Learn to Play Blues Harp Harmonica
Is it Difficult to Pick Up and Learn How to Play the Harmonica?
Filed under: Blues Harp Harmonica

Is it Difficult to Pick Up and Learn to Play the Harmonica?

I am in a band, I sing and play guitar. I want to get into the blues scene, and start playing some blues styled music- and I am interested in adding the blues harp harmonica to my songs. Is it difficult to learn the blues harp harmonica, can I just play it right from the start, or is it harder than it looks?


Can someone suggest to me which major of BLUES HARP I should start with?

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11 Comments for 'Is it Difficult to Pick Up and Learn How to Play the Harmonica?'

    February 6, 2011 | 7:50 am

    Varies from person to peson. Everything takes practice, but generally harmonica is easy to get into. If you got a good ear for sound and harmony then you should have no problem. Just practice harmonizing with songs and stuff on radio or blues cds….
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    February 6, 2011 | 8:14 am

    No! Harmonica is one of the easiest instruments to play.
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    Music Buff (In Training)
    February 6, 2011 | 8:49 am

    The answer to your question is simple: It depends. Some people learn faster than others, and it also depends on how you learn. You could learn all by ear, read music, or use a combination of both. Here is a quick lesson:
    There are 12 different notes in the musical alphabet and therefore twelve major keys which you can play in. Each Major key has twelve corresponding minor keys that share the same notes making a total of twenty-four keys. The easiest way to keep in tune with the people you are jamming with is to find the key they are playing in. For example, if they are playing in the key of C then you should have a C tuned Harmonica for the best sound. Back to your question, with 30 minutes a day of good practice, I’d say about 6 months to be okay in a simple jam if you have no prior musical knowledge. With a little familiarity in scales and such maybe 4. Again that is just an estimate. Hope that helps a bit. If you have anymore questions you can reach me at mikedurhamjr@yahoo.com Later!

    February 6, 2011 | 9:17 am

    It looked easy to me , so I bought a ‘harp’ and still can’t play it, but I sure feel cool trying. On the other hand my then boyfriend, who also played a guitar, picked my harmonica up and BAM tunes were flying out of it and he had never played before. Just had that ‘knack’…..being a musician, think of who you know that plays and they will guide you in the beginning stuff,,,,I was told get one in the chord of "C" , that is was the most common. Good luck and I hope you are great at it, ,,, it is a wondrous little instrument!
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    February 6, 2011 | 9:45 am

    No. It has a diatonic scale which is really easy to coax a tune out of. If you have any prior knowledge of music, it will be easy to pick up. The diffaculty will come in when you beggin reach out into stylistic playing methods, such as blues, for instance. the technicalities of blues and even country is note bending. This might take a while to achive. But still, the harmonica is still one of the easiest intruments to play.
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    February 6, 2011 | 9:56 am

    Make sure you get a 10 hole blues harmonica. If you get the right harmonica – it’s not that hard. Also, buy a video, it helped me learn quite quickly. If you have guts, you can play well faster than if you are timid. Harmonica is easy to start but hard to master.
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    February 6, 2011 | 10:22 am

    On a ten hole single reed harp, start with a suck on the second hole, and, going up, next hole, suck next one blow, fifth hole, suck, sixth, suck, seventh blow. Get used to doing that and then work out what to do with the other holes! Purse your lips for a narrow opening to play a hole at a time. Experiment with the shape of your tongue in your mouth for different tones. Suck extra hard to get that overblown doppler-effect.
    In blues bands, the general relationship is that the key of the harp is a fourth higher than the band (assuming correct tuning to A440.) eg, guitar, band, whatever, in G harp in C
    band in A, harp in D
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    Fancy That
    February 6, 2011 | 11:03 am

    no, they only weight a few ounces (:->)
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    February 6, 2011 | 11:29 am

    No….generally they’re very light! hahahahaha. Actually, harmonica is one of the easiest instruments to learn. Get yourself a book on the basics: suck, blow, and where the notes are and how chords are formed…then like any other instrument…PRACTICE!
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    chris l
    February 6, 2011 | 11:47 am

    no, it weighs next to nothing. i only learned one song on it, the guitar player in the band i was in tossed one to me and said, learn if you want to get to heaven, by the ozark mountain daredevils. it took me about a week to learn it, and i noticed that the main notes were from sucking in, as gay as that may sound, instead of blowing out. i didnt have one of those bob dylan things, so i had to turn the volume up on my amp, and hammer the notes as i played the harmonica. the first time i did it, i almost passed out because i was winded. after that it was easy. if you can play blues on guitar, you can on the harp. the breathing was the hardest thing to it.
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    February 6, 2011 | 12:08 pm

    I picked it up years ago.. Some good video instruction is available too. I had already played multiple instruments so I learned in a few hrs. on a drive from the S.F. Bay Area to lake Tahoe(I wasn’t driving).. that was over 30 years ago and I can still play..
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