Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Steve Baker interview

March 14, 2021 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 34
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Steve Baker interview
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Steve Baker moved from his native London in his early 20s to become part of the vibrant music scene in Hamburg. His brand of punk folk won him recognition and he was soon a regular on the German session circuit, as well as collaborations in various bands and duos, with his best work coming working alongside Chris Jones. 

Steve has long been a consultant to Hohner, and was instrumental in the development of the modern incarnations of the Marine Band: the Deluxe and the Crossover, as well as other Hohner innovations. He has released a body of instructional material and helped set-up the Trossingen festival and the Harmonica Masters Workshop, which runs in the same town three out of every four years.

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Steve's website

YouTube Channel:

Tutorials videos:

The Baker Family Live in Lockdown:

Podcast website:



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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

Steve was born in London before moving to Germany in his early 20s
Early influences were Duster Bennett and Paul Butterfield
Also learnt guitar at same time as harmonica and made a connection between the two
Blues scene around London at the time
Started long association playing with guitarist Dick Byrd
Formed own band, No Mercy, in 1975, and has worked as a professional musician ever since
Invited to play in Germany in 1976, and stayed there as conditions for musicians is better than UK
Went to Arken in Germany at first
Have Mercy had four harmonica players in the line-up, including Rory McLeod
Have Mercy band may well have been the first of the Folk Punk genre
Went to the great music scene in Hamburg
Played with Tony Sheridan for ten years
Did lots of session work in Germany and played in a band called Tuff Enough
Played with Abi Wallenstein through the 1990s
Started playing with Chris Jones
Gotta Look Up album with Chris Jones contains Double Crossed and Blue song
Steve has spent a lot of his career playing as part of a duo
Has played with a band in recent years and is now playing acoustic only material
Played with Dick Byrd for 40 years
Has made lots of melodic recordings on harmonica
Has used the major seventh tuning extensively on his recordings
Two recent albums with full Live Wire band
Steve has created several well known harmonica tuition resources, including the play along tracks
Playalong tracks were popular in China, and Steve was invited to China as a result
Playalong tracks are part of a Blues Harp app available on smartphones
Steve helped set-up the Trossingen festivals and how became a consultant for Hohner
How the Harmonica Masters Workshop came about
Received SPAH Pete Pedersen Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for longstanding work in harmonica
Steve was involved in re-designing the Hohner Pro Harp, and the CX12
Steve Baker Special harmonica from Hohner
Been involved in development of the Marine Band range: Deluxe and Crossover
10 minute question
Embouchre and difference in tone from tongue-blocking
HB52 Harp Blaster mic, which Steve also helped develop
Marble is Steve’s amp of choice
Future plans