real crowd pleasers. Many of the Beatles' tunes work well, too: simple compositions, lots of lyrics to keep them familiar. In fact, there have been some notable early recordings of trumpet and saxaphone parts done on kazoo that wouldn't have been recognized as such were it not for the credits on the album cover. Look it up on Wikipedia for some inspiring research (or just some interesting trivia).

Not that a kazoo could compare, but I remember a live piano street act (it was mounted on a flat-bed truck) in which the artist played bits of theme songs from popular television shows, short samples with some embellishments, just smiling and jumping from one to another. Music usually makes us react and remember a time when we heard a familiar tune. Make listeners feel, however briefly, emotions they felt during a pleasant time of their life (and who isn't going to smile at least a little when they hear the themes from "Leave It To Beaver," "Beverly Hillbillies," "Flintstones," etc.?) and you're on your way to tip time. Remember, as a street performer, you're only playing a few bars of simple, familiar tunes and making a tip container convenient to a moving conveyor belt of people.

A great song - easy to play, happy, familiar - I've been working with on the kazoo with the busking application in mind is "American Patrol": old-time cartoon music, the Dudley Dooright character comes to mind. If you've access to one of the inexpensive electronic keyboards with sample songs to listen to and practice, that'll probably be one of them. Another song that flows really well on the kazoo with lots of easy doodle-ee-op embellishments is "Don't Sit Under The Appletree With Anyone Else But Me" and other similar love classics; sure they're corny by today's standards, but teenagers aren't your target market. If you play these forties-style tunes for senior couples who remember them from when they were young, they're gonna love ya. Might even offer you some work! Turn down your ego, augment your cash flow.

Prior to Covid-19, we had a lot of street performers downtown here on Fremont Street. Some are downright stoopid: a fat guy wearing a huge diaper, people in cartoon character costumes that haven't been washed in months and stink to high heaven, but many that are pleasant and entertaining: namely magicians and musicians. One night I saw a couple playing kazoos, and doing it well. I showed him my harp, and asked them, "What got you started performing with kazoos?"

"We were broke, just out of school, crashing with friends or sleeping outside ('happy hippies,' you might say: no real complaints, but we had our thinking caps on), and we read a little pamphlet we found at a yard sale about playing the kazoo for tips. It looked like something printed in the 30s, you could tell from the typefaces and the simple line art. We kind of laughed about it, but the idea was planted and it piqued our curiosity more and more ... so the next toy department we were in we bought a couple of kazoos for a buck apiece. We didn't make any real money at first and, to be honest, we felt a little silly, but it was fun, so we kept on fooling around with them.

"Neither of us had ever played any instruments, but we had listened to a lot of jazz music, so we understood 'call-and-response,' so that's what we got going. I'd play a phrase, my wife would play a response - mostly goofy little riffs and melodies we were making up. After a few minutes of that, we began to get a little more confident, a little more creative ... and a lot louder!

"We were soon taking turns (we had to learn to not play on top of each other; that's just a noisy mess, but if you give each other subtle signals that say 'I'm through, it's your turn,' it comes out great. That's as easy as lowering your instrument, lifting your head and making a face as if to say 'So what you gonna do? Go on wit' yo' bad self' ... that sort of thing) screaming this music (if you could even call it that) at each other, and when we looked up a crowd of smiling people had formed around us - including a policeman who seemed to be enjoying the 'show' as much as everyone else!

"A girl about eight or so started walking around with an ice bucket from one of the casinos, collecting tips ... and business cards: mostly small store owners who wanted us to do our little 'act' to attract foot traffic to their businesses! After about 20 minutes, when we counted the money, we had $112 and a dozen job offers." That's what I'm talkin' about, folks! An open mind, initiative and creativity are an unstoppable combination!

I talk a lot about types and brands and keys of harmonicas later on; to my mind harps are true instruments. In the interest of equal time in that regard, I'm happy to report that there are few variations on the kazoo theme, and, to my knowledge, only one that has any merit. A company making the "Kazoobie," described as "a loud kazoo," will sell you a standard looking plastic kazoo with an extra horn-type opening attached to the membrane opening on top. It's still small enough to fit in a pocket or purse and, contrary to any other kazoo "gimmicks" I've tried (which are mostly for looks) really does increase the volume and quality of the sound. Man, does it ever!

The Kazoobie is a little more expensive than a regular kazoo, but with a little work you can get an excellent sound that closely approximates horns in jazzy arrangements. Funny, right? Well, if you can stop laughing long enough to get to the part where I talk about articulations that can have you playing just "smokin' harp" in just a few minutes, you'll be happy to know that many of the same principles can be applied to the kazoo. Take it seriously, but keep a sense of humor about it, not taking yourself too seriously. If you mess up (you will) and hit a sour note ... make a face, shrug your shoulders, laugh it off, keep a playin'.

If you're doing Harry James and Benny Goodman hot music imitations (and you're only a few pages and a few minutes away from learning how in the
articulations section), with the right attitude and presentation in a good location, you will make money. And folding money is our goal, not spare change.

Polished acts like the piano I spoke of, as well as saxaphone and many others that do extremely well, often use an assistant to encourage, collect and protect tips; that's why a couple working together can be such a great dynamic for any busking performance. Talk to a partner about these concepts, covered in more depth farther into the course.

All things being equal, the team principle is probably the most important part of busking success. Sure, many solo acts are successful, but two (or more?) people can work together, encourage one another and combat the boredom and lonliness that make many people give up before they can get into a comfortable routine (which won't take long). I can't think of anything (legal and ethical, that is) with a shorter learning curve and more immediate income potential than busking.

