Like most harmonica players, I started out playing blues after listening to Big Walter Horton and Little Walter. When I heard Rick Epping play the Irish jig “O'Farrell's Welcome To Limerick” on the Hohner XB-40, I was totally blown away by his speed and articulation! Since then I mostly play traditional Irish folk music, which you can listen to on YouTube. Find out more on the Video page.
Any player of Irish folk music on the harmonica tinkers with ornaments, time signatures, and tunings. For me, tinkering quickly turned into more considerable handiwork—years of research, development, and manufacture on my own and with the guidance of industry experts.
- I got my first harmonica at the age of two.
- I started to take lessons from Mikael Bäckman, a world class harmonica player from Piteå and one of
the best teachers I know. He continues to give private lessons locally and online. Find out more on the links
- I met Dick Sjoeberg from Malmö, Sweden. He and I began a ten-year apprenticeship that would convey the
nuances of tone and the specifics of harmonica customization and comb research, development, and
- I met Brendan Power, who has been a major influence on my Irish playing style.
- I met Rick Epping, who challenged me to build a top-quality harmonica.
- After Dick Sjoeberg retired, I carried on his legacy with his blessing. I purchased his workshop and the rights to
the production of his original Sjoeberg Comb.
- After setting up my workshop, I spent two years refining the production process, including building jig fixtures
and programming the CNC machine.
- And I came in 3rd Place at the Fleadh Cheoil, the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil, in the Mouth Organ class.
- I registered the company, J.A. Harmonicas, and opened for business!
- I became an Accredited Hohner Harmonica Technician.
- I was selected as a Hohner Affiliated Cusomizer, one of the finest customizers in the world who guarantees
the highest possible standards of craftsmanship.