Does anyone here play the harmonica? I just up and decided to pick it up, but i’m having tons of trouble with a couple of things:

  • I’m can’t seem to direct air through only one channel (hole) at a time

  • Other than the first and second holes, I can’t figure out which ones i’m blowing into

  • I have no idea how to bend notes.

Everything I’ve seen/read so far hasn’t been any help, so do any of you have some tips or techniques that could help me out?

I know if you hold it vertically it will play through one hole. Don’t know how I know that, but I am positive it works. Something my subconscious convinces me of.



For a diatonic I’m guessing?
There are two options, pucker or tongue block. I personally tongue block (make a u shape with your tongue and pop it just behind/on your bottom lip.) but other swear by puckering (think whistling).
Once you get comfy with tongue blocking it becomes easy to hit single clean notes.
Play quietly. It helps to get comfortable with the harp.
If you can’t figure out which hole you are blowing into then you need to practice more. It does get easier :slight_smile: For bluesy sounds, draw on 3 and 4 then start to explore. Harp playing is a lot more organic than other instruments and it pays well to get aquainted with the connection between what your mouth is doing and what your ears are hearing. Unlike a piano or guitar it’s not simple to check where you are in the register by sight.

Bending notes. The theory is pretty simple, but then so is the theory of speech. It took you 2-3 years to learn to speak. Learning to bend notes is a similar idea and sadly not many people have a good idea why notes bend on a harp. I just bend the ones I need to. I took a month or two of struggling and then it clicked and now it’s an automatic thing. I kinda “close” my throat a bit and dip my chin. Seemingly to bend on a draw note (draw on 2 or 3, it’s easiest) you should arch the back of your tongue up while keeping the front nice and low. Never “push” a note too hard. It’ll chew the reeds on occasion.
I found it easiest to use a hohner pro in D. Nice tight comb, high enough pitch that there is good back pressure on it. (The suzuki promaster in G was like trying to suck the air out of a carrier bag. No pressure from the harp at all.) I just kept trying different things. Dropping my chin down a bit seemed to help me get the right “feel” for the note.
I’ll have a think and see if I can come up with anything else that might be of use.


I bought a plastic one for $1 and I play it…well…never

Wow, what a coincidence. Guess what, a few days ago I also decided to start playing the harmonica. I mean, what are the chances of that lol

Thanks about the tongue tip, I takes more practice to get right but I kinda like the technique refered on my first link. It’s easier to start of with (at least thats what they recommend).

For single notes, take a look on the first website. It’s in the beginning section. What you have to do is pucker you lips as if blowing or inhaling through a straw. It will take practice getting the distance you have to translate the harmonica to the next note though. The second website has great short songs to start of with!

My favorites so far are these ones:

I have a Bluesband Hohner International

The thing is, it’s the sort of instrument where it’s easy to improvise something vaguely tuneful but incredibly hard to learn to play properly. I’ve tried before, and had basically the same problems.
I think I’ll stick to piano:o

no shit?
same here. but i think mine’s from the 80’s.

thank’s a lot with that tounge technique. I can actually play any hole by itself now.:smiley:

Ever since I have heard it plays “on top the world- by the carpenter” I’ve hooked on harnomica eversince(20+ years ago). I just brought the chinese made recently I think it Tremolo harmonicas but there so many different variety I am confuse!! Could any one tell me what each hole tone is - my is 48 holes. I didn’t know blenderhead are harmonica loveer-cool.