Take simple requests or just play whatever you can think of. Maybe some improvisational stuff in between. Keep some momentum going. If you don't know a tune, have them hum a few bars, and off you go. In and out. Tip. Next.

Being personable and interacting with people is certainly at the heart of this, and you've got to have your radar up for productive networking opportunities, but don't get hung up in a lot of time-wasting small-talk; one tip-off is the statement, "I always wanted to learn to play one of those...."

If someone seems like they might truly have a constructive opportunity for you, ask - enthusiastically - that they leave their phone number in your tip jar (anyone sincere and able to help you should have a business card on hand), then just start playing again, smoothly and quickly. You're not being rude; you're workin' here! If you get a tip and contact information from someone, make a mental note of it - could be a real game-changer for you.

Never, never let anyone "try" your harp or kazoo; that was a no-no long before COVID; now it's suicide. Nevertheless, used instruments needn't be thrown away: submerge them in a glass of hydrogen peroxide for about 30 seconds, rinse them in cool water for another 30 seconds, let them air dry for an hour. Good to go! Another plus for the kazoo: you could drop one in the mud and rinse it out anywhere ... not so easy for a harmonica with tiny delicate reeds.

Practice the timing and duration between playing and tipping. Innovate and improve, as most anyone in any vocation or profession does. If you're stressed-out on it, just put it back in your pocket and pick it up again later. Don't sell your instrument for the price of a beer, as many do.
If you're happy in your work and don't think you'll ever want to be a street musician, I hope you'll read the course anyway; consider it a "survival kit" or just an interesting hobby or an opportunity you might want to share with someone. I'm certainly not suggesting people give up their careers to play the harmonica as a street musician; that would, except for some special circumstances, be absurd. But equally absurd is the notion that the homeless can quickly become compliant, productive workers, with no room for any intermediary steps. This street performing course and concept are meant as a creative middle-ground stepping stone.

My wife and I are retired and comfortable, and gratefully so, but people with fortunes that make our savings look like "lunch money" have been wiped out by I.R.S. liens, medical bills, lawsuits, identity theft, business fraud, etc., virtually overnight. I just can't be so arrogant as to believe that "that can't happen to me" ... or anyone. If it does, you will not  see me begging for spare change with a little cardboard sign; you'll see me smokin' it on the harp (or a kazoo?) somewhere and trying  to "get it together again." And let's be clear about it: I don't claim to be any good at it; I had decades of music lessons, starting when I was six years old; they just never took.

This isn't about skill; it's about using a simple instrument and some basic concepts to get you out there networking for the future and making at least subsistence money ... right now! I just don't know how better to state it. For someone leading a life on the street, this is a proverbial goldmine - just "reach down and scoop it up"!
Anybody can be destitute and desperate in the short term, I've acknowledged that, but when I see people embrace panhandling as a career and lifestyle, it sickens me. Articles and interviews on homelessness always seem to focus on somebody who has been homeless for "years," the guy who brags about "making $80 in a couple of hours and going home for the day," and those who say they're happy to not have any responsibilities: "Just strap on my backpack and go, man." Hogwash.

Serious mental health and addiction issues aside, open-ended, long-term homelessness comes from a lack of motivation, recalcitrance (stubborness, pushing back against any and every possible solution - long- or short-term), and what Napoleon Hill  (well-known author of Think and Grow Rich, Grow Rich with Peace of Mind, etc.) referred to as "living out of a public trough." Tough love, indeed. Napoleon Hill's famous mantra, "If you can believe it, you can achieve it," has been cited as the chief inspiration for some of the world's happiest and most successful people, in myriad occupations, for more than 100 years. You can be a successful, happy street performer.

I don't think the point can be over-stated: This type of "grass-roots" busking - absolute beginners, most of them non-musicians, playing the most basic of instruments - is as much about networking, meeting people and providing some entertainment (whatever the quality may be, it shows you're trying) and opening up new possibilities.

This little "entertainer gig" - and you have every right to motivate yourself by calling it that - might provide you with some surprising, positive outcomes that you'll be talking about years from now. Panhandling, regardless of what clever psychological tricks you're using to get the sympathy vote: ("I just need four cents to catch the bus, get my check on Monday, etc.,"), will net you absoutely nothing beyond that next six pack or pack of smokes. Zero multiplied. 

The objections we hear most often are, "I ain't gonna do it [anything productive] and you can't make me!" and "I ain't gonna make no fool of myself playin' a damn harmonica!" Well, excuuuse me, panhandling and "grazing," another word for "stealing" food in the supermarket, are so much more dignified; I'm betting nobody ever told Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, John Popper, Lee Oskar, Charlie McCoy, and countless others, "Stop that; you're making a fool of yourself!"

For what it's worth, I make a clear distinction between panhanders and street performers. Hey, if you're good at it, enjoy it, and want to travel the world  playing a harp or whatever ... go for it ... with my blessing. You are not a bum; you are not a panhandler. You are an entertainer, a "gig worker."
You don't need talent to play chords, articulate, and improvise on a diatonic harp to make nice tips and possibly fall into some other opportunities along the way. And, believe me, your skill on this instrument will take off like a rocket, if you'll just give it a chance and your best effort. But you do need the motivation to get cleaned up, sobered up, plan for weekends and holidays, learn where the best crowds are, etc.

