A thousand mile journey begins with one step...

This is a full day workshop.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada


We will break out into small groups for many of the sessions.

Harmonica setup sessions:

Andrew and Carlos will cover harmonica setup and repair.

Various customisation approaches will be explained and attendees will experience as much hands-on exposure as they can handle, including:

* High-impact improvements that take little time but provide the biggest gains.
* Spotting and eliminating factory defects which significantly reduce the playability of bends and overbends.
* Reed modification guided by your eyes, ears and oral tract.
* Full-slot embossing.
* Tuning strategies.
* Reed Replacement.

Overblow How-To sessions

Carlos will give lots of examples of putting overblows and overdraws (both simply knows as overbends) into context. Ultimately it is about making great music!

Things he will discuss and demonstrate:

* focused and intentional exercises on your regular bent notes that will build and strengthen up your embouchure to help with overbends.
* getting out of a rut of riff based playing and why using overbends (overblows and overdraws) is such a great thing. This is ultimately about making great music, and the ability to overbend gives you the freedom to express what you want in different key centers more easily.
* how the “resistance” of an overbend can create dynamic tension in your riffs.
* taking the same bluesy riff and learning it in 4 or 5 positions - where you will have to introduce overbends.
* using a couple basic scales to help put your overblows into context.
* ultimately, it is about getting from one note to the next. Once you can produce an overblow with some confidence, then putting that overblown note in context and coming to it from a regular unbent note will put you on the path towards mastery.

Price: CAD$300.00

Reserve your spot. Space is limited.

Registration for all sessions. Attendees are encouraged to bring some harmonicas for use during the Harmonica Setup sessions.

Register before September 30th: CAD$300
Register after September 30th: CAD$350

Price: CAD$500.00

Reserve your spot. Space is limited.

Registration for all sessions. With this registration package, you receive a customised harmonica specifically set up for this workshop as an example to study and use during all sessions.

The harmonica is a Semi-Custom harp that has been specifically set up for this workshop. You chose between Hohner Marine Band Deluxe, Golden Melody, Special 20 or Rocket in any standard key (from G to F). Question: I'm not sure what key to choose? Answer: If you are unsure, pick C or Bb.

Participants will leave with a harp that is set up to play overblows on 4,5 and 6 and the 7 overdraw as passing notes. But built-in to these harps will be a few common flaws that are easy to see once you know how to recognize them and easy to fix.

A big challenge with harp customization skills is being able to see, hear and feel the problem.

With each of these harps having these specific problems carefully built-in, each participant will be able to know what it's like to find the problem, correct it and even overshoot (and then back up).

This will speed things up going through a few of the harp set-up topics. It's not mandatory - folks will still get great exposure by working on their own harps during the workshops.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring some harmonicas for use during the Harmonica Setup sessions.

Register before September 30th: CAD$500
Register after September 30th: CAD$550

Please don't hesitate to Contact Us.

Andrew Zajac

Andrew Zajac is a Hohner Affiliated Customize who makes diatonic harmonicas become remarkably responsive, have amazing tone and tuning and be adjusted to your playing style. Offering superior all-purpose harmonicas which have loud, rich tone and allow easy bending of notes and harps specialized for overbending which feature stable, expressive, bendable and sustainable overblows and overdraws.

Andrew Zajac loves the diatonic harmonica’s deep connection to the vocal tract. That connection allows a kind of expression no other instrument can achieve.

He realized that a well-playing harp can create an even closer connection and quickly found ways to improve his instruments. It didn’t take long until Andrew was customizing and repairing harmonicas for his teacher, his teacher’s students and other players in his area.

Andrew’s repair services expanded as he gained customers from other parts of Canada, the USA and Europe. In an effort to increase his productivity and shrink a growing waiting list he designed his own innovative tools and began manufacturing his own combs made from earth-friendly materials that do not swell when exposed to moisture.

He began to offer his tools and provide instructions, so that players could repair and improve their harmonicas themselves instead of adding their names to his waiting list.

His waiting list for repairs eventually grew to a point where he could no longer keep up and he chose to focus on only offering custom harmonicas, tools and combs.

Andrew continuously refines his customization methods in search of ways to deepen the connection between the player and the instrument.

Andrew’s focus is to provide each player with remarkably responsive harmonicas which are carefully tailored to the player’s needs. He aims for exceptional customer satisfaction.

Andrew lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He has a career background as a registered respiratory therapist and clinical perfusionist (heart-lung machine). Those disciplines have provided Andrew with useful knowledge of the science behind air flow, lung and vocal tract anatomy and physiology, evidence-based practice and continuous quality improvement (CQI) as well as the ability to reliably provide precise results while keeping a cool head and steady hands under pressure.


Carlos del Junco

2016 Maple Leaf Blues Nomination for Best Harmonica Player and Best Acoustic Duo (with Jimmy Bowskill for Blues Etc...)

(JUNO is Canada’s equivalent of a Grammy)

Harmonica Player of the Year - EIGHT times
Canadian Maple Blues Awards

2005 "Best Blues" Award - NOW Magazine, Toronto, ON


1996 Blues Musician of the Year Award - Jazz Report Magazine

1993 Hohner World Harmonica Championship, Trossingen, Germany -
Two Gold Medals in both diatonic blues and diatonic jazz

It's probably a good thing Carlos wasn't there when the harmonica appeared in North America in the 1860s. Neil Young and Bob Dylan can probably roll with it when he says they are very mediocre harmonica players. Aspiring harmonica players Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid might have overreacted and pulled out their pistols...

To say he plays the harmonica is like saying "Jimi Hendrix plays guitar". He blows the blues harp through a prism -- suddenly it seems he's holding every color in the musical rainbow right there in his hands.
Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”). The emphasis is on blues, but Carlos and his band are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.

Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco (loosely translated "of the reeds") immigrated with his family at the age of one. He bent his first note on a harmonica when he was fourteen, making his debut with his high school math teacher at a student talent night. In his early 20's del Junco was immersed in a visual arts career; he graduated with honours from a four year programme, majoring in sculpture (click here to see photos) at the Ontario College of Art. Sculpture has definitely had an influence on his outlook on music: "Music is just a different way of creating textures and shapes."

Playing a ten hole diatonic harmonica, Carlos has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using a recently developed "overblow" technique taught to him by jazz virtuoso Howard Levy. Overall, this approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than the mechanized tone produced by the chromatic harmonica . Carlos is one of the few pioneers of this overblow method, bringing musical credibility to what has still been considered by many in the music industry - a fringe folk instrument. The sophisticated sound produced by del Junco is at once sensitive, soulful, and sexy while never forgetting the rawness inherent in blues music.