Richard Sleigh

Richard Sleigh (Http:// has been exploring American Roots Music and the harmonica from the inside out for over 40 years. His latest adventures include being a featured soloist with the Wooster Symphony Orchestra and Paquito D’Rivera, playing and  teaching Blues harmonica in Clarkesdale Mississippi, opening as a solo act for the Marshall Tucker Band and Nancy Griffith. Over the years he has also appeared with Taj Mahal, Bo Diddley, Maria Muldaur, and many others, performed and given harmonica workshops here and abroad.

His background includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Printmaking and Drawing, and a number of different occupations including deck hand, graphic designer, and free lance artist and musician. The harmonica kept returning as a focal point in his life. Richard has a mad scientist / adventurer streak that led to building a series of experimental harmonicas, and becoming a student and colleague of Joe Filisko. Richard worked extensively with Joe Filisko for years testing ideas and developing the techniques that are now known as the “Filisko Method”.

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For Complete Information on Richard Sleigh’s Books, New Videos, Harmonicas, Tool Kits, and other products go to

This site also includes plenty of free articles and videos on harmonica tuning, adjusting, playing, and other related subjects…..


I have been playing Richard Sleigh’s harps for years  (and believe me, I ain’t gettin’ ’em for free!!). But even though I’ve spent a chunk of change on them and had to wait a long time for some of them, I’ve never regretted the investment that I made.  Playing music is what gives me some of my highest highs, and these harps have taken me to places that I didn’t know I could go to. For example, I fell in love instantly with his low D for fiddle tunes, and it completely changed that game for me – and it is so much kinder to my neighbor’s pets than the standard D, to boot… I play a wide range of styles from Blues to Old Timey, standards, and Richard has dialed in the harps for my needs and then some. They are extremely even in their response from reed to reed, and when it comes to playing bends and overbends, it feels like I have power steering. They are WAY more playable than any production harp or other custom harp I’ve tried.

In the past few years I have also studied with Richard at his shop and I’ve been using his tools as well, and my sense of control over this part of my musical life has increased immensely. Working directly with Richard has been a series of breakthroughs and his tools just make tuning so much easier that I look forward to it (sometimes). I have even gotten good at replacing reeds, and it really makes it easier to know that Richard will bail me out if worst comes to worst.

Trip Henderson ~ New York, NY

“I greatly enjoyed working with Richard. I had a lot of ah-ha moments as Richard cleared up one mystery after another with his demonstrations and explanations. Watching a master technician at work and being able to ask questions on the spot is so easy and fun that I did not realize how much I was learning until later on. We worked on a wide variety of harps including XB-40s, chromatics and standard diatonics, and Richard’s approach seemed direct and right on for all of them.

Being able to try things out immediately and then have them critiqued gave me a chance to do an on the spot reality check on what was actually sinking in and uncover more questions and clarifications.

Whether it was routine maintenance, emergency repairs, or just to get a better understanding of the principles which make these instruments work, I found the instruction invaluable. Learning from Richard was a rewarding experience that gave me the confidence to go beyond basic repair to trying out some of my own customizing ideas.”

I was fortunate to have spent two weekends with Richard at times when he had gigs in nearby State College, PA (Penn State Univ). Working by day and enjoying great music at night was the perfect combination if it can be arranged.

I hope to return again to take advantage of Richard’s experience as a harmonica instructor as well as have him critique some of the customizing work I have done since my last visit.”

Terry Dyroff
Silver Spring, MD

“I consider myself pretty mechanically inclined and thought I knew my way around a harp before our session. Boy was I wrong! I didn’t know how much I needed to learn until Richard showed me his invaluable techniques and tips.

I just finished my first “on my own” harp tuning session. Wow what a difference in the sound… I can’t say enough about the value of the techniques and tips he shared with me. Run
don’t walk to the master!”

George Barnabic
Indian Mills, NJ

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