Remember, you're not only the star of this show; you're the manager, the musical arranger, the choreographer and the accountant, too! Run things the way you  want to ... all of it, and give those "other guys" - including yourself - a swift kick in the butt when they need it. As the song The Sign, by Ace of Base, says: "No one's gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong." No one's going to put a gun to your head and make you play the harp or another instrument as a street performer.

Regardless of the massive problems caused by COVID, the possibilities for busking as a productive stepping stone are probably greater than ever. If you're on layoff, why not look at busking as an opportunity to meet new people and network? If you can get someone to ask, "Have you been doing this very long?" you've got the perfect opening: "No, just since the pandemic layoffs. I'm a [pastry chef, cabinet maker, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, whatever] and a darned good one. Just weathering the recession like everybody else." "I hear ya'. You know, I run a small shop and could use somebody who wouldn't mind the limited hours ..." Bam! Opportunity knocking!

Or a shop owner limited to takeout/curbside service anyway may well invite you to play in front of her store ... or hand out coupons to passersby as you play. What can they lose? You're working for tips, and the visible endorsement by that business owner gives you a strong air of legitimacy as well. This is as much about imagination, networking and life progress as it is earning some lunch and laundry money. Check your appearance if you want that type of work. Invest the first few bucks you make on some thrift-shop duds ... not more booze. Think, man.

Whether it's seemingly silly, simple instruments like the harmonica or the kazoo, or more traditional ones (that you might even have played as a youngster and just haven't thought about in years), the concept and benefits are much the same. I've believed all along - and still do - that some very serious crimes by some very desperate people could be prevented by a few quick bucks earned by busking and subsequent networking. There's nothing silly or trivial about that.

Municipalities and social service agencies dealing with homelessness and substance abuse need to look at this from that perspective as well. The fear that this program will create throngs of "bums playing harmonicas" ("NOT IN MY BACKYARD!") is completely unfounded; there just won't be that many willing to put forth even that much effort. But if this makes sense to even one person needing help and guidance who is so desperate as to be one step away from committing burglary, armed robbery, assault or worse, wouldn't it have been worthwhile to least have read it through and "kept it in your toolbox" for later?

Pastors, social workers, educators, television hosts, please read the course in its entirety and then decide if it has merit, possibilities on a one-by-one, case-by-case basis. The next time you're on Amazon, maybe order a couple of cheap harmonicas or a bag of kazoos?

The most important point is, DON'T START OUT TRYING TO PLAY SINGLE-NOTE MELODIES! No, no, no! Anything approaching tipping-quality attention, interest and entertainment is extremely difficult to play that way on the harp, even for advanced beginners, and you'll only succeed in boring everybody, making a fool of yourself, and wanting to give up and never even hear the word harmonica again!

But it doesn't have to be that way if you'll just listen to what I'm saying here: I can teach you the basics of filling your harmonica playing with Benny Goodman-style riffs and embellishments (rapid-fire deedily-opp-a-du-opp's, etc., all over the place) in less than an hour ... and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, will earn you folding money, not just "spare change." And it's so damn easy, you'll say, "Harp, baby! Where ya' been all my life?"

Just relax and play the tunes as you remember them in your head as chordal melodies, two - usually three - or even four holes at a time. 
True mastery of the harmonica, like any instrument, can take years, but you can learn enough to get into your own little "paid apprenticeship program" in just a few minutes. Really.

Playing chords on diatonic harmonica is not a new or unusual concept, as any text about harmonica history will clearly confirm. The novelty here is chordal harmonica play using up-tempo, jazzy embellishments applied to familiar tunes, stuff you make up yourself (improvisation) or, ideally, a combination of the two. Think of Benny Goodman smokin' it on his clarinet, playing any silly, souped-up little tune - even Three Blind Mice. That's the effect you're looking for. In other words: be a pro, get paid like one. To be clear, this method goes far beyond what is briefly mentioned - and rather condecendingly so - as "cowboy style" or "close-enough style" in some basic lesson plans. There's nothing "cowboy" about classical tunes like Hungarian Dance #5 (I started playing that after seeing Stymie play it on one of the old Little Rascals episodes [I'm pretty sure that was George Fields actually playing, with Stymie faking it] ... blew my mind, and you can have the same effect on a street audience; easy, impressive tune, but you'll need a harmonic minor key harp, covered later on in this course) and Funeral March For a Marionette, William Tell Overture, etc.

Remember, all you need is a few measures of a tune, an A, maybe a B part for variation and interest, and a couple of repeats with slight changes. You're playing, generally and ideally, to a moving conveyor belt of passersby who will hopefully leave a tip and keep on moving. Make it convenient for yourself and your audience; the best method I've seen is to play one-handed and just hold out your hat. It doesn't happen all the time, but if you're personable and can get two or more friends - especially other musicians, amateur or professional - to start ribbing each other about how cheap the other one is and competing against each other you could  end up with enough for a nice lunch in less than a minute. Don't forget to pay your taxes at the end of the year!

Most courses, on many subjects, get to a certain point and tell readers to "get a good book on the subject," or "get yourself a good teacher ..." total cop-outs and nothing more than a path of least resistance for the author. I've made it a point to not make any of those kinds of silly recomendations; it's all right here. I'm happy to answer specific, relevent questions, but please spare me the favorite of the Craigslist crowd, "Duh, where is this place?" followed by a multi-page e-resume and a phone number where I can reach them. Yeah, you be sure and wait for my call, Jethro.

The 10-hole diatonic harmonica, designed to easily play beautiful chords as well as single notes, went into mass production in 1829. Variations for special purposes notwithstanding, the basic note layout - a complete diatonic scale in the middle range with gaps in the low and high ends - hasn't changed in all that time ... it's that good.

