Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Todd Parrott interview

February 22, 2023 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 80
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Todd Parrott interview
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Show Notes Chapter Markers

Todd Parrot joins me on episode 80.

Todd is a gospel harmonica player who was inspired to play harmonica after first hearing it in church. He went on to join the church band and has gone on to develop a heavenly tone on the instrument. Todd listened to a lot of country harmonica and was influenced from several players from that genre, including Terry McMillan. 

Todd released a self-produced solo album, Songs From The Harp, where he learned to play several instruments to accompany his harmonica playing, as well as using other musicians. He is also a sought after session musician, appearing on albums from numerous recording artists.

Todd has run the Carolina HarpFest harmonica camp and is a regular at the annual SPAH event. He makes use of alternative tunings, makes his own combs and is an overblow player.


Todd’s website:

Carolina Harp Fest:

Joe Spiers Custom harmonicas:

Hohner Golden Melody live launch stream (23/02/23):


Playing with Buddy Green at SPAH:

Playing Amazing Grace at SPAH:

Todd reviews Joe Spiers custom harps:

Todd playing a Golden Melody:

Reviewing Brendan Power’s Slip Slider harmonica:

Demonstrates harmonica with 7 draw tuned down:

Podcast website:

If you want to make a voluntary donation to help support the running costs of the podcast then please use this link (or visit the podcast website link above):

Spotify Playlist:
Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:

Podcast sponsors:
This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS

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Todd is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and music scene there
Todd is a Gospel harmonica player, with country and other genres thrown in
Heard harmonica from father playing country music on the radio with harmonica in it, and grandfather played harmonica a little
First heard harmonica when a visiting player performed in church. That got Todd hooked
Bought a harmonica off this visiting player: a Huang Silverstone Deluxe diatonic (produced by Chamber Huang)
Bought a Hohner harmonica shortly afterwards
Still has first harmonica and occasionally plays it
Playing church music
Was 13 when got first harmonica and discovered harmonica on the radio and father’s tape recordings
Listened to Mickey Raphael playing with Willie Nelson
Terry McMillan was a big influence on Todd, with Terry playing on lots of recordings
Buddy Greene and Charlie McCoy were other influences on Todd
Didn’t listen to the blues players, with the lack of their influence meaning Todd developed his sound differently than a lot of harmonica players
Also plays keyboard / organ, using it as first to learn some chords to relate to harmonica
Todd was mostly playing in church bands, mostly melodies as hadn’t learnt anything about improvising
First session was playing on a radio commercial age 15, playing blues licks
Picked the harmonica up quickly in the supportive environment of the church
Similarities between Gospel and Country harmonica and how to play them
YouTube opened up the world of harmonica for Todd and people found him for some session work
Todd has released an album called Songs From The Harp, released in 2014
Gospel songs on the album
Took three years to record the album and detail on how some of the songs were put together
Todd recorded many of the other instruments on the album, learning some of them especially for the project
Had already learnt some bass to fill-in for church band
The other musicians playing on the album
I Need Thee Every Hour song is a solo piece borrowed from Buddy Greene
Plans to release another solo album, but recorded in a studio with Todd only playing harmonica
Recorded on a country album by Bill Tripp
Played with Mark Miller in Atlanta and why to never turn down a gig
More session work recording on other musicians albums
Album with Gabriel Bello of Stevie Wonder songs
Live recordings playing with Buddy Greene at SPAH
Todd teaches harmonica, and organised the Carolina HarpFest harmonica camp
Appearing at SPAH this year, the 60th anniversary of the event
Involvement in other harmonica workshops
Heartily recommends going to SPAH
10 minute question, including playing in 6th position on a country tuned harmonica
Playing along with whatever is on the radio is a good way to prepare for sitting in with bands, finding the notes that work
Todd often uses a harmonica tuned with the 7 draw down, which has sort of become known as the Todd Parrott tuning (although he wasn’t the first to use it)
Plays some Joe Spiers custom harmonicas
Would do some basic set-up of own harps before using Joe Spiers ones
7 draw being tuned down was inspired by Pete Elder
Maybe Todd should have Seydel manufacture the 7 draw down tuning
Todd is a Hohner endorsee and mainly plays Golden Melodies, with a new Golden Melody being released by Hohner in early 2023
Likes using Brendan Powers slip-slider harmonica
Makes his own custom combs
Todd uses overblows to play licks from low end of harp on the top end
Embouchre: pucker player mainly
Doesn’t play much chromatic
Has a Lone Wolf Harp Train 10 amp and a Lone Wolf Harp Attack pedal
Has one of the original Hohner Blues Blaster mics
Uses any vocal mic going, has a Bulletini and Ultimate 58