Exclusive Interview with Roly Platt

Roly Platt How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ My older brother played some and showed me the basics of bending and idea of cross-harp. Perhaps more importantly, he introduced me to a wide variety of great roots-based music.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included) , which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ How about these guys: Larry Adler, Little Walter, Kim Wilson, Buddy Greene, Paul Butterfield and Norton Buffalo

What is your favorite bluesharp brand / type and tell us why?
~ I played Hohner Special 20s - easy on the lips, reasonably priced, decent harp all-round. But I have now switched to Seydels - (the steel-reed models). I've been endorsed by Seydel and have been very impressed with the harps and the company. They play very well and the steel reeds have been outlasting any harp I've owned - by a long shot. Incredibly strong. For a guy who tends to play really hard, that's a huge bonus.

What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ 1: Study "The Greats". Listen! Listen to them, listen to what you do - use your ears. 80% of tone comes from the player, not the gear. Little Walter would still sound like Little Walter, playing though just about any amp or mic.
2: Once you think you've become a "great harp player", stop listening to other harp players, and focus on becoming a "great musician".

Whisky wine beer or ...?
~ I figure God gives each of us a HUGE roll of liquor tickets when we're born. I used all mine up years ago.

How do you clean your harps?
~ You're supposed to clean them?? lol

What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ Q: After 40 years, what is my philosophy in regards to harp playing?
A: I focus on 3 things:
1: Playing musical ideas rather than "licks".
2: Simplifying - saying something with less notes and with the appropriate emotion.
3: Learning about tasteful playing by listening to greats on OTHER instruments.

Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ A great room with great gear and more importantly, an extremely great engineer who knows that room and gear intimately.

Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves.
~ Very rarely. A little bit of "nerves" is good.

What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ A couple come to mind: The day I was asked to join my 1st professional band when I was 18.
My 1st national TV Jingle, when I was 20.

Roly Platt

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Answers given on March 23, 2016