For the technical-minded with a musical background who might not be familiar with this particular instrument, a diatonic harmonica produces a major tonic chord on the blow and a dominant seventh on the draw, which compliment one another in a virtually mistake-proof manner. Forgive the techno-speak detour; I've tried to stay away from it - most of it is over my head, too. The point? Sheer genius that has endured almost 200 years and shows no signs of waning. Why not capitalize on it?

Lee Oskar, in an interview for Ben Marks' article in the July 2015 issue of
  Craftsmanship Quarterly titled "The Return of the Harmonica," had this to say in that regard: "The harmonica was originally designed for the musically hopeless. It's one of the few instruments you can just breathe in and out of and sound like you're making music. I failed music in school, in Denmark, as a kid. But when I was six years old and put a harmonica in my mouth, it sounded like a symphony."



Don't forget to breathe both in and out.
Yeah, there will be people who bark back, saying, "Anybody knows that." Well, smarty-pants, Rod Stewart, by his own admission in his autobiography, played harp for a year before he got that (he described the sound as that of a chicken being strangled repeatedly). So, if you're more musically inclined than Rod Stewart, bark away; otherwise just accept the fact that we're all starting from a different knowledge base and lighten up.

Jonathon E. Brickman, writing on harmonica instruction, suggests students just pick up the harmonica and start experiencing the location of the notes by ear, as opposed to trying to learn from charts and written material. Excellent advice. That approach will not only help you learn faster, it will help keep it interesting and fun, a huge consideration.

Whether you're playing single notes or chords, don't "jump and peck";  keep your lips moist and glide very lightly from one note or chord to the next and, basically, move the harp  back and forth while keeping your head still, as opposed to constantly moving your head  back and forth, which can give you a sore neck. Buddy Greene, a well-known harp player, demonstrates a technique moving neither the harp nor his head ... just sliding his lower jaw from side to side. Meh. Cute gimmick, I guess, but hardly worth the potential for painful, debilitating TMD issues.

Mr. Greene, who opens his act by belittling those who play "grampa harmonica," when asked for a motivational quote or tip for my readers, declined by informing me that my course has "NO INSTRUCTIVE CONTENT and wasn't something he could endorse." That assessment probably has more to do with the audience I'm trying to reach than the course itself. Fair enough, sir. My free course - dealing with human issues and economic survival, not just never-good-enough artistic nuance, and certainly a work-in-progress - will continue to improve, but I suspect you'll always be the same short-sighted hypocrite.

Many songs won't work at all in chordal style; a few that work well are listed below; I'm sure there are many more. Some are cool, some are corny, but starting with familiar tunes helps learn your way around the instrument by ear and helps you build improvisational skills without having to concentrate so heavily on the basic melody and rhythm.

Remember, many very lively and familiar jazz tunes - When the Saints Go Marchin' In  is a fine example - were once very somber spiritual songs. Louis Armstrong made that his trademark song and musicians have been "tearing it up" ever since! Pete Seeger totally changed the character of Down By The Riverside, another fairly mundane spiritual song, when he began playing it as a Vietnam protest song in the 60s.

When you play a tune, it can be anything you want it to be - with all the ghost notes, grace notes, run-ups and turnarounds your music teacher or your parents wouldn't let you use ... just as fast and creatively as you feel like playing them! The harmonica is the perfect instrument to do just that, even if you have no musical training ... or some you'd rather forget.

For me it was strict, "oom-pah-pah," polka accordion (with metronome accompaniment, of course) that I absolutely hated. Parents, don't  force your children into a "trained monkey" role. Let them  pick the instrument (or none at all) and have some fun  with it. If my parents hadn't indoctrinated me with the belief that the accordion was the "real instrument" and the harmonica was "a toy," I'd have been totally into the harp decades ago.

Red River Valley (up-tempo, jazzy, choppy: "dit-dit-dit-dit" not "daaaaah daaaaah" droning; it's more fun for you, more entertaining for your listeners, and imperfections and adjustments are a lot easier to just gloss over and keep going)

When The Saints Go Marchin' In (same as above - tear it up - use it for experiments with embellishments you can use on other tunes)

He's Got The Whole World in His Hands

You Are My Sunshine

Ob-La-De, Ob-La-Da ([Beatles] - hot, happy tune: flows as well and natural on diatonic harp as Riverside and Sentimental Journey - easily embellished)

Camptown Races

Piano Man

Blowin' In The Wind (I tried this on a lark, having heard it played on one of the old Johnny Cash specials, really didn't hold out much hope for it working well with the fairly restrictive chord system; easy to play, with plenty of room for articulations and creativity, and so much cooler than traditional "campfire" songs)

I Walk The Line

Down By The Riverside (played up-tempo and embellished - see articulations below - this becomes your "generic fiddle-type music" and has become my absolute favorite; play any short tune, go to Riverside almost as a chorus, a different tune, back to Riverside, another tune, etc.)

I've always admired accomplished musicians who start out with a few phrases from a familiar tune, then go off on an improvisational trip  that has everybody slack-jawed for several minutes, and end up back at the same familiar melody they started with. You can create a similar effect with Riverside.

Turkey In The Straw (similar to above, familiar and fun, but don't over-use it)

Ode To Joy (instead of thinking of this as boring, public-domain music-lesson stuff, think: "How would Louis Armstrong play this song?" Played up-tempo and combined with your articulations, some quick trills, and the right attitude, this tune can become a weapon, no kidding!)

