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Neil William Graham, born 1946


Trade background

12 years experience as boilermaker/welder /fitter ,specialising in machine building.

15 years experience as wrought iron worker and general blacksmith (self employed)specialising in decorative domestic ironware and tool sharpening/hardening and tempering .

4 years experience as commercial fisher.Master class 5/engineer grade 3/fishing.

My trade experience has been invaluable to me as a free reed technician.It has enabled me to better understand the properties of various metals and  to create specific tools for the harmonica workshop.

As a technician

I began repairing stock harmonicas in 1994 , replacing reeds and retuning,adjusting offsets etc.

In 1998 I began serious customisation experiments(inspired by the work of the master Joe Filisko)and delivered my first customised Marine Band for sale In 1999.Since then I have been working full time as a customiser providing highly responsive diatonics to pros and amateur players worldwide.

Musical experience

Vocals/Harmonica/Dobro/Jews harp My musical career began in 1966 as lead harmonica player in Ray Rivamontes backing group.Winning heat 14 of Channell 9's"Kevin Dennis New Faces"led to further telivision appearances on "In Melbourne Tonight" and the "Bert Newton Show"plus a run of concerts and coffee lounge gigs prior to Ray's departure for the U.S.A.

Continuing to back singer /guitarists on the Melbourne  coffee lounge circuit I performed regularly with John Graham and others up until 1968.

Throughout the 1970s I fronted  as singer/harmonica player in a number of Melbourne's blues bands, and was also ocasionally seen as guest artist with bands as diverse as Captain Matchbox, Pigface and Madder Lake.

Following a move to the New South Wales south coast  in 1980,I featured as a regular local performer with various line-ups culminating in a five-year full time commitment as front man for Blue Roots {1993-1998}.
and then as sidesman for the Wright Bros 1998/99
The release of the C.D. "Hangin With The Dog"(1996) showcased some of my original songs via radio airplay.Rythms Magazine placed it in their top 20 releases for 1996 and P.B.S. radio in their top 10.

In 2001 , I attended the World Harmonica Festival and was ranked 7thrunner up th in the World Harmonica Championship with a rating of 'excellent' in the category of Folk/Blues Diatonic.I entered the comp on an impulse via the was too easy!Not going in the competition.....entering! Anyway it was a lot of fun and a great way to meet a whole bunch of harmonica people.

In 2002, a Churchill Fellowship enabled me to travel extensively in the United States. This fellowship gave me the opportunity to interact and learn from some of  the best and most respected harmonica players/technicians in the world.

My experience as a player has given me an insight into solving many of the problems suffered by harmonica players.