Sentimental Journey (same as above - up-tempo - lots of trills and articulations - great place for the "train whistle"; piece o' cake: two long draws around your 5-6-7 or 6-7-8 chord with a sort of "wee-o-weeee, wee-o-weeee" articulation, maybe two sets of those within the song - again, make it a surprise and a treat, don't overuse it - in general, this tune is as useful as Riverside as pseudo-improvisational material; the intervals just fit the diatonic harp so perfectly that the embellishments are almost automatic, virtually unlimited, and a tremendous amount of fun - for you and your listeners)

For He's

a Jolly Good Fellow (use this if you're asked to play "Happy Birthday," not a good chordal tune)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat (for participation and excitement at a children's party, etc.)

Three Blind Mice (corny? maybe, but spice it up with lots of articulations and trills and have some fun with it)

This Old Man (simple, familiar tune, excellent for precision breathing and articulation drills; kids - and mommy and daddy - will love you)


William Tell Overture (Lone Ranger theme - use your trills - covered in detail a little farther down the page - in holes 1-2-3 position for those 64th note runs - you're only going to have a few measures of the A part with a major key harp, a few of a B part, too, if you've got a harmonic minor harp - whichever, don't let on that's all you've got ... get in and get out: make it a "teaser," piece o' cake, and blow some minds. Don't try to slow it down and analyze it; up to a point, it actually works better the faster you play it)

Again, you’re going to be playing, basically, any three holes at once; you’re going to alternate blowing (exhaling) and drawing (inhaling) to give it melody and interest. And you’re also going to articulate while you’re doing it. (Note: if you're giggling and making faces every time the word "blow" or "hole" is used ... grow up or go away; this probably isn't for you.)

Here are some articulation licks you can use to add embellishments to your performances. They work best with a sort of up-tempo, bluegrass, square dance, fiddler-type feel and rhythm. Down by the Riverside is a perfect tune for this. You'll be playing multiple-hole chords while you do them, so they're easy to learn and a lot of fun. You'll soon be making changes and improvements on the fly to mesh with whatever you're playing; it adds variety and interest to your show, and it's a great way to extend and refresh a limited repetoire.

It would be pointless to even try to transcribe the myriad harp articulation possibilities. Once you've got the basic concept down, you can compose your own. Experiment, compare, improve. As I wrote earlier, you can do this if you want to; if you're still in rejection mode a full scholarship to Juilliard  probably wouldn't help.

Deet-doe deet-doe, diddle-diddle deet-doe
Dit diddle-diddle-diddle, deet doe-doe.
Di-dit-doe dit-doe, diddle-diddle deet-doe
Dit diddle-diddle-diddle deet doe-doe.
Yo-ee yo-ee diddle-diddle deet-doe
Heet diddle-diddle-diddle deet doe-doe ...
Heh(draw) waaaaaaaaaa(blow, hand-flutter vibrato)

Lots of "notes" from one breath, in or out, long or short as needed. Don't worry about textbook explanations and diagrams about how it works; as Mr. Brickman would say, just start experimenting, you'll do fine. The key to this system - for simplicity, speed and harmony - seems to be a "diddle-diddle" articulation, varying the first letter, which works well on blow or draw, and makes it sound like you're really "burning it up." To commit that to memory, think of the nursery rhyme: "Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon." I've also heard of people who yodel as a harp articulation, the point being, the instrument has always been about innovation. Innovate, experiment, cut loose. Smoke it!

 After a few phrases of your tune (chorus, verse, bridge, whatever you've got), repeat the final phrase once or twice, slowing it down towards the end, vibrato out your final note/chord. It's a simple formula that's actually harder to explain than it is to do, and executed correctly, you will come off as something of a sidewalk virtuoso.

Start right now with any harmonica you can get your hands on (but don't buy one in the toy aisle in a department store; they sound terrible and often cost more than a real instrument - a notable exception being the Swan brand, which is sometimes sold in toy departments).

True beginner instruments that you can make tips with like the Suzuki Easy Rider or the Swan go for less than $10 (sometimes half of that - including shipping - brand new from online dealers) so don't tell me, "Can't do it; ain't got no money." That’s crap and you know it; you've got the money, it's just earmarked for your next buzz. Wake up! We're talking about a tool  that can make you hundreds of times its cost, over and over again. Geez! No, wise guy, you're not going to be winning the million-dollar prize on America's Got Talent, or buying a house that Billy Joel used to live in, but you won't be living under a freeway bridge in a cardboard box either.

Don't buy a so-called "melody maker" harp, regardless of the brand. They do have merit and special applications for experts, but their altered note layout  makes them completely inappropriate for our goals here, which are to have absolute beginners earning tips right away playing chords. The same can be said for chromatic harmonicas (they'll have a button/lever on one end to raise every note a semitone); they are expensive, bulky, fragile and difficult to play. You want a standard diatonic, Richter-tuned, 10-hole harmonica, also called a "blues harp." This is the most popular, best-selling harp and economy of scale usually means the best selection, quality and price, whatever the product.

This might be a good time to mention that harmonicas are not returnable, unless there's a clear defect, because of health issues, so buy carefully. Best bet? Buy online (through e-Bay or Amazon). The prices will be better, you'll find exactly the model you're looking for (without any pressure to buy a slow-mover) and get it faster if it needs to be ordered.

What key harmonica? 

Other than relative pitch range, low to high (G,A,B,C,D,E,F), if you're going to play alone the key doesn't matter. But staying in the middle range (B,C,D) helps avoid "buzz" from the low notes and squeaks from the high notes. C-major harps are mass-produced, available in any brand or model, always in stock, work perfectly fine, and can be quickly replaced in case of loss or damage.

The economy harps mentioned earlier (Suzuki Easy Rider, Swan) can certainly get you started, but won't have the volume and projection of the better harps (this can be a plus if you have to practice very quietly somewhere). Performance-quality harps like the Suzuki Bluesmaster (mellow) and the Lee Oskars (brassy) come in at around $35 and $45, respectively. 

Fortunately, none of these models has those horrible, protruding brass reedplate edges along the mouthpiece (sometimes refered to as "sandwich style," as if it were a virtue), which can really hurt if you're going to be playing and practicing several hours a day. Avoid any harp with such protrusions; the reedplate edges should be flush and smooth, if they can be seen at all.


Lee Oskar also offers minor key harps, basically, with a flatted third. A beginner can easily play interesting Classical songs like Hungarian Dance No. 5 (Gypsy fiddle music) and Funeral March for a Marionette (Alfred Hitchcock theme), kickin' Cajun/Zydeco music like You're No Good for Me, Groove Thing, etc.; your minor-key harp will sound very much like those accordion parts (Rosie Ledet, call me, we'll jam); Sixteen Tons (great for adding some gritty, workin' man vocals/scatting to the act), Summertime, etc., or just some very cool, free-style improvisations, all in chords, and sound like a pro.

If you're still not on board with the busking concept - hopefully a means to an end and not an end in itself - how can the positive public reaction to performing, whatever the quality in the beginning, not  be better than, "Got any spare change?" Duh!  You're asking people to help you; give them some impression of trying to help yourself.

Down by the Riverside, Sentimental Journey, Ode to Joy and no doubt many others, played exactly the same as you learned them in major key, sound superb and unusual on a harmonic minor-key harp, so you can get plenty of productive use out of it. I've had this section in and out of the course, undecided about the impact of suggesting the additional expenditure, but here it is again. It's not a deal-breaker, one way or the other, but if it comes up, you'll know what's being talked about and can make decisions from there. Minor-key harps come in either "harmonic" or "natural"; the harmonic is far-and-away better for the method and purposes being taught here.

Fortunately, very little. Harmonica reeds can become clogged with tiny crumbs (avoid eating just before playing or at least take a few giant, swirly swigs of water to minimize particle contamination), sand, dust or just plain saliva. If you think you've got blockage (less noticeable playing chords), test by playing single notes (blocked reeds can sound "wheezy" or not sound at all). When needed, you can rinse a harp under running water, about 10 seconds, front and back, repeat that, tap both sides on a towel, leave it out in the open to dry. You should be good to go after that. Swab the mouthpiece lightly with a cotton ball barely moist with hydrogen peroxide at the end of the session. Rarely, you'll see some small particle just inside a hole; flick it back out with a toothpick before it can fall farther in. That's it!


If you're seeking financial help from a friend or family member for "gear" remind them this isn't just a pricey toy; it's a musical instrument and, effectively, a business expense. I'm not telling you to manipulate anyone; if you get money from someone for a harp or whatever be sincere about it and follow through. But I will suggest that it might help if you actually just "happen" to get them into the music store with you ("I wonder if they have harmonic minor-key harps [my favorite is Lee Oskar in Dm] here?"), as opposed to just scoring the cash and off you go. You might get even more help than you expected, with the benefactor feeling even better about their increased involvement.

If there's a secret to success here it's to not be wimpy or bashful about your performances. And don't wait for signals from onlookiers that they like your performance; project to them - with your facial expressions and body language (basically a big smile) - that "it's good and you know that they're likin' it." Watch any performer: music, magic, comedy, whatever, with that it mind. It's a concept I hadn't even thought about until I actually heard it stated by a Black stand-up comedian, whose name I just can't remember. I don't pretend to be an expert, but I think a good formula on that subject would be: "A smile equals confidence that equals (or at least helps) audience acceptance."

Cup the harp in both hands (most beginners tend to hold the harp by the ends, like an ear of corn - with their pinkies sticking straight out, no less - a dead "rookie" giveaway), opening and closing them to vary the sound, and wail on that baby like you've been doing it for years! There's also a lot to be said for a one-handed grip. The late DeFord Bailey, one of the most famous harp innovators in history, noted for his amazing steam locomotive imitations on the harp, can be seen playing with a very relaxed one-handed grip in some of the rare video footage of his performances.

I like to work on new little riffs and embellishments while walking, and a one-handed grip gives a relaxed, chin-up posture; it's safer around traffic and frees up the other hand for groceries, books, whatever. Using either hand, just pretend you're making a shadow puppet of an alligator - we all did it as kids. Chomp, chomp. Looking at Mr. Gator from the side, you'll have your thumb along the bottom, forefinger along the top. Just slide your harp into his "jaws," almost all the way back, a relaxed grip along the top and bottom plates of your harp, the other fingers falling naturally.

Confidence. Showmanship ... and discretion. L

et's not kid ourselves. Most municipalities frown on or outright prohibit street performances of any type. Don't make a big show of staking out a location and making it "yours." If you're asked to move along by some authority, politely do so. Your instrument fits in your back pocket like a comb. Keeping your act mobile and avoiding any negative vibes and attention is easy.

Sure, it might be

 awkward and embarrassing at first, but it can’t be any more embarrassing than panhandling! If you're drinking or snorting every dollar that passes through your hands because it's a familiar "path of least resistance" - a vicious circle by any other name - stop right now. As Dr. Phil says on his TV program, “How’s that workin’ out for ya’?"

Get it together, man; stop pushing back and looking for reasons why this won't work. People have been proving it will  work for almost a century!

Blow and draw chords using holes 3-4-5 together, 2-3-4 together, 3-4-5 together, 4-5-6 together, etc. (Rock Of Ages is an excellent practice tune using just those three groups - six chords - if you're having trouble getting started. Using those three groups, try a simple, generic Irish jig.) "Wah-wahs" sound good using low to mid-range notes; vibratos work well anywhere on the board, any time you want a note to last a little longer, and can be one of your most powerful tools.

For an easy "trill" effect, short or long, to add some interest (as a variation to replace just about any blow note) and excitement (blow harder = more volume), roll an R, "rrrrr," while blowing and either using it for one note/chord or moving simultaneously from one end of the harp to the other, low to high (a glissando - you'll hear musicians just call it a "gliss") in one long, smooth motion, usually to end a tune. Wherever you stop, a quick (staccato) draw chord (any three or four adjacent holes), then another quick blow chord, same location, higher, lower, it all works). Finishing with a "draw-then-blow" sequence will create "tension" then "resolution." Smile. Eye contact. That's it; tip time.

Don't worry about the technicalities of these moves; there’s really no wrong way to do this. You've listened to music all your life, and even if you've never studied concepts like resolution, you'll know what it should sound like and improve at it quickly. Another 

good technique involves slowing down (ritardando in music-speak) and varying the tempo (called "rubato") and resolution (end of tune); repeat your last melodic phrase, and finish with a vibrato (experiment with it: learn to watch people's reactions, responses, body language, etc.), at which point you're holding out your tip container. "Help a struggling musician, ladies?" Practice the whole sequence until it feels natural and produces the result (folding money!) you're looking for.

Couples are naturals for this and can make a bundle taking turns, one "passing the hat" while the other plays. If the one playing messes up you can just blow it off or work it into the act: roll your eyes, point at your partner, smile and say, "Can't take him anywhere!" Then it's your turn to play, the other's to collect, joke, comment, sing, scat, etc.

Even if you sound terrible you can still make it work: hold out your tip container and say, "Maybe a little help for some music lessons?" If you make people laugh they're likely to open their wallets. I'm reminded of what Jim Carrey said about the late Jerry Lewis: "I am because he was. That fool was no dummy."

Remember, this isn't about being a harmonica virtuoso (but if that's your goal, good for you); it's about interacting with folks and earning some money in a pleasant, honest way - and it's much more about attitude than talent. Don't be overly self-conscious about your playing, just be enthusiastic and remember: at the end of the day, music is a subjective art-form. "Number one, please yourself. Don't learn how to play it, just enjoy it. If you do it every day and it feels good, well, then you're bound to develop technique." - Lee Oskar*

Street performing, "busking," isn't a bad gig. You're not likely to be the next Bob Dylan or Stevie Wonder, but you'll make enough to get by, you’ll still have your independence ... and who knows when somebody will stop and say, "Hey, we're gettin' a group together ... wanna sit in?" If you meet someone you like, who asks what you do, which sounds better: "I'm an entertainer" or "I'm a panhandler"? No contest. One thing's for sure: your opportunities for something positive happening in your life will be far greater than they would be just begging for spare change.

The harp has much of the same coolness of the guitar without the problems associated with that instrument's size and weight. Sure, it's a romantic and nostalgic notion, the old photos of beginning artists making their way to their next coffee house gig (Bob Dylan on his way to do "a session for a sandwich") or just bummin' it around the country, guitar case strapped to their back. But nowadays, with so many incidents involving explosives and large firearms - using suitcases, backpacks and similar storage gear - even if you could play the guitar, its large case would not be a welcome sight in many places. The "Mississippi saxophone," as the harp has been called, on the other hand, fits in a pocket, purse, Buck-knife sheath, tool pouch, etc. Nobody's beeswax  until you want it to be.

There just doesn't seem to be any limit to the coolness and convenience of a tiny blues harp. Use that to your advantage. The best specialized example of how to carry two harps (maybe one major key harp and one minor key harp, or a harp and a kazoo?*) in the most professional manner is a nylon two-unit belt sheath (like two folding knife cases joined together) meant for ammunition clips: ten bucks in Walmart. If you see an old-style gentleman's vest in a thrift store, it'll probably be cheap, a buck or two (they're not exactly in style and the tiny pockets are pretty much useless for anything except a pocket watch ... or a harmonica.

Check for a costume-jewelry pinky ring (look for something with a large stone in the style of a graduation or sports-championship ring) while you're at the thrift store. Do that little "finger flutter" like Redd Foxx whenever he could squeeze in a few measures of "If I Didn't Care" on the old Sanford & Son television show. It won't matter if it's a fifty-cent piece of glass, when it moves in the sunlight during your hand vibratios and such, your going to look (and feel) like a pro. Use your imagination. Be a pro, get paid like one. Wah, wah!

Late kazoo note: The more I get into these kazoos, the more I'm persuaded that they may be the ideal instrument for a beginning street performer with little or no musical experience. Here's why:

Terry Fator, 
in an interview talking about his first appearance on
America's Got Talent
, described the judges' initial reactions when he came out carrying his "dolly": cute, funny, etc., but ventriloquists are not news, at least not at this level of talent competition. Fair enough. Mr. Fator's comment? "I knew I had 'em. I knew I had 'em!" Of course, as soon as the "doll" started to sing like Etta James, they were twice as blown away. If you're not familiar with the whole story, Mr. Fator didn't just win the million bucks on AGT, he ended up with a five-year contract for $100 million, performing in a showroom specially built for him at the Mirage Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.Those are some talented dolls, Bubba!

The point is this: If you're using a harmonica, the expectations - and subsequent judgements - may be rather critical. But if you've just pulled a kazoo out your vest pocket, the expectations will be rather low. When you rip off into your Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong-style selections (sell it, man!) you're probably going to blow them away. Chances are, all they've ever heard from a kazoo is Happy Birthday and moose honks! Tip time! Think about it; work on it. Devote as much energy to making it work as you are to believing it won't.


comments and suggestions, as well as recommendations on distribution of this material, are welcome and may be sent to:
Mickey Parker,

*Harmonicas, Harps, and Heavy Breathers, Kim Field, 1993, Simon & Schuster

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Thinking about getting DENTAL IMPLANTS? Patients, beware. Legislators, pay attention!

DENTAL IMPLANTS, being offered by virtually every licensed dentist in the country (and, conceivably, even some who are unlicensed), should be much more carefully regulated. These complex, invasive procedures cannot be safely and effectively done in small, squalid "general practitioner" surroundings by dentists who "went to a seminar" or "read a trade magazine article about it." Allowing inadequately trained general dentists in minimally equipped, understaffed dental clinics to perform these risky, invasive implant procedures is as absurd as allowing general practitioners to perform open-heart surgery on an out-patient basis.

I have permanent nerve damage because a Las Vegas dentist (who claimed to have "more than 20 years of experience with dental implants") "experimented" with these dental implant procedures on me in 2010 and BOTCHED the job . . . big time. Good job, Doc!

Web graphics and videos in dental waiting rooms, using the most beautiful artists' renderings of colorful, even layers of tissue, bone and nerves, depicting the bad teeth flying out and dental implants "floating gracefully up and over and into the gums," are carefully crafted to make the public believe that dental implants can be done quickly, effectively and safely by any dentist. Clearly, false and misleading advertising. Why it's not subject to Fair Claims Practices Act continues to blow my mind.

My experience is not unique or even rare. The 98% success rate* cited by the implant industry sounds impressive, but that 2% failure comprises over 60,000 patients, all unfairly influenced by questionable marketing tactics, ambiguous competency standards, and subjective qualifications. Patients who experience pain, numbness, feelings of electric shock just under the skin, etc. (the collective term for which is "paraesthesia"), following implant procedures are immediately and continually told, as I was, that "it will go away - you'll be fine." Not!

Dental implant clinics, promoted in the most deceptive manner: "Teeth in one day," with smiling models supposedly biting into an apple immediately after the implant procedure (truth be known, the entire procedure takes over a year, and you'll be limited to a very soft diet for that length of time), etc., ostensibly a legal and ethical violation of informed-consent obligations, are the new physician-run "pill mills" and should be approached with the same regulatory zeal as the "pushers" running those types of grey-area drug clinics. And, similar to the "feel-good clinics" that exploit the law and human weakness for the sake of obscene profits, the time can't be far off - if it's not here already - that we're going to see implant "pushers" migrating from state to state when things get too "hot" in a particular jurisdiction.

Traditional dental treatment as we've known it for the last several decades is being eroded by the big-buck promise of dental implants. The mantra of "Save the teeth, if at all possible" has changed to "Let 'em rot - the implant replacements will pay for my new Porsche!" (Yes, folks, a full set of uppers and lowers is $50,000+! - Anybody who wants to challenge me on that is welcome to look at the cancelled check.) We're looking at a system that encourages these people to do nothing - fraudulently and deceptively - so they'll have a shot at a bigger payday on down the road. 

Yes, as an alternative to painful, problematic dentures and rotting bridges, dental implants can be an important and beneficial product. But the hyperbole (if not flat-out lies) used in their advertising needs some serious scrutiny. Adding insult to injury, neither the initial price of the implant procedure – easily $50,000 or more – nor the $500 hygienic cleanings – which involve removal and replacement – are covered by any health insurance. NO COVERAGE, folks! Ouch!

Legislators, please do what you can to introduce legislation that will re-define and restrict these dangerous procedures, especially in the hands of under-trained, under-equipped, under-staffed general dentists (or simply deem implant procedures by general dentists as "illegal practice drift" under existing regulations). Also, the description that insurers have applied to dental implant procedures as being “cosmetic procedures,” for the self-serving purpose of denying any coverage whatsoever, is an absolute absurdity.

THE UNDER-REGULATED DENTAL IMPLANT INDUSTRY that continues to allow dentists to misrepresent and perform these delicate and risky procedures has caused a great deal of pain and suffering and disappointment with the processes and treatments. The collective dental implant industry (with U.S. revenues of roughly $6.4 billion in 2018*) needs to clean up a very deceptive business model and compensate negatively impacted dental implant patients for GROSS MISREPRESENTATION and PAIN AND SUFFERING.

NOTE TO LAW FIRMS: I am not currently represented by legal counsel, and would welcome communication and/or input from any such interested parties.

Ray Parker, Coalition for Dental Implant Reform • 702-878-5020 •

*Dental Facts and Figures, American Academy of Implant Dentistry Why teeth implants may be the most painful (and costly) mistake of your life, Jane Feinmann, The Daily Mail, February 17, 2014

The hidden danger of the gray [zirconia] market, Dental Products Report, Digital Esthetics

Dental implant manufacturer Nobel Biocare to pay $1.3 million to settle $450 million lawsuit for misrepresentation of dental implant products, Law360, New York, April 16, 